Andrew Barton Paterson

Found 145 thoughts of Andrew Barton Paterson

The Pannikin Poet

There's nothing here sublime,
But just a roving rhyme,
Run off to pass the time,
With nought titanic in.
The theme that it supports,
And, though it treats of quarts,
It's bare of golden thoughts --
It's just a pannikin.

I think it's rather hard
That each Australian bard --
Each wan, poetic card --
With thoughts galvanic in
His fiery thought alight,
In wild aerial flight,
Will sit him down and write
About a pannikin.

He makes some new-chum fare
From out his English lair
To hunt the native bear,
That curious mannikin;
And then the times get bad
That wandering English lad
Writes out a message sad
Upon his pannikin:

"O mother, think of me
Beneath the wattle tree"
(For you may bet that he
Will drag the wattle in)
"O mother, here I think
That I shall have to sink,
There ain't a single drink
The water-bottle in."

The dingo homeward hies,
The sooty crows uprise
And caw their fierce surprise
A tone Satanic in;
And bearded bushmen tread
Around the sleeper's head --
"See here -- the bloke is dead!
Now where's his pannikin?"

They read his words and weep,
And lay him down to sleep
Where wattle branches sweep,
A style mechanic in;
And, reader, that's the way
The poets of today
Spin out their little lay
About a pannikin.

Andrew Barton Paterson

The Amateur Rider

Him goin' to ride for us! Him -- with the pants and the eyeglass and all.
Amateur! don't he just look it -- it's twenty to one on a fall.
Boss must be gone off his head to be sending out steeplechase crack
Out over fences like these with an object like that on his back.
Ride! Don't tell me he can ride. With his pants just as loose as balloons,
How can he sit on a horse? and his spurs like a pair of harpoons;
Ought to be under the Dog Act, he ought, and be kept off the course.
Fall! why, he'd fall off a cart, let alone off a steeplechase horse.

* *

Yessir! the 'orse is all ready -- I wish you'd have rode him before;
Nothing like knowing your 'orse, sir, and this chap's a terror to bore;
Battleaxe always could pull, and he rushes his fences like fun --
Stands off his jump twenty feet, and then springs like a shot from a gun.

Oh, he can jump 'em all right, sir, you make no mistake, 'e's a toff --
Clouts 'em in earnest, too, sometimes; you mind that he don't clout you off --
Don't seem to mind how he hits 'em, his shins is as hard as a nail,
Sometimes you'll see the fence shake and the splinters fly up from the rail.

All you can do is to hold him and just let him jump as he likes,
Give him his head at the fences, and hang on like death if he strikes;
Don't let him run himself out -- you can lie third or fourth in the race --
Until you clear the stone wall, and from that you can put on the pace.

Fell at that wall once, he did, and it gave him a regular spread,
Ever since that time he flies it -- he'll stop if you pull at his head,
Just let him race -- you can trust him -- he'll take first-class care he don't fall,
And I think that's the lot -- but remember, he must have his head at the wall.

* *

Well, he's down safe as far as the start, and he seems to sit on pretty neat,
Only his baggified breeches would ruinate anyone's seat --
They're away -- here they come -- the first fence, and he's head over heels for a crown!
Good for the new chum! he's over, and two of the others are down!

Now for the treble, my hearty -- By Jove, he can ride, after all;
Whoop, that's your sort -- let him fly them! He hasn't much fear of a fall.
Who in the world would have thought it? And aren't they just going a pace?
Little Recruit in the lead there will make it a stoutly-run race.

Lord! but they're racing in earnest -- and down goes Recruit on his head,
Rolling clean over his boy -- it's a miracle if he ain't dead.
Battleaxe, Battleaxe, yet! By the Lord, he's got most of 'em beat --
Ho! did you see how he struck, and the swell never moved in his seat?

Second time round, and, by Jingo! he's holding his lead of 'em well;
Hark to him clouting the timber! It don't seem to trouble the swell.
Now for the wall -- let him rush it. A thirty-foot leap, I declare --
Never a shift in his seat, and he's racing for home like a hare.

What's that that's chasing him -- Rataplan -- regular demon to stay!
Sit down and ride for your life now! Oh, good, that's the style -- come away!
Rataplan's certain to beat you, unless you can give him the slip,
Sit down and rub in the whalebone -- now give him the spurs and the whip!

Battleaxe, Battleaxe, yet -- and it's Battleaxe wins for a crown;
Look at him rushing the fences, he wants to bring t'other chap down.
Rataplan never will catch him if only he keeps on his pins;
Now! the last fence, and he's over it! Battleaxe, Battleaxe wins!

* *

Well, sir, you rode him just perfect -- I knew from the fust you could ride.
Some of the chaps said you couldn't, an' I says just like this a' one side:
Mark me, I says, that's a tradesman -- the saddle is where he was bred.
Weight! you're all right, sir, and thank you; and them was the words that I said.

Andrew Barton Paterson

A Voice from the Town

I thought, in the days of the droving,
Of steps I might hope to retrace,
To be done with the bush and the roving
And settle once more in my place.
With a heart that was well nigh to breaking,
In the long, lonely rides on the plain,
I thought of the pleasure of taking
The hand of a lady again.
I am back into civilization,
Once more in the stir and the strife,
But the old joys have lost their sensation --
The light has gone out of my life;
The men of my time they have married,
Made fortunes or gone to the wall;
Too long from the scene I have tarried,
And somehow, I'm out of it all.

For I go to the balls and the races
A lonely companionless elf,
And the ladies bestow all their graces
On others less grey than myself;
While the talk goes around I'm a dumb one
'Midst youngsters that chatter and prate,
And they call me "The Man who was Someone
Way back in the year Sixty-eight."

And I look, sour and old, at the dancers
That swing to the strains of the band,
And the ladies all give me the Lancers,
No waltzes -- I quite understand.
For matrons intent upon matching
Their daughters with infinite push,
Would scarce think him worthy the catching,
The broken-down man from the bush.
New partners have come and new faces,
And I, of the bygone brigade,
Sharply feel that oblivion my place is --
I must lie with the rest in the shade.
And the youngsters, fresh-featured and pleasant,
They live as we lived -- fairly fast;
But I doubt if the men of the present
Are as good as the men of the past.

Of excitement and praise they are chary,
There is nothing much good upon earth;
Their watchword is nil admirari,
They are bored from the days of their birth.
Where the life that we led was a revel
They "wince and relent and refrain" --
I could show them the road -- to the devil,
Were I only a youngster again.

I could show them the road where the stumps are,
The pleasures that end in remorse,
And the game where the Devil's three trumps are
The woman, the card, and the horse.
Shall the blind lead the blind -- shall the sower
Of wind read the storm as of yore?
Though they get to their goal somewhat slower,
They march where we hurried before.

For the world never learns -- just as we did
They gallantly go to their fate,
Unheeded all warnings, unheeded
The maxims of elders sedate.
As the husbandman, patiently toiling,
Draws a harvest each year from the soil,
So the fools grow afresh for the spoiling,
And a new crop of thieves for the spoil.

But a truce to this dull moralizing,
Let them drink while the drops are of gold.
I have tasted the dregs -- 'twere surprising
Were the new wine to me like the old;
And I weary for lack of employment
In idleness day after day,
For the key to the door of enjoyment
Is Youth -- and I've thrown it away.

Andrew Barton Paterson

The Ballad of the Carpet Bag

Ho! Darkies, don't you hear dose voters cryin'
Pack dat carpet bag!
You must get to de Poll, you must get there flyin';
Pack dat carpet bag!
You must travel by de road, you must travel by de train,
And the things what you've done you will have to explain,
And the things what you've promised, you must promise 'em again.
Pack dat carpet bag!
Hear dem voters callin!
Pack de clean boiled rag.
For there's grass in the west, and the rain am fallin'.
Pack dat carpet bag!

You must pack up a volume of Coghlan's Figures,
Pack dat carpet bag!
And a lot o' little jokes to amuse those niggers.
Pack dat carpet bag!
You must wheedle all de gals with a twinkle of your eye,
You must bob down your head when de eggs begin to fly.
Oh! those eggs what they're saving, and they'll throw 'em by and by.
Pack dat carpet bag!

Hear dem voters callin'!
Pack de clean boiled rag.
For there's grass in the west, and the rain am fallin'.
Pack dat carpet bag!

You must get upon a stump, you must practise speakin',
Pack dat carpet bag!
You must follow Georgie Reid or Alfred Deakin.
Pack dat carpet bag!
You must come to de scratch, or you're bound to fail,
For it ain't any time to be sittin' on de rail,
Or de votes that you'll get -- they won't keep you out o' jail.
Pack dat carpet bag!

Hear dem voters callin'!
Pack de clean boiled rag.
For there's grass in the west, and the rain am fallin'.
Pack dat carpet bag!

And supposin' that you're beat, and you feel like cryin',
Pack dat carpet bag!
You must hustle back to work -- just to keep from dyin'.
Pack dat carpet bag!
You must travel second-class when you travel by de train,
For you haven't got a pass on de end of your chain,
While the other fellow's packing for de great campaign.
Pack dat carpet bag!

Hear dem voters callin'!
Pack de clean boiled rag.
For there's grass in the west, and the rain am fallin'.
Pack dat carpet bag!

Andrew Barton Paterson

Why the Jackass Laughs

The Boastful Crow and the Laughing Jack
Were telling tales of the outer back:
"I've just been travelling far and wide,
At the back of Bourke and the Queensland side;
There isn't a bird in the bush can go
As far as me," said the old black crow.
"There isn't a bird in the bush can fly
A course as straight or a course as high.
Higher than human eyesight goes.

There's sometimes clouds -- but there's always crows,
Drifting along for a scent of blood
Or a smell of smoke or a sign of flood.
For never a bird or a beast has been
With a sight as strong or a scent as keen.
At fires and floods I'm the first about,
For then the lizards and mice run out:
And I make my swoop -- and that's all they know --
I'm a whale on mice," said the Boastful Crow.

The Bee-birds over the homestead flew
And told each other the long day through
"The cold has come, we must take the track."
"Now, I'll make you a bet," said the Laughing Jack,
"Of a hundred mice, that you dare not go
With the little Bee-birds, by Boastful Crow."

Said the Boastful Crow, "I could take my ease
And fly with little green birds like these.
If they went flat out and they did their best
I could have a smoke and could take a rest."
And he asked of the Bee-birds circling round:
"Now, where do you spike-tails think you're bound?"
"We leave tonight, and out present plan
is to go straight on till we reach Japan.

"Every year, on the self-same day,
We call our children and start away,
Twittering, travelling day and night,
Over the ocean we take our flight;
And we rest a day on some lonely isles
Or we beg a ride for a hundred miles
On a steamer's deck,* and away we go:
We hope you'll come with us, Mister Crow."

But the old black crow was extremely sad.
Said he: "I reckon you're raving mad
To talk of travelling night and day,
And how in the world do you find your way?"
And the Bee-birds answered him, "If you please,
That's one of our own great mysteries".

Now these things chanced in the long ago
And explain the fact, which no doubt you know,
That every jackass high and low
Will always laugh when he sees a crow.

Andrew Barton Paterson

Pioneers

They came of bold and roving stock that would not fixed abide;
There were the sons of field and flock since e’er they learned to ride;
We may not hope to see such men in these degenerate years
As those explorers of the bush – the brave old pioneers.

‘Twas they who rode the trackless bush in heat and storm and drought;
‘Twas they that heard the master-word that called them further out;
‘Twas they that followed up the trail the mountain cattle made
And pressed across the mighty range where now their bones are laid.

But now the times are dull and slow, the brave old days are dead
When hardy bushmen started out, and forced their way ahead
By tangled scrub and forests grim towards the unknown west,
And spied the far off promised land from off the ranges’ crest.

Oh! Ye, that sleep in lonely graves by far-off ridge and plain,
We drink to you in silence now as Christmas comes again,
The men who fought the wilderness through rough unsettled years –
The founders of our nation’s life, the brave old pioneers.

Andrew Barton Paterson

Tommy Corrigan

You talk of riders on the flat, of nerve and pluck and pace --
Not one in fifty has the nerve to ride a steeplechase.
It's right enough, while horses pull and take their faces strong,
To rush a flier to the front and bring the field along;
Bur what about the last half-mile, with horses blown and beat --
When every jump means all you know to keep him on his feet.
When any slip means sudden death -- with wife and child to keep --
It needs some nerve to draw the whip and flog him at the leap --
But Corrigan would ride them out, by danger undismayed,
He never flinched at fence or wall, he never was afraid;
With easy seat and nerve of steel, light hand and smiling face,
He held the rushing horses back, and made the sluggards race.

He gave the shirkers extra heart, he steadied down the rash,
He rode great clumsy boring brutes, and chanced a fatal smash;
He got the rushing Wymlet home that never jumped at all --
But clambered over every fence and clouted every wall.
You should have heard the cheers, my boys, that shook the members' stand
Whenever Tommy Corrigan weighed out to ride Lone Hand.

They were, indeed, a glorious pair -- the great upstanding horse,
The gamest jockey on his back that ever faced a course.
Though weight was big and pace was hot and fences stiff and tall,
"You follow Tommy Corrigan" was passed to one and all.
And every man on Ballarat raised all he could command
To put on Tommy Corrigan when riding old Lone Hand.

But now we'll keep his memory green while horsemen come and go;
We may not see his like again where silks and satins glow.
We'll drink to him in silence, boys -- he's followed down the track
Where many a good man went before, but never one came back.
Amd, let us hope, in that far land where the shades of brave men reign,
The gallant Tommy Corrigan will ride Lone Hand again.

Andrew Barton Paterson

The Premier and the Socialist

The Premier and the Socialist
Were walking through the State:
They wept to see the Savings Bank
Such funds accumulate.
"If these were only cleared away,"
They said, "it would be great."
"If three financial amateurs
Controlled them for a year,
Do you suppose," the Premier said,
"That they would get them clear?"
"I think so," said the Socialist;
"They would -- or very near!"

"If we should try to raise some cash
On assets of our own,
Do you suppose," the Premier said,
"That we could float a loan?"
"I doubt it," said the Socialist,
And groaned a doleful groan.

"Oh, Savings, come and walk with us!"
The Premier did entreat;
"A little walk, a little talk,
Away from Barrack Street;
My Socialistic friend will guide
Your inexperienced feet."

"We do not think," the Savings said,
"A socialistic crank,
Although he chance just now to hold
A legislative rank,
Can teach experienced Banking men
The way to run a Bank."

The Premier and the Socialist
They passed an Act or so
To take the little Savings out
And let them have a blow.
"We'll teach the Banks," the Premier said,
"The way to run the show.

"There's Tom Waddell -- in Bank finance
Can show them what is what.
I used to prove not long ago
His Estimates were rot.
But that -- like many other things --
I've recently forgot.

"Advances on a dried-out farm
Are what we chiefly need,
And loaned to friends of Ms.L.A.
Are very good, indeed,
See how the back-block Cockatoos
Are rolling up to feed."

"But not on us," the Savings cried,
Falling a little flat,
"We didn't think a man like you
Would do a thing like that;
For most of us are very small,
And none of us are fat."

"This haughty tone," the Premier said,
"Is not the proper line;
Before I'd be dictated to
My billet I'd resign!"
"How brightly," said the Socialist,
"Those little sovereigns shine."

The Premier and the Socialist
They had their bit of fun;
They tried to call the Savings back
But answer came there none,
Because the back-block Cockatoos
Had eaten every one.

Andrew Barton Paterson

Sydney Cup 1899

Of course they say if this Bobadil starts
He'll settle 'em all in a flash:
For the pace he can go will be breaking their hearts,
And he ends with the "Bobadil dash".
But there's one in the race is a fance of mine
Whenever the distance is far --
Crosslake! He's inbred to the Yattendon line,
And we know what the Yattendons are.
His feet are his trouble: they're tender as gum!
If only his feet are got straight,
If the field were all Bobadils --let 'em all come
So long as they carry the weight.
For a three-year-old colt with nine-three on his back --
Well, he needs to be rather a star!
And with seven stone ten we will trust the old black,
For we know what the Yattendons are.

He is sired by Lochiel, which ensures that his pace
Is enough, and a little to spare.
But the blood that will tell at the end of the race
Is the blood of the Yattendon mare.
And this "Bobby" will find, when the whips are about,
It's a very fast journey and far.
And there's just the least doubt -- will he battle it out?
Nut we know what the Yattendons are.

In the rest of the field there are some that can stay,
And a few that can fly -- while they last.
But the old black outsider will go all the way,
And finish uncommonly fast.
If his feet last him out to the end of the trip --
Bare-footed or shod with a bar --
If he once gets this Bobadil under the whip,
Then he'll show what the Yattendons are.

Andrew Barton Paterson

The Quest Eternal

O west of all that a man holds dear, on the edge of the Kingdom Come,
Where carriage is far too high for beer, and the pubs keep only rum,
On the sunburnt ways of the Outer Back, on the plains of the darkening scrub,
I have followed the wandering teamster's track, and it always led to a pub.
There's always in man some gift to show, some power he can command,
And mine is the Gift that I always know when a pub is close at hand;
I can pick them out on the London streets, though most of their pubs are queer,
Such solid-looking and swell retreats, with never a sign of beer.

In the march of the boys through Palestine when the noontide fervour glowed,
Over the desert in thirsty line our sunburnt squadrons rode.
They looked at the desert lone and drear, stone ridges and stunted scrub,
And said, "We should have had Ginger here, I bet he'd have found a pub!"

We started out in the noonday heat on a trip that was fast and far,
We took in one each side of the street to balance the blooming car,
But then we started a long dry run on a road we did not know,
In the blinding gleam of the noonday sun, with the dust as white as snow.

For twenty minutes without a drink we strove with our dreadful thirst,
But the chauffeur pointed and said, "I think ----," I answered, "I saw it first!"
A pub with a good old-fashioned air, with bottles behind the blind,
And a golden tint in the barmaid's hair -- I could see it all -- in my mind --

Ere ever the motor ceased its roar, ere ever the chauffeur knew,
I made a dash for the open door, and madly darted through.
I looked for the barmaid, golden-crowned as they were in the good old time,
And -- shades of Hennessy! -- what I found was a wowser selling "lime!"
And the scoundrel said as he stopped to put on his lime-washed boots a rub,
"The Local Option voted it shut, it ain't no longer a pub!"

'Twas then I rose to my greatest heights in dignified retreat
(The greatest men in the world's great fights are those who are great in defeat).
I shall think with pride till the day I die of my confidence sublime,
For I looked the wowser straight in the eye, and asked for a pint of lime.

Andrew Barton Paterson

Daylight is Dying

The daylight is dying
Away in the west,
The wild birds are flying
in silence to rest;
In leafage and frondage
Where shadows are deep,
They pass to its bondage--
The kingdom of sleep
And watched in their sleeping
By stars in the height,
They rest in your keeping,
O wonderful night.
When night doth her glories
Of starshine unfold,
'Tis then that the stories
Of bush-land are told.

Unnumbered I told them
In memories bright,
But who could unfold them,
Or read them aright?
Beyond all denials
The stars in their glories,
The breeze in the myalls,
Are part of these stories.

The waving of grasses,
The song of the river
That sings as it passes
For ever and ever,
The hobble-chains' rattle,
The calling of birds,
The lowing of cattle
Must blend with the words.

Without these, indeed you
Would find it ere long,
As though I should read you
The words of a song
That lamely would linger
When lacking the rune,
The voice of a singer,
The lilt of the tune.

But as one halk-bearing
An old-time refrain,
With memory clearing,
Recalls it again,
These tales roughly wrought of
The Bush and its ways,
May call back a thought of
The wandering days;
And, blending with each
In the memories that throng
There haply shall reach
You some echo of song.

Andrew Barton Paterson

The Mountain Squatter

Here in my mountain home,
On rugged hills and steep,
I sit and watch you come,
O Riverinia Sheep!
You come from the fertile plains
Where saltbush (sometimes) grows,
And flats that (when it rains)
Will blossom like the rose.

But when the summer sun
Gleams down like burnished brass,
You have to leave your run
And hustle off for grass.

'Tis then that -- forced to roam --
You come to where I keep,
Here in my mountain home,
A boarding-house for sheep.

Around me where I sit
The wary wombat goes --
A beast of little wit,
But what he knows, he knows.

The very same remark
Applies to me also;
I don't give out a spark,
But what I know, I know.

My brain perhaps would show
No convolutions deep,
But anyhow I know
The way to handle sheep.

These Riverina cracks,
They do not care to ride
The half-inch hanging tracks
Along the mountain side.

Their horses shake with fear
When loosened boulders go
With leaps, like startled deer,
Down to the gulfs below.

Their very dogs will shirk,
And drop their tails in fright
When asked to go and work
A mob that's out of sight.

My little collie pup
Works silently and wide;
You'll see her climbing up
Along the mountain side.

As silent as a fox
You'll see her come and go,
A shadow through the rocks
Where ash and messmate grow.

Then, lost to sight and sound
Behind some rugged steep,
She works her way around
And gathers up the sheep;

And, working wide and shy,
She holds them rounded up.
The cash ain't coined to buy
That little collie pup.

And so I draw a screw
For self and dog and keep
To boundary-ride for you,
O Riverina Sheep!

And, when the autumn rain
Has made the herbage grow,
You travel off again,
And glad -- no doubt -- to go.

But some are left behind
Around the mountain's spread,
For those we cannot find
We put them down as dead.

So, when we say adieu
And close the boarding job,
I always find a few
Fresh ear-marks in my mob.

And, what with those I sell,
And what with those I keep,
You pay me pretty well,
O Riverina Sheep!

It's up to me to shout
Before we say good-bye --
"Here's to a howlin' drought
All west of Gundagai!

Andrew Barton Paterson

In the Stable

What! you don't like him; well, maybe -- we all have our fancies, of course:
Brumby to look at, you reckon? Well, no; he's a thoroughbred horse;
Sired by a son of old Panic -- look at his ears and his head --
Lop-eared and Roman-nosed, ain't he? -- well, that's how the Panics are bred.
Gluttonous, ugly and lazy, rough as a tipcart to ride,
Yet if you offered a sovereign apiece for the hairs on his hide
That wouldn't buy him, nor twice that; while I've a pound to the good,
This here old stager stays by me and lives like a thoroughbred should;
Hunt him away from his bedding, and sit yourself down by the wall,
Till you hear how the old fellow saved me from Gilbert, O'Meally and Hall.
*

Gilbert and Hall and O'Meally, back in the bushranging days,
Made themselves kings of the district -- ruled it in old-fashioned ways --
Robbing the coach and the escort, stealing our horses at night,
Calling sometimes at the homesteads and giving the women a fright:
Came to the station one morning (and why they did this no one knows)
Took a brood mare from the paddock--wanting some fun, I suppose --
Fastened a bucket beneath her, hung by a strap around her flank,
Then turned her loose in the timber back of the seven-mile tank.

Go? She went mad! She went tearing and screaming with fear through the trees,
While the curst bucket beneath her was banging her flanks and her knees.
Bucking and racing and screaming she ran to the back of the run,
Killed herself there in a gully; by God, but they paid for their fun!
Paid for it dear, for the black-boys found tracks, and the bucket, and all,
And I swore that I'd live to get even with Gilbert, O'Meally and Hall.

Day after day then I chased them -- 'course they had friends on the sly,
Friends who were willing to sell them to those who were willing to buy.
Early one morning we found them in camp at the Cockatoo Farm;
One of us shot at O'Meally and wounded him under the arm:
Ran them for miles in the ranges, till Hall, with his horse fairly beat,
Took to the rocks and we lost him -- the others made good their retreat.
It was war to the knife then, I tell you, and once, on the door of my shed,
They nailed up a notice that offered a hundred reward for my head!
Then we heard they were gone from the district; they stuck up a coach in the West,
And I rode by myself in the paddocks, just taking a bit of a rest,
Riding this colt as a youngster -- awkward, half-broken and shy,
He wheeled round one day on a sudden; I looked, but I couldn't see why --
But I soon found out why, for before me the hillside rose up like a wall,
And there on the top with their rifles were Gilbert, O'Meally and Hall!

'Twas a good three-mile run to the homestead -- bad going, with plenty of trees --
So I gathered the youngster together, and gripped at his ribs with my knees.
'Twas a mighty poor chance to escape them! It puts a man's nerve to the test
On a half-broken colt to be hunted by the best mounted men in the West.
But the half-broken colt was a racehorse! He lay down to work with a will.
Flashed through the scrub like a clean-skin-by heavens, we flew down the hill!
Over a twenty-foot gully he swept with the spring of a deer,
And they fired as we jumped, but they missed me -- a bullet sang close to my ear --
And the jump gained us ground, for they shirked it: but I saw as we raced through the gap
That the rails at the homestead were fastened -- I was caught like a rat in a trap.
Fenced with barbed wire was the paddock -- barbed wire that would cut like a knife --
How was a youngster to clear it that never had jumped in his life?

Bang went a rifle behind me -- the colt gave a spring, he was hit;
Straight at the sliprails I rode him -- I felt him take hold of the bit;
Never a foot to the right or the left did he swerve in his stride,
Awkward and frightened, but honest, the sort it's a pleasure to ride!
Straight at the rails, where they'd fastened barbed wire on the top of the post,
Rose like a stag and went over, with hardly a scratch at the most;
Into the homestead I darted, and snatched down my gun from the wall,
And I tell you I made them step lively, Gilbert, O'Meally and Hail.

Yes! There's the mark of the bullet -- he's got it inside of him yet,
Mixed up somehow with his victuals; but, bless you, he don't seem to fret!
Gluttonous, ugly, and lazy -- eats anything he can bite;
Now, let us shut up the stable, and bid the old fellow good night.
Ah! we can't breed 'em, the son that were bred when we old uns were young....
Yes, as I said, these bushrangers, none of 'em lived to be hung.
Gilbert was shot by the troopers, Hall was betrayed by his friend,
Campbell disposed of O'Meally, bringing the lot to an end.
But you can talk about riding -- I've ridden a lot in the past --
Wait till there's rifles behind you, you'll know what it means to go fast!
I've steeplechased, raced, and "run horses", but I think the most dashing of all
Was the ride when that old fellow saved me from Gilbert, O'Meally and Hall!

Andrew Barton Paterson

Last Week

Oh, the new-chum went to the backblock run,
But he should have gone there last week.
He tramped ten miles with a loaded gun,
But of turkey of duck saw never a one,
For he should have been there last week,
They said,
There were flocks of 'em there last week.
He wended his way to a waterfall,
And he should have gone there last week.
He carried a camera, legs and all,
But the day was hot and the stream was small,
For he should have gone there last week,
They said,
They drowned a man there last week.

He went for a drive, and he made a start,
Which should have been made last week,
For the old horse died of a broken heart;
So he footed it home and he dragged the cart --
But the horse was all right last week,
They said,
He trotted a match last week.

So he asked all the bushies who came from afar
To visit the town last week
If the'd dine with him, and they said "Hurrah!"
But there wasn't a drop in the whisky jar --
You should have been here last week,
He said,
I drank it all up last week!

Andrew Barton Paterson

Boots

We've travelled per Joe Gardiner, a humping of our swag
In the country of the Gidgee and Belar.
We've swum the Di'mantina with our raiment in a bag,
And we've travelled per superior motor car,
But when we went to Germany we hadn't any choice,
No matter what our training or pursuits,
For they gave us no selection 'twixt a Ford or Rolls de Royce
So we did it in our good Australian boots.
They called us "mad Australians"; they couldn't understand
How officers and men could fraternise,
Thay said that we were "reckless", we were "wild, and out of hand",
With nothing great or sacred to our eyes.
But on one thing you could gamble, in the thickest of the fray,
Though they called us volunteers and raw recruits,
You could track us past the shell holes, and the tracks were all one way
Of the good Australian ammunition boots.

The Highlanders were next of kin, the Irish were a treat,
The Yankees knew it all and had to learn,
The Frenchmen kept it going, both in vict'ry and defeat,
Fighting grimly till the tide was on the turn.
And our army kept beside 'em, did its bit and took its chance,
And I hailed our newborn nation and its fruits,
As I listened to the clatter on the cobblestones of France
Of the good Australian military boots.

Andrew Barton Paterson

A Triolet

Of all the sickly forms of verse,
Commend me to the triolet.
It makes bad writers somewhat worse:
Of all the sickly forms of verse,
That fall beneath a reader's curse,
It is the feeblest jingle yet.
Of all the sickly forms of verse,
Commend me to the triolet.

Andrew Barton Paterson

The Silent Shearer

Weary and listless, sad and slow,
Without any conversation,
Was a man that worked on The Overflow,
The butt of the shed and the station.

The shearers christened him Noisy Ned,
With an alias "Silent Waters",
But never a needless word he said
In the hut or the shearers' quarters.

Which caused annoyance to Big Barcoo,
The shed's unquestioned ringer,
Whose name was famous Australia through
As a dancer, fighter and singer.

He was fit for the ring, if he'd had his rights
As an agent of devastation;
And the number of men he had killed in fights
Was his principal conversation.

"I have known blokes go to their doom," said he,
"Through actin' with haste and rashness:
But the style that this Noisy Ned assumes,
It's nothing but silent flashness.

"We may just be dirt, from his point of view,
Unworthy a word in season;
But I'll make him talk like a cockatoo
Or I'll get him to show the reason."

Was it chance or fate, that King Condamine,
A king who had turned a black tracker,
Had captured a baby purcupine,
Which he swapped for a "fig tobacker"?

With the porcupine in the Silent's bed
The shearers were quite elated,
And the things to be done, and the words to be said,
Were anxiously awaited.

With a screech and a howl and an eldritch cry
That nearly deafened his hearers
He sprang from his bunk, and his fishy eye
Looked over the laughing shearers.

He looked them over and he looked them through
As a cook might look through a larder;
"Now, Big Barcoo, I must pick on you,
You're big, but you'll fall the harder."

Now, the silent man was but slight and thin
And of middleweight conformation,
But he hung one punch on the Barcoo's chin
And it ended the altercation.

"You've heard of the One-round Kid," said he,
"That hunted 'em all to shelter?
The One-round Finisher -- that was me,
When I fought as the Champion Welter.

"And this Barcoo bloke on his back reclines
For being a bit too clever,
For snakes and wombats and porcupines
Are nothing to me whatever.

"But the golden rule that I've had to learn
In the ring, and for years I've tried it,
Is only to talk when it comes your turn,
And never to talk outside it."

Andrew Barton Paterson

The Ballad of G. R. Dibbs

This is the story of G.R.D.,
Who went on a mission across the sea
To borrow some money for you and me.

This G. R. Dibbs was a stalwart man
Who was built on a most extensive plan,
And a regular staunch Republican.

But he fell in the hands of the Tory crew
Who said, "It's a shame that a man like you
Should teach Australia this nasty view.

"From her mother's side she should ne'er be gone,
And she ought to be glad to be smiled upon,
And proud to be known as our hanger-on."

And G. R. Dibbs, he went off his peg
At the swells who came for his smiles to beg
And the Prince of Wales -- who was pulling his leg

And he told them all when the wine had flown,
"The Australian has got no land of his own,
His home is England, and there alone."

So he strutted along with the titled band
And he sold the pride of his native land
For a bow and a smile and a shake of the hand.

And the Tory drummers they sit and call:
"Send over your leaders great and small;
For the price is low, and we'll buy them all

"With a tinsel title, a tawdry star
Of a lower grade than our titles are,
And a puff at a prince's big cigar."

And the Tories laugh till they crack their ribs
When they think how they purchased G. R. Dibbs.

Andrew Barton Paterson

The Scorcher and the Howling Swell

The Scorcher and the Howling Swell were riding through the land;
They wept like anything to see the hills on every hand;
"If these were only levelled down," they said, "it would be grand."

"If every bloke that rides a bike put in a half-a-crown,
Do you suppose," the Scorcher said, "that that would cut them down?"
"I doubt it," said the Howling Swell, and frowned a doleful frown.

"Oh, ladies, come and ride with us," the Scorcher did entreat,
"A little ride across the park and down the smoothest street,
And you will have a chance to show your very dainty feet."

The Scorcher rode up all the hills, as if the same were flat;
"It's very rude," the ladies said, "to ride as fast as that;
For all of us are out of breath - and some of us are fat."

"Cheer up, cheer up, my ladies gay," the Howling Swell replied;
"Behold a tea-shop by the way, with Globe Brand Tea inside;
And all who drink the Globe Brand Tea up any hill can ride."

And every lady in the band revived on Globe Brand Tea,
That Atcherley and Dawson sell in George Street, near the Quay,
And Howling Swells and Scorchers both proclaim its purity.

Andrew Barton Paterson

Now Listen to Me and I'll Tell You My Views

Now listen to me and I'll tell you my views concerning the African war,
And the man who upholds any different views, the same is a ritten Pro-Boer!
(Though I'm getting a little bit doubtful myself, as it drags on week after week:
But it's better not ask any questions at all -- let us silence all doubts with a shriek!)
And first let us shriek the unstinted abuse that the Tory Press prefer --
De Wet is a madman, and Steyn is a liar, and Kruger a pitiful cur!
(Though I think if Oom Paul -- as old as he is -- were to walk down the Strand with his gun,
A lot of these heroes would hide in the sewers or take to their heels and run!
For Paul he has fought like a man in his day, but now that he's feeble and weak
And tired, and lonely, and old and grey, of course it's quite safe to shriek!)

And next let us join in the bloodthirsty shriek, Hooray for Lord Kitchener's "bag"!
For the fireman's torch and the hangman's cord -- they are hung on the English Flag!
In the front of our brave old army! Whoop! the farmhouse blazes bright.
And the women weep and their children die -- how dare they presume to fight!
For none of them dress in a uniform, the same as by rights they ought.
They're fighting in rags and in naked feet, like Wallace's Scotchmen fought!
(And they clothe themselves from our captured troops -- and they're catching them every week;
And they don't hand them -- and the shame is ours, but we cover the shame with a shriek!)
And, lastly, we'll shriek the political shriek as we sit in the dark and doubt;
Where the Birmingham Judas led us in, and there's no one to lead us out.
And Rosebery -- whom we depended upon! Would only the Oracle speak!
"You go to the Grocers," says he, "for your laws!" By Heavens! it's time to shriek!

Andrew Barton Paterson

The Reveille

Trumpets of the Lancer Corps
Sound a loud reveille;
Sound it over Sydney shore,
Send the message far and wide
Down the Richmond River side.
Boot and Saddle, mount and ride,
Sound a loud reveille.
Whither go ye, Lancers gay,
With your bold reveille?
O'er the ocean far away
From your sunny southern home,
Over leagues of trackless foam
In a foreign land to roam,
With your bold reveille.

When we hear our brethren call,
Sound a clear reveille.
Then we answer, one and all,
Answer that the world may see,
Of the English stock are we,
At their side we still will be,
Sound a bold reveille.

English troops are buried deep.
Sound a soft reveille.
In this foreign land asleep,
Underneath Majuba Hill,
Lying sleeping very still,
Nevermore those squadrons will
Answer to reveille.

Onward without fear or doubt,
Sound a bold reveille.
'Till that shame is blotted out.
While our Empire's bounds are wide,
Britons all stand side by side,
Boot and saddle, mount and ride.
Hear the bold reveille.

Andrew Barton Paterson

A Dog's Mistake

He had drifted in among us as a straw drifts with the tide,
He was just a wand'ring mongrel from the weary world outside;
He was not aristocratic, being mostly ribs and hair,
With a hint of spaniel parents and a touch of native bear.
He was very poor and humble and content with what he got,
So we fed him bones and biscuits, till he heartened up a lot;
Then he growled and grew aggressive, treating orders with disdain,
Till at last he bit the butcher, which would argue want of brain.

Now the butcher, noble fellow, was a sport beyond belief,
And instead of bringing actions he brought half a shin of beef,
Which he handed on to Fido, who received it as a right
And removed it to the garden, where he buried it at night.

'Twas the means of his undoing, for my wife, who'd stood his friend,
To adopt a slang expression, "went in off the deepest end",
For among the pinks and pansies, the gloxinias and the gorse
He had made an excavation like a graveyard for a horse.

Then we held a consultation which decided on his fate:
'Twas in anger more than sorrow that we led him to the gate,
And we handed him the beef-bone as provision for the day,
Then we opened wide the portal and we told him, "On your way."

Andrew Barton Paterson

Shearing at Castlereagh

The bell is set a-ringing, and the engine gives a toot,
There's five-and-thirty shearers here a-shearing for the loot,
So stir yourselves, you penners-up, and shove the sheep along --
The musterers are fetching them a hundred thousand strong --
And make your collie dogs speak up; what would the buyers say
In London if the wool was late this year from Castlereagh?
The man that "rung" the Tubbo shed is not the ringer here,
That stripling from the Cooma-side can teach him how to shear.
They trim away the ragged locks, and rip the cutter goes,
And leaves a track of snowy fleece from brisket to the nose;
It's lovely how they peel it off with never stop nor stay,
They're racing for the ringer's place this year at Castlereagh.

The man that keeps the cutters sharp is growling in his cage,
He's always in a hurry; and he's always in a rage --
"You clumsy-fisted mutton-heads, you'd turn a fellow sick,
You pass yourselves as shearers, you were born to swing a pick.
Another broken cutter here, that's two you've broke today,
It's awful how such crawlers come to shear at Castlereagh."

The youngsters picking up the fleece enjoy the merry din,
They throw the classer up the fleece, he throws it to the bin;
The pressers standing by the rack are watching for the wool,
There's room for just a couple more, the press is nearly full;
Now jump upon the lever, lads, and heave and heave away,
Another bale of golden fleece is branded "Castlereagh".

Andrew Barton Paterson

With the Cattle

The drought is down on field and flock,
The river-bed is dry;
And we must shift the starving stock
Before the cattle die.
We muster up with weary hearts
At breaking of the day,
And turn our heads to foreign parts,
To take the stock away.
And it’s hunt ‘em up and dog ‘em,
And it’s get the whip and flog ‘em,
For it’s weary work, is droving, when they’re dying every day;
By stock routes bare and eaten,
On dusty roads and beaten,
With half a chance to save their lives we take the stock away.


We cannot use the whip for shame
On beasts that crawl along;
We have to drop the weak and lame,
And try to save the strong;
The wrath of God is on the track,
The drought fiend holds his sway;
With blows and cries the stockwhip crack
We take the stock away.
As they fall we leave them lying,
With the crows to watch them dying,
Grim sextons of the Overland that fasten on their prey;
By the fiery dust-storm drifting,
And the mocking mirage shifting,
In heat and drought and hopeless pain we take the stock away.


In dull despair the days go by
With never hope of change,
But every stage we feel more nigh
The distant mountain range;
And some may live to climb the pass,
And reach the great plateau,
And revel in the mountain grass
By streamlets fed with snow.
As the mountain wind is blowing
It starts the cattle lowing
And calling to each other down the dusty long array;
And there speaks a grizzled drover:
“Well, thank God, the worst is over,
The creatures smell the mountain grass that’s twenty miles away.”

They press towards the mountain grass,
They look with eager eyes
Along the rugged stony pass
That slopes towards the skies;
Their feet may bleed from rocks and stones,
But, though the blood-drop starts,
They struggle on with stifled groans,
For hope is in their hearts.
And the cattle that are leading,
Though their feet are worn and bleeding,
Are breaking to a kind of run – pull up, and let them go!
For the mountain wind is blowing,
And the mountain grass is growing,
They’ll settle down by running streams ice-cold with melted snow.

The days are gone of heat and drought
Upon the stricken plain;
The wind has shifted right about,
And brought the welcome rain;
The river runs with sullen roar,
All flecked with yellow foam,
And we must take the road once more
To bring the cattle home.
And it’s “Lads! We’ll raise a chorus,
There’s a pleasant trip before us.”
And the horses bound beneath us as we start them down the track;
And the drovers canter, singing,
Through the sweet green grasses springing
Towards the far-off mountain-land, to bring the cattle back.


Are these the beasts we brought away
That move so lively now?
They scatter off like flying spray
Across the mountain’s brow;
And dashing down the rugged range
We hear the stockwhips crack –
Good faith, it is a welcome change
To bring such cattle back.
And it’s “Steady down the lead there!”
And it’s “Let ‘em stop and feed there!”
For they’re wild as mountain eagles, and their sides are all afoam;
But they’re settling down already,
And they’ll travel nice and steady;
With cheery call and jest and song we fetch the cattle home.


We have to watch them close at night
For fear they’ll make a rush,
And break away in headlong flight
Across the open bush;
And by the camp-fire’s cheery blaze,
With mellow voice and strong,
We hear the lonely watchman raise the Overlander’s song:
“Oh, it’s when we’re done with roving,
With the camping and the droving,
It’s homeward down the Bland we’ll go, and never more we’ll roam”;
While the stars shine out above us,
Like the eyes of those who love us –
The eyes of those who watch and wait to greet the cattle home.


The plains are all awave with grass,
The skies are deepest blue;
And leisurely the cattle pass
And feed the long day through;
But when we sight the station gate
We make the stockwhips crack,
A welcome sound to those who wait
To greet the cattle back:
And through the twilight falling
We hear their voices calling,
As the cattle splash across the ford and churn it into foam;
And the children run to meet us,
And our wives and sweethearts greet us,
Their heroes from the Overland who brought the cattle home.

Andrew Barton Paterson

Conroy's Gap

This was the way of it, don't you know --
Ryan was "wanted" for stealing sheep,
And never a trooper, high or low,
Could find him -- catch a weasel asleep!
Till Trooper Scott, from the Stockman's Ford --
A bushman, too, as I've heard them tell --
Chanced to find him drunk as a lord
Round at the Shadow of Death Hotel.
D'you know the place? It's a wayside inn,
A low grog-shanty -- a bushman trap,
Hiding away in its shame and sin
Under the shelter of Conroy's Gap --
Under the shade of that frowning range
The roughest crowd that ever drew breath --
Thieves and rowdies, uncouth and strange,
Were mustered round at the "Shadow of Death".

The trooper knew that his man would slide
Like a dingo pup, if he saw the chance;
And with half a start on the mountain side
Ryan would lead him a merry dance.
Drunk as he was when the trooper came,
to him that did not matter a rap --
Drunk or sober, he was the same,
The boldest rider in Conroy's Gap.

"I want you, Ryan," the trooper said,
"And listen to me, if you dare resist,
So help me heaven, I'll shoot you dead!"
He snapped the steel on his prisoner's wrist,
And Ryan, hearing the handcuffs click,
Recovered his wits as they turned to go,
For fright will sober a man as quick
As all the drugs that the doctors know.

There was a girl in that shanty bar
Went by the name of Kate Carew,
Quiet and shy as the bush girls are,
But ready-witted and plucky, too.
She loved this Ryan, or so they say,
And passing by, while her eyes were dim
With tears, she said in a careless way,
"The Swagman's round in the stable, Jim."

Spoken too low for the trooper's ear,
Why should she care if he heard or not?
Plenty of swagmen far and near --
And yet to Ryan it meant a lot.
That was the name of the grandest horse
In all the district from east to west;
In every show ring, on every course,
They always counted The Swagman best.

He was a wonder, a raking bay --
One of the grand old Snowdon strain --
One of the sort that could race and stay
With his mighty limbs and his length of rein.
Born and bred on the mountain side,
He could race through scrub like a kangaroo;
The girl herself on his back might ride,
And The Swagman would carry her safely through.

He would travel gaily from daylight's flush
Till after the stars hung out their lamps;
There was never his like in the open bush,
And never his match on the cattle-camps.
For faster horses might well be found
On racing tracks, or a plain's extent,
But few, if any, on broken ground
Could see the way that The Swagman went.

When this girl's father, old Jim Carew,
Was droving out on the Castlereagh
With Conroy's cattle, a wire came through
To say that his wife couldn't live the day.
And he was a hundred miles from home,
As flies the crow, with never a track
Through plains as pathless as ocean's foam;
He mounted straight on The Swagman's back.

He left the camp by the sundown light,
And the settlers out on the Marthaguy
Awoke and heard, in the dead of night,
A single horseman hurrying by.
He crossed the Bogan at Dandaloo,
And many a mile of the silent plain
That lonely rider behind him threw
Before they settled to sleep again.

He rode all noght, and he steered his course
By the shining stars with a bushman's skill,
And every time that he pressed his horse
The Swagman answered him gamely still.
He neared his home as the east was bright.
The doctor met him outside the town
"Carew! How far did you come last night?"
"A hundred miles since the sun went down."

And his wife got round, and an oath he passed,
So long as he or one of his breed
Could raise a coin, though it took their last,
The Swagman never should want a feed.
And Kate Carew, when her father died,
She kept the horse and she kept him well;
The pride of the district far and wide,
He lived in style at the bush hotel.

Such wasThe Swagman; and Ryan knew
Nothing about could pace the crack;
Little he'd care for the man in blue
If once he got on The Swagman's back.
But how to do it? A word let fall
Gave him the hint as the girl passed by;
Nothing but "Swagman -- stable wall;
Go to the stable and mind your eye."

He caught her meaning, and quickly turned
To the trooper: "Reckon you'll gain a stripe
By arresting me, and it's easily earned;
Let's go to the stable and get my pipe,
The Swagman has it." So off they went,
And as soon as ever they turned their backs
The girl slipped down, on some errand bent
Behind the stable and seized an axe.

The trooper stood at the stable door
While Ryan went in quite cool and slow,
And then (the trick had been played before)
The girl outside gave the wall a blow.
Three slabs fell out of the stable wall --
'Twas done 'fore ever the trooper knew --
And Ryan, as soon as he saw them fall,
Mounted The Swagman and rushed him through.

The trooper heard the hoof-beats ring
In the stable yard, and he jammed the gate,
But The Swagman rose with a mighty spring
At the fence, and the trooper fired too late
As they raced away, and his shots flew wide,
And Ryan no longer need care a rap,
For never a horse that was lapped in hide
Could catch The Swagman in Conroy's Gap.

And that's the story. You want to know
If Ryan came back to his Kate Carew;
Of course he should have, as stories go,
But the worst of it is this story's true:
And in real life it's a certain rule,
Whatever poets and authors say
Of high-toned robbers and all their school,
These horsethief fellows aren't built that way.

Come back! Don't hope it -- the slinking hound,
He sloped across to the Queensland side,
And sold The Swagman for fifty pound,
And stole the money, and more beside.
And took to drink, and by some good chance
Was killed -- thrown out of a stolen trap.
And that was the end of this small romance,
The end of the story of Conroy's Gap.

Andrew Barton Paterson
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