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Andrew Barton Paterson Poems
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The Duties of an Aide-de-camp by Andrew Barton Paterson
Oh, some folk think vice-royalty is festive and hilarious,
The duties of an A.D.C. are manifold and various,
So listen, whilst I tell in song
The duties of an aide-de-cong.
Whatsoever betide
To the Governor's side
We must stick -- or the public would eat him --
For each bounder we see
Says, "Just introduce me
To His Lordship -- I'm anxious to meet him."

Then they grab at his paw
And they chatter and jaw
Till they'd talk him to death -- if we'd let 'em --
And the folk he has met,
They are all in a fret,
Just for fear he might chance to forget 'em.

When some local King Billy
Is talking him silly,
Or the pound-keeper's wife has waylaid him,
From folks of that stamp
When he has to decamp --
We're his aides to decamp -- so we aid him.

Then some feminine beauty
Will come and salute ye,
She may be a Miss or a Madam,
Or a man comes in view,
Bails you up, "How de do!"
And you don't know the fellow from Adam!

But you've got to keep sweet
With each man that you meet,
And a trifle like this mustn't bar you,
So you clutch at his fin,
And you say, with a grin,
"Oh, delighted to see you -- how are you?"

Then we do country shows
Where some prize-taker blows
Of his pig -- a great, vast forty-stoner --
"See, my Lord! ain't he fine!
How is that for a swine!"
When it isn't a patch on its owner!

We fix up the dinners
For parsons and sinners
And lawyers and bishops and showmen,
And a judge of the court
We put next to a "sport",
And an Orangeman next to a Roman.

We send invitations
To all celebrations,
Some Nobody's presence entreating,
And the old folks of all
We invite to a ball,
And the young -- to a grandmothers' meeting.

And when we go dancing,
Like cart-horses prancing,
We plunge where the people are thickenkn';
And each gay local swell
Thinks it's "off" to dance well,
So he copies our style -- ain't it sickenin'!

Then at banquets we dine
And swig cheap, nasty wine,
But the poor aide-de-camp mustn't funk it --
And they call it champagne,
But we're free to maintain
That he feels real pain when he's drunk it.

Then our horses bestriding
We go out a-riding
Lest our health by confinement we'd injure;
You can notice the glare
Of the Governor's hair
When the little boys say, "Go it, Ginger!"

Then some wandering lords --
They so often are frauds --
This out-of-way country invading,
If a man dresses well
And behaves like a swell,
Then he's somebody's cook masquerading.

But an out-an-out ass
With a thirst for the glass
And the symptoms of drink on his "boko",
Who is perpetually
Pursuing the ballet,
He is always the "true Orinoco".

We must slave with our quills --
Keep the cash -- pay the bills --
Keep account of the liquor and victuals --
So I think you'll agree
That the gay A.D.C.
Has a life that's not all beer and skittles!
View Andrew Barton Paterson:  Poems | Biography | Books

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