In re a Gentleman, One

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"In re a Gentleman, One"  (1889) 
by Banjo Paterson

We see it each day in the paper,
And know that there's mischief in store;
That some unprofessional caper
Has landed a shark on the shore.
We know there'll be plenty of trouble
Before they get through with the fun,
Because he's been coming the double
On clients, has "Gentleman, One".

Alas for the gallant attorney,
Intent upon cutting a dash!
He starts on life's perilous journey
With rather more cunning than cash.
And fortune at first is inviting --
He struts his brief hour in the sun --
But, lo! on the wall is the writing
Of Nemesis, "Gentleman, One".

For soon he runs short of the dollars,
He fears he must go to the wall;
So Peters' trust-money he collars
To pay off his creditor, Paul;
Then robs right and left -- for he goes it
In earnest when once he's begun.
Descensus Averni -- he knows it;
It's easy for "Gentleman, One".

The crash comes as soon as the seasons,
He loses his coin in a mine,
Or booming in land, or for reasons
Connected with women and wine.
Or maybe the cards or the horses
A share of the damage have done --
No matter, the end of the course is
The same: "Re a Gentleman, One."

He struggles awhile to keep going,
To stave off detection and shame;
But creditors, clamorous growing,
Ere long put an end to the game.
At length the poor soldier of Satan
His course to a finish has run --
And just think of Windeyer waiting
To deal with "A Gentleman, One"!

And some face it boldly, and brazen
The shame and the utter disgrace;
While others, more sensitive, hasten
Their names and their deeds to efface.
They snap the frail thread which the Furies
And Fates have so cruelly spun.
May the great Final Judge and His juries
Have mercy on "Gentleman, One"!

This work is is in the public domain because it was created in Australia and the term of copyright has expired.

See Australian Copyright Council (ACC), (Duration of Copyright) (February 2012).