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A. R. D. Fairburn: Roll Out the Knightcart

A. R. D. Fairburn: Roll Out the Knightcart

the knightcart. knight, cart. scoop graphic by lyndon hood
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During question time on Tuesday [10/3/09], on the subject of titular honours, Jim Anderton attempted to table - and subsequently, to sing - 'Roll Out the Knightcart', by New Zealand poet A. R. D. Fairburn (1904-57) [Text appears below - or see this PDF of Anderton's document, from Collected Works, A.R.D.Fairburn, Pegasus Press, 1966.].

The uncorrected Hansard of the exchange reads as follows:

Hon Jim Anderton: I seek leave to table a copy of the A R D Fairburn poem “On the Awarding of Knighthoods”, to be sung to the tune of “Waltzing Matilda”.

Mr SPEAKER: Leave is sought to table a poem to be sung to the tune of “Waltzing Matilda”. [Interruption] Order! I accept that members might find it amusing, but it is a point of order and therefore it should be heard in silence. Is there any objection to that poem being tabled? There is.

Hon Gerry Brownlee: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. I want to indicate that the Government would have no objection to the member who was seeking leave performing the poem for the House.

Hon Jim Anderton: I am happy to oblige, Mr Speaker, if the member wants. I must say that the poem has nine verses.

Mr SPEAKER: I think the House has more important business to do, and should be spared that course of action.

Since the work does not appear to be on the web, Scoop thought we would publish it here. To add emphasis to its contemporary relevance, we draw your attention to the last two lines.


Roll Out The Knightcart
A. R. D. Fairburn (1904-57)

A Ballad for the Times
To the tune of 'Waltzing Matilda'

Once a jolly fishmonger, sitting on a heap of guts,
Said to his wife, 'Oh my dear wife,' said he,
'We've made lots of money, now it's time to make the Honours List —
Who'll come a-hunting a knighthood with me?'

Roll out the knightcart! Roll out the knightcart!
Who'll come a-hunting a knighthood with me?
For it's high time the Government handed me a bloody gong —
Who'll come a-hunting a knighthood with me?

Up jumped an editor, glad to help at chivalry,
For he had some thoughts of a knighthood, too;
He said, 'Mr Fishmonger, what a lot of guts you've got —
I'll come a-hunting a knighthood with you!'

REFRAIN: Roll out . . . etc.

Then said the fishmonger, 'What'll take my smell away?
The pong of my guts is too strong, you'll agree —
What'll make me smell a little less like a lavatory
When you come a-hunting a knighthood with me?'

REFRAIN: Roll out . . . etc.

'Don't be afraid,' said the lofty-minded editor,
'We'll spray you from head to foot with stale printer's ink,
You won't smell of gut when I've finished with my eulogy,
With bright purple prose I shall cover up your stink.'

REFRAIN: Roll out . . . etc.

'Thanks,' said the fishmonger, taking out his hankerchief,
'Thanks from the heart of my bottom,' quavered he,
And he wiped from his eyes and nose tears of gratitude,
'Thanks for the knighthood you'll jack up for me.'

Jack up! Jack up! Jack up the knightcart!
Who'll come a-hunting a knighthood with me?
For I've always backed the Party up, it's time I got a bloody gong —
Who'll come a-hunting a knighthood with me?

(Slowly and sadly)

Jack got his knighthood, but O, what a tragedy —
The high-minded editor's ink was spilled in vain;
For in spite of the knighthood, in spite of all the purple prose,
Jack on the knightcart still smelt like a drain!

REFRAIN (with gusto)
Roll out the knightcart! Roll out the knightcart!
Who'll come a-hunting a knighthood with me?
For we'll get our bloody gongs now they've changed the bloody Government —


© Scoop Media

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