Part III: Credat Judaeus Apella

DEAR Bell,—I enclose what you ask in a letter,

A short rhyme at random, no more and no less,

And you may insert it, for want of a better

Or leave it, it doesn’t much matter, I guess ;

And as for a tip, why, there isn’t much in it,

I may hit the right nail, but first, I declare,

I haven’t a notion what’s going to win it

(The Champion, I mean), and what’s more, I don’t care.

Imprimis, there’s Cowra—few nags can go quicker

Than she can—and Smith takes his oath she can fly ;

While Brown, Jones, and Robinson swear she’s a sticker,

But ‘credat Judaeus Apella,‘ say I.


There’s old Volunteer, I’d be sorry to sneer

At his chance ; he’ll be there, if he goes at the rate

He went at last year, when a customer queer,

Johnny Higgerson, fancied him lock’d in the straight.

I’ve heard that the old horse has never been fitter,

I’ve heard all performances past he’ll outvie ;

He may gallop a docker, and finish a splitter,

But ‘credat Judaeus Apella,‘ say I.


I know what they say, sir, ‘The Hook’ he can stay, sir,

And stick to his work like a sleuth-hound or beagle ;

He stays ‘with a hook,’ and he sticks in the clay, sir,

I’d rather, for choice, pop my money on Seagull ;

I’m told that the Sydney division will rue, sir,

Their rashness in front of the stand when they spy,

With a clear lead, the white jacket spotted with blue, sir,

But ‘credat Judaeus Apella,‘ say I.


There’s The Barb—you may talk of your flyers and stayers,

All bosh—when he strips you can see his eye range

Round his rivals, with much the same look as Tom Sayers

Once wore when he faced the big novice, Bill Bainge.

Like Stow, at our hustings, confronting the hisses

Of roughs, with his queer Mephistopheles’ smile ;

Like Baker, or Baker’s more wonderful Mrs.,

The terror of blacks at the source of the Nile ;

Like Triton ‘mid minnows ; like hawk among chickens ;

Like—anything better than everything else ;

He stands at the post. Now they’re off ! the plot thickens !

Quoth Stanley to Davis, ‘How is your pulse ?’

He skims o’er the smooth turf, he scuds through the mire,

He waits with them, passes them, bids them good-bye !

Two miles and three-quarters, cries Filgate, ‘He’ll tire.’

But ‘credat Judaeus Apella,‘ say I.


Lest my tale should come true, let me give you fair warning,

You may ‘shout’ some cheroots, if you like, no champagne

For this child—’Oh ! think of my head in the morning,’

Old chap, you don’t get me on that lay again.

The last time those games I look’d likely to try on,

Says Bradshawe, ‘You’ll feel very sheepish and shy

When you are haul’d up and caution’d by D—g—y and L—n,’

But ‘credat Judaeus Apella,‘ say I.


This writing bad verses is very fatiguing,

The brain and the liver against it combine,

And nerves with digestion in concert are leaguing,

To punish excess in the pen and ink line ;

Already I feel just as if I’d been rowing

Hard all—on a supper of onions and tripe

(A thing I abhor), but my steam I’ve done blowing,

I am, my dear Bell, yours truly, ‘The Pipe’.


P.S.—Tell J. P., if he fancies a good ‘un,

That old chestnut pony of mine is for sale.


N.B.—His fore legs are uncommonly wooden,

I fancy the near one’s beginning to fail,

And why shouldn’t I do as W—n does oft,

And swear that a cripple is sound—on the Bible—

Hold hard ! though the man I allude to is soft,

He’s game to go in for an action of libel.


Published in ‘Sea Spray and Smoke Drift’ (1867).