The Songs of a Sentimental Bloke/VI. The Stror 'at Coot

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The Songs of a Sentimental Bloke by C. J. Dennis
VI. The Stror 'at Coot
Songs of a sentimental bloke, page 50 (crop).png

The Stror 'at Coot


AR, wimmin! Wot a blinded fool I've been! 
 I arsts meself, wot else could I ixpeck?
I done me block complete on this Doreen,
 An' now me 'eart is broke, me life's a wreck!
The dreams I dreamed, the dilly thorts I thunk
Is up the pole, an' joy 'as done a bunk.


Wimmin! strike! I orter known the game!
 Their tricks is crook, their arts is all dead snide.
The 'ole world over tarts is all the same;
 All soft an' smilin' wiv no 'eart inside.
But she fair doped me wiv 'er winnin' ways,
Then crooled me pitch fer all me mortal days.


They're all the same! A man 'as got to be
 Stric' master if 'e wants to snare 'em sure.
'E 'as to take a stand an' let 'em see
 That triflin' is a thing 'e won't indure.
'E wants to show 'em that 'e 'olds command,
So they will smooge an' feed out of 'is 'and.

'E needs to make 'em feel 'e is the boss,
 An' kid 'e's careless uv the joys they give.
'E 'as to make 'em think 'e'll feel no loss
 To part wiv any tart 'e's trackin' wiv.
That all their pretty ways is crook pretence
Is plain to any bloke wiv common sense.


But when the birds is nestin' in the spring,
 An' when the soft green leaves is in the bud,
'E drops 'is bundle to some fluffy thing.
 'E pays 'er 'omage—an' 'is name is Mud.
She plays wiv 'im an' kids 'im on a treat,
Until she 'as 'im crawlin' at 'er feet.


An' then; when 'e's fair 'orf 'is top wiv love,
 When she 'as got 'im good an' 'ad 'er fun,
She slings 'im over like a carst-orf glove,
 To let the other tarts see wot she's done.
All vanity, deceit an' 'eartless kid!
I orter known; an', spare me days, I did!


I knoo. But when I looked into 'er eyes—
 Them shinin' eyes o' blue all soft wiv love—
Wiv mimic love—they seemed to 'ipnertize.
 I wus content to place 'er 'igh above.
I wus content to make of 'er a queen;
An' so she seemed them days… O, 'Struth!… Doreen!

I knoo. But when I stroked 'er glossy 'air
 Wiv rev'rint 'ands, 'er cheek pressed close to mine,
Me lonely life seemed robbed uv all its care;
 I dreams me dreams, an' 'ope begun to shine.
An' when she 'eld 'er lips fer me to kiss…
Ar, wot's the use? I've done wiv all o' this!


Wimmin!… Oh, I ain't jealous! Spare me days!
 Me? Jealous uv a knock-kneed coot like that!
'Im! Wiv 'is cute stror 'at an' pretty ways!
 I'd be a mug to squeal or whip the cat.
I'm glad, I am—glad 'cos I know I'm free!
There ain't no call to tork o' jealousy.


I tells meself I'm well out o' the game;
 Fer look, I might 'a' married 'er—an' then….
Ar strike! 'Er voice wus music when my name
 Wus on 'er lips on them glad ev'nin's when
We useter meet. An' then to think she'd go…
No, I ain't jealous—but—Ar, I dunno!


I took a derry on this stror-'at coot
 First time I seen 'im dodgin' round Doreen.
'Im, wiv 'is giddy tie an' Yankee soot,
 Ferever yappin' like a tork-machine
About "The Hoffis" where 'e 'ad a grip….
The way 'e smiled at 'er give me the pip!

She sez I stoushed 'im, when I promised fair
 To chuck it, even to a friendly spar.
Stoushed 'im! I never roughed 'is pretty 'air!
 I only spanked 'im gentle, fer 'is mar.
If I'd 'a' jabbed 'im once, there would 'a' been
An inquest; an' I sez so to Doreen.


I might 'a' took an' cracked 'im in the street,
 When she was wiv 'im there lars' Frid'y night.
But don't I keep me temper when we meet?
 An' don't I raise me lid an' act perlite?
I only jerks me elbow in 'is ribs,
To give the gentle office to 'is nibs.


Stoushed 'im! I owns I met 'im on the quite,
 An' worded 'im about a small affair;
An' when 'e won't put up 'is 'ands to fight—
 ('E sez, "Fer public brawls 'e didn't care")—
I lays 'im 'cross me knee, the mother’s joy,
An' smacks 'im 'earty, like a naughty boy.


An' now Doreen she sez I've broke me vow,
 An' mags about this coot's pore "wounded pride."
An' then, o' course, we 'as a ding-dong row,
 Wiv 'ot an' stormy words on either side.
She sez I done it out o' jealousy,
An' so, we parts fer ever—'er an' me.

Me jealous? Jealous of that cross-eyed cow!
 I set 'im 'cos I couldn't sight 'is face.
'Is yappin' fair got on me nerves, some'ow.
 I couldn't stand 'im 'angin' round 'er place.
A coot like that!… But it don't matter much,
She's welkim to 'im if she fancies such.


I swear I'll never track wiv 'er no more;
 I'll never look on 'er side uv the street—
Unless she comes an' begs me pardin for
 Them things she said to me in angry 'eat.
She can't ixpeck fer me to smooge an' crawl.
I ain't at any woman's beck an' call.


Wimmin! I've took a tumble to their game.
 I've got the 'ole bang tribe uv cliners set!
The 'ole world over they are all the same:
 Crook to the core the bunch of 'em—an' yet,
We could 'a' been that 'appy, 'er an' me…
But wot's it matter? Ain't I glad I'm free?


A bloke wiv common-sense 'as got to own
 There's little 'appiness in married life.
The smoogin' game is better left alone,
 Fer tarts is few that makes the ideel wife.
An' them's the sort that loves wivout disguise,
An' thinks the sun shines in their 'usban's' eyes.

But when the birds is matin' in the Spring,
 An' when the tender leaves begin to bud,
A feelin' comes—a dilly sort o' thing—
 That seems to fairly swamp 'im like a flood.
An' when the fever 'ere inside 'im burns,
Then freedom ain't the thing fer wot 'e yearns.


But I 'ave chucked it all. An' yet—I own
 I dreams me dreams when soft Spring breezes stirs;
An' often, when I'm moonin' 'ere alone,
 A lispin' maid, wiv 'air an' eyes like 'ers,
'Oo calls me "dad," she climbs upon me knee,
An' yaps 'er pretty baby tork to me.


I sort o' see a little 'ouse, it seems,
 Wiv someone waitin' for me at the gate…
Ar, where's the sense in dreamin' barmy dreams?
 I've dreamed before, and nearly woke too late.
Sich 'appiness could never last fer long,
We're strangers—'less she owns that she wus wrong.


To call 'er back I'll never lift a 'and;
 She'll never 'ear frum me by word or sign.
Per'aps, some day, she'll come to understand
 The mess she's made o' this 'ere life o' mine.
Oh, I ain't much to look at, I admit.
But 'im ! The knock-kneed, swivel-eyed misfit!…