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This poem is often wrongly thought to be by Robert W Service. It is published here to the memory of Hugh Antoine D'Arcy, its rightful father.
An Evening with the Bard of the Yukon, July 18 th 2003 at 20.30pm in the Town-Hall of Lancieux, Brittany.
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Archives > Books and Poetry > Poetry > Bar-Room Ballads > The Ballad of Touch-the-Button Nell

The Ballad of Touch-the-Button Nell

Published by Webmaster on 07/26/2003 (15020 reads)
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"We must be free," the waters cried, and scurried down the slope;
"No power can hold us back," they roared, and hurried in their hope.
Into a mighty pipe they plunged, like maddened steers they ran,
And crashed out through a shard of steel - to serve the will of Man.

And there, by hydraulicking his ground beside a bedrock ditch,
With eye aflame and savage aim was Riley Dooleyvitch.
In long hip-boots and overalls, and dingy denim shirt,
Behind a giant monitor he pounded at the dirt.

A steely shaft of water shot, and smote the face of clay;
It burrowed in the frozen muck, and scooped the dirt away;
It gored the gravel from its bed, it bellowed like a bull;
It hurled the heavy rock aloft like heaps of fleecy wool.

Strength of a hundred men was there, resistess might and skill,
And only Riley Dooleyvitch to swing it at his will.
He played it up, he played it down, nigh deafened by its roar,
'Til suddenly he raised his eyes, and there stood Lew Lamore.

Pig-eyed and heavy jowled he stood and puffed a big cigar;
As cool as though he ruled the roost in some Montmartre bar.
He seemed to say, "I've got a cinch, a double diamond hitch:
I'll skin this Muscovitish oaf, this Riley Dooleyvitch.

He shouted: "Stop ze water gun; it stun me... Sacré damn!
I like to make one beezness deal; you know ze man I am.
Zat leetle girl, she loves me so - I tell you what I do:
You geeve to me zees claim... Jeecrize! I geeve zat girl to you."

"I'll see you damned," says Dooleyvitch; but e'er he checked his tongue,
(It may have been an accident) the little Giant swung;
Swift as a lightning flash it swung, until it plumply bore
And met with an obstruction in the shape of Lew lamore.

It caught him up, and spun him round, and tossed him like a ball;
It played and pawed him in the air, before it let him fall.
Then just to show what it could do, with savage rend and thud,
It ripped the entrails from his spine, and dropped him in the mud.

They gathered up the broken bones, and sadly in a sack,
They bore to town the last remains of Lew Lamore, the macque.
And would you hear the full details of how it all befell,
Ask Missis Riley Dooleyvitch (late Touch-the-Button Nell).

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