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Douglas Brooke Wheelton Sladen

(5 February 1856 - 12 February 1947 / London / England)

To The Australian Eleven


You have bearded the lion in his den,
You have singed the original cricket
Upon his own hearth, and beaten his men
On a genuine English wicket;
And so the Australian kangaroo
Has a right good right to be proud of you.

That you’ve had your even share of the luck
We’ll allow, argumenti gratia,
But you won the great match by downright pluck,
And accordingly Australasia
Accords such a welcome to her Eleven
As for peaceful triumph never was given.

Let us pray that if ever Fate commands
Us to step into the arena,
With foils without buttons on, hearts and hands
Be forthcoming without subpoena
To uphold the name of the kangaroo
As the Australian Eleven do.

May we have a Massie as bold and quick
In our van to dismay the foeman,
A leader like Murdoch to strike or stick,
And yield, like our Murdoch, to no man;
And another Horan to lay about him
Like Tommy, however the for may “scout” him.

And no lack of “Palmers” if in extremis,
Or of Boyles to plague the Egyptians,
Or Garretts to fly to if pressed the team is;
Or of men to take all descriptions
Of balls which may come at them, quite as coolly
As Blackham, who even out-Pooley’s Pooley.

May we have a Banner-man stern and staunch
In stonewalling as little Sydney,
And a giant, his thunderbolt to launch
O’er the field, just of Bonner’s kidney;
And a dauntless Mac, to strike like a man
When our men are falling fast in the van;

And all-around men such as Giffen and Jones,
And a “demon” to reinforce us
In case we should be over-matched for once
And the foe beginning to course us,
To come as Spoff like an angel from heaven
To help us to beat the English Eleven.

To speak in plain English, we pray for this,
That if in the struggles before us
The tempest of warfare which ravages
The Old World no longer blows o’er us,
We may show the same skill and dash and pluck,
And if we do this we may laugh at luck.

Submitted: Tuesday, April 20, 2010

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