A/N: Apologies for the layout issues. This poem would normally be displayed in columns with scholarly notes to the left. To view in its original format, please click the links below.
The Pirates of Botany Bay*
*Sections of the epic are lost or badly obscured, but historians believe this to be the true account of the former Prime Minister Ferret Foster.
At Botany Bay, in a ship as she lay,
asleep in the Indigo Blue
were pirates of merit, Bill, Roger and Ferret
and the rest of the braggarty crew.
They pulled anchor at dawn and raised crossbones to warn
other sailors to stay out their way.
They went looking for treasure and killing for pleasure,
those pirates of Botany Bay.
Said one to another, 'I flag-poled* your mother.'
'Oh yeah, well I've flag-poled her too.'
A third was confused, but not liking to lose
he pushed them both into the Blue.
*This pirating tradition dates back to the 17th Century when Captain Fleetfloot was the first to hoist a woman on his flag pole.
The weather got colder, the pirates got bolder,
'Hey captain what's all the to-do?
Where's all our pleasure and mountains of treasure?'
'-And the wenches you promised us too.'
Bill erected the plank and Sir rapidly sank,
a motion met with much acclaim.
They were ruled by their sabres and democracy labours
when all know the captain's to blame.*
*It is difficult to make out but it appears that the ship subsequently struck an iceberg and most of the crew drowned. Bill, Roger and Ferret were, it seems, preserved in the ice and drifted ashore on the tide where they eventually thawed out.
'Home at last boys, but blast, what's that noise?'
'This doesn't look like home to me.'
Oh the journey was long, but their bearings weren't wrong;
they'd spent hundreds of years out at sea.
As the day passed to noon, they tried their fortune
and waylaid a man on the road.
'Hey what's the idea, and what's with the gear?
Are you planning a night on the town?
I can't say I'm impressed with your pirated dress,
tell your agents they're letting you down.'
He was clothed in fine ruffs and he gave them stern looks
as the pirates shrank back from his girth.
'You boys could do better, so let's drop the vendetta
and I'll teach you the ways of the Earth.'
He talked of the stage and the minimum wage*
*These wise words have sadly been lost in the translation and reduced to a string of incoherent stanzas about 'socks' and 'stares'.
Said Roger to Bill, 'I've a mind, I've a will.
I'm going to win a degree.'
Well Bill gave this some thought and he realised he ought
to be more than an absentee.*
*Very little is known of Bill's later life but the record indicates he left in pursuit of a woman.
So Roger enrolled, on a course* as foretold,
and eventually he figured it out.
But not to be beat, Ferret could compete
and he said, 'I'll get a job, no doubt.'
*Roger studied History at Hull University and after obtaining his degree, went on to teach the subject. He specialised in 18th Century pirating.
But sometimes they meet and the cold days retreat,
leaving them young, in their way.
And they'll drink and they'll steal, they're keeping it real,
those pirates of Botany Bay.