Saturday, 23 May 2009

Gunner Joe

Stanley Holloway Monologues

Gunner Joe

by Marriott Edgar (1933)

I'll tell you a seafaring story,
Of a lad who won honour and fame
With Nelson at Battle, ' Trafalgar -
Joe Moggeridge, that were his name

He were one of the crew of the Victory,
His job when a battle begun
Was to take cannon balls out of basket
And shove 'em down front end of gun.

One day him and Nelson were boxing -
The compass, like sailor lads do,
When Hardy comes up with a spyglass
And pointing, says "'Ere, take a screw!"

They looked to where Hardy were pointing
And saw lots of ships in a row.
Joe says abrupt-like but respectful,
"Horatio lad, yon's the foe."

"What say we attack 'em? says Nelson
Says Joe "Nay lad not, today."
And Hardy says, "Aye! well let's toss up."
Horatio answers, "Okay."

They tossed - it were heads for attacking
And tails for t'other way 'bout.
Joe lent them his two-headed penny,
So the answer was never in doubt.

When penny came down 'eadside uppards,
They were in for a do it were plain,
And Joe murmured, "Shiver my timbers,"
And Nelson kissed Hardy again.

And then, taking flags out of locker,
He strung out a message on high;
'T were all about England and duty -
Crew thought they was 'ung out to dry.

They got the guns ready for action,
And that gave 'em trouble enough,
They hadn't been fired all the Summer
And touch holes were bunged up with fluff.

Joe's cannon weren't half a corker,
The canon balls went three foot round,
They weren't no toy balloons neither,
They weighed close on sixty five pound.

Joe, selecting two of the largest,
Was going to load double for luck -
When a hot shot came through the porthole
And a gunpowder barrell got struck.

By gum! there weren't half an explosion,
The gun crew was filled with alarm
As out of the porthole went Joseph
With a canon ball under each arm.

At that moment up came the 'Boat-swine',
He looked round and asked crew, "Where's Joe?"
Gunner relied, " He's taken two canon balls with him
And gone for a breather outside."

"Do you think he'll be long?, said the 'Boat-swine'.
The gunner replied "If as how
'E comes back as quick as 'e left us,
'E should be here anytime now."

And all this time Joe, treading water,
Was trying his hardest to float,
'E shouted through turmoil of battle -
"Tell someone to lowere a boat."

'E'd come to the top for assistance,
Then down to the bottom 'ed go;
This up and down kind of existence
Made everyone laugh, except Joe.

At last he could stand it no longer,
And next time he came to the top
'E said, "If you don't come and save me
I'll let these here canon balls drop."

It were Nelson at finish who saved him
And he said Joe deserved a V.C.
But seeing he hadn't one handy
'E gave Joe an egg for his tea.

And after the battle was over,
And vessel was safely in dock,
The sailors all saved up their coupons
And bought Joe a nice marble clock.

1 comment:

  1. Absolutely delightful!!!! Thank you for sharing this!!!!!! Poor Joe...But this is simply hilarious!!!! Now I know where you get your inspiration!!!! Reading all these fine comedic poets!!!! Bravo! Encore! "More please," said Oliver! Cheers! Janine


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