"GENTLEMEN, THE PRESS!"

(By EDWARD HARRINGTON)

We've toasted all the Royal House, and all our loyal friends;
There's only one more toast, my lads, before the evening ends.
We've had a rather merry time, I think you will agree.
Now, to propose the final toast, the Chairman calls on me.
So charge your glasses, gentlemen, I have the happiness
And honour to propose the toast of "Gentlemen, the Press:.

So pause a moment, if you please, I have a word to say
About our free, enlightened press, the papers of today.
Should any members of the press be present here tonight,
I hope that he will mark my word and get my meaning right;
I will not keep you long I hope - it's nothing more or less
Than my opinion of the toast of "Gentlemen, the Press".

Well, what the devil is the press, perhaps my words are rude -
But tell me what it ever did to earn our gratitude?
It's always on the rich man's side; it make my blood run cold
To think of all the harm it's done and all the lies it's told.
It never tries to bring reform or mitigate distress;
It fools the people all the time, the bitter Tory press.

When times are bad, and work is scarce, and hunger stalks the town,
The press is always to the fore to drag the worker down.
They talk about production costs and other played-out gags -
But always charge the same old price for their disastrous rags.
They never try to lend a hand when things are in a mess
They're barren of constructive thought, the helpless, whining press.

But when election time comes round, they're out to save the
State (You'll always find them ranged behind the wealthy candidate).
They deal out doleful prophecies of woe that will ensure
Should Labor chance to gain the day and push its program through.
They have a dread of Labor rule; how earnestly they stress
The danger to the Commonwealth – the grave, impartial press.

But should a Royal visitor arrive from overseas
You'll find the press is always there to greet him – on their knees.
How earnestly they note his words, how gallantly they vie
To prove their patriotic zeal beneath the Royal eye.
I'd like some travelling Duke or Prince to candidly confess
His honest, true opinion of the sycophantic press.

Should rumours of a Royal birth go round, the press will strive
To be close handy to the spot to see the child arrive,
And if they don't succeed in this, the christening finds them there
To note the infant's Royal nose, the colour of its hair,
And should the Prince or Princess wed, they're always there to bless
The nuptials of the Royal pair, the noble-hearted press,

The racing season sees them shine, they're always on the lawn
To watch the ladies tripping by in coats of beige and fawn.
They like to be on speaking terms with Lady This or That -
But never deign to cast a glance across the common Flat.
Poor workless girls may tramp the streets to sell a cheap caress -
It doesn't worry them at all, the apathetic press.

Well, that's the finish, gentlemen, I think you will admit
That I've done credit to the toast - it's eased my mind a bit.
On some occasion such as this, we'll meet again, maybe,
An d if you want a toast proposed, I hope you call on me.
Just one more word before I close; deep in some dark recess
I'd like to kick for good and all the whole confounded press.

 

 

 

 

 

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