Tuesday, May 22, 2007

The Millionaire

Being the Punchestown edition of our magazine, it is better that levity reign rather than a planned article on the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, winners and losers.
Originally published in the Chronicle of an Historic Parish (Ballymore Eustace) in 1953, this poem was recited by Mr. Peter Keeley of Punchestown to Fr. Browne P.P., whose amusing introductory comments are here included in edited form: “Sometime in 1914 a news item in the Leinster Leader stated that a Mr. Moore, of Tully, Co. Kildare, had inherited a fortune of £250,000 from his uncle, John Moore, who owned goldfields in Kalgoorlie, Australia. A postscript mentioned that relatives of the deceased lived in Ballymore Eustace and would be contacted shortly.
“In due time there arrived a tall, swarthy typical colonial with broad brimmed hat, gold-filled teeth and a nasal drawl. He was dubbed ‘The Millionaire’ and the town was thrown open to him as citizens vied for his attention. Family trees were traced from the parish registry and solicitors hit pay-dirt drawing up titles for the mythical millions.
“The Millionaire, whose favourite tipple was Champagne laced with brandy was munificent, assuring favourable ladies of future fortunes and all debts due by him were to be entered against the day of final reckoning. One evening towards nightfall, he left to visit a nearby friend. He was never seen again.”

There came to Ballymore last week a seedy sort of swell
But who was he or whence he came I’m sure there’s none can tell.
The publicans around the town free drinks with him did share
And all agreed of one accord, he was a Millionaire.

The best accommodation the village could provide
Was quickly at his service, too, down by the Liffey side;
In cosy rooms without a draught, within an easy chair,
With slippers on the fender, sat our new—found Millionaire.

The Butcher and the Baker his highness sought to please
With mutton chops and sirloin steak, with Bovril and with cheese,
With Hovis bread and biscuits, choice wines of vintage rare,
And all to tempt the palate of our splendid Millionaire.

Our Jarveys, too, a knowing lot as to be found you bet,
Came tipping round with whips erect, his patronage to get;
His presence so impressed them that they never asked their fare,
For they thought it quite an honour to drive the Millionaire.

To describe his boundless riches is more than I can do;
He had oil wells in Kansas and rubber in Peru,
Diamond mines in Kimberley and gems of beauty rare,
And gold fields in Klondyke, brought wealth to our Millionaire.

To guard against mishap or death, he made his will in Naas,
And left some splendid fortunes to young ladies round the place.
Two thousand and his motor car he left one maiden fair,
But that was just a trifle to a multi-Millionaire.

Suspicion travels very fast when once it gets abroad,
And Mosey Brien declared at once, this fellow was a fraud.
Besides we never saw his cash for he had none to spare:
He never meant to pay his debts, the skulking Millionaire.

One balmy night when stars were bright and the moon shone in the sky
He took French-leave of all his friends and never said goodbye.
And if you ask him where he’s gone they’ll only blush and stare
And won’t admit they were codded by a swindling Millionaire.
Michael Ward.

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