Saturday, November 30, 2013

Anonymous 1902 England Ashes poem

The first Ashes test between Australia and England got off to a cracking start. Australia stormed back with a comprehensive victory over England at the Gabba in Brisbane.
This defeat by England reminded me of this anonymous 1902 Ashes poem. The England team in the poem also defeated. They lost the Ashes 4-1 after registering a resounding victory in the opening match of that series in Sydney. The Australian side included Warwick Armstrong and Victor Trumper.
The writer of the poem obviously thought A C MacLaren and Co. were better off taking up a different sport altogether.
Could there be a similar turnaround for England in the 2013/14 series as there was for the Australians in the 1901/02 series?

AN OPINION IN VERSE.

Thus the London Globe to MacLaren and Co. (with apologies to Rudyard Kipling)

A New Ditty

And ye flaunted your glory at cricket,
And your power to shoot at the goal;
And ye went to a younger nation,
Who have taught you to bat and to bowl.

But when you return to your muttons,
And hope to make trial at Lord’s
Of the skill the Australians taught you
On Sydney and Melbourne swards,

Ye will find it a fond delusion
You will find you’ve been wasting your fame,
For in England we’ve promised to practise
Another and nobler game.

It is foolish to field and “deliver,”
To stand at the wickets or slips
It is idle to strive with Australia
In mutual annual trips.

But, obey the behest of the season,
And know that your past is all wrong
And surrender your football and cricket,
To challenge the world at ping pong.

(Manawatu Standard, 5 March 1902, page 2; and in Wairarapa Times, 8 March 1902, page 4)

(Sources: Papers Past, National Library of New Zealand)

Article © Mark Pirie 2013

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