THE GAWLER PRIZE SONG.
A considerable amount of dissatisfaction appears to be felt with reference to the Gawler Prize Song, — some of the grumblers who have favored us with their protests being a little too fast in their expressions of opinion. That Mrs. Carleton's song is now a legiti- mate subject for criticism, we of course admit; but
that disappointed competitors and morose critics have a right to manufacture either private or public grievances out of the affair we confidently deny. And we, therefore, take this opportunity to assure all those persons who " feel bound to denounce," &c., &c.; that we, in like manner "feel bound" to consign their denunciations to that limbo of literary vani- ties, — our "waste basket."
As we have already said, fair and generous criticism we cannot find-fault with, and have no wish to sup- press; — it is only the ill-natured, insolent, conceited style of writing that we take exception to. And what, in the name of all that's good, is the pother about? The Gawler Institute offer a prize for a song, and request certain gentlemen to read the various poems sent in, and say which is the best. This is done, and the verdict is in favor of Mrs. Carleton. Perhaps Mrs. Carleton's production is not worth ten guineas; but what of that? It was placed first on the list, and thus took the prize awarded to the first, whether it was dear at the money or cheap. The Judges had no authority to refuse the prize altogether; their duty was to decide which of all the poems submitted to their examination was, on the whole, the best, and they decided in favor of that which now turns out to be Mrs. Carleton's. If the Committee of the Gawler Institute are satisfied with their ten guineas worth, we do not see how A., B., or C. can look upon himself as an injured individual.
It is said that Mrs. Carleton's song is not a "National Anthem;" that it is not a composition likely to become familiar as household words "in mansion and cottage;" that it would not arouse the heart of the whole nation to "deeds of heroism in the hour of peril," and so on. Well! why did not these sublime critics plume their own wings, and try their own powers on such lofty themes? Was it because their patriotism, their fire, their genius, their soul of poetry, could not be enkindled for £10 10s.? Or was it be- cause they themselves were incapable of doing what they are so ludicrously indignant that some one else
has not done?
The Gawler Institute did not advertise for a
National Anthem, but for a "Patriotic Song," and it is not difficult to imagine that a very good patriotic song would scarcely rank as a national anthem. Those, therefore, who object that we have not got a national anthem should themselves offer a prize for one, as the Gawler Institute, with less lofty aspirings, offered a prize for a patriotic song.
It is said that Mrs. Carleton's composition is not spirited enough to realize the idea even of "a patriotic song." We acknowledge its deficiency of spirit. It is too quiet in its tone, and there are lines in it that we could have wished altered. But the Judges had no power to make emendations, and if, in their opinion, the song, taken as a whole, was better adapted to the object in view than any of the other songs, of course they were bound to decide in its
With regard to the decision of the Judges, we have already stated that it was not arrived at without much difficulty; several compositions being considered of nearly equal merit. It must not therefore be inferred that because the whole of the Judges signed the re- port in favor of Mrs. Carleton's song they were all thoroughly satisfied of its superiority. Between that and several other poems the final choice lay, and as it was considered desirable to agree unanimously, any points of doubt that might have existed on one or two minds were waived, as the majority of the Judges were seen to be clearly in favor of the song even- tually preferred. The Judges looked upon themselves as a Jury required to give a verdict, and required to
agree amongst themselves as to what that verdict
If we are asked whether none of the other songs contained more fire and energy than the poem to which the prize was awarded we reply — certainly, some of them did. But "fire" is not evervthing. Some of the songs contained wretchedly bad rhyme, others horrible grammer, — faults which ensured their rejection, even though they contained really good
lines or verses. Others were not South Australian
in their references; being in fact songs in praise of England, or in praise of the southern hemisphere. Some were purely war songs; others were very good compositions, but more fitted to be sung as hymns in church than as songs at a concert or
soiree. One or two contained very fine lines indeed, — but their writers were not their authors, and so these again were rejected. Some of the songs were awfully long; others bombastical; others weak and prosaic to a degree that would make Mrs. Carleton's appear the model of manly vigor, whilst some were good, but rejected for reasons that appeared conclusive to the Judges, and of which reasons, unless the poems themselves were all published, the public cannot judge. Even were they all published, the critical world of Adelaide would require to have a volume of "reasons" before being really qualified to judge the Judges.
Once more, we wish it to be remembered that Mrs. Carleton's poem is one of five or six, respecting the merits of which there was some difficulty in deciding, and some difference of opinion; that Mrs. Carleton's poem was not selected as the ideal of a National Anthem; and that the Judges have not even endorsed it as the model of a Patriotic Song; that it was even- tually selected because one must be selected, and that the general choice fell upon it, not because of un- questionably superior merit, but because if others had even greater merits, those merits were held to be counterbalanced by irremediable defects. Finally, let those who think Mrs. Carleton's song (as one of our correspondent's does) "an insult to the com- munity," lay their heads together and write a
Now, having had our fling at the vinegar and mus- tard critics, we will let the humorous and genial enter an appearance for themselves. The following parodies have just reached us:—
THE ORIGINAL SONG OF AUSTRALIA.
(Of which the Gawler Prize Poem is evidently a
There is a land where summer skies
Are scorching out a million eyes, Blinking with itching agonies;
And burnt up field and treeless height Are glaring in the fiery light,
And all of us must dress in white!
There is a land where money goes Not half so far as we suppose —
Land of dear boots and dearer clothes! On many a plain the clust'ring vine Is spoilt — into colonial wine,
Which makes us quaff some med-i-cine!
There is a land where treasures shine, Deep in the dark deceitful mine, —
"Wheal Humbugs done at four-and-nine!" Where gold lies hid, and if you deem You'll get it out, 'twill quickly seem The idle fancy of a dream!
There is a land where hot winds sweep, And where mosquitos murder sleep, And makes us all night vigils keep!
While the sad voice and wakeful sigh Are mingling with the melody
Of humming, — hidden minstrelsy!
There is a land which might be free From care, and want, and misery, And rear her children happily;
But greedy eyes have marked her fair, And warlike rumours fill the air, Take care! Australia — Beware!
THE SONG OF AUSTRALIA. There is a land that's very hot,
And calls are made on pint and pot By lucky swells who've money got, Where gingerbeer, and lemon kale,
And Hobson's stout, and Bass's ale, Meet always with a ready sale
There is a land where money goes In stubbing thistles set in rows:
Land of the burnt-out farmers' woes. On hill and dale the want of rain
Has damped our sanguine hopes of gain, And makes the gardeners swear again —
There is a land where agents shine,
In puffing shares of a wondrous mine, Which turns out always "very fine;" Whose cash is scarce, bills overdue, Shrivogels often visit you,
And whitewash bounds the pleasing view
There is a land where hovels peep From narrow lanes, and many a heap Of broken bottles make infants weep;
Where the shrill yelp of half starved dogs,
And the deep bass of bloated frogs,
Make concert-rooms of pools and bogs —
There is a land where rising high Dust and rubbish and pebbles fly,
Warning you always to "mind your eye;" Where tenants bolt without paying the rent, And debtors pay claims with five per cent., And this is the land I've always meant
We hope our readers will confess themselves amused even, if not enlightened, by the foregoing
With reference to the immortal "93," we must still "plead for time" before determining what to do with those of them that have been or may be placed at our disposal.
Messrs. Green, Parr, & Luxmoore request
us to call attention to their sale of Horse stock, at the John Bull yards, this day, at 12 o'clock, without the
Messrs. Townsend, Botting, & Kay re- quest us to call attention to their sale of Warrnambool Potatoes, ex Adeona, this day, at the Port, at 12 o'clock.