Thursday, April 7, 2011

The Med Students' Song

    On a late rail journey sometime in the 1990s, I came across some medical students from the University of Queensland, and was disappointed to discover that they had never heard of The Med Students' Song. How quickly local tradition dies! I myself had never studied medicine, but I had been introduced to the song by a teacher while in high school in the 1960s, and a few years later, at university, I managed to copy the full version from Whacko, a racey student magazine published every year during Commemoration Week.
    So, lest the tradition die completely, here it is, compliments of that prolific balladeer and joke-writer, Anonymous. From the reference to "fifty guineas", you will gather that it dates to before decimalisation in 1966. In the 1950s, this would have been equivalent to three weeks' wages for a labourer.

    The Queensland Medical Students' Song
            to the tune of Clementine

          In a back street, you can see feet,
              Skin and bones and in-tes-tines,
          Being tangled, cut and mangled,
              By the blokes in Medicine.
          Women students are all prudence,
              When they're sewing up the corpse,
          But the male sex leave it convex,
               Or concave, or full of warps.

          We're the fellers, so they tell us,
              Who can cure all disease -
           Meningitis or Bronchitis,
               Even blottos with D.T.s.

          What the charge, sir? Oh, not large, sir.
              Fifty guineas will be fine,
           For to sell them what you tell them
              Is the Art of Medicine.

          When we're through then, what we'll do when
               Any patients pale or pine:
          Toss the penny, give them any
               Sort of patent Medicine.

          We'll prescribe it; they'll imbibe it,
              Take it when they go to bed'
          Drink their fill and make their will, and
              In the morning they'll be dead.