Bags of Meat

‘Here's a fine bag of meat,’
Says the master-auctioneer,
As the timid, quivering steer,
Starting a couple of feet
At the prod of a drover's stick,
And trotting lightly and quick,
A ticket stuck on his rump,
Enters with a bewildered jump.

‘Where he's lived lately, friends,
I'd live till lifetime ends:
They've a whole life everyday
Down there in the Vale, have they!
He'd be worth the money to kill
And give away Christmas for good-will.’

‘Now here's a heifer—worth more
Than bid, were she bone-poor;
Yet she's round as a barrel of beer;’
‘She's a plum,’ said the second auctioneer.

‘Now this young bull—for thirty pound?
Worth that to manure your ground!’
‘Or to stand,’ chimed the second one,
‘And have his picter done!’
The beast was rapped on the horns and snout
To make him turn about.
‘Well,’ cried a buyer, ‘another crown—
Since I've dragged here from Taunton Town!’

‘That calf, she sucked three cows,
Which is not matched for bouse
In the nurseries of high life
By the first-born of a nobleman's wife!’
The stick falls, meaning, ‘A true tale's told,’
On the buttock of the creature sold,
And the buyer leans over and snips
His mark on one of the animal's hips.

Each beast, when driven in,
Looks round at the ring of bidders there
With a much-amazed reproachful stare,
As at unnatural kin,
For bringing him to a sinister scene
So strange, unhomelike, hungry, mean;
His fate the while suspended between
A butcher, to kill out of hand,
And a farmer, to keep on the land;
One can fancy a tear runs down his face
When the butcher wins, and he's driven from the place.
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