54 The comforter (Er confortatore)
Translated by Peter Nicholas Dale
Last nite on the stroke a midnite the prisoner hird
The bolt shoot back at the door uv his cell.
Wunna Pilate’s toadies gave him the wird:
"Face the music! Ya got the gong. It's ya deff nell.”
Then, between two candles a waxened tallow
Wiff two trumps ’n a coupla henchmen a the cort,
Up steps the cùmfeter in sackcloth, looken overrort,
Eyes brite wiff tears’n cheeks all drawn, poor fellah.
Oudda the blue he throws himself at ya neck
Screamen: "Cheer up ol' son, tuff it out! Stand firm!
Yu'll be flyen off ta paradise in a sec!"
"Cheer up? Get fucked! Cheer up, pig’s arse!"
The crim snaps back: "Cark it yaself, ya wirm;
If ya call this luck, yù cop it, ya swine; I'll pass.”
The sonnet is translated into "Strine", the dialect spoken in Australia
down to the 1960s.