― 17 ―

Part I.

How M'Dougall Topped the Score and Other Verses and Sketches

  ― 19 ―

How M'Dougal Topped the Score.

A peaceful spot is Piper's Flat. The folk that live around,
They keep themselves by keeping sheep and turning up the ground.
But the climate is erratic, and the consequences are
The struggle with the elements is everlasting war.
We plough, and sow, and harrow—then sit down and pray for rain;
And then we all get flooded out and have to start again.
But the folk are now rejoicing as they ne'er rejoiced before,
For we've played Molongo cricket, and M'Dougal topped the score!

Molongo had a head on it, and challenged us to play
A single-innings match for lunch—the losing team to pay.
We were not great guns at cricket, but we couldn't well say No,
So we all began to practise, and we let the reaping go.
We scoured the Flat for ten miles round to muster up our men,
But when the list was totalled we could only number ten.
Then up spoke big Tim Brady, he was always slow to speak,
And he said—“What price M'Dougal, who lives down at Cooper's Creek?”

So we sent for old M'Dougal, and he stated in reply
That "he'd never played at cricket, but he'd half a mind to try.
He couldn't come to practice—he was getting in his hay,
But he guessed he'd show the beggars from Molongo how to play."
Now, M'Dougal was a Scotchman, and a canny one at that,
So he started in to practise with a paling for a bat.
He got Mrs. Mac. to bowl him, but she couldn't run at all,
So he trained his sheep dog, Pincher, how to scout and fetch the ball.

  ― 21 ―
Now, Pincher was no puppy; he was old, and worn, and grey;
But he understood M'Dougal, and—accustomed to obey —
When M'Dougal cried out “Fetch it!” he would fetch it in a trice;
But until the word was “Drop it!” he would grip it like a vice.
And each succeeding night they played until the light grew dim;
Sometimes M'Dougal struck the ball—sometimes the ball struck him!
Each time he struck, the ball would plough a furrow in the ground,
And when he missed, the impetus would turn him three times round.

The fatal day at length arrived—the day that was to see
Molongo bite the dust, or Piper's Flat knocked up a tree!
Molongo's captain won the toss, and sent his men to bat,
And they gave some leather-hunting to the men of Piper's Flat.
When the ball sped where M'Dougal stood, firm planted in his track,

  ― 22 ―
He shut his eyes, and turned him round, and stopped it—with his back!
The highest score was twenty-two, the total sixty-six,
When Brady sent a yorker down that scattered Johnson's sticks.

Then Piper's Flat went in to bat, for glory and renown,
But, like the grass before the scythe, our wickets tumbled down.
“Nine wickets down for seventeen, with fifty more to win!”
Our captain heaved a heavy sigh—and sent M'Dougal in.
“Ten pounds to one you lose it!” cried a barracker from town;
But M'Dougal said “I'll tak' it, mon!” and planked the money down.
Then he girded up his moleskins in a self-reliant style,
Threw off his hat and boots, and faced the bowler with a smile.

He held the bat the wrong side out, and Johnson with a grin,
Stepped lightly to the bowling crease, and sent a “wobbler” in;

  ― 25 ―
M'Dougal spooned it softly back, and Johnson waited there,
But M'Dougal, cryin. “Fetch it!” started running like a hare.
Molongo shouted “Victory! He's out as sure as eggs.”
When Pincher started through the crowd, and ran through Johnson's legs.
He seized the ball like lightning; then he ran behind a log,
And M'Dougal kept on running, while Molongo chased the dog.

They chased him up, they chased him down, they chased him round, and then
He darted through a slip-rail as the scorer shouted “Ten!”
M'Dougal puffed; Molongo swore; excitement was intense;
As the scorer marked down"Twenty," Pincher cleared a barbed-wire fence.
“Let us head him!” shrieked Molongo. “Brain the mongrel with a bat!”
“Run it out! Good old M'Dougal!” yelled the men of Piper's Flat.
And M'Dougal kept on jogging, and then Pincher doubled back,
And the scorer counted “Forty” as they raced across the track.

  ― 26 ―
M'Dougal's legs were going fast, Molongo's breath was gone—
But still Molongo chased the dog—M'Dougal struggled on.
When the scorer shouted “Fifty!” then they knew the chase could cease;
And M'Dougal gasped out “Drop it!” as he dropped within his crease.
Then Pincher dropped the ball, and, as instinctively he knew
Discretion was the wiser plan, he disappeared from view.
And as Molongo's beaten men exhausted lay around.
We raised M'Dougal shoulder-high, and bore him from the ground.

We bore him to M'Ginniss's, where lunch was ready laid,
And filled him up with whisky-punch, for which Molongo paid.
We drank his health in bumpers, and we cheered him three times three,
And when Molongo got its breath, Molongo joined the spree.
And the critics say they never saw a cricket match like that,

  ― 27 ―
When M'Dougal broke the record in the game at Piper's Flat.
And the folk are jubilating as they never did before;
For we played Molongo cricket—and M'Dougal topped the score!

  ― 28 ―

The Prerogative of Piper's Flat

note One evening, just at sundown, I was sitting on a rail,
When up rode big Tim Brady, who had been to fetch the mail.
Taking out a daily newspaper, he handed it to me,
And, pointing to a paragraph, “Just look at this,” says he,
“Here's a cove called Victor Trumper, an Australian by birth,
Has been moppin' up the cricket records all around the earth,
Such centuries and aggregates were never known before,
And New South Wales is 'dotty' because Trumper's topped the score.

  ― 29 ―
I says, when I had read it, “Yes, I think I've heard his name,
And, accordin' to the cablegrams, he plays a decent game.
In breaking English records, he's been makin' fame for us,
And I think, in spite of Kipling, that a young man might do wuss;
But before he breaks all records, he has got to wait a bit,
For he hasn't broke M'Dougall's, who scored fifty in a hit.
I ain't the least bit jealous - I don't speak because of that,
But we'll let no bloomin' Trumpers take the cake from Piper's Flat.

“When M'Dougall piled his record up, and knocked Molonglo dead,
He didn't play them with his bat, he played them with his head.
If Trumper comes to Piper's Flat he'll find we're not asleep,
For what we had the head to win we'll have the head to keep.
He'll meet with every kindness, he shall have a horse to ride,
But, if he rides the chestnut mare, he'll have to get inside.

  ― 30 ―
She threw Flash Mat, the horse-breaker, and ruined his profile;
And the man will make a record that can ride her half a mile.

“We'll fill him up with ginger wine, and cream, and nice fresh cheese,
And then, if he is fit to go, we'll show him Bowker's bees;
They're awfully fond of strangers, and if Trumper plays at all
After he's done inspecting them, he'll never see the ball.
He'll find the wicket bumpy, and the bowling rather wild,
And, then, we've still got Pincher left, and Pincher ain't no child.
He understands M'Dougall. If his master tells him so
He'll get a grip on Trumper's pants, and never let 'em go.

“When every man is equal, why - then no man will be best,
And every score that's made will be same as all the rest.
In the socialistic language there is no such word as strife,

  ― 31 ―
And the bloke that breaks a record will be put in gaol for life.
Then Trumper's and M'Dougall's fame will not be fame at all,
And perhaps we'll drop our record, just as Pincher dropped the ball.
But until then our record shall remain at Piper's Flat,
We've only one, but you may bet your boots we'll stick to that.

“If Trumper is contented with the records he has got,
And don't come up to Piper's Flat to try to scoop the lot,
Then Brady and M'Dougall, and the men of Piper's Flat
Will wish good luck to Trumper, and they won't forget the hat.
They mean to keep their record, but they all acknowledge worth,
And hail him as the most accomplished cricketer on earth.
Their cheers will make the gum trees shake, they'll pledge him in a bumper.
While breath holds out they'll roar and shout, 'Long life to Victor Trumper.’”

  ― 32 ―

The Song of the Sundowner

I'm the monarch of valley, and hill, and plain,
And the king of this golden land.
A continent broad is my vast domain,
And its people at my command.
My tribute I levy on high and low,
And I chuckle at Fortune's frown;
No matter how far in the day I go,
I'm at home when the sun goes down.

In the drought-stricken plains of the lone Paroo,
When the rainless earth is bare,
I take toll from the shepherd and jackeroo,
And I sample their humble fare.
Not a fig care I though the stock may die,
And the sun-cracked plains be brown;
I can make for the east, where the grass is high,
I'm at home when the sun goes down.

  ― 33 ―
When river and creek their banks o'er leap,
And the flood rolls raging by;
When the settlers are mourning their crops and sheep,
I can watch them without a sigh.
What matter to me if their fences go,
If their horses and cattle drown?
I can find a good meal when the sun is low,
And a home when the sun goes down.

So I wander away at my own sweet will,
Be it northerly, south or west;
When I'm hungry my paunch I can always fill,
When I'm tired I can always rest.
I care not what others may do or think,
I'm a monarch without a crown;
I can always be sure of my food and drink,
And a home when the sun goes down.

  ― 34 ―

A Bush-Bred Youngster

There's a lonely gorge in the mountains,
Where the lyre-bird builds its nest;
Where the mid-day sun scarce lingers,
And the shadows love to rest;
Where, amid the rocks and boulders,
The struggling waters leap,
And there, 'mid the ferns and shadows,
A hero is laid to sleep.

He sought not for death or glory,
'Mid the battle's pomp and din,
Where the grave awaits the vanquished,
And the laurel those who win.
It was duty alone that called him,
Not the sound of the drum or fife,
But he answered the call of duty,
And he gave - all he had - his life.

  ― 35 ―
Little Bess was the widow's darling,
Her solace and only joy,
Since Heaven had taken her other loves,
Her husband and bright-eyed boy.
Little Bess was a fair-haired lassie
Of five, and she used to play,
And sing, as she weaved her wild flowers
Into posies bright and gay.

Young Jim was a bush-bred youngster,
Just a great, strong, awkward lad,
Very much like other mortals
Neither very good nor bad.
But he loved the fair-haired Bessie,
And he cleared the gate at a bound
When the widow called that her darling
Had strayed, and could not be found.

Jim vow'd that he'd seek and find her,
As, with feverish eagerness,
He packed in a well-worn satchel
Some food and some fruit for Bess.
Then he followed the path by the willows,
And he searched for her tracks, until
The shadows were long in the valleys
And the sun sank behind the hill.

  ― 36 ―
But just as the day was waning,
And the vanishing light grew less,
Jim found a small posy of wild flowers,
Which he knew had been plucked by Bess.
Then he eagerly searched the gully,
Whose every path he knew,
And he spied near a stunted fern-tree,
The print of a tiny shoe.

And the night crept down the valley
With its solitude and its gloom,
And the breeze that swayed the tree-tops
Seemed like murmurings from a tomb.
In vain did Jim call and “Cooey”,
And shout through the gathering night,
For the rocks replied to his calling,
Like the voice of a mocking sprite.

Jim was only a bush-bred youngster,
Who had never been taught to pray,
Yet, never was prayer more earnest
Than Jim's, for the light of day.
And never more pure thanksgiving
Ascended the Throne of Grace,
Than his, when he saw the first grey dawn
Illumine the lonesome place.

  ― 37 ―
Then step by step he tracked her,
Through many a rocky dell,
Through bush, and fern he traced her,
By the signs that he knew so well.
Sometimes would the footprints vanish
And the signs wax faint and dim,
But a broken twig, or a grass blade bent,
Was sufficient guide for him.

He was footsore and tired and weary,
He was hungry and dinnerless,
For the food that he bore in the satchel
He had sacredly kept for Bess.
His fingers were scratched and bleeding,
But he knew he was on her track,
And he cared not for wounds nor hunger,
If he carried his darling back.

There's a spot in the Corang Mountains,
Where the cliff hangs high and steep,
And frowns o'er a rocky basin
Whose waters are cold and deep,
And Jim as he scanned the valley,
Espied near a moss-grown rock,
The glint of a white sun-bonnet,
And the gleam of a scarlet frock.

  ― 38 ―
Then he called again to his darling,
And his eyes grew moist and dim,
When, instead of the mocking echoes,
Her baby voice called “Jim!”
Then from rock to rock he bounded
With the speed of a mountain deer,
What mattered the cuts and scratches
Now dear little Bess was near?

She rose from her sweet child slumbers,
And clapped her small hands with glee,
And she cried “I've been lost so long, Jim,
But I knew you would come for me.
I was tired, and I fell asleep, Jim,
And while sleeping I dreamt of you,
And I thought I could hear you ‘Cooey’,
Then I woke, and my dream was true!”

But her wee voice froze with horror,
And the smile died on her face,
For a rock that Jim had leapt on,
Was tumbling from its place.
She saw him clutching madly
At a fern. She saw him cling
To stones and grass and creepers,
And to every fragile thing.

  ― 39 ―
She heard his cry of anguish,
Then - rocks and stones and grass,
Came crashing down the hill-side,
In one commingling mass.
She saw him fall beside her,
She heard a crushing sound,
And the stone had rolled across his knees,
And pinned him to the ground.

Three long and weary days and nights
Jim lay in helplessness.
Though faint for food he would not eat,
But gave it all to Bess.
He was only a rough, bush youngster,
And hunger is hard to bear,
But Jim preferred to starve outright
Than eat of her scanty fare.

And at length, when the searchers found them,
Little Bessie sat close to him,
And raising her tiny finger,
She said, “Hush! you'll awaken Jim!”
But Jim was beyond awakening,
And Jim's was the greater gain,
For, as love had subdued his hunger,
So death had now vanquished pain.

  ― 40 ―
There are cenotaphs, grand and stately,
In many a sacred fane,
Recording the deeds of heroes,
In the turmoil of battle slain.
To kill men may be heroic,
But, as noble and good and brave,
Is the hero who freely gives his life,
Another's life to save.

Jim was only a bush-bred youngster,
But his courage was strong and real;
His head was not crammed with knowledge,
But his heart was as true as steel.
And when God shall command his heroes
To appear and be judged by Him,
We shall find engrossed on the Sacred Scroll
The name of the bush-bred Jim.

  ― 41 ―

The Degeneration of Jim

Once he was a decent chap,
We called ’im “Lanky Jim,”
There wasn’t many coves abart
Was liked as well as ’im.
But now he’s gone and altered,
And it makes us fit to weep;
’E never looks at no one now
Since ’e pulled off the sweep.

When we heard ’e’d drawed that ’oss
All the blokes was glad,
Now the way ’e’s wastin’ of it
Makes us all feel mad.
Sixty hundred golden quids
Coming in a heap!
We thought we’d all be bloomin’ toffs
When Jimmy won the sweep.

  ― 42 ―
Once ’e drove a cart and called
For bottles at the pubs.
Drives a bran’-new sulky now,
With nickel-plated ’ubs.
Never comes to see his pals
Or ask ’em if they’re dry;
If ’e sees a bottle man
’E passes of ’im by.

He’s moved away from Wexford-street,
He’s livin’ out of town;
Won’t let no one call ’im “Jim,”
Says ’e’s “Mister Brown.”
I arst ’im for a fiver,
But the bounder ’e said “No,”
And spoke abart a ’arf-a-quid
’E lent me years ago.

Takes a girl a-drivin’ out
To one place and another;
When ’e ain’t a-drivin’ ’er
E’s drivin’ of ’is mother.
Says he’s goin’ to see ’is mother
Made orlright for life;
Shouldn’t wonder if the beggar
Went and took a wife.

  ― 45 ―
Puts ’is money in the bank!
Buys ’is mother blouses!
Talks abart investin’ in
Some terrises of ’ouses!
For all the good ’e’s done to us
’E might ’ave been a sheep;
We’ve lost our old respect for Jim
Since ’e pulled off the sweep.

  ― 46 ―

The Voice of the Willows


Hiding away from the sunlight,
Close by a rippling stream,
Hallowed by childish fancies
And many a waking dream;
There is my royal palace,
Within it my regal throne,
The former, a grave of willows,
The latter, a mossy stone.
And legends of hope did the willows tell
To my childish ears, in that rustic dell.

Here, in my sunny childhood,
I dreamed in my mystic home,
Weaving the fairy garlands
To wear in the years to come.
Friendship, and love, and honour,
They all were to be my own;
The future was strewn with roses,
As I dreamed on my mossy stone.

  ― 47 ―
And still through the leaves, as they fluttered or fell,
The breezes sang, in the willow dell.

Visions of hope are departed,
Fairy-like dreams have fled.
The thorns still remain, but the roses,
Like friendship and love, are dead.
The breezes sigh through the willows,
I ponder and dream alone
Of the life beyond the river,
As I sit on my mossy stone.
And the breezes sound like a funeral knell,
As they sigh and sob, through the willow dell.

  ― 48 ―

Simple Sam

Sam Fallow was a farming man
Of substance and sobriety,
Who lived near Coonabarabran
In comfort and propriety.

For twenty years from morn till night
He'd worked with willing cheeriness;
For twenty years from dark till light
He'd rested from his weariness.

His intellect was calm and free
From falsehood or duplicity;
And what his neighbours told him he
Believed with sweet simplicity.

But though his mental calibre
Was babylike and innocent,
His physical proportions were
Both mighty and magnificent.

  ― 49 ―
His mind was like the virgin soil,
Of great potentiality;
His thews and sinews, tough with toil,
The cultured actuality.

And Sam came down to Sydney town,
To spend his Christmas holiday;
And there he met with William Brown,
And with him spent a jolly day.

Now, William Brown was bad and bold,
While Sam was all simplicity,
And all the tales that William told
Sam swallowed with felicity.

When introduced to William's friend,
And William's friend predicted him
Long life and money without end,
Sam never contradicted him.

When they performed some little trick,
And challenged Sam to do it, he
At once confessed his head was thick
And void of ingenuity.

Then William Brown grew sad and sighed,
And murmured quite dejectedly: -
"My rich old Uncle James has died
In Fiji, unexpectedly.”

  ― 50 ―
As beat of drums and trumpet tones
Arouse a camp from sleepiness,
So these few words through Samuel's bones
Produced a kind of creepiness.

Some message from the distant past
At Sam's dull brain seemed hammering,
He thought a moment, then at last
He recognised its clamouring.

"Why now I know,” at length he cried -
"And I was near deluded too -
The chap, when poor old grand-dad died,
His latest words alluded to.

"Before he breathed his last, says he,
'Remember, though I'm leaving you,
That coves with uncles in Fiji
Are frauds who are deceiving you.

" 'When Noah on his ancient deck
Met such a one who sounded him,
He caught the beggar by the neck
And chucked him out and drownded him.

" 'I'm peggin' out without a doubt,
But if you meet 'em score with 'em;
Just turn the wasters inside out,
And wipe the bloomin' floor with 'em.’

  ― 51 ―
"And then poor grand-dad died; and so
His dying words affected me,
I've got to do, before I go,
As poor grand-dad directed me.”

Sam caught a spieler in each hand,
In vain was all their battling;
For miles around, I understand,
Folks heard their bones a-rattling.

He swung those spielers round and round,
Was deaf to all their squealing, too;
And Sam not only swept the ground,
He wiped the walls and ceiling too.

And when he dropped them on the floor,
Mere remnants of humanity,
The room was filled with hair and gore,
With garments and profanity.

Now, when the festive times come round,
The time for Jays and Jugginses,
Two battered spielers still are found
In search of Mugs and Mugginses.

But if perchance they meet a man
Of simple amiability,
And he says, “Coonabarabran,”
They vanish with agility.

  ― 52 ―

Schneider Strauss

I vas all der country hunting for a man I vants to meet,
I vas bursting me to schlog him on der cop.
If mine hands I vonce can on him lay, I'll hit him mit mine feet
'Till he'll neffer know vhich side of him vas top.
He vas “Dandy Pat from Ballarat,” mit mighty gifts of gab,
Und he got me to insure me for mine house,
Put, py shinks, if I comes down on him, I'll schlog him mit a schlab
Till he von't some more tricks play mit Schneider Strauss.

I vas built mine house mit packing cases, roofed him in mit tin,
Mit a gutter for der vater, und a shpout;
Und suppose some leetle cracks der vas, vat let der vind come in,

  ― 53 ―
Dere vas lots of pigger vons to let it out.
So efery night I drunk mine pipe und shmoked mine lager peer,
Und I felt shoost most ash happy ash a mouse;
Till von efening apout two o'clock, a voice falls on mine ear,
Und it said, “Vas you dat man called Schneider Strauss?”

Und der voice vas dat insurance man. He coomed und sat him down
On a candle box, und talked like eferytings;
Py der vay der vords fell out of him, you'd bet a half-a-crown
Dat his tongue vas on a see-saw vorked mit shprings.
Und he talked apout insurances, und told me I could get
Lots of money if a fire purnt down mine house,
So I paid him down two pounds ker-splash, und says to him, “You bet,
Dat you von't no plowflies catch on Schneider Strauss.

Dat insurance man he gafe me, vat you call, “a polisee,”
Und I nearly laughed mine sides out mit der yoke.

  ― 54 ―
In apout a veek, or sefen days - mine house - Oh, vhere vas he?
He vas gone; und dere vas notings left but smoke.
So der Gompany I vent to see, to get mine leetle bill,
Und I promised me a yolly big carouse;
But, like forty tousand tons of boulders falling down a hill,
Did der troubles tumble down on Schneider Strauss.

Vhen der Gompany I seen he asked me vhat I vas apout?
Und I told him I vas coomed to get some tin.
Put, he called a pig policeman und shouted, “Roon him out.”
Und he rooned me out, und den he rooned me in,
Dey put me on a canvas suit, dey cut me off mine hair,
In some vater cold like ice, dey made me souse;
Und der shtones I vas a preaking oop for six months, you can schvear
Dey vas not so bad proke oop ash Schneider Strauss.

  ― 55 ―
Und mine house vas gone to plazes, und mine money vas gone too;
Dat insurance man - vhere he vas - who can tell?
Und mine polisee - mine lots of tin - vas gone clean oop der flue.
It vas turned to shmoke, und dat vas gone ash vell.
Put, I vant dat nice insurance man, to schlog him on der cop,
If I drop on him he'll vish he vas a mouse,
For I'll turn his outsides inside, till I bet I'll make him shtop
Playing paddymelon tricks mit Schneider Strauss.

  ― 56 ―

Think of Me


Think of me, when 'mid joy and gladness
Thy bark glides smoothly down life's tranquil stream,
When thy life, free from care or sadness,
Is calm and peaceful as a summer dream.

Think of me, though thy path be dreary,
Though care and sorrow may thy life enshroud;
When crushed hopes make the heart grow weary
And life seems darkened by a wintry cloud.

Think of me, let thy heart grow kinder
In summer's sunshine or in winter's gloom,
Think of me, when thy sole reminder
Is but the shadow of my silent tomb.

  ― 57 ―

The Penitent Swagman

One summer day, my faithful steed and I,
Jogged wearily along a road out west;
And, as the day was hot and we were dry,
I sought refreshment at the “Digger's Rest.”
The house was with its title quite in keeping,
Behind the bar two pigs were soundly sleeping.

I took my lunch, some eggs just newly laid,
Corned beef and damper and a cup of tea,
Then, while my horse was feeding in the shade,
I sat and smoked beneath a myall tree.
When, near at hand I heard a dismal droning,
Like some afflicted mortal, sadly groaning.

Seeking the cause, I spied an aged man,
Whose gaping boots revealed his socks of rag.
He sat beside a battered billy-can,
And leaned upon a weather-beaten swag.

  ― 58 ―
"Tell me,” said I, “what mean these sounds of sadness;
Are you in pain, or are they signs of madness?”

He touched his hat, and 'twixt his toothless jaws
He thrust the remnants of a battered pipe.
After a few preliminary draws,
He gave his hoary head a careful wipe.
Then, when he found his pipe was fairly lighted,
The following tale he dolefully recited.

"'Tis the pangs of remorse,” said he,
"That make me groan so sadly,
The source of my woes is the feeling that flows
From a conscience stricken badly.

"From the time that I learned to walk,
I was always a wicked sinner,
I've robbed my old mother, and cheated my brother,
And stolen a swagman's dinner.

"And when I became a man,
I followed my old career,
I've gone through a digger, I've murdered a nigger,
And I've stuck up an auctioneer.

  ― 59 ―
"And I wasn't so far away
When old Robinson's ricks caught fire.
And while he was tearing, and cursing and swearing,
I snavelled his horse, 'The Squire.’

"In the palmy days of old,
I used to do well at prigging;
And I frequently went through a digger's tent,
(It was easier work than digging).

"Ah! many's the ounce of gold
I have held in this boney fist;
But the finest lot, and the biggest pot,
Was the blooming lot I missed.

"Jim Jaggers was always known
As an unlucky sort of coon,
And I peeped in his tent, as past it I went,
One Saturday afternoon.

"And I saw Jim was fast asleep,
So I let him sleep away,
For I thought that in there, there was nothing to spare;
So I didn't go in that day.

  ― 60 ―
"But next day at the 'Miner's Arms,’
I heard the story told,
That Jimmy was drunk, and hid under his bunk,
Were two hundred ounces of gold.

"So I crept to the old camp fire,
When I found that the yarn was true,
And I cussed at the flames, and I called myself names,
And I kicked myself black and blue.

"No, it isn't the things I've done
That make me groan and sigh,
What troubles me most is the scoop that I lost,
And the chance that I let slip by.

"So I never forgives myself,
And I'm permanently dejected,
And I shivers and starts when my conscience smarts
For the chance that I neglected.

  ― 61 ―

O'Mulligan's Wallaby Drive

Mr. Peter O'Mulligan often had thought
That he hadn't been nearly so good as he ought,
In dispensing good cheer to his neighbours and friends,
So he hit on a scheme that would make them amends.
He said, “Molly, me darlin', we'll go the whole hog,
You must lay in a stock of provisions and grog.
We'll invite all the neighbours, and try to contrive
Just to give them an iligant wallaby drive.

He invited the Murphy's, both Johnny and Mat,
And old Sandy McDougall from Tumble Down Flat;
There was Barney O'Grady, and Jones from the Mill,
And old Paddy the stockman, from Cabbage Tree Hill.

  ― 62 ―
And they came with their wives, and their sweethearts, and some
Came alone, and a few were unable to come.
But it did Molly's heart good to see them arrive
To Peter O'Mulligan's wallaby drive.

There was game in abundance, and plenty of sport,
And the old gum trees shook with the rattling report
Of old Paddy's big musket, as furious and fast,
He blazed, with his eyes shut, at all that went past.
At the end of the day, when they counted the score,
Paddy hadn't shot one, while McDougall had four.
Johnny Murphy was top, for he shot twenty-five
At Peter O'Mulligan's wallaby drive.

When the sun had gone down, and the shooting was done,
There was dancing and feasting and flirting and fun.
Johnny Murphy got drunk, while his young brother Mat

  ― 65 ―
Courted Kitty McDougall, from Tumble Down Flat.
While Peter himself, quite unknown to his lady,
Sat on the verandah with Biddy O'Grady.
They danced till poor Jones was more dead than alive
At Peter O'Mulligan's wallaby drive.

O'Grady sought Biddy the moment he missed her,
And came on the pair as O'Mulligan kissed her.
Then their joy was diluted; O'Grady showed fight,
While O'Mulligan's missus made Biddy look white.
In a moment the house was like Donnybrook Fair;
There were heads in the fireplace, and heels in the air.
And though Paddy, the stockman, to part them did strive,
He got floored - at O'Mulligan's wallaby drive.

Poor Kitty McDougall lost all her false hair,
While O'Grady got scalped with the leg of a chair;
Johnny Murphy struck Paddy, who called him a liar,

  ― 66 ―
And, upsetting the lamp, set the whole house on fire.
There was fire in the parlour, and smoke in the hall,
And a blaze in the room that was cleared for the ball,
And the ladies who'd fainted, they had to revive
Or be baked - at O'Mulligan's wallaby drive.

Then they rallied round Peter, their friendship returning,
And they pulled down his house, to prevent it from burning;
When the fire was put out, they all shouted, “Good night!”
And then saddling their horses, were soon out of sight.
When the last one was gone, Mrs. Mulligan rose
And she said, as she wiped a big tear from her nose,
"When ye want more divarsion to kape you alive,
I presume, faith! ye'll get up a wallaby drive.”

Then, as phœnix-like, Peter arose from the ashes,
With his whiskers all singed, and his eyebrows and lashes,

  ― 67 ―
He exclaimed, “By the ghost of Saint Patrick, I swear -
If I ever recover my eyebrows and hair,
That there's only one small piece of hunting I'll do,
Faith! I'll hunt for O'Grady, and give him his due.
As for you, Divil take you! I'll skin you alive,
If you ever more mention a wallaby drive!”

  ― 68 ―

God Defend the Commonwealth

God defend the Commonwealth. Preserve our southern nation.
God protect its sons and make them brave and free.
Watch and guard the cradle of Australian Federation.
Grant that in its manhood it may serve and honour Thee.
God defend the Commonwealth,
Bless our new Australian nation,
Grant our people peace and health,
God preserve our Federation.

Grant that all our rulers may have strength and power to guide us;
Wisdom, truth, and justice to determine all their ends.
Plant the blessed Spirit of a lasting Peace beside us,
Make Australians brothers, and make all mankind their friends.

  ― 69 ―
God defend the Commonwealth,
Bless our new Australian nation,
Grant our people peace and health,
God preserve our Federation.

Guard our new Britannia and maintain the old one's glory,
Weld the bond of kinship that encircles all the earth;
Grant that on each page that we may add to Britain's story,
Glory may be added to the land that gave us birth.
God defend the Commonwealth,
Bless our new Australian nation,
Grant our people peace and health,
God preserve our Federation.

God defend the Commonwealth and all its sons and daughters;
God preserve the flag that flies beneath our sunny sky,
Emblem of Fraternity, it floats across the waters,
Grant us strength and courage to defend our flag or die.
God defend the Commonwealth,
Bless our new Australian nation,
Grant our people peace and health,
God preserve our Federation.

  ― 70 ―

Latter Day Patriots

A time has been, in nearly every nation,
When Freedom, crushed beneath a tyrant's heel,
Hast burst her bonds, and, mad to desperation,
Has struck a blow which made the tyrant reel.
Oppression's chains, with tyrant hands to bind them,
May doom to servile bonds a slavish race;
But patriot hands, with manly hearts behind them,
Will snap those chains before the tyrant's face.

We reverence the men, renowned in story,
Whose gallant blood was poured on Freedom's shrine;
Their sole ambition was a patriot's glory,
And Freedom's triumph was their sole design.

  ― 71 ―
But now, alas! is Freedom's cause degrading,
Instead of those of whom the bards have sung,
We now have Patriots (?) openly parading,
Whose sole reliance is their strength of lung.

With noise and bluster they would rule the nation,
And crush opponents with their foul remarks,
Their trusty weapon, vile vituperation,
Their chosen battle ground, our public parks.
And there, when Sabbath bells their peals are ringing,
To call each wanderer home with silvery tongues,
The bells are silenced by the ceaseless dinging,
Of peddling patriots, with leather lungs.

One has a nostrum for each fiscal evil,
Another preaches socialistic rot,
A third attacks religion and the devil,
And all abuse the wealth they haven't got.
Each of his own pet stump is the selector,
Each prates on that he thinks he prates on best,
Each fills with dust the eyes of the elector,
And to advance himself would hang the rest.

  ― 72 ―
Yet all are patriots, for they love the nation
Whose laws and rulers treat them all so queer,
And are prepared to work out its salvation -
And ease it of three hundred pounds a year.
They want a seat and its attendant glories,
For its emoluments their throats they tear;
And, sad to say,O tempora, O mores,
If their throats stand it, we shall see them there.

  ― 73 ―

A Nicht Wi' Burns in Yackandandie

'Tis said that in the world's great span,
Be't het or cauld, or foul or fair,
Where'er ye find the trace o' man,
Ye're bound to find a Scotchman there.
I never met a dizzen men
But there was “Jock,” or “Mac,” or “Sandy,”
I've proved it ower and ower again;
An' sae it was at Yackandandie.

'Twas there I met wi' Jock Munroe,
An' Jamie Craig o' Ballarat,
Wi' Rob McNab, frae Bendigo,
An' Sandy Scot, frae Lambing Flat.
Eh, mon! it was a droothy day;
Oor throats were parched, oor voices husky;
Sae we resolved, withoot delay,
Tae droon oor drooth wi' Auld Scotch whusky.

  ― 74 ―
We had ae glass or maybe twa,
When Jamie's throat began to clear,
He sang, “The Fair sae far awa',”
An' then, “The Bonnie Banks of Ayr.”
Auld time gangs bruskly on his flicht
When Scotland's ploughman bard is handy;
An' sae it cam, we spent the nicht
Wi' Rabbie Burns in Yackandandie.

We sang “John Anderson, my Jo,”
An' “Willie brewed a peck o' maut,”
An' then, “My ain kind dearie O,”
An' “Rantin' dog the daddy o't.”
We shook the roof wi' “Duncan Grey,”
At ilka sang we wat oor throttles,
'Till Jamie laid McNab awa'
An' fenced him in wi' empty bottles.

Then Jamie sang “O steer her up,”
An' Jock, “O, why should I repine?”
And then we took “anither cup,”
But couldna' sing “For Auld Lang Syne.”
For Jamie was too fou' to speak,
An' sae in truth was Jock and Sandy;
Sae I went forth, ma camp to seek,
Aboot a mile frae Yackandandie.

  ― 77 ―
The road had mony a twist and turn,
The vera fences a' seemed fou';
An' when I reached the creek or burn,
Whaur ae brig stood - there noo stood twa!
I couldna' cross the twa at ance,
I didna' wish to fash or bustle,
Sae sat me down, beside a fence
To rest ma legs, and wat ma whustle.

Jist haufway twixt the fence an' creek
There stood an auld black hollow stump;
An' when I heard the auld stump speak,
Ye micht ha' heard ma gizzard jump.
Frae out the stump a heid appeared,
An' on the heid “an auld blue bonnet,”
Then cam a figure, strange an' weird,
That “crooned awa' an auld Scots' sonnet.”

His withered hauns he waved on high,
As ane, new-risen frae the deid;
Ma tongue refused to speak, or cry;
Ma hair stood upricht on ma heid.
"Ye drucken carle,” the Form began;
"Ye bletherin', blinkin', feckless ranter;
Ye gowk! that ca'st yersel' a man;
Ye needna' quake at Tam O'Shanter.”

  ― 78 ―
"It is nae ghaist nor wraith ye see,
That ye should fyke yersel' wi' fear;
Auld Tam O'Shanter winna' dee
Whiles min or stars their courses steer;
I chase doure sorrow to its lair,
I fling ma rung at toil and trouble,
I skelp the lug o' dolefu' care,
An', fuff! they vanish like a bubble.”

"Search torrid zone, or Arctic sea,
Ye'll find a bonny Scotsman there;
An' where the sons o' Scotland be
There's Tam O'Shanter and his mare.”
Then stalkin' in the pale moonlicht,
Tam saw the whusky bottle handy,
An' seizin' it, wi' great delicht,
He cried, “I'll drink to Yackandandie.”

"O Tam,” cried I, “ye bear the name
O' bein' neebourly an' fair,
Ye ken, fair play's a bonny game,
We'll drink aboot, an' ca' it square.”
But Tam, he laughed, an' gied a jump,
An' louped a loup sae gay and frisky;
Then disappeared, within the stump,
An' wi' him went ma flask o' whusky.

  ― 79 ―
When next I waked, the sun's first beam
Was shinin' on my aching heid.
I asked mysel', “Was Tam a dream?
Or frightfu' eerie frae the deid?”
But no, 'twas Tam himsel' I'd seen,
Nae wraith has sich a droothy throttle;
An' there's the stump, before ma een,
An', in the stump, the empty bottle.

If any scornfu' loon should dare
Tae doubt the truthfu' tale I tell,
The vera stump is stannin' there
An' he can see it for himsel'.
An' I, for ane, would e'en rejoice
To see that unbeliever bandy,
Wha doots that Tam O'Shanter's voice
Could reach frae Ayr to Yackandandie.

  ― 80 ―

The Rouseabout

In a humble hut, on a scrubby flat,
Near the land of the setting sun,
Lived a simple but honest rouseabout,
Who rejoiced in the name of Dunn.
He could warble as sweet as a bandicoot,
He could dance like a kangaroo,
His age, it was just about four feet-ten,
And his height about thirty-two.

He worshipped a beautiful female maid
Who lived on a distant plain;
Whose husband had gone to a far-off land,
And had never come back again.
She had bright blue hair, she had rosy eyes,
And her cheeks were of golden hue.
So Tommy set off, as the sun went down,
To tell her he loved her true.

  ― 81 ―
He traversed the hills and the mountain peaks,
He climbed up a rugged plain,
He swam the beds of the dried-up creeks
And he tramped o'er the raging main.
He saw not the wind on the distant hills,
He heard not the rising moon,
For his soul was dead, and his burning head
Was as calm as a big monsoon.

His eye, like a hurricane, roared aloud,
His voice, like the lightning flashed,
The blustering blizzard it boomed and burst
As on through the dust he splashed.
He rode on a flea-bitten chestnut mare,
With a patent pneumatic tyre;
And the sparks from the feet of his flying steed
Set Billabong Creek on fire.

He leapt from the train at the half-way house,
And stood at the maiden's door;
He wept at the sight of that dear old spot
Which he never had seen before;
He stood on his head at the maiden's feet,
And he begged her his lot to share,
Then, brushing a tear from his glist'ning ear,
He spoke of his dumb despair.

  ― 82 ―
"See! see!” he exclaimed to the winsome maid,
In syllables tall and sweet,
"The whole of my expectations I cast
At thy beautiful, blushing feet.
For you I would live - through Eternity!
Say 'yes' - for my own sweet sake,
And without a murmur I'll sacrifice
All the millions I hope to make.”

Then the maiden rested her blushing nose
For a moment on Tommy's chest,
And she said, as she cuddled his crumpled form
To her soft and capacious breast,
"As I have been true in the years to come,
I'll be true in the past,” said she.
And she winked her ear at a native bear
That was perched on a pumpkin tree.

  ― 83 ―

The Song of the Mason

Within an Abbey's sacred pile,
'Neath fretted dome and columned aisle,
A youngster and his father stand,
Viewing its beauties, hand in hand.
And as in awe he looks, the son
Marvels to know how all is done.
"Father,” he said, “I fain would know
How all these wondrous buildings grow.”

The father paused, then answer made:
"I'll tell thee how they grow,” he said.
"Some wealthy man must first engage
To pay the men their daily wage,
Because 'tis surely right and meet
That those who work shall also eat.
Then comes a wondrous skilful man
Who makes designs and draws a plan;
Each column, arch and frieze he draws
In strict accord with nature's laws;
Just as the Great Designer drew

  ― 84 ―
His plan, symmetrical and true;
So that, when built, the whole design
Both strength and beauty shall combine.

"The quarrymen, with maul and wedge,
With swinging pick, and mighty sledge,
Then drill the holes and lay the train
That rends the towering hills in twain;
Then speaks the blast, whose voice of thunder
Can rive the solid rocks asunder;
They split and hew the riven rocks,
And shape them into massive blocks;
Till tier on tier, rough-hewn they stand,
Waiting the expert craftsman's hand.
The skilful Master Mason, then
(Cunning to judge both stones and men),
Examines keenly every stone,
Selects the good and sound alone,
Distributes all his work with care -
A column here, an arch-stone there -
Directing so that all combine
To harmonise one grand design.

And the hammers and the mallets on the chisels ring,
Through the blocks the ropes are creaking as the derricks swing;

  ― 85 ―
And each stone more shapely grows
'Neath the skilful craftsman's blows,
And the chips and spawls are flying as the Mason's sing.

"The firm foundation next is made,
Each stone is well and truly laid
(The finest building could not stand
If built on mud or shifting sand).
Then stone on stone is fixed in place,
Each massive, strong, yet full of grace;
Whilst each its separate burden bears,
It helps its mates to carry theirs.
The pillars, rising from the ground,
With sculptured capitals are crowned.
Each product of the craftsman's skill
Has its allotted space to fill,
Just as, on earth, the humblest man
Is part of God's almighty plan.

And the mallets and the hammers on the chisels ring,
And the groaning blocks are creaking as the derricks swing;
And the Master cries 'Well done,’
For his work is well begun,
And the chips and spawls are flying as the Masons sing.

  ― 86 ―
"The arches spring from pier to pier,
The building rises, tier on tier;
The mullioned windows, seen on high,
Are filled with flowing tracery;
From groinéd ceilings angels weep,
And from quaint corners gargoyles peep,
So queer are some, they almost seem
To have been drawn from some mad dream.
Now, cunning men the spandrails fill
With foliage, carved with wondrous skill.
The Master's cheery accents tell
That all is orderly and well;
For, as his men he moves among,
He hums aloud the Mason's song.

Oh, the hammers and the mallets on the chisels ring,
And the heavy stones are rising as the derricks swing,
And the building slowly grows
'Neath the craftsman's skilful blows,
And the chips and spawls keep flying as the Masons sing.

"Yet still more high the building grows,
Each tier some added beauty shows;
A flying buttress, quoin or label,
Coping stone or pointed gable;

  ― 87 ―
Sculptured bosses, Gothic knees,
Or richly foliated frieze.
While within, the eye may roam
From altar step to stately dome;
Higher still, and yet more high,
Till pinnacles approach the sky.
The gilded finial stands alone,
And seems to kiss the setting sun;
Erect and plumb, it seems to say,
'From earth to heaven I point the way.’

And the mallets and the hammers now no more will ring,
And the blocks will creak no longer as the derricks swing,
For the victory is won,
And the Masons' work is done;
And they know that future ages will their praises sing.”

  ― 88 ―

Not Too Bad

De cottage vas close py der garden gate,
It vas not mighdty hardt to find it,
A couple of gum-trees grew shoost in front,
Und a pig-shty grew shoost pehind it.
Dere vos milk-cows und sheep on der clover-flat
Und a creek vhere der vater ran,
Der misdress of all, vas der Vidder McCaul,
Und I vos her handy man.

Ach, shveet vas der ploom on der orchard-trees,
Und lofely der flowers in shpring;
But, der vidder's daughter, Yemima Ann,
She vas shveeter ash efferyting.
She valked on der ferry ground I lofed,
Und her eyes were so lofely prown,
Dat vheneffer I see dat she looked at me,
Vhy, I felt mineself top-side down.

  ― 89 ―
I lofed mine life ash I lofed dat girl,
Und a vink from her tvinkling eye
Ash I helped her to moundt on der old prown mare
Made me feel apout ten feet high.
Vhen she cantered home ash der sun vent down,
Und I lifted her oop to der ground,
Vhen I felt her yoomp, mine heardt vent boomp,
Und I felt apout twelfe feet round.

So I shpeaks to mineself, “I must hafe dat girl,
For mithout her I aint no use;"
So I tole her von day vhat a duck she vas,
Und she tell me I vas a coose.
Den a shearer coomed town from der Lachlan,
Pout ash tall ash a wool-shed toor,
Und he took her avay on a pullock-tray,
Und she neffer comes pack some more.

So I vent, vat you calls, “clean off your shoomps,”
I crinds oop mine teeth und schvear;
I knocks mineself town mit a pag of shaff,
Und I picks mineself oop py mine hair.
I shvears I could hang und trown mineself,
Und fill mineself oop mit shot too;
Put, shoost vhen I run to get mine gun,
Der vidder, she tole me not to.

  ― 90 ―
She said, ash she fried me some eggs for mine tea,
Und her tears shpluttered in der pan,
"Vas it not goot enough to her daughter lose,
Mithout losing her handy man?
Vas der fish not ash goot vhat vas in der sea
Ash der fish vhat vas taken oudt?
If der shnapper I sought vas got shnapped oop und caught,
Dere vas plenty more shvimmin apout.”

So I said, “Do you know vhere dat fish to find,
Apout vat you gone und told me?”
Und I town-sat mineself py der vidder's side,
(Und der vidder she neffer shcold me).
Ash der vidder she mix oop her tears mit mine,
I got prave und mine heardt grew polder.
So mine left arm I placed round der vidder's vaist,
Und der vidder's head fell on mine shoulter.

Ach, shveet vas der shmell from der new-fried eggs,
Vhich der vidder vas shoost peen frying;
Und shveet vas der glance from der vidder's eye,
(Mit her head on mine shoulter lying).
If I gissed her ten times I gissed her vonce
Pefore effer I thought of shtoppin;

  ― 91 ―
Und der pig pullock-pell in der milk-pan fell,
Und ve neffer heardt it droppin.

I takes mine seat in der parlour now,
In der gitchen I hangs mine hat,
Und der milk-cows feed shoost across der creek,
Und der sheep on der clover-flat.
I shnapped oop der fish dat vas shvimmin apout,
Und I neffer no more got mad,
Und I tinks of a night, ash mine shmoke-pipe I light,
Dat I didn't do - NOT TOO BAD.

  ― 92 ―

Do I Love Thee?


I ask my heart, “Do I love thee?”
But how can I e'er forget
The feelings of joy and rapture
That thrilled me when first we met?
The memory of each glad meeting
Is treasured within my heart,
Which has well-nigh ceased its beating,
Since, in sorrow, we had to part.

Each night, as I seek my pillow,
I murmur a prayer for thee,
I breathe thy name, as the sunbeams
Flash red on the eastern sea.
Thy spirit is still the beacon
That guides me 'mid care and strife,
And there 'twill remain for ever,
My darling, my love, my life.

  ― 93 ―

Ben the Stoker

The Albatross sailed to the Southern Seas,
Amidst coral islands and banyan trees,
Where the scent-laden puffs of the torrid breeze
Go up to a hundred and forty degrees.
And the heat in the hole
Where they shovel the coal
To replenish the fires below,
Is exactly the same
As that region of flame
Where unorthodox people go.

Benjamin Buckle was stout and strong,
His hands were horny, his arms were long,
He sang as he shovelled the coals among,
And this was the text of the Stoker's song: -
"Oh, we've shovelled and stoked
And been bothered and smoked
Till you can't tell the coal from us,
We've been frizzled and fried

  ― 94 ―
Till we've each got a hide
Like a Rhino-popotamus.”

But one afternoon, about four o'clock,
The Albatross struck on a sunken rock;
And she struck it with such a tremendous knock
That she broke in halves with the sudden shock.
When she fractured her back,
Ben leaped through the crack,
And struck manfully out for land.
At a quarter to five
He was lying alive -
But alone - on the coral strand.

Now, His Majesty King Kookabudgerie,
The King of the island of Fi-fo-fee,
Was wondering what he would have for tea,
When he spotted Ben, and he danced with glee.
He was tired of yams,
He detested clams,
And had little else to eat,
But Ben was a prize
Of abnormal size,
And the daintiest kind of meat.

So the King gave vent to a cheerful roar,
He called for his cooks and his wives a score;

  ― 95 ―
They gathered up firewood and sticks galore,
And they kindled a fire on the sandy shore.
On the embers then
They lifted Ben,
And so chubby and plump he looked,
That they all agreed
What a splendid feed
He would make them when nicely cooked.

They stirred up the fire till the sun went down,
Then His Majesty frowned with an awful frown,
And the feathers he tore from his royal crown,
For Benjamin hadn't begun to brown.
When they poked up the fire
And the flames shot higher
Ben waked from his sleep and smiled,
And said, “Stupid old joker,
You can't cook a stoker,
He'll neither make roast nor biled.”

"Wot are yer givin' us,” shouted Ben,
"Do you think I'm as soft as a new-laid hen?
I aint a poor beggar wot drives a pen,
I'm one of His Majesty's fire-proof men,
Who have shovelled and stoked,
And smothered and smoked,
Till you can't tell the coal from us,
And we can't be fried

  ― 96 ―
For we've each got a hide
Like a Hippo-Rhinoceros.”

Then the cannibal King, Kookabudgerie,
He welcomed Ben Buckle on bended knee;
"I make you from this very hour,” said he,
"Controller of Customs for Fi-fo-fee.
Since my reign began
I've been seeking a man
This dangerous post to fill,
Who is proof against slaughter
And thrives in hot water,
And you will just fill the bill.

  ― 97 ―

Brogan's Flat

It wasn't quite the spot an average person would select
To study classic architecture in,
For every man in Brogan's Flat was his own architect,
And materialised his plans in slabs and tin.
The sun-baked street was crooked, and the houses wide apart,
With a patch of bush between them now and then;
But the township didn't pride itself on literature or art -
All its pride was concentrated on its men.

As I don't hail from Brogan's Flat, it don't apply to me;
So you can take my word this tale is true.
The people there possessed in a superlative degree
The faculty to go for all they knew.

  ― 98 ―
If a Brogan's Flat inhabitant played cards, he played to win;
And he always held the joker and the bower;
But if he didn't play at cards, then cards were deadly sin
And a shocking waste of energy and power.

The good men there were extra good, the bad ones very bad,
The tall men always grew extremely tall;
And every man was jolly or superlatively sad,
And they always smoked or never smoked at all.
The pious men at Brogan's Flat spent all their time in prayer,
The gossips spent the whole of theirs in chat;
And the teamsters on the Namoi never quite knew how to swear
Till they had a final course at Brogan's Flat.

Bill Peters kept the smithy at the west end of the town,
And he couldn't fit a shoe or weld a link,
Fix a bolt for Jimmy Thompson or a nut for Johnny Brown,
But his shibboleth was “Comanavadrink.”
Then sounds of noisy revelry would float from Murphy's bar,
And be followed by a simple old refrain,

  ― 99 ―
The melodies were various, but as constant as a star
Was the chorus - it was “Fillemupagain.”

Beyond the mill, where Brogan's Flat extended to the east,
Stood the forge of Jock McTavish, who would swear
That the man who touched strong drink was more degraded than a beast,
And that wine was a delusion and a snare.
While McTavish made a horse-shoe 'twas his custom to inveigh
Against publicans and whisky, rum and gin,
And his preaching was as powerful while riveting a stay
As the blows with which he drove the rivets in.

While Peters sang a roaring song in praise of rosy wine,
And filled himself with whisky from the still,
McTavish used to preach in praise of abstinence divine
And sing of sparkling water from the rill.
If a stranger came to Brogan's Flat, and entered from the west,
The place seemed full of drunkenness and mirth,

  ― 100 ―
While the stranger from the eastward always thought the town was blessed,
And imagined it the soberest spot on earth.

Now, although the temperance question was decided east and west,
In the middle Brogan's Flat was still in doubt;
And the middle folks consulted and decided it was best
Just to meet and thrash the troubled problem out.
So they called a public meeting and arranged for a debate,
And the subject for discussion it was this:
"Does the cup what's said to cheer us, and what don't inebriate,
Or does whisky, give the greatest share of bliss?”

Jock McTavish championed temperance with eloquence and skill,
And his reasons were convincing and profound;
While Peters fought for alcohol and whisky from the still,
And his arguments were logical and sound.
And every point McTavish made was driven home with force

  ― 101 ―
Like his mighty sledge, his blows were hard and true;
While the arguments that Peters used, he clinched without remorse,
As he clinched the nails when nailing on a shoe.

When the chairman put the question, he announced, 'mid great applause,
That the voting had resulted in a tie;
And he couldn't give a casting vote on either side, because
He was at a loss to give a reason why.
He had listened to the various points the speakers dwelt upon,
And he felt convinced the meeting would agree
That the intellectual arguments delivered pro and con.
Were just about as equal as could be.

When Peters rose to move a vote of thanks unto the chair,
He said, “I'd like to make this one remark -
The arguments of friend McTavish lead me to declare
That I've always been a-gropin' in the dark.
I've been like one benighted, and I'm certain as can be
That I've always been mistaken heretofore;

  ― 102 ―
From to-night I'll stick to water, varied now and then with tea,
And I'll never touch the whisky any more.”

Then McTavish rose to second it, and briefly he announced,
"Mr. Peters has converted me outright;
And, although my love for water has been ardent and pronounced,
I will never touch cold water from to-night.
I feel to William Peters gratitude that's quite intense,
Words fail me to express the thoughts I think,
But I can't resist his eloquence, his wit, and common sense -
In short, my brethren, Comanavadrink.”

McTavish now sings roaring songs in praise of rosy wine,
And fills himself with whisky from the still;
While Peters preaches temperance and abstinence divine,
And sings of sparkling water from the rill.
Now, the stranger entering Brogan's Flat, and coming from the west,
Never hears the sounds of revelry and mirth;
And the stranger from the eastward never marks the place as blest,
For he thinks he's struck the drunkest spot on earth.

  ― 103 ―

My Own Bonny Yacht


The rider may sing of his high-mettled steed,
Or the lover may boast of his lass;
The scholar love books, or the smoker his weed,
And the toper find joy in the glass.
But poor are their pleasures, when measured by mine,
And more perfect the joy that I feel,
When steering my bonny yacht over the brine,
As the wavelets keep kissing her keel.

With my hand upon the tiller, how we glide before the breeze,
Not a wrinkle in her well-filled sail;
Oh! I feel her pulses quiver, as she dances o'er the seas,
When we fly before a fine, fresh, gale.

  ― 104 ―
Our crew is the smartest, our boat is the best,
From her keelson to pennant complete;
A capful of wind, or a gale from sou'-west,
She is always the first of the fleet.
From Pinchgut to Manly, and home round the Shark,
A run to Port Stephens and back;
We shew them the way, in our bonny wee bark,
And the others sail home in our track.

With my hand upon the tiller, etc.

Then keep all your horses, your women, and wine,
For my love is far sweeter than all;
She's trusty, and lively, she's handsome and fine,
And her wants are exceedingly small.
Let this be our toast, as we lazily float,
"To our love may we ever prove true;
May we never grow rusty for want of a boat,
Nor our boat ever want a good crew.”

With my hand upon the tiller, etc.

  ― 105 ―

The Political Dead-Beat

You needn't think a man's a mouse, because he looks forlorn,
'Cause his pants are out at elbows, and his linen's frayed and torn;
Because his coat's seen better days, and his waistcoat ain't quite new,
And his hat's a ventilating one and lets the air come through.
A man is easy sat upon when Fortune's done its worst,
And the only asset left him is unliquidated thirst.
I'm the shuttle-cock of Fortune, and the boomerang of Fate,
I'm a blighted politician, who got plucked for voting straight.

When first I entered parliament I knew a thing or two,
I used to trim my flowing sails to every wind that blew;

  ― 106 ―
Though I didn't have much learning I possessed some common sense,
And could hold my own at sitting on or sliding off a fence.
My opinions were elastic, but my principles were sound,
For if they caught an adverse wind, they always twisted round.
So Fortune smiled upon me, and I proved from day to day,
That the politics that wobble are the politics that pay.

One night when party strife was keen, I was an absentee,
So when they counted noses they could count on all but me;
My vote was worth the fattest prize the Ministry could give,
For I could kill the Government or I could let it live.
The party whip soon found me out and I remarked that I
Was conscientiously inclined to let the Government die.
Said he “What price your conscience?” Then I whispered in his ear,
And the party when I took my seat received me with a cheer.

  ― 107 ―
Alas! for fickle Fortune that will sometimes kick the beam,
While members droned I slumbered, and I dreamt a blissful dream.
The division bell awoke me; then I started from my doze,
And cast the vote among the “Ayes,” I'd promised to the “Noes.”
I discovered when I rubbed my eyes, and turned to look about,
That I'd voted with my conscience, but I'd put the Government out.
So a dissolution followed, and I found out when too late,
That people thought I'd lost my head, because I voted straight.

On polling day I faced the crowd, I argued north and south,
But talking's hard when half-hatched eggs keep dropping in one's mouth;
I could argue against men but not against bubonic rats,
Bits of pumpkin, rotten apples, and resuscitated cats.
I could raise my voice with resonance above the surging sea,

  ― 108 ―
But a thousand braying asses were a bit too strong for me;
So the boys sang “Rule Britannia,” and the men threw up their hats,
And when I tried to soothe the crowd, the crowd just shouted “Rats!”

I promised to do anything, to vote just as they chose,
But the ancient eggs came faster, then a furious yell arose;
My platform swayed, and then gave way, and then I lost my feet,
And when I found my head again I found I'd lost my seat.
I'm a blighted politician, crushed beneath the wheels of fate,
Minus my golden railway pass, because I voted straight.
So take heed ye politicians, and this little maxim keep,
The most successful wobbler is the man who doesn't sleep.

  ― 109 ―

Rum and Water

Stifling was the air, and heavy; blowflies buzzed and held a levee,
And the mid-day sun shone hot upon the plains of Bungaroo,
As Tobias Mathew Carey, a devout bush missionary,
Urged his broken-winded horse towards the township of Warhoo.
He was visiting the stations, and delivering orations
About everlasting torture and the land of Kingdom Come,
And astounding all his hearers, both the rouseabouts and shearers,
When discanting on the horrors that result from drinking rum.

  ― 110 ―
As Tobias Mathew Carey, lost in visions bright and airy,
Tried to goad his lean Pegasus to a canter from a jog,
All his visions were sent flying by his horse abruptly shying
At a newly-wakened something that reclined beside a log.
It was bearded, bronzed, and hairy, and Tobias Mathew Carey
Had a very shrewd suspicion as the object he espied,
And observed its bleary winking, that the object had been drinking,
A suspicion which was strengthened by a bottle at its side.

It was Jacob William Wheeler, better known as “Jake the Spieler,”
Just returning from a sojourn in the township of Warhoo,
Where, by fast-repeated stages, he had swamped his cheque for wages,
And for language made a record for the plains of Bungaroo.
Then the earnest missionary, Mr. Toby Mathew Carey,
Like a busy bee desiring to improve each shining hour,

  ― 111 ―
Gave his horse a spell much needed, and immediately proceeded
To pour down, on Jake the Spieler, an admonitory shower.

He commenced his exhortation with a striking illustration
Of the physical and moral degradation that must come
To the unrepentant sinner who takes whiskey with his dinner,
And converts his stomach into a receptacle for rum.
"Give attention to my query,” said the ardent missionary:
"Do you not perceive that Satan is this moment calling you?
He is shouting! he is calling, in a voice that is appalling:
Do you hear him?” And the spieler answered sadly - “Yes! I do.”

"I can prove it is impious,” said the eloquent Tobias,
"To drink stuff containing alcohol, and liquors that are strong,
And I'll prove to demonstration that your guzzling inclination

  ― 112 ―
Is quite morally, and socially, and physically wrong.
When about to drain a bottle, or pour whiskey down your throttle,
You should think upon the thousands who have perished for its sake.
Gone! to Davey Jones's locker, through the wine that is a mocker,
And which biteth like a serpent's tooth, and stingeth like a snake.”

Toby paused, and Jake replying, said: “It ain't no use denying
That your logic is convincing, and your arguments are sound.
I have heard with admiration your remarks and peroration,
And your knowledge of the subject seems extensive and profound.
Yet, in spite of all your spouting, there is just one thing I'm doubting,
But I'm open to conviction, so convince me if you can;
As the iron's hot now strike it, just convince me I don't like it,
And I'll chuck the grog, and sign the pledge, and keep it, like a man.”

  ― 113 ―
Then Tobias Mathew Carey eyed the spieler bronzed and hairy,
But his tongue no word could utter, and the silence was intense,
As the spieler, slowly rising, in a style quite patronising,
Blandly smiled upon Tobias, and continued his defence.
"In your arguments I noted that the scriptures you misquoted,
But you know, Old Nick proved long ago that two could play at that.
Which has caused the greatest slaughter? Was it rum? or was it water?
If you say it was the former, why I'll contradict it flat.

"When old Noah at the deluge, in the Ark was taking refuge,
All the other people in the world by water met their fate.
And King Pharaoh's countless army! - Did they drink and all go balmy?
No! You'll find they died by water if you'll just investigate.
All the records of the ages, mentioned in the sacred pages,

  ― 114 ―
Only tell of one example, and the fact you know full well,
Where a cove a drink was craving and for water started raving,
And that beggar was located - where he ought to be - in Hell!”

Jake then dropped the tone effusive, and began to be abusive,
Swore he'd “pick the missionary up and drop him in the dirt,”
Vowed he'd “twist his blooming nose up, make him turn his blinded toes up,
Sing him for a dusty fiver, or else fight him for his shirt.”
And the air was hot and heavy, and the blowflies held their levee,
And the evening sun shone red upon the plains of Bungaroo;
As Tobias Mathew Carey, a disgusted missionary,
Spurred his broken-winded steed towards the township of Warhoo.

  ― 115 ―

Tim Turpin

Tim Turpin by trade was a saddler,
A nice little chap from his birth;
His height was five feet in his stockings,
And just about three feet his girth.

He feel deep in love with a maiden,
Both buxom and bonnie was she;
So, giving the reins to his passion,
He said, “Harness up dear with me.”

"For sad'll be my fate without you,
And hobbled the aims of my life;
Of joy I shall ne'er have the traces,
If you don't buckle to as my wife.”

The maid said, “Sir, single life bores me,
But just a bit hasty you are,
Just curb all this; bridle ambition,
For I can't till you ask my papa.”

  ― 116 ―
So the youth tried to whip up his courage,
The maiden's papa to assail;
And to stir-up his feeble invention,
He consulted his friend, Martin Gale.

Hope spurred him as far as her dwelling,
But he altered his tone at the door,
For her pa got a grip at his collar
And pummelled him, till he was sore.

He lifted Tim up by the breeching,
And with one of his number nine feet,
He fetched Tim a kick on the crupper,
That landed him into the street.

  ― 117 ―

Did You Ever?

Did you effer seen some leetle pootle dog
Dat vas shnoodled oop so shnug upon a mat?
Did you seen some sheeps in clover, or a hog
Vhat could hardly valk around himself for fat?
Did you effer seen a cat vhat caught a mouse?
Or a poy vhat shtole a lump of sugar-cane?
If you did, I bet a pumpkin to a house
Dat you seen some beoples happy. Dat vas plain.
Und dat vas shoost like me,
Shoost so happy as could pe,
When first mine eyes dropped down on Susan Yane.

She vos riding on a horse dat vos a mare;
Und she plushed all oop und down und looked so shy;
Der sun vos playing “peep-bo" mit her hair,
Und der shtars could neffer twinkle like her eye.

  ― 118 ―
I could hardly mofe mineself for shtanding still;
I vos got all hot, and soon got cold again.
She shmiled at me, und cantered down der hill,
Und left me filled mit gladness in der lane.
Und der singing of der preeze,
As it murmured through der trees,
Vas like music, vhen I first seen Susan Yane.

I vent courting Susan Yane like efferything;
Und see shmiled so sveet und soon shtuck oop mit me.
So I pought a leetle golten vedding ring,
Und ve poth vos shoost so happy as could pe.
She vos promise she vould lofe me und opey,
Und vould shtick to me mit sunshine und mit rain;
Und it seemed der vorld so happy vos und gay,
Dat I neffer couldn't sigh no more again.
Und I sang vhen I vos talking,
Und I yumped vhen I vos valking,
On der day dat I got spliced mit Susan Yane.

Did you effer seen some leetle pootle dog
Vhat his leetle tail got yammed between a door?
Or a cow dat vos shtuck fast into a pog,
Und vhat couldn't neffer get him out some more?

  ― 121 ―
Did you seen a man egstracted from his tooth,
Und vhat kick der teeth egstractor mit his pain?
If you vos yourself dat man und shpeak der truth,
You vas neffer vant to pe dat man again.
Dese are things dat vasn't fun,
But shoost poil dem down to von,
Und dat vos like I last seen Susan Yane.

She vost shtanding mit her arms und elbows pare,
Und der vords she said dey make me feel so sick;
In her left hand vos a handful of mine hair,
While her right hand gripped der handle of a pick.
I could hardly stand me oop, I felt so sore,
Und I ran so hard I neffer shtopped again -
If I effer shows mine face to her some more,
I shall mighty quick pe numbered mit der slain.
For mine heart is in mine poots,
Und mine hair's pulled out py roots -
Und dat's der last I seen of Susan Yane.

  ― 122 ―

The Legend of "Dead Man's Gully"

note As Sol sank smiling in the west,
The shadows lengthened on the plain,
Each blushing hill and mountain crest
His rays reflected back again.

The waving wattles softly sighed,
From scented shrubs the perfume rose,
The tiny streamlet's murmuring tide
Whispered of peace and calm repose.

The magpie's vesper song was o'er -
Her farewell to the setting sun,
The curlew in its lonely bower
Its plaintive cry had not begun.

  ― 123 ―
And as the shadows longer grew,
And twilight took the place of day,
A wayworn traveller came in view,
And wearily pursued his way.

A broken, battered wreck was he,
Whose active cruising days were o'er;
A flotsam on Life's troubled sea,
A derelict on Fate's lee shore.

His bloodshot eye and haggard face,
His hungry look and unkempt hair,
His tottering limbs and faltering pace,
All spoke of want and dull despair.

But suddenly erect he stood -
A lonely hut had met his view,
And thoughts of succour and of food
Had given him life and strength anew.

He reached the door, for food he craved.
Its tenant was a lonely dame,
Who deemed him mad; she thought he raved,
And bade him go - to whence he came.

  ― 124 ―
The haggard look returned once more,
His chin drooped heavy on his breast;
He staggered, fainting, from the door
To seek some lonely spot to rest.

He reached a gully, drear and lone -
His weary pilgrimage was o'er -
And, with a last despairing groan,
He sank and fell to rise no more.

And when the moon's pale silvery light
Came shimmering through the dreary place,
The bright and beauteous orb of night
Was shining on a dead man's face.

He had obeyed the timid dame -
His head lay resting on a clod;
The earth had gone to whence it came,
The spirit had returned to God.

They dug a rude and humble grave,
They crossed his hands upon his breast;
And there, where golden wattles wave,
They left his weary bones to rest.

  ― 125 ―
And shivering clowns, with pallid face,
With bated breath and straining eyes,
Still to the stranger show the place
In Dead Man's Gully where he lies.

They tell of many a fearsome sight,
And many a weird uncanny sound,
And say that in the gloom of night
The dead man's spirit hovers round.

They say that 'midst the lightning flash
Is seen a blue and spectral gleam,
And how amid the thunder's crash
Is heard a wild unearthly scream.

The boldest rider past the spot,
Who fears no foe of mortal kind,
Will spur his steed and tarry not
Till Dead Man's Gully's far behind.

  ― 126 ―

The Irony of Fate

Paddy Rooke was the boss o' the shearin' shed,
'E was sinewy, straight and tall;
While I was employed as the shearers' cook,
And was skinny and plain and small.
It wasn't my fault that the meat was tough,
An' the tar got inter the stoo;
Yet 'e kicked me the length o' the shearin' shed,
An' 'e walloped me black and blue.
An' I brooded on my wrong,
An' I cursed both loud an' strong,
An' I felt that Life was nothing but a sham;
An' I wished that I was 'e,
Or that Paddy Rooke was me,
An' I railed at Fate, wot made me wot I am.

Tilly Brady, she lived at the 'Arf-way 'Ouse,
An' a plum of a gal was she;
An' I seen 'er tip Paddy a hartful wink
As she sugared and milked 'is tea.

  ― 127 ―
Then 'e jined the “Horstralian Mounted 'Orse,”
With a uniform like a toff,
An' 'e went to the wars to fight the Boers,
And she went to see 'im off.
An' I watched 'er pipe 'er eye
As they kissed an' said, “Good-bye,”
An' I felt that all the world was only sham.
An' I wished that I was 'e,
Or that Paddy Rooke was me,
An' I moaned the Fate wot made me wot I am.

But Paddy got 'it with a cannon-ball,
And it scrunched up 'is bloomin' bones;
An' they laid 'im out on the starry veldt,
An' they covered 'im up with stones,
While I got spliced to the Brady gal;
But she turned out a blinded sell,
For she's always a-wishin' that I was 'e,
Till I wishes 'em both in - well -
In a place both 'ot an' deep;
For I sit an' groan an' weep,
And I still think all the world's a rotten sham;
An' I wishes I was 'e,
An' that Paddy Rooke was me,
An' I cuss my Fate, wot made me wot I am.

  ― 128 ―

The Haunted Lagoon

There was once a man who came from Bundanoon,
And a maiden from the town of Kangaloon,
And each evening in the gloaming,
They would go together roaming
Down a winding track that led to a lagoon,
Where they'd spoon,
And talk nonsense by the glimmer of the moon.

He was wood-and-water Joey at the “Star"
Where she waited, and assisted at the bar;
He was fair, and tall, and slender,
She was dark, and plump, and tender;
And he told her that her eyes were brighter far
Than a star,
Which remark just proves how stupid lovers are.

  ― 129 ―
But, through sitting in the moonlight on a log,
Or meandering 'mid the bracken in a fog,
With the glass approaching zero,
Influenza gripped our hero,
Which resulted in his talking like a frog,
Or a hog,
Whilst his cough was like the barking of a dog.

And the falling dew descending from the trees,
With the moisture that was borne upon the breeze,
Caused a bronchial inflammation,
So our hero's conversation
Was a cross between a snuffle and a wheeze,
Whilst his sneeze
Used to shake him from his elbows to his knees.

And he'd sit, and court, and spoon until he froze,
'Till he couldn't tell his fingers from his toes.
Yet he'd plead with her and flatter,
Whilst his teeth would snap and chatter,
And his speech was punctuated by the blows
Of his nose.
(In his wretched state he called his nose his “dose".)

  ― 130 ―
So he said to her “Sweet baid - Atchoo! - be bide,
Let us dwell for ever side - Atchoo! - by side.
Say the word, you dearest pet, you,
That shall - bake you - you - U-retchoo!
That shall bake you - bake you by - Atchoo! - by bride,
Add by pride;
Add for everbore I'll be - U-retchoo! - thide.

Let be steal frob those sweet lips wud fodd caress,
Let theb speak that wud sweet word - Ah-tishoo! - Yes.
By thy love I'll thed be richer,
Bake by burdig heart - Ah-ticher!
Bake by burdig heart this blissful bobedt bless,
Do say yes.
Say - At-choo! Atchoo! - you'll crowd by happidess.”

But she positively spurned his fond refrain,
Though she said she didn't wish to give him pain.
Hot-baked hearts she'd seen a-many,
But she wasn't taking any,
Then she added that he'd water on the brain,
That was plain.
And she cocked her little nose up in disdain.

  ― 131 ―
So the man from Bundanoon, in his despair,
Cried "Cads't thou be false add yet - Atchoo! - so fair?
Burst - Atchoo! - ye clouds asudder!
Flash ye lightdigs! Boob thou thudder!
It's edough to bake a bortal - Tishoo! - swear,
I declare.”
And the man from Bundanoon then tore his hair.

And they parted by the germ-infested shore
Of the lake that “skylark never warbled o'er.”
And the wild fowl left its waters,
And the 'possum changed its quarters,
So the pool became more silent than before,
For the roar
Of that sneeze, disturbed the echoes - never more.

For they found his sodden corpse in the lagoon,
Where he floated, calmly staring at the moon,
And some folks who went there boating
Said they heard, Ah-tishoo! floating
O'er its waters; so they ceased to go and spoon
Very soon,
And especially the maid from Kangaloon.

  ― 132 ―

Blue-Eyed Nell

Have you seen little Nelly
That lives by the mill?
There's a charm in her presence,
That makes my heart thrill.
The sound of my footsteps
Makes Nelly's eyes shine,
And Nelly has promised
Some day to be mine.

My beautiful blue-eyed Nell,
How I love her no tongue can tell;
All the birds fold their wings
And sit mute when she sings,
So joyous and bright is Nell.

The early peach blossom
Scarce rivals her cheeks;
'Tis Harmony's spirit
When sweet Nelly speaks.

  ― 133 ―
The scent-laden breezes
That blow from the sea,
Are not any purer
Than Nelly to me.

My beautiful blue-eyed Nell,
How I love her no tongue can tell;
All the birds fold their wings
And sit mute when she sings,
So joyous and bright is Nell.

I love my sweet Nelly,
And Nelly loves me;
When Hymen unites us
How happy we'll be.
Sweet peace and contentment
With Love shall combine,
And earth will be heaven
When Nelly is mine.

My beautiful blue-eyed Nell,
How I love her no tongue can tell;
All the birds fold their wings
And sit mute when she sings,
So joyous and bright is Nell.

  ― 134 ―

Mount Kembla

The judges are sitting in solemn array,
The parties are stern and unbending,
The issues that have to be fought out to-day
Must be fought to the bitterest ending.
The miners are seeking to better their lot,
And to ease the stern fight for existence:
While the masters assert that the coal trade will not
Justify any course but resistance.

"We delve in the earth,” cry the children of toil,
"We labour with vigour unceasing,
While you sit at ease, and grow fat on the spoil,
And your fatness is ever increasing.
While we spend our lives in the effort to live,
On the fruits of our labour you flourish;
So we claim, as a right, that a portion you give,
That our bodies and souls we may nourish.”

  ― 135 ―
The masters declare that the men are well paid,
And to prove it bring yards of statistics;
That a fondness for rest, and a wish to kill trade,
Are the miners' chief characteristics.
"They are slothful,” they say, “and are fond of disputes;
They are thriftless, depraved, and unsteady,
With the bodies of men, but the passions of brutes,
They are getting too well paid already.”

So they wrangle and argue, protest and declare,
The statistics come thicker and faster,
Till it seems that a miner is nought but a bear,
With a ravenous shark for a master.
The chasm between them's so deep and so wide,
'Twould appear there is naught that is human
Could ever induce them to stand side by side,
Or to share one small feeling in common.

But, hark! A sound comes rumbling through the town,
A sound that causes every nerve to thrill;
It shakes the mighty mountain to its crown!
Its deep vibrations roll from hill to hill.
A few brief moments of suspense expire -
Suspense, now shared alike by man and master;

  ― 136 ―
Then the dread words come trembling through the wire,
That tell of deadly terror and disaster.

Below - the sea is rippling in the breeze,
Each wavelet dancing at the zephyr's breath,
Above - a wail is echoing through the trees,
Telling of homes made desolate by death.
Of loved ones stricken low, of broken hearts,
Of weeping children, and of wives forlorn;
Of all the horrors sudden death imparts,
It tells of orphan children yet unborn.

Then speaks a hero, “Miners of the south,
Men lie entombed, and some, perchance, yet live!
Within th' inferno of that tunnel's mouth
Men lack the succour we alone can give.
Let each man speak who has the pluck to dare;
Will any follow me? If so, reply!”
But not a craven heart is beating there,
Masters and men, with one accord, say, “Aye!”

The rescue party formed, they enter then
To seek survivors from the dread disaster.
A trusty band of picked and faithful men,
Under the guidance of an expert master.

  ― 137 ―
Through the black tunnels plunge the plucky band,
By the dull flicker of the safety lamp
They note destruction's work on every hand;
They find, alas! the dreaded afterdamp.

"Back!” cries the leader. “Boys, go back!” he calls,
"Back, for your lives, or it will be too late.”
He struggles manfully, then staggers - falls,
But bids them go, and leave him to his fate.
The afterdamp engulfs them; like a wave
It rushes on them with its fatal breath;
Like drowning men, they seek their lives to save,
Each, for the moment, face to face with death.

As one band, baffled by the poisonous air,
Is led or carried from that awful space,
Another band of heroes gathers there,
Eager and resolute, to take its place.
And who can paint the utter, helpless woe
Of that grief-stricken crowd who hear the tread,
On the rough mountain paths, of those who go
Bearing, with reverence, their comrades, dead?

  ― 138 ―
Among the lifeless burdens there are two
For whom the melancholy crowd divide,
For they are those who to the rescue flew,
And, fighting for their fellow-creatures, died.
Master and man! could sympathetic tie
E'er bind such men in mutual interest?
Thank heaven, yes! At sorrow's helpless cry
They rushed, and died, each on the other's breast.

The morning saw them, full of vital power,
Masters and men, opposed in stern array;
No thought in common, yet the evening hour
Found, in a last embrace, their lifeless clay.
Their latest breath they shared; with struggling feet,
Dying, the same square yard of earth they trod.
Their souls, released, will at the judgment seat,
At the same moment, stand before their God.

And shall they die in vain? Has not their fate
Some heaven-born meaning, as a sign of peace?

  ― 139 ―
That men should foster love, and conquer hate?
That strife and discord may for ever cease?
God send the time, and grant that it be nigh,
When men no more with hatred shall be riven;
When they, like brethren, shall both live and die,
And thus make earth a stepping-stone to heaven.

  ― 140 ―

The Wedding of Winona

An Indian Legend

In the dim remote antiquity
Of very long ago,
When the warriors of Wabasha
Chased the roving buffalo;
Near the mighty Mississippi
Lived a chieftain, old and grey;
And he ruled the wild Wabashas
In an energetic way.

He could hunt and fight no longer,
For his hunting days were gone;
But he used to talk for hours about
The deeds he once had done;
His once mighty arm was feeble,
Age had dimmed his vision keen,
So he lived upon the memory
Of what he once had been.

  ― 141 ―
And the darling of his wigwam -
Who was dearer than his life,
Was not, as perhaps it should have been,
That aged Chieftain's wife,
'Twas his sweet and loving daughter,
Who was supple, strong, and trim,
For the beautiful Winona
Was the salt of life to him.

Lithe and active was Winona,
And the sparkle of her eyes
Was like dewdrops on the lilies
When the sun begins to rise.
Like the bosom of the robin
Were her lips, so rosy red,
And her laugh like sound of water
Rippling o'er its pebbly bed.

In the tribe of the Wabashas
Was a warrior, brave and young;
And the praises of Winona
Were for ever on his tongue.
He declared he loved her dearly,
And beneath the twilight dim,
She vowed, by the Great Spirit,
She would love no man but him.

  ― 142 ―
Alas! for lovers' promises;
Alas! for lovers' dreams;
Too often are they shattered
By a parent's sordid schemes.
Soon the aged Chief, her father,
In the wigwam caused a stir,
When he quietly announced, that he
Had other views for her.

Then, he told her how another chief,
From out another band,
Whose warriors were invincible,
Had asked him for her hand.
Said he, “You'll be obedient
And marry him, I trust;
In short, the day and hour are fixed,
So marry him you must.”

There's commotion in a dovecot
When an eagle-hawk appears,
We are startled when a sudden clap
Of thunder greets our ears;
But neither ever caused such dire
Perplexity, as stirred
Poor Winona's gentle bosom
When the horrid news she heard.

  ― 143 ―
Yet, for filial obedience,
Winona was renowned;
So she hung her head and answered,
As she knelt upon the ground,
"I must do my father's bidding,
Though my aching heart may burst;"
But, she added, sotto voce,
"I will see you smothered first.”

Upon the wedding morning,
As the sun rose in the east,
She wandered forth to gather flowers
To deck the bridal feast.
She climbed a rock, and standing there,
All in the morning glow,
She saw her aged ancestor
Upon the ground below.

He gazed upon her, as she stood,
With all a father's pride,
"My lovely eldest born,” cried he,
"So soon to be a bride.”
She laughed a wild, unearthly laugh,
As if his words to mock,
Then, with one loud heartrending scream,
She leapt from off the rock.

  ― 144 ―
It chanced that soon Winona's own
Wabasha man came round,
He clasped Winona's senseless form
And raised it from the ground.
She soon unclosed her lovely eyes,
And smiling sweetly said,
"I'm just a little shaken up,
I lit on father's head.”

They turned the aged Chieftain o'er,
But not a word he spoke;
Winona, was a solid girl,
His spinal cord was broke.
Winona and her lover then
So lightly skipped away,
To seek fresh fields and pastures new,
To spend their wedding day.

Now, Indians in their birch canoes,
At twilight paddle by,
And pause beneath the “Maiden's Rock"
To hear Winona's cry.
The dusky paddlers softly sing,
And, as they glide along,
The "Wedding of Winona,"
Is the burden of their song.

  ― 145 ―

The Stockman's Serenade

Gentle Jemima! hear me sing,
While sweetly you reposes, dear,
Of thoughts that makes my bosom ring,
And fills me up with woeses, dear.
The love that from my heart now pours,
Is all poured out for you, my dear;
If you'll be mine, as I am yours,
I'll stick to you like glue, my dear.

Day after day I minds the sheep,
As quietly they browses, dear,
Then scours the gullies, broad and deep,
While fetching home the cowses, dear.
And all day long, and through the night,
My heart is staunch and true, my dear;
And sheep and cowses, honour bright,
All makes me think of you, my dear.

  ― 146 ―
I pines, Jemima, oft when you
Are making of your cheeses, dear;
Or listening to the winds that blew
The limbs from off the treeses, dear.
Ah! tell me when the calves you tend,
So frolicsome and free, my dear,
If, when you get the beggars penned,
They makes you think of me, my dear.

I'm sitting on the stockyard gate,
The cold night wind is howling, dear;
I've got a cold, it's getting late,
The blooming dog is growling, dear.
I can't sit on the fence all night!
How obstinate you are, my dear!
I'd shout out loud but then I might
Disturb your dear papa, my dear.

Thank goodness! Here she comes at last!
What makes you bring a lanthorn, dear?
Geewillikins! she's coming fast;
You're like a blooming phantom, dear.
Is it? Yes! No! It is! It ain't!
What makes you come so quick, my dear?
If that's Jemima, I'm a saint!
It's someone with a stick, my dear.

  ― 147 ―
Jerusalem! I must vamoose,
I've riz your father's dander, dear;
But still, if you will be my goose,
I'll be your faithful gander, dear.
Oh! call away that horrid dog,
While I, your love, levants, my dear.
Great scott! While I'm stuck in a bog,
He's knawing at my pants, my dear.

  ― 148 ―

Come Back to the Bush

I'm what they call a “solid man,”
I've made a decent pile;
So I brought my folks to London,
And we've settled down in style.
We wear clothes that don't quite suit us,
Go to balls, and shows, and plays,
And we're striking out for happiness
In various kinds of ways.

But a Voice keeps on calling me back
To the bush and the wallaby-track,
To the home in the clearing,
The sheep and the shearing -
The voice keeps on saying, “Come back!”

We're living in Belgravia,
In the midst of Fashion's whirl;
On my left there lives a marquis,
And right opposite an earl.

  ― 149 ―
We've a carriage and a coachman,
And a footman dressed in plush,
Whose calves stick out so prominent
They make my daughters blush.

But the Voice keeps on saying, “Come back
To the bush and the wallaby-track,
Where the bright sun is glowing
And cattle are lowing,
Come back to your freedom, come back!”

My wife she holds “receptions,”
While my daughters study “art,”
And my son he drives a tandem,
Though his father drove a cart.
We have dinner in the evening,
And we always dress to dine;
We eat strange food with foreign names,
And wash it down with wine.

Yet, the Voice keeps on calling me back
To the bush and the wallaby-track,
Where the wool-bales are packing,
And stockwhips are cracking,
It whispers for ever - “Come back!”

  ― 150 ―
And the voice keeps calling, calling
Till I see the iron-bark ridge,
Till I scent the gum-logs burning
In the gully near the bridge;
I can hear the teamsters swearing
As they drive the bullock-dray,
And my spirit's branding cattle
In the paddocks far away.

And the Voice keeps on saying, “Come back
To the bush and the wallaby-track!”
To the parrots and 'possums
And sweet wattle-blossoms,
It keeps on inviting me back.

And my heart seems crushed and stifled
'Mid the teeming city's push,
And my eager soul is panting
For the freedom of the bush;
And I feel that though I wander
Where illustrious feet have trod,
I'm near the world's great throbbing heart,
But I'm not so close to God.

And the Voice keeps on saying, “Come back
To the bush and the wallaby-track -
To the bush, with its sadness,
Its grandeur and gladness,
Its space and its freedom. Come back!”

  ― 151 ―

O'Toole and McSharry

A Lachlan Idyll

In the valley of the Lachlan, where the perfume from the pines,
Fills the glowing summer air, like incense spreading,
Where the silent, flowing river, like a bar of silver, shines,
When the winter moon its pallid beams is shedding.
In a hut on a selection, near a still and silent pool,
Lived two mates, who used to shear, and fence, and carry,
The one was known, both near and far, as Dandy Dan O'Toole,
And the other, as Cornelius McSharry.

And they'd share each others blankets, and each others horses ride,
And go off together, shearing, in the summer;

  ― 152 ―
They would canter off, from sunrise to the gloaming, side by side;
While McSharry rode the “Barb" and Dan the “Drummer.”
And the boys about the Lachlan recognised it as a rule,
From Eugowra to the plains of Wanandarry,
That, if ever love was stronger than McSharry's for O'Toole,
'Twas the love O'Toole extended to McSharry.

And their love might have continued and been constant to the end,
And they might have still been affable and jolly;
But they halted at a shanty, where the river takes a bend,
And were waited on by Doolan's daughter, Polly.
Now, the pretty Polly Doolan was so natty, neat and cool,
And so pleasant, that they both agreed to tarry,
For she winked her dexter eye-lid at susceptible O'Toole
While she slyly winked the other at McSharry.

  ― 153 ―
So they drank her health in bumpers, till the rising of the moon,
And she had them both in bondage so completely,
That, each time they talked of going, she said “Must you go so soon?”
And they couldn't go: She smiled at them so sweetly.
Dan O'Toole grew sentimental, and McSharry played the fool,
Though they both had sworn on oath they'd never marry.
Yet the selfsame dart from Cupid's bow that vanquished Dan O'Toole,
Had gone through the heart of honest Con McSharry.

Then McSharry thought, if Dandy Dan got drunk and went to bed,
He (McSharry) could indulge his little folly.
And Dan thought, if McSharry once in drunken sleep lay spread,
He could have a little flirt with pretty Polly.
So they kept the bottle going, till they both were pretty full,
And yet each rival seemed inclined to tarry;
The precise amount of pain-killer it took to fill O'Toole
Was required to close the optics of McSharry.

  ― 154 ―
So the rivals lost their tempers, and they called each other names,
And disturbed the Doolan children from their pillows,
And so Doolan came and told them that he wouldn't have such games,
They must go and fight it out beneath the willows.
So they went beneath the willows, near a deep and shady pool,
With as much inside as each of them could carry,
And McSharry started thumping the proboscis of O'Toole,
While O'Toole retaliated on McSharry.

And they fought till they were winded, and yet neither had the best,
Though, from each of them the blood was freely flowing;
And they paused at last to breathe a while, and take a moment's rest,
But O'Toole's two eyes with rage were faily glowing.
Then, without a moment's warning, he charged forward like a bull,
And before poor Con had time to run or parry,

  ― 157 ―
With a terrible momentum the big head of Dan O'Toole,
Went bump! into the stomach of McSharry.

And the force of the concussion laid McSharry out quite still,
With his feet above his head among the bushes;
While O'Toole, with the momentum, cannoned madly down the hill,
And fell plump in the lagoon among the rushes.
Like a weedy river-god he climbed the far side of the pool,
And he did not for one single moment tarry,
For the curse of Cain was in the brain of Dandy Dan O'Toole,
Who felt certain that he'd settled poor McSharry.

Now, while Dan O'Toole was stealing through the still and silent night,
And his aching brain with pain-killer was throbbing,
McSharry lay and listened, till his heart grew sick with fright,
And he eased his guilty soul with silent sobbing.

  ― 158 ―
For he heard his boon companion falling headlong in the pool,
And he thought he was as dead as poor old Harry.
And McSharry mourned the drowning of poor Dandy Dan O'Toole,
While O'Toole was sadly weeping for McSharry.

And the valley of the Lachlan never more will know the men
That were once so loving, frolicsome and frisky,
For O'Toole cleared out to Queensland and was never seen again,
While McSharry started South and took to whiskey.
And McSharry, in his nightmare, often sees the fatal pool,
And the pricks of guilty conscience tries to parry;
While away among the back blocks wanders Dandy Dan O'Toole,
Always flying from the ghost of Con McSharry.

  ― 159 ―

The Power Behind the Throne

You ask me to take up my pen, and stain
The snowy whiteness of these virgin pages;
If I comply, repentance then were vain,
For words, once written, may endure for ages.
Yet to refuse, is harder still to do,
If my refusal must be made to you.

I could refuse a wish by man expressed,
Though the refusal might our friendship sever;
But when a woman proffers a request,
Man must comply, or hide his head for ever.
In Adam's time, a woman had her will,
The case is still the same, she has it still.

Our rulers, statesmen, potentates and kings,
Lords, dukes, and judges, mighty in their stations,

  ― 160 ―
May seem to rule and govern earthly things,
And by a word decide the fate of nations.
But, draw the veil! unmasked our rulers stand,
Lo! each is guided by a woman's hand.

Then, mighty woman! since the power you have,
Which like the fabled wand of the magician,
Enables you to render man your slave,
And bring the mightiest warrior to submission,
Be merciful to your poor servant, man,
And use your power as gently as you can!

As maid, or mother, sister, bride or wife,
Be true and kind, affectionate and tender;
The lover, husband, son, will turn through life,
To you for counsel none but you can render;
Great are your powers, and great your duties are,
For some man lives, whose life you'll make or mar.

  ― 161 ―

Der Pritish Tar From Amsterdam

If you listen to mine shtory vat I tell,
I vas told you all apout it vhen I'm done.
It's apout a man vhat I knows pooty vell,
Pecause he vas mine fader's only son.
Mine fader cut me out to be a tailor,
Put he took a lion to cut out a lamb;
So I yoined a Pritish ship to pe a sailor
Und a Pritish tar vhat hailed from Amsterdam.

Ve hoisted oop der masts upon der sails,
Und sailed across der ocean und der sea;
Ve sailed from Liverpool to New Soud Vales,
Und dhat vas shoost der place vhat suited me.
I learned me how to polish oop der anchor,
Und how to tie a knot vhat didn't yamb,

  ― 162 ―
To box der pig yib-boom und shplice der shpanker
Like a Pritish tar vhat coomed from Amsterdam.

I learned to sing “Pritannia Rules der Vaves,”
Der leetle mermaids coomed to hear me sing;
I shouted “Pritons neffer shan't be shlafes,
Und after dat “Cot Pless oor Cracious King.”
I safed me oop a pocket full of money,
A Vhite Australian Pritisher I am;
I learned to say “Vhat cheer?” und “Oh! my honey,”
I'm a Pritish tar, vhat coomed from Amsterdam.

I vas followed soon py Yanson, Hans, and Fritz,
Und men from Scandinavia, until
You might hunt all your Pritish ships to bits,
Und you couldn't neffer find a Tom or Pill.
Dere vas no vons from der Clyde or Tipperary,
Dere vas neffer any Pat or Yack or Sam;
Und Dick, und Yoe, und Sandy, Mick, und Harry,
Dey vas hunted py der man from Amsterdam.

  ― 163 ―
Den shplice der prace, und throw der main deck ofer,
Und oop der puckets fill, mit lager peer,
Ve'll sail der seas from Shmoky Cape to Dover,
Und ve'll pust oorselfes der Union Yack to cheer.
Put if der clouds of war should effer threaten,
For Priton's foes ve didn't gif a dam,
Ve'll neffer shtop to see oorselfs get peaten,
For ve'll luff her oop und off for Amsterdam.

  ― 164 ―

The Dream of Harum-Scarum

note 'Twas near the chime of supper time, the night was calm and cool,
As five and-twenty legislators bounded out of school.
And they sought the snug refreshment-room as tadpoles seek a pool.

And as they passed the jovial glass their tongues all glibly ran,
Stones of the Democratic Arch, they gloried in its span,
But the “Keystone" sat remote from all, a melancholy man.

He wore a meek and crumpled look, his voice was but a wheeze,
An air of care was on his brow, for his mind was ill at ease;
So he leaned his head on his hand and read the papers on his knees.

  ― 165 ―
Sheaf after sheaf he turned them o'er, nor ever glanced aside,
He read the cost of wild-cat schemes and the price of humbled pride;
He saw the ghosts of buried hopes, and wondered why they died.

Then leaping to his feet upright, some moody turns he took,
He sought the Labour Members' room to find a quiet nook;
And, lo! he saw a swarthy man, who pored upon a book.

"Jimmy, my boy, what is't you read? Some tale of bygone ages?
Or is it some new scheme to get less work for bigger wages?”
But Jimmy gave an upward glance: “'Tis Hansard's classic pages.”

Six hasty strides the “Keystone" took, as smit by Jimmy's glance,
Then slowly he came back to talk political romance;
And sitting down by Jimmy's side, he spoke about finance.

  ― 166 ―
He told how Fat Men walk the earth with stores of wealth untold,
All eager to invest it in a policy that's bold;
And how to prop the Sacred Arch he'd spent the Fat Man's gold.

"Ah, well,” quoth he, “I know for truth their wealth must be extreme;
It ought to keep on flowing in a vast perennial stream.
But, Jim, methought last night I killed the Fat Man in a dream.

“I did not use a knife or gun to strike him stiff and cold,
I hit him with a policy that was both new and bold;
I guessed that that would lay him flat, and I could spend his gold.

"Two sudden blows with the Income Tax and one with a Heavy Loan,
One extra squeeze with the Day-Work stroke and then the deed was done;
There was nothing lying at my feet but lifeless flesh and bone.

  ― 167 ―
"Methought a crowd then gathered round, from town and bush they came,
Ten thousand thousand unemployed, all crying out with blame;
I took the Fat Man by the hand and called upon his name.

"And, lo! from forth the famished crowd, from starving child and wife,
There came a bitter, mournful cry that filled my ears with strife:
'Thou foolish man, take up thy dead and bring it back to life!’

"I took the Fat Man's body up and bore it to a stream,
I bathed his brow with Common Sense! my fright was so extreme;
But Jim, my boy, remember this was nothing but a dream.

"For months I lived in agony, from weary chime to chime,
The Arch, that stood so solid once was shaking all the time;
The very rock on which it stood seemed changing into slime.

  ― 168 ―
"My only hope was now a loan, and I resolved to try,
I called upon the Fat Man with a wild despairing cry;
But the Fat Man lay a heap of clay, and the stream of gold was dry.

"Then down I cast me on my face, and first began to weep,
For I felt my billet then was one I could not hope to keep;
And I cursed the howling unemployed with curses loud and deep.

"And now that wretched, horrid dream, pursues me while awake,
Again, again, with frenzied brain, the Fat Man's life I take;
And the constant wobbling of the Arch makes e'en the 'Keystone' shake.

"And still no peace from the hungry throng will night or day allow;
The unemployed pursue my soul. They stand before me now!”
The frightened Jim looked up, and saw huge drops upon his brow.

  ― 169 ―
That very night, while gentle sleep Jim's tired eyes caressed,
The “Keystone" tumbled from the Arch, then down fell all the rest;
And Harum-Scarum lay beneath with the ruins on his chest.

  ― 170 ―


In thy garden, Illawarra, where the giant lilies grow,
And the brightly blooming coral-trees expend their ruddy glow,
Where the tendrils of the lawyer-bush affectionately cling,
And the strong and graceful supple-jacks from lofty branches swing,
Where the hills are always smiling, and the valleys wondrous fair,
Where the stately eucalyptus spreads a fragrance through the air,
Where breaking seas on golden sands their crested billows roll;
'Twas there I first saw bonny Kate, the lode-star of my soul.

In thy garden, Illawarra, from the mountains to the sea,
In thy gorgeous wealth of blossoms, there was none so fair as she.

  ― 171 ―
Her form was supple as thy vines that cluster overhead,
Thy coral bloom grew pale beside her lips of ruddy red.
Her mind was pure and guileless as thy sea-swept golden sands,
Her voice was like a magic harp touched by celestial hands;
Her very presence formed a link 'twixt earth and heaven above,
And thy fragrant air grew greater with the perfume of her love.

In thy garden, Illawarra, where the giant lilies wave,
'Mid the tangled ferns and flannel flowers, there lies a lonely grave.
For Death came riding by, and plucked my blossom in his flight,
And all thy gorgeous Paradise grew barren in a night.
For me thy flowers no longer bloom, thy valleys smile no more,
And thou art Desolation, from the mountain to the shore;
There's a dirge among the supple-jacks, a requiem by the sea,
For thy garden is a sepulchre, where all is Death to me.

  ― 172 ―


As we travel Life's weary journey,
And plod through the gathering years,
With our burdens of care and sorrow,
O'er a pathway bedewed with tears.
If, perchance, for a fleeting moment
Our hearts should with rapture swell,
We have added but one more sorrow,
When we bid the glad time “Farewell.”

I have watched the bright dawn awaking,
And noted each changing light,
As the sun, in its morning splendour,
Dispelled the dark gloom of night.
I have welcomed its bright rays stealing
Over hill-top, and wood, and dell;
Yet, my joy was alloyed with sorrow,
As I bade the bright stars “Farewell.”

  ― 173 ―
I have seen the red sun descending
To its home in the glowing west,
Whilst the tremulous voice of nature
Was solemnly lulled to rest.
I have welcomed the stars, appearing,
And greeted them one by one,
Yet, my greeting was toned with sadness,
As I said “Farewell" to the sun.

When we welcome the summer sunshine,
Farewell to the flowers of Spring.
Adieu to the fruits of Autumn,
When we welcome the frosty king.
Good-bye to the joys of childhood,
When vigorous youth appears;
Then - a season of strife and turmoil,
And - farewell to the vanished years.

I am sighing a farewell message,
As I sit in the gathering gloom.
Farewell to all earthly sorrows,
Then - rest, in the silent tomb.
Farewell to the trees, and flowers,
To mountain, and stream, and dell,
Farewell to the glorious sunlight,
To the moon and stars, “Farewell.”

  ― 174 ―
Farewell to each earthly passion,
To vanity, pride, and strife,
To jealousy, hate, and discord,
To this vanishing dream, called life.
Ambition, nor glory, tempts me,
To yield to their magic spell,
And a feeling of peace pervades me,
As I utter my last “Farewell.”

For I see, through the opening shadows,
A light, like a beacon star,
Inspiring my soul to glory,
As it beckons me from afar.
'Tis the Star of Hope, inviting
To absolute peace and rest,
And I know that the Great Designer
Has planned what is wise and best.

And I feel that, in His great mercy,
In His infinite power and might,
In His justice and perfect wisdom,
His ordinance must be right.
As the Spirit of Hope steals o'er me,
Its whisperings seem to tell
That the perfect and bright hereafter
Will know not the word - “Farewell.”