an ebook published by Project Gutenberg Australia
Title: Why Doherty Died
Author: Thos. E. Spencer
eBook No.: 2300841h.html
Date first posted: 2023
Most recent update: 2023
This eBook was produced by: Walter Moore
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Why Doherty Died
The Transformation of Mary
A Dream of Love (Song)
The Devil at Monaro
My Garden of Rest (Song)
Bonnie Jess (Song)
The Curate and the Maid
Love’s Inspiration (Song)
The Poetical Linendraper
Moods of The Bush
The Ballot at Bumberoo
All the Same to Max
Football at Gulligalore
The Thistle and the Rose
Simple and Pure
Maria Matilda M’Gann
Eyes of Jet
Cum Grano Salis
Schneider’s El Dorado
A Christmas Jamberoo
Cupid and Kopstein
Why the Camel has the Hump
The Blacksoil Plains
The Philosophical Coal Lumper
A Student of Divinity
The Voice of Nature
The Jealous Kookaburra
The first edition of this book was called “Budgeree Ballads” for what seemed good and sufficient reasons. The title, it has since been found, was not the happiest that could have been chosen,
Owing to limited knowledge of the blackfellow’s vernacular, and, perhaps, unconsciously influenced by the weird expression and the face of the representative of the race whose visage adorned the cover of the first edition, some very excellent people have looked askance at the book. They associated the word “Budgeree” with a swear word. Of course, this idea would not have occurred to any but those persons whose moral ideas had been sharpened to an extremely fine point.
Other persons have associated the word ‘‘Ballads” with those little things which are used by pale-faced youths to inflict suffering on their patient fellow mortals at so-called musical evenings.
Neither of these ideas Conveys a correct impression of the book. We have no wish to offend the most scrupulous nor to deceive the most dense, and have therefore thought it well to re-christen the book and to re-illustrate the cover, and we would like to assure the super-sensitive that, although they will find some fun in the book, they will find nothing that they need hide from their daughters.
The present edition takes its name from one of the pieces in the book, which has, since its first publication, made a name for itself. The author, while thanking his readers for their generous appreciation in the past, trusts that appreciation will not be lessened by the change in name.
After all, what’s in a name?
T. E. S.
Glebe Point, 24th January, 1910.
My name is Maepherson, an unlucky person,
Whose life was once filled with felicity,
Free from calamity, living in amity,
Calm in my happy simplicity.
I never got frisky on brandy or whisky,
Was never a proud man or haughty one,
If I had to address you, I tried to impress you
With good words and never a naughty one.
Industrious and thrifty, the right side of fifty.
A model of strict punctuality,
I paid my shoemaker, my butcher, my baker,
And grocer with prompt regularity.
I was surely demented the day I consented—
A victim to female duplicity—
To give up my pretty, snug house in the city
In search of suburban felicity.
But a cottage was found with an acre of ground—
We were charmed with the calmness and peace of it—
’Twas a sweet situation, not far from the station;
They got me to take a long lease of it.
The wife was delighted, the daughters excited,
The servant assented quite graciously,
And, as the removal got Susan’s approval,
We started to pack ostentatiously.
But short was our levity, sad in its brevity,
For time soon revealed our delusion;
Revulsion came fast—ere the first night had passed—
We were filled with dismay and confusion.
As daylight was peeping in, Susan came creeping in,
Crying: “I will not deceive you, mum,
I don’t like complaining, but as to remaining
I can’t, so I’m going to leave you, mum.”
Her tears falling faster, she said: “I like master,
The girls are both sweet, pretty creaters,
I’ve no fault to find, mum, with you—you are kind, mum—
But I can’t stand the plaguey muskeeters.
When I popped into bed, mum, I wrapped up my head, mum,
And tried all I could to bamboozle ’em.
But wished the muskeeters, the horrid maneaters,
At Woolloomooloo or Jerusalem.
They’ve riddled me, please, from my neck to my knees,
And though I’ve no wish, mum, abrupt to be,
I’m lumps from my nose to the tips of my toes,
And the subbubs ain’t what they’re cracked up to be.”
The poor girl I pitied, and straightway admitted
The truth of the facts as she stated them;
For I’d spent the night fighting the wretches whose biting
Had tortured me so that I hated them.
I’d been scratching and tearing and very swearing,
For one little wretch in particular near
Had been stabbing and stinging, persistently singing
And buzzing around my auricular.
Now, there’s nought but complaining, for when it is raining,
The water comes through like a flood on us;
It’s quite a sensation to get to the station.
And when we get there there’s much mud on us.
The fiend who erected this cottage neglected
The laws of applied hydrostatics;
So the missus is wheezing, the daughters are sneezing,
While I have got chronic rheumatics.
If we shut up the doors, when Boreas roars,
The carbonic acid is filling us;
As this sweet habitation has no ventilation,
We shiver in draughts that are killing us.
The window’s are creaking, the water pipes leaking,
The ceilings all threaten to fall on us,
The floor boards are gaping, the gas is escaping,
The chimneys belch smoke like a pall on us.
I, who once was contented, am now quite demented,
I’m losing my centre of gravity;
Reason is failing me, trouble is nailing me
Down to the depths of depravity.
My stock of morality’s reached its finality,
Virtue has lost its tenacity;
Where is my piety? Where my propriety?
Gone! with my business capacity.
Night has no rest in it; life has no zest in it;
Family ties have no charm in them;
In my moral obliquity, I use, with iniquity,
Swear words, and can’t see the harm in them.
I’m getting delirious, calling down various
Plagues on the building fraternity.
Wishing for one of ’em—son of a gun of ’em-
Tic doloureux through eternity.
I’d like to bewilder that brute of a builder,
By getting him home(?) where I’d pop on him;
And I’d bump on the floor, or I’d bang the back door,
Which would make the whole edifice drop on him.
I’m dreaming of suicide—regicide—homicide
Gloating on crime and profanity;
My mind is chaotic: I’m quite idiotic—
A caricature on humanity.
See yon fair lady! Mark her queenly tread,
As gracefully she moves along the street;
Note with what dignity she lifts her head
And passes on. Not thus we used to meet.
I wonder do her thoughts sometimes depict
The time, when, like a dream, she crossed my life—
Ere I became a social derelict,
And she became a money-lender’s wife?
Take care, fair lady, lest your silken train
Should touch the skirts of that more humble she
Who walks beside you! They may still retain
Some faint aroma from the factory
Or shop, wherein she toils for daily bread.
She’s a mere woman, clothed in hard-earned rags.
You are a lady, who preferred, instead,
To deck yourself with tainted money bags.
I knew you both, when each was young and fair,
And I was not so ugly, nor so old.
She gave her life for love—his life to share;
You flouted love, and sold yourself for gold.
Now, widowed, she must work for daily bread;
She dresses shabbily; her cheeks are pale;
While you can wear a fortune on your head,
Filched from some wretch who gave a bill of sale.
Yet, when her weary eyelids close in rest,
She lives again the spring-time of her youth,
Her soul seeks his, among the ever-blessed.
And wakes, refreshed, to innocence and truth.
What are your dreams, when tossing restlessly
Beside the Bloated One to whom you’re sold?
Are they of those whose grinding poverty
Has splashed with blood your foul, ill-gotten gold?
Do shades of greasy, hook-nosed bailiffs seek
To steal your gew-gaws as you lie asleep?
Do famished wives, and babes with pallid cheek,
In sighing crowds around your curtains creep?
And do you wonder, when at break of day
You hear the storm, and wake in sudden fright,
Whether the wretches, sold off yesterday,
Have perished in the wintry streets at night?
I’m an awfully sensitive man,
And I move in exclusive society,
Moulding all my affairs on a plan
Based on goodness and perfect propriety.
I have not got a blot on my fame
(Or I had not until very recently);
Yet my once stainless name—
I confess it with shame—
Has been dragged through the mire quite indecently.
I’ve a typiste. A beautiful girl!
With such cheeks! Ah! How peachy and pink they are!
Her teeth are like mother-o’-pearl,
And like nectar her lips (or I think they are).
She’s the kind of girl all men admire,
For she’s perfect in figure and feature;
At my special desire
She sings in the choir,
And in my Sabbath-school she’s a teacher.
If there’s aught should be free from the liar.
And from slander be quite independent,
’Tis a maiden who sings in the choir,
And a Sabbath-school superintendent.
Alas! mud to the whitest robe clings,
Leaving stains on its natural purity.
And foul slander grief brings
To the sweetest of things,
Where—Oh! where—is our moral security?
I admit if I work back at night
That I can’t let her go without missing her;
But I strongly deny he was right
When the caretaker charged me with kissing her.
He’s a fraud! When I gave him a crown,
He admitted his eyes had deceived him,
Yet he went round the town,
As he knocked the crown down,
Telling stories—and people believed him.
So remorseless is Rumour’s long tongue,
And so prone is mankind to malignity;
That my friends, both the old and the young,
Seem to treat me with studied indignity.
Why, the office boy grins when I speak,
Quite ignoring our social disparity:
While my clerk, once so meek,
Sticks his tongue in his cheek,
Scarcely trying to hide his hilarity.
Though again and again I’ve declared
That the stories are wicked inventions,
And the sweetest of things is prepared
To corroborate all my contentions,
Yet the people all credit the bar
And, his lie being in the ascendent,
The effect is most dire
To a girl in the choir
And a Sabbath-school superintendent.
It was out on the Bogan, near Billabong Creek,
Where the sky shines like brass seven days in the week,
Where the buzzin’ mosquitoes annoy you all night,
And the blowflies come wakin’ you up at daylight;
Where the people get weary and sad and forlorn,
Till they wish they had died long before they were born;
There’s a flat near the river, I knew the place well,
For ’twas there Dinny Doherty kept the hotel.
Dinny Doherty died. ’Twasn’t aisy to say
Just the cause of the trouble that tuk him away;
If ’twas measles or whoopin’ cough, croup or catarrh,
Or the things docthers pickle and put in a jar.
Not a docther was nigh when he come by his death,
So we reckoned he died just through shortage of breath,
We didn’t know how these fine points to decide;
What we did know for certain was: Doherty died.
The coroner came up from Bottle-nose Flat,
And twelve of us wid him on Doherty sat.
The hate was intense; there was whisky galore—
When we’d finished we wern’t as wise as before.
We were roastin’. Yet there, wid a shmile on his face,
Lay poor Dinny, the only cool man in the place.
Yet, divil a one in the crowd could decide,
Or even imagine, why Doherty died.
The old pub it seemed lonesome whin Dinny was gone,
Lavin’ poor Kitty Doherty grievin’ alone.
Every time that I called she cried: “Phwat will I do?
Darlin’ Dinny, come back to me, Cushla! Wirroo!
Faith it’s lonely I am to-day, Dinny, asthore!
Don’t be sayin’ you’re dead, that I’ll see you no more.”
Whin I thried to console her, she bitterly cried:
“I have no one to love me since Doherty died.”
“I kape pinin’,” says she, “till I’m mere shkin and bone.”
(Poor Kitty! She only weighed siventeen shtone.)
“Sure, life widhout love is like bread widhout yaste.”
Poor Kitty! Her heart was as big as her waist.
And what is the pain?—’tisn’t ivery one knows
Whin a big heart like Kitty’s wid love overflow so.
Kitty’s love was as broad as the ocean is wide,
But she’d no one to share it since Doherty died.
’Twas a hot summer’s day when a visit I paid,
For the hate was a hundhred and tin in the shade;
Poor Kitty looked sad as I inthered the gate,
And her cheeks were quite moist wid her tears (and the hate);
But ’twas cosy she looked as she sat in the bar,
And I whispered: “Poor girl, is it lonely ye are?”
“Bedad! Lonely’s no name for it,” Kitty replied,
“I’m just frettin’ me heart out since Doherty died.”
Then, says I, “Faith, this isn’t the weather to fret!”
And I wiped her plump cheeks, that were clammy and wet;
“Sure, Kitty,” says I, “you must hould up your head,
For the world isn’t impty if one man is dead.
To be livin’ and pinin’ alone’s a disgrace;
Can you find no good man to take Doherty’s place?”
Then she shmiled through her tears, and she said as she sighed:
“Ah! the good men are scarce since poor Doherty died.”
“Och,” says I, “to talk that way is fiddle-de-dee;
There are good men left yet, Kitty—what about me?”
Then, before you’d say “Jack,” o’er the bar she had leapt,
And she flung herself on to me bosom and wept,
’Twas in vain that I thried to get out to get cool,
She was harder to shift than a big bale of wool.
And I thought, as she lay on me bosom and cried:
“Faith! ’Tis now that I know why poor Doherty died.”
We worry and fret, and the world appears
To be swathed in sorrow and bathed in tears,
While this strange inscrutable thing called Life
Seems fashioned for jealousy, pain, and strife.
We watch men cheat, and we hear them lie;
They gather in riches, and then—they die.
Life’s frauds and its fallacies fill our view.
And nought seems tangible, good, or true.
For men grow callous, and hard, and cold,
And they pawn their souls for the bright, red; gold;
They cringe to Mammon, and sneer at pain,
Then, dying, they mourn that they’ve lived in vain.
Yet, as in a wilderness, parched and drear,
We may find a fountain, with waters clear;
So, even the loneliest life may get
Some comforting draught from existence yet.
For we hear a voice, and a phrase or word
Wakes the music of some long forgotten chord;
Or we see a face, through the fog and mist,
And we know that kindness and truth exist.
The voice may grow silent, the smile be brief,
But they softened sorrow, and lightened grief,
And the kindly word and the cheery smile
Have illumined the world for a little while.
For just as the whole seemed dark and dim,
The clouds were rent, and we saw the sun;
And, for ever, through life, that bright ray will be
Engrossed in gold on our memory.
Mary was a vision bright,
Enthralling and entrancing;
Mary was a beam of light
That through my life came dancing.
Form and feature all complete,
With manners like a fairy;
Ne’er was mortal half so sweet
As my bewitching Mary.
Mary’s skin was smooth and fair,
Her cheeks like roses glowing;
Massive waves of golden hair
In shining curls were flowing.
Teeth as white as falling snow
’Twixt ruby lips abiding;
Mary’s well-cut gown could show
Where classic curves were hiding.
Sailing in the sunset’s glow
(The boat was gently rocking),
Her high curved instep showed below
Her dainty, silken stocking.
Here, thought I, is Beauty’s Queen—
A living, breathing fairy;
If perfect beauty e’er was seen
’Tis surely here ’Tis Mary.
Wavelets rippled ’neath our prow,
The air with music filling,
Scented breezes fanned my brow
And set my pulses thrilling.
While I dreamed at Beauty’s feet
A sudden squall surprised us—
Caught me napping at the sheet—
And, in a trice, capsized us.
Mary gave a little scream,
Then plunged into the water:
Quickly waking from my dream
I swam about and sought her.
Soon a frenzied cry I gave;
Imagine my quandary,
When I saw a wicked wave
Down into the deep I dived,
Resolved to save my fairy;
Vowing, that if I survived,
’Twould only be with Mary.
When at length I reached the shore
Exhausted, faint and tripping
Mary’s senseless form I bore,
All limp and damp and dripping.
Was it she? Or was I mad?
Oh! the transformation!
This was not the girl I had
In my imagination.
Gone the roses from her cheeks,
And disappeared the dimples,
Her complexion lay in streaks,
And through the streaks peeped pimples.
Where were now the pearly teeth
That once inflamed my wishes?
Gone the cruel waves beneath.
To scare the little fishes.
Where the mass of golden hair
On which my eyes had gloated?
Out upon the wavelets there
It mocked me as it floated.
Mary’s bust was all displaced,
And, as my eyes grew bolder,
I saw the left half near her waist,
The other on her shoulder.
Mary’s hips were fallen in!
It made my bosom rankle
To see one instep on her shin,
The other—near her ankle.
Disenthroned was Beauty’s Queen,
Who had my poor heart captured;
Gone the crown whose golden sheen
Had my fond soul enraptured.
Gone the goddess I revered,
My dreams—so visionary—
Vanished, faded, disappeared.
Yet, what remained—was Mary.
When Nature greets the dawn, with rosy beams.
When merry birds their matin songs are singing,
I waken from my slumber and my dreams
And listen to the message they are bringing.
For then they sing of thee, though far away,
I hear thy spirit calling in their voices;
My spirit flies to thine at dawn of day,
And, in its flight, my waking soul rejoices.
Thy face appears in every sun-kissed flower,
By land or sea thine image hovers near me;
I hear thy voice through every waking hour,
It sings a song of hope and joy to cheer me.
My fate, my life, my soul is bound to thee.
No thought have I but it with thee is blended,
And Heaven itself, would not be Heaven to me
If, with this life, my dream of love were ended.
Who vas dat man vat all alone
Blayed solos on his big drombone?
Vhen Yosephine, across der vay,
Schmiled vhen she see dat drombone blay,
Who blayed soom variations gay,
Dhen gissed his hand und valked avay?
Von summer’s day, at dead of night,
Vhen Yosephine put out her light,
Und moons und shtars was shinin’ pright,
Who blayed some tunes mit all his might
To fill dat maiden’ mit delight,
Und killed us all shtone dead mit fright?
Who puffed him out der shveet refrain
Of dat old song, “Mine Breedy Yane,”
Und blayed mit all his might und main,
His Yosephine to entertain,
Till boots und shoes fell down like rain,
Und knocked dat drombone in der drain?
Who picked it oop, und blayed again?
Und kept on blayin’ all in vain?
Ven all der neiglrpours curse und shvear,
Mit vords so hot dhey scorch der air,
Vhile dat drombone keeps on to blare
Because Von Schlammer didn’t care;
Und Yosephine, dat maiden fair,
Shleeps peaceful like soom baby bear—
Vhen all der peoples out did tear
Mitout much clothes on dem to wear,
Vhich left some parts of dem qvite bare—
Who, vhen dey found him, vasn’t dhere?
Vhen all der red-hot vords vas said,
Vhen each man vent him back to bed
To lay him down his weary head,
Und vish Von Schlammer ten times dead,
Who vas it dhat mit fear und dread,
Mit tremblin’ limbs und shtealthy tread,
Ash if his boots vas soled mit lead,
Coomed shneakin’ from behind a shed,
His thumb shtuck on his nose so red,
Und out his leetle fingers shpread—
Dhen, vhen soom leetle time had shped,
Blew von ear-crackin’ blast—und fled?
You may gossip in Arabic, babble in Greek,
Be profuse in your Latin quotations,
You may fill us with wonder whenever you speak
On Colenso’s quadratic equations.
You may visit the land of perpetual snow,
You may journey from Cooma to Cairo,
But, you cannot explain till my story you know
How the Devil appeared at Monaro.
’Tis by Micky, the stumper, the story is told,
Who confesses the fright made him silly:
Yet there isn’t a man that’s more truthful or bold
From Bombala to Yarrangobilly.
It was Micky himself saw the Devil pass by—
It was on the big culvert, or near it,
And for fear you should doubt me, and think that I lie,
’Tis in Micky’s own words you shall hear it.
“I was shtrollin’,” says he, “on a dark, moonless night,
To me camp, near the edge of the clearin’,
I was not to say sober, and not to say tight,
But no mortal or baste was I fearin’.
Not a sound could I hear but the voice of a frog;
And he soothed me that way wid his croakin’
That I lit up me pipe and sat down on a log,
And enj’yed mesilf pacefully shmokin’.
Faith, I didn’t have long to me rist to attind,
For I hadn’t had time to shtart shnorin’
When me heart shtarted jumpin’, for just round the bind
The ould Divil came puffin’ an’ roarin’.
He’d the skpeed of a comet, the voice of a bull,
While his one eye so brightly was stharin’
That it lit up the road like the moon at the full,
And bedazzled me sight wid its glarin’.
“Not a cry could I cry. Not a word could I shpeak,
Not a prayer could me frozen tongue utther;
But I ran for the culvert that crosses the creek
Like a hare, wid me heart in a flutther.
I was not very hopeful, run which way I would,
I made sure the nixt minute he’d find me;
But I made for the culvert as fast as I could,
While the Divil came tootin’ behind me.
“All the sins of me youth crowded thick on me mind,
All the crimes I’d been afther committin’;
So I thried, as I ran, a few prayer-words to find.
But I couldn’t find one that was fittin’.
All me wind was clane gone, I was ready to faint,
Wid the shweat in me eyes, fit to blind me;
And I didn’t know whether to call on a saint
Or compound with the Divil behind me.
“I arrived at the culvert, and that purty quick,
But the Divil, I found, could outrun me;
For he came up behind and he gave me a kick,
And clane into the wather it sphun me.
I’d been kicked by a horse, I’d been tossed by a cow,
In a scrum or a fight I could revel,
I’d been flattened at football, but never till now
Had I been a football for the Divil.
“When I crept up the bank, sore and wet, but alone,
You may bet I did not thry to find him;
The Divil, his eye, and his ‘Toot Toot’ were gone,
But the shmell of his breath shtayed behind him.
Phwat was that? Who said mother-car! You, Billy Dunn?
If you did, faith, your eyes I’d be shwellin’.
Bring the best man you have and I’ll fight him for fun,
Just to prove it’s the truth I’ve been tellin’.”
But nobody wishes Mick’s anger to fan,
So they say truth is stranger than fiction;
For Micky the stumper’s the wrong sort of man
To brook anything like contradiction.
If he tells you the tale, think whatever you choose,
For to doubt him is likely to grieve him;
Just remember he stands six feet two in his shoes,
Then you’ll make up your mind to believe him.
Maggie! wake up, dear, wake up and listen!
Do you hear it—the gentle pat-pat?
Ah! no wonder your eyes shine and glisten,
When you waken to music like that!
For the drops sound like heavenly voices,
Breathing hope, midst our sorrow and pain,
And all Nature awakes and rejoices
At the bountiful, glorious rain.
I was restlessly tossing and dreaming,
And I thought in my hopeless despair,
I could see the hot, brazen sun gleaming
On our paddocks all blistered and bare.
Like the ghostly remains of a battle,
Thickly strewn on the dust of the plain,
Were the bones of our sheep and our cattle—
Then—I woke—and I heard the sweet rain.
Gone at once were my visions of sadness.
All my pulses were quivering now;
For I ran, in my impulse of gladness.
To receive the cool drops on my brow.
When I felt the glad moisture caressing
My temples, and soothing my brain,
Then I thanked the good God for His blessing
As I turned my face up to the rain.
Soon the creeks will be merrily flowing,
Where the dry, sandy hollows have been,
And once more will our paddocks be glowing
With their carpets of emerald green.
For the earth will resume its vocation,
And each mountain, gully and plain
Will respond to the blessed oblation,
Singing peans of praise to the rain.
Nora O’Grady, of Warragaroo,
Was a pleasant and plump little lady,
Buxom and fair, she was just thirty-two,
And the widow of Michael O’Grady.
Down by the creek, where the sad willows wave.
For the last trumpet call Michael waited,
And oft were the flowers that grew on his grave
By his widow’s salt tears irrigated.
Nora was doleful, but Nora was fair,
And the men folk all thought it a pity
That the vampire of Grief, and the ghoul of Despair,
Should wax fat on a mortal so pretty.
Suitors came wooing, but Nora was cold—
There was never an icicle colder;
But, thirty-two summers is not very old,
So the suitors grew bolder and bolder.
Jimmy the stockman and Frank from the mill
Used to bring her fresh fruit every Sunday;
Young Mr. Watson, who owned the Red Hill,
Came to pay Ida respects every Monday.
Half-a-score others came three times a week,
But they had no effect on the lady;
Mostly they found she was down at the creek
Dropping tears on the grave of O’Grady.
Scones baked by Nora were fit for a queen,
Her fritters fair feed for a fairy;
Fat were her kine in her paddocks of green,
But the pride of her heart was her dairy.
Never was dairy so clean and so sweet,
And there never was dairymaid neater;
Two queries the people were wont to repeat—
Whether she or her cream were the sweeter?
Once, about midday, a sturdy young scamp
Put his face in the door of the dairy.
“God bless your milk ma’am,” he said, “I’m on thramp,
And I feel that I’ve seen me good fairy.
Och! the fine hair, you have—it’s softer than silk!
Is it you or a queen I’m addressin’?
God bless your cows. For a drink of your milk
I’ll call down on your dairy a blessin’.
“Och! the fine dhrink!” said the rogue, with a sigh.
’Tis a dhrink for the gods, so I’m thinkin’;
But how can I tell, when I look at your eye.
‘If it’s necthar or milk I’ve been dhrinkin’?
God keep O’Grady, and on the last day
May he meet his reward whin they find him!
Poor man! it was hard to be taken away,
Lavin’ such a sweet crayther behind him.”
Nora felt sad, when he bade her good day,
With his manner, half earnest, half joking;
He had a most wheedling and comforting way.
And his careless “Good-day!” was provoking.
Mournful she sighed for some spot, cool and damp;
So she sought for a nook, cool and shady,
Down by the creek. And, lo! there was the scamp;
He was clearing the weeds from O’Grady.
Pity, they say, is related to Love.
And fair Nora, though nigh broken-hearted,
Accepted the delicate tribute above
The remains of her darling departed.
Down by the willows she wandered each day,
In a state that was sweet and enthralling,
Vain were her tears. The scamp kissed them away.
As he said: “To prevint them from falling.”
Nora was constant, but Nora was weak;
She had no one to counsel or guide her;
And up in the dairy, or down by the creek,
Young Brady, the scamp, was beside her.
Jonquils and daffodils grew as of yore
Over Michael’s secluded location;
But none of them looked quite so fresh as before,
For they hadn’t so much irrigation.
Brady removed the white cap from her head,
And the widow proved very forgiving;
“You’ve taken,” said she. “all the weeds from the dead,
And so, why should they bide on the living?”
Friends praised the flowers in her bridal bouquet
On the day she became Mrs. Brady;
She said, and she smiled, as she threw them away,
“They’re the last from the grave of O’Grady.”
While the blood-red sun is sinking
In the glowing, golden west,
As I canter home I’m thinking
Of the bonniest and best,
Of the fairest and the brightest
Face my eyes can ever see,
And a footstep that is lightest
When it speeds to welcome me.
Maude is the fairest, sweetest and rarest
Flower that blooms in my garden of rest,
Banishing sadness, glowing with gladness,
Filling with fragrance my home in the west,
Hardest tasks are never weary,
If for Maude the work be done,
Longest journeys are not dreary,
If for Maude the goal be won.
All Life’s troubles are but fleeting:
By the side of Maude there’s rest,
There its joy in her sweet greeting.
There is peace upon her breast.
Maude is the fairest, sweetest and rarest
Flower that blooms in my garden of rest,
Banishing sadness, glowing with gladness,
Filling with fragrance my home in the west.
There’s the divil to pay down at Billygoat Flat,
Where we used to be happy and free;
Faith! It’s more like the home of a Kilkenny cat,
Since Molony’s been made a J.P.
I’m neglectin’ me sheep,
And I’m losin’ me sleep,
And it’s knockin’ the sowl out of me,
So it is!
Since Molony bought Biddy her new Sunday hat
All the peace has departed from Billygoat Flat.
When I heard that Molony was made a J.P.
I was pleased at the honour he’d got;
For Molony was always quite friendly wid me,
And of envy I hadn’t a jot.
It was Biddy, his wife,
Caused the trouble and strife ;
Pat Molony’s a man. But she’s not,
So she ain’t.
And she said: “You must buy me a new Sunday hat
Now you’ve got the P.J.-ship of Billygoat Flat.”
Well, she bothered him so that he went into town,
And brought back the best hat he could buy;
It had roses all round, and a bird on the crown,
And a big feather stickin’ up high.
It had rows upon rows
Of bright ribbons and bows,
’Twas enough to make blind horses shy,
So it was!
And she called on the neighbours, and flaunted her hat,
Till the women went crazy on Billygoat Flat,
When we met the Molonys, a fortnight to-day,
It was then that the trouble began.
It was down at the Crossing, where Kitty McCrae
Gave a party to Mick’s brother Dan.
Biddy came in her bows,
Wid a twist in her nose
Like a dint in an ould billy-can,
So she did.
And she said, as she showed them her new Sunday hat,
“Faith! There isn’t one like it on Billygoat Flat!”
She remarked to me wife, as she wished her good-day,
Wid the air of an aristocrat,
“Sure, I must, now Molony’s been made a P.J.,
Set the fashion on Billygoat Flat,”
But me Missus replied.
As the feathers she eyed,
“Faith! I never liked feathers wid fat,
So I didn’t.
Sure, I thought you’d imported that fright of a hat,
Just to scare all the crows out of Billygoat Flat.”
Then says Mrs. Molony, “I’d have you to know
’Tis your betters you’re speakin’ to now;
Though me hat mightn’t have much effect on a crow,
Sure, it seems to have frightened a cow!
And if that cap should fit,
You are welcome to it.”
“Och!” says Pat, “she is wantin’ a row,
So she is!
’Tis blue-mouldy she is, when she looks at your Hat,
Which is knockin’ the shine out of Billygoat Flat.”
“Take it aisy! “ says I to Molony. “Go slow!
What you’ve got to say, say it to me;
If you shneer at me Missus. I’d have you to know
You’ll get floored, if you are a J.P.
’Tis a pumpkin,” I said,
“Has got into your head,
And it’s swelled till it’s bigger than three,
So it is!
You may be a J.P., but by this and by that,
You don’t own the fee-simple of Billygoat Flat.”
“Tare and ages!” says I, “may the divil set sail
Wid your wife and her fool of a hat!”
And I ran to the fence, and I pulled out a rail,
And advanced like a windmill on Pat.
“You be careful,” says he,
“What you’re doin’ to me;
’Tis the crime of high treason you’re at,
So it is.
I could fine you six months and a fiver for that,
If you strike the chief justice of Billygoat Flat.”
“’Tis a poor, chicken-hearted chief justice,” says I,
“That’s afraid to stand up to a man.”
“If you say I’m afraid,” says Molony, “you lie!
For I’ll smash you as flat as a pan.
Faith! I’ll make you eat dirt!”
Then he pulled off his shirt,
And he tossed it to Mick’s brother Dan,
So he did.
“Now I’ll shake you,” says be, “like a dog would a rat.
Till I scatter your giblets on Billygoat Flat!”
Then, Molony and I, we got hopelessly mixed,
But we had a most illigant fight;
Till somehow me left thumb in his mouth it got fixed
While I gouged at his eye wid me right.
Then I chewed at his ear
Till I got me thumb clear,
And he roared that I murdered him quite
So he did.
Then a kick in the chest spread him out like a mat,
And that ended the battle of Billygoat Flat.
I was taken away on some bags in a dray.
While Molony went home on a gate;
And Molony to-day, when he speaks of that fray,
Uses language I wouldn’t repate.
He is still a J.P.,
But you take it from me,
He’s a poor, broken-up potentate,
So he is.
He has sat upon Biddy, and jumped on her hat,
But he’s not the Mikado of Billygoat Flat!
Now the shearing time is over, Bonnie Jess!
And the sheep are in the clover, Bonnie Jess!
By the creek the kine are lowing.
And the golden crops are growing
While the setting sun is glowing,
Bonnie Jess, Bonnie Jess!
And a kiss to thee I’m throwing, Bonnie Jess!
To thy face the blood is rushing, Bonnie Jess!
All! I know why thou are blushing, Bonnie Jess!
’Tis the memory appearing
Of that promise in the clearing
When you said, ’twixt hope and fearing,
Bonnie Jess, Bonnie Jess!
You would me wed after shearing, Bonnie Jess!
And now shearing time is over, Bonnie Jess!
Thou are looking for thy lover, Bonnie Jess!
And my horse’s hoofs are ringing,
As along the road I’m swinging,
And a song for thee I’m singing,
Bonnie Jess, Bonnie Jess!
And the wedding ring I’m bringing, Bonnie Jess!
Whene’er a tale of love is told,
Whatever else there be in it,
It must, to please the young or old,
Have both a he and she in it.
And so the tale I tell to you,
A tale of calm felicity,
Tells of a man and maiden who
Once met in sweet simplicity.
He was a curate, young but grave,
The pink of prime propriety;
She was a sweet young thing who gave
Her days to deeds of piety.
So when we built that church of ours
The curate consecrated it;
At Christmas time, with ferns and flowers,
The maiden decorated it.
The curate’s coat of sable black
Had neither flaw nor fleck on it,
Her dress was white, and front or back,
Without a spot or speck on it.
The curate’s face was pale and white,
As white as arum lilies are.
Her cheeks were pink, her eyes were bright,
Her lips as red as chillies are.
It was the eve of Christmas Day;
The maid was bunching roses up.
The curate came and said: “Pray, may
I help you hang these posies up?
That ladder should be held, you know—
May I make bold to proffer to?”
The maiden smiled and murmured: “Oh!
How kind of you to offer to!
She wove long garlands on the ground,
So deftly and so readily;
Then, while she hung the garlands round,
He held the ladder steadily.
And when, at length, their work complete,
They sat in pensive attitude,
The curate said ’twas very sweet,
While she expressed her gratitude.
They closed the church, and down the road
They walked with looks of piety;
Then parted at the maid’s abode—
Two models of propriety.
But, on the curate’s coat, just where
A maiden’s cheek could rest on it,
There was a patch, as though just there
A flour bag had been pressed on it.
His cheek was white, picked out with red,
With two bright, rosy tips on it;
And some folks recognised, they said,
The print of two red lips on it.
Curates, a warning take from this :
You cannot all be sainted ones;
But, if you choose red lips to kiss,
Avoid, at least, the painted ones.
Tim Dooley lives down near the end of the town,
With his wife, and a horse, and a dray;
He’ll fetch you a cartload of wood for a crown,
Or he’ll go out to work by the day.
As a rule, Tim is one of the mildest of men,
And he drinks nothing stronger than tea,
But now and again something happens, and then,
Tim Dooley breaks out on the spree.
Then you hear the folks say:
“Quick! get out of the way,
For Tim Dooley is out on the spree.”
Then we hear a loud yell, that we all know full well,
’Tis a sound like a wild dingo’s bray;
And the deafest old man in the township can tell
It is Dooley in search of his prey;
All business stops, for the folks close their shops,
Women snatch up their children and flee,
And the Methodist parson with fear almost drops,
When Tim Dooley gets out on the spree.
Our policeman turns pale,
And stops inside the gaol,
When he knows Dooley’s out on the spree.
Now, the dread of a fray would not cause this dismay,
Or give rise to such panic and fear,
But who can his courage or valour display,
When he feels his last moment is near;
When Dooley gets tight he is mighty polite,
Wants to kiss everyone he may see,
And a whiff from his breath causes sure, sudden death,
When Tim Dooley is out on the spree;
So we hide, or we fly
When the rumour goes by,
That Dooley is out on the spree.
Sweetheart! when first your eyes met mine,
’Twas like a sunbeam on me falling,
The music of thy voice divine
Was like the sound of angels calling.
I saw thy face, so wondrous sweet,
I watched a smile those red lips sever,
Then, Love, thy conquest was complete,
For I became thy slave for ever.
Thou wert a star, Love, dazzling and bright,
I, a mere mortal, dazed by thy light.
To speak my thoughts I did not dare,
Thou seemed to reign so far above me,
How could I dream that one so fair
Could favour me, or stoop to love me?
Forgive me, Love, I did not know
The depth of thy sweet, tender feeling,
Until I saw the red rose glow
That o’er thy face came slowly stealing.
Then love inspired me, doubting was o’er,
Thou wert mine own, Love, mine to adore.
I vas feel me so frisky and gay,
As I dress oop so shmart, you don’t know,
Vhen I harness mine horse to his dray
Und I shticks in his pridle a pow;
I vas bust him chock full mit some hay,
Und his coat I prush oop till it glow;
Den I trots me avay
For I promise to-day
Dat I drive some young girls to der show.
Susan Shmidt I picks oop at der gate,
Und der two Misses Jones at der creek,
Mit Miss Prown, und her young sister Kate,
Till I say I’m so proud I can’t shpeak;
For Miss Johnson ve had for to vait,
But she comes out so natty und meek;
Vhen she says: “Vas I late?”
Mit a shmile, vhy I shtate,
She was soon if ve vait fer a week.
Und dey say I vas awfully good.
Of some chaff-pags to make dem a seat,
Und dey shtowed der pig paskets of food
In der pottom, among all dere feet;
Und mine horse, he could not undershtood
How der tip-cart was loaded so shveet;
In der whole neighperhood
Dere vas not such a prood
Of young chickens, vhat couldn’t be peat.
Dey all giggled, so shveet, dat der sound
Vould a teaf man do goot for to hear,
Vhile der songs dey vas sing, I’ll pe pound
Dat you don’t hear such songs for a year;
Und der milk dey vas handin’ around
Vas ash nice ash some goot lager peer;
Vhen ve reached der show-ground
You can pet you a pound
Dat der poys gifs der girls a good cheer,
Dey all shouted “Hoop-la!” and “Hurray!”
As right into der show-ground ve trot.
Und it’s “Goot old poy, Hansen,” dey say,
Vhen dey see vhat a cargo I’ve got;
Und der girls cry: “Get out of der vay
Or ve’Il kill you shtone dead on der shpot.”
Vhen young Micky O’Shea
Pulls der pin from mine dray,
Und he oop-tips der whole ploomin’ lot.
Vhat coomes after, don’t ask me to tell,
For I can’t tell you vhat you don’t know,
Ve vas all tumbled outvards pell-mell,
Some vas oopwards, und some vas pelow;
Und der girls gifs der awfullest yell,
Vhat neffer vas heard at der show;
Und as townwards I fell,
I vished Mick was in—veil—
In dat place vhere goot Dutchmen don’t go.
Apollo Byron Dimity
Deplored the cruel destiny
Which decreed that he should be
Condemned to measure laces.
To sell soft goods of every hue—
Of pink and yellow, green and blue—
When in his soul he longed to woo
The Muses and the Graces.
But, every hour when trade was slack,
To Olympian heights his soul flew back,
Stretching its wings along the track
That leads from Earth to Heaven.
Yet, as his soul flew heavenwards
To seek the muses and the bards,
Some wretch would want “A dozen yards
Of silk, at one-and-seven”
Yet, still Apollo’s soul would be
Declaiming with Calliope,
Or frowning with Melpomene
In ancient Macedonia;
Floating on foam-tipped waves with Venus,
Fleeing in dread from Polyphemus,
Roaming with Romulus and Remus
In primitive Latonia.
“Alas!” he said, “for Tully’s voice
Or Virgil’s lay (the first for choice)
To make my panting soul rejoice
With classic story thrilling.
To roam with Gray near shady pool,
Where willows cast their shadows cool—
“Yes, Miss. It’s guaranteed all wool.
The remnant is a shilling.
“’Tis pure as was the Golden Fleece
That Jason bore to ancient Greece.
I’ve trimmings, too, to match the piece,
In all the late devices.
I’ve fabrics from Athena’s loom,
Like those which wrought Arachne’s doom,
They must be sold, to make more room,
At lowest bedrock prices.
“See here are ribbons, flowers and lace
That Juno’s stately form would grace;
The flowers that crowned Ophelia’s face
Were, not more chaste and fine, Miss,
The latest style, of velveteen,
In heliotrope and mauve and green,
A raiment fit for Egypt’s Queen;
Marked down to one-and-nine, Miss.’’
The lady’s face was fair to view,
Her cheeks were pink, her eyes were blue,
Her hair was of a golden hue;
Her smile was sweet and tender.
Apollo Byron Dimity
Had nothing seen so fair as she;
He tried, to find a simile
For one so young and slender.
He thought of, “Brides of Ancient Song,”
Of how, “the throstle whistled strong,”
And how, ‘‘the sparhawk wheeled along,”
When Guinevere was riding.
He marked her rosy blushes rise.
When with a glance of sweet surprise.
She praised his hooks, and then—his eyes,
In manner quite confiding.
He tried to please that maiden fair
With ribbons, silks and laces rare,
With dainty frills and underwear,
And many things not stated.
“Behold! Sweet maid,” said Dimity,
“I’ll sell thee silks of Araby,
And cut them down to one-and-three!”
Yet still she hesitated.
“’Twas sweetly good of you,” said she,
To take all these things down for me.”
“I’d gladly do much more,” said he,
“To win that smile of pleasure.
I knew, I knew, it could not last.
’Twas bright, ’twas heavenly, but ’tis past!
“The colour in these prints is fast,
And all are extra measure”
“If you can change this note,” said she,
“I think I’ll take some—Dimity.
Three yards at five, is one-and-three.
(A five pound note she tendered),
He counts the change. Four—eighteen—nine,
Their fingers meet. Her bright eyes shine.
“Ah! me,” he sighed, “what hopes were mine!
But now, the vision’s ended.”
Into her hand the change he pressed,
Her taper fingers he caressed,
He rolled his eyes. Then smote his chest.
Ye Gods! What pangs I suffer!”
She went. With grief his bosom swelled,
He kissed the note her hand had held;
Then, rushing from the shop—he yelled:
“Stop thief!!! The note’s a duffer.”
He had a manner polished and persuading,
His perfect speech proclaimed him gently bred;
He begged to be forgiven for invading
My privacy. He would be brief, he said.
His business could be quickly told, though pressing;
He knew my time was valuable; so
He would proceed at once, without digressing.
To pour into my ear his tale of woe.
He had a father once (the soft voice faltered),
Likewise a mother (here his eye grew dim);
He was their only son. How times had altered!
He loved his parents once, and they loved him.
He had been wild, and he would not deny it;
But now, repentant, he one boon would crave.
He wanted just enough—would I supply it?
To take him back to see his mother’s grave.
If not the whole, a part? A Crown? A Shilling?
To save a sinner from perditions’s brink?
If not a bob, why then would I be willing
To lend him just enough to get a drink?
He got it. In return, I got his blessing—
To pay me back within a week he swore—
I begged him to be off, as time was pressing,
And off he went—to tell his tale next door.
Those who talk about the sameness of the bush,
Never felt its moods and phases,
Never trod its mystic mazes,
Never knew the charm it raises
In the mind;
They are blind,
And they cannot sing its praises to mankind.
What a wanton is the ever-changing bush,
First exalting, then repressing,
Now repelling, now caressing,
Every change of mood expressing
She is seen
Decked in green,
Clothed in sombre black—then dressing like a queen.
Hear the music of the newly-wakened bush.
When the rising sun is flinging
Shafts of gold where dew is clinging,
When the bush-bird’s notes are ringing,
Sweet and clear,
Far and near,
Sounds of mirth and gladness bringing to the ear.
Mark the madness of the dry and droughty bush,
When the burning sun is glowing,
And the hot, north wind is blowing,
When the hills their ribs are showing,
Parched and bare
’Neath the glare;
When the dying herds are lowing in despair.
Note the grandeur of the tempest-riven bush,
When the angry storm-fiend dashes,
Where the lurid lightning flashes,
And the mighty gum-tree crashes
To its fall,
Once so tall;
And the rolling thunder clashes over all.
Or the frenzy of the fire-encompassed bush.
When the Fire-King comes a-reaping,
And his carnival is keeping;
When the roaring flames are leaping
To and fro
With a glow,
Like a fiery besom sweeping, as they go.
Behold again, the sweet repentant bush,
See her, where the fire was glowing,
How her regal robes are flowing;
Bounteous favours she’s bestowing
Lke a fay
Bright and gay.
Brilliant greens and reds are growing in a day.
And the lazy, peaceful, rest-inviting bush,
When contented herds are drinking,
With the tired stockman blinking
At the red-gold sun that’s sinking
In the west,
All is blest,
And each waking thing is thinking of its rest.
Ah! the sadness of the awe-inspiring bush,
When the day is slowly dying,
And the cool, night winds are sighing,
When the sad curlew is crying
As in pain,
From the plain,
And the mopoke is supplying the refrain.
Then the grimness of the sombre, midnight bush,
Where the southern cross is peeping
’Mid the ghostly shadows creeping,
And the tired camp is sleeping
At its ease,
While the breeze
Shakes the dew-drops, slowly weeping, from the trees.
A slip of a girl and a lout of a lad—
Heigh! Ho! The lad and the maid.
The lad is alone and the maiden is sad—
Heigh! Ho! The lad and the maid.
Cloudy to them is the brightest spring weather,
Mournful the breeze as it sighs through the heather,
But Fate comes along and she throws them together—
Heigh! Ho! The man and the maid.
A man and a maiden go walking one day—
Heigh! Ho! The man and the maid.
He is lonely no longer, the maiden is gay—
Heigh! Ho! The man and the maid.
Breezes as fragrant as incense caress them,
Naught in the world can disturb or distress them—
Then little Cupid comes flying to bless them—
Heigh! Ho! The man and the maid.
Sweet is the thrill of their first ardent kiss—
Heigh! Ho! The man and the maid.
Ages of joy in a moment of bliss—
Heigh! Ho! The man and the maid.
Sweet are the vows that are solemnly plighted,
She is in raptures and he is delighted,
Then Hymen comes and the pair are united,
Heigh! Ho! The man and the maid.
Adam and Eve acted just the same way—
Heigh! Ho! The man and the maid.
As it was in the Garden so is it to-day—
Heigh! Ho! The man and the maid.
Men laugh at Love’s darts, and affect to deride ’em,
The maids laugh at lovers, and sometimes they chide ’em,
But, Cupid laughs last, and he will, semper idem—
Heigh! Ho! The men and the maids.
If you Listen, I will truthfully a tale unfold to you,
How we engineered the ballot in the town of Bumberoo;
We are simple folk and honest when we deal in wool or wheat,
But in workin’ an election you will find us hard to beat.
There were Spicer, Jackson, Briggs and Brown, all men of good repute,
Were retiring as directors from our local Institute;
There was lawyer Grey, and Judkins, Green and me, unanimous
That the time had come when these good men must stand aside for us.
Some folks argued that, because they steered so ably in the past—
’Cause they’d brought us through the breakers till we floated safe at last—
They ought all to keep on steering—that ’twas only common-sense
That the men who’d earned our gratitude should keep our confidence.
Now we didn’t take the trouble these same statements to refute,
For the only thing we wanted was to boss the Institute;
We didn’t want their confidence, so didn’t make a fuss;
But we meant to have their billets, which was good enough for us.
Every member had one paper, to enable him to vote,
Which bore the Institution’s seal, intended to denote
That the paper was quite genuine; and then, from two till four,
They dropped their papers in a box that stood inside the door.
There were ninety-seven members, each entitled to a vote,
So at two we met, just opposite, where Judkins runs the tote;
And, to count the members goin’ in, we each took turns to peep.
And we checked them with a tally like they use to count the sheep.
The poll would close at four o’clock; at ten to four we knew
There were forty votes recorded, and allowin’ for a few
That might come in in the interim, we felt we needn’t wait;
So we sailed across, and voted for our little syndicate.
When the ballot-box was opened, the surprise was most intense,
But we had the votes, and didn’t care who had the confidence.
And, among the men of Bumberoo, the story still is told
How, from ninety-seven members, there were ninety-six that polled.
You ask me where we got the papers? That I’ll never tell:
You must ask the printer’s devil, Judkins’ nephew, Jimmy Bell;
And the seal? Well, it was Judkins once remarked to me, I think,
That he used it while the secretary went to have a drink.
It doesn’t really matter. It’s a fact beyond dispute,
That we bumped the old directors, and we run the Institute;
And we still are fairly honest, when we deal in wool or wheat,
But in stuffin’ ballot boxes we are pretty hard to beat.
Lumme, Liza! You’re a bosker! You’re a jewel! You’re a tart!
You’re the only gel as I was ever sweet on;
You’re the stuff they make the quids of! You’re the happle of my ’art!
I could eat the mat you wipes your little feet on.
It’s fair dinkum what I’m tellin’ yer; I’m straight, so help me bob;
If you’ll only let me know where I can meet yer,
We can talk it over quiet like, and while we’re on the job,
You can call for what you fancy, an’ I’ll treat yer.
I’m that fair knocked out that ’arf me time I don’t know what I do,
Why, I wops me poor old mare, although I prize her;
When I ought to think of bizness, I can only think of you,
And instead of “Rabbit-oh!” I sings out “Liza!”
Once I used to deal in bottles, but I gave that line a rest,
Empty bottles ain’t much chop. There’s nothing in ’em;
But, if you don’t like the rabbits, why, I’ll give the bunnies best;
For a married man, I know, the smell’s agin ’em.
When I sees yer face behind that bar, I goes clean off me chump,
I gets barmy when I sees yer eyes a shinin’;
Why, the fust time that yer larfed at me, me ’art give sich a jump,
That it knocked a hole clean through me weskit linin’.
There are swells come smoogin’ rahnd yer, what profess they can’t be beat;
They comes rahnd and flirts a bit, and then a guy do;
I dessay there’s scores of coves has chucked their ’arts dahn at yer feet,
But there’s, none of ’em as loves yer, Liz, like I do.
Only say you’ll meet me, Liza, say you’ll take me ’art and ’and,
Me affection’s sich I can’t find words to paint it;
But there ain’t a truer ’art that beats in all this blessed land,
And a love like mine’s a bit contagious, ain’t it?
I’m a clean pertater, Liza, though I sez it, as should not;
And a wouldn’t do a thing to vex or tease yer;
Only give me leave to love yer, and we’ll fix it on the spot,
And I’ll work me bloomin’ eye-balls out to please yer.
I can see yer loves me, Liza, by the tremblin’ of yer lips,
By the way yer blouse is ’eavin’ and a swellln’;
Why, you’re blushin’ now, Eliza, to your little finger tips,
And I know your answer, Liz, without you tellin’.
You shall have a new engagement ring this werry afternoon;
I’m as ’appy as a Hemperor or Kyser;
You can think abaht the place you’d like to spend the honeymoon;
You’re a daisy! You’re a plum! You’re— well, you’re Liza!
How I miss you, Paddy Flynn,
With your broad contagious grin,
With your cheery voice and honest, vyce-like hand!
I can picture you to-day
As you were, when far away,
We made merry round the camp-fire on the Bland,
When we drove big mobs of cattle overland.
I can see you, Paddy Flynn,
As you rushed the stragglers in,
Riding recklessly, untamable and wild.
I can feel your soft touch now,
As it soothed my aching brow,
When you charmed away my fever as you smiled,
As the crooning of a mother soothes her child.
We were happy, Paddy Flynn,
Through the toil and dust and din,
We were merry ’neath the sun’s relentless glare;
We were free and young and gay,
And we chased dull dreams away,
We had not a hope or thought we didn’t share,
And we had no time for sorrow, grief or care.
We were comrades, Paddy Flynn,
Till we met that nymph of sin,
With the full, red, painted lips and jet-black eyes,
Who so charmed us with her wiles,
With her witchery and smiles,
That she made the evil passions in us rise,
And she roused the jealous hate that seldom dies.
How she mocked us, Paddy Flynn,
Saying, “Those who love should win,”
Till she fanned our smouldering passion to a flame,
Till we grappled—you and I—
Each resolved to win or die—
And we fought like savage beasts that nought could tame,
Till the rough crowd intervened for very shame.
All! she fooled us, Paddy Flynn,
While we fought, she stayed within—
She was packing up her trousseau for her flight—
We were just a pair of fools,
For she made us both her tools,
And, while all the crowd turned out to see the fight,
She was packing. And she fled, with Jim, that night.
So I miss you, Paddy Flynn,
With your kind, good-temper’d grin,
For I want you, when I feel depressed and sad;
And I feel inclined to swear,
When I think what fools we were
When we let that black-eyed vixen drive us mad,
And I lost the truest mate man ever had.
I sit by the sliprail and ponder,
Try to dream my dream over again;
I sigh to the night wind and wonder
Whether Time will bring surcease of pain.
’Twas here that the vows were first spoken
That began our mad dream of delight;
’Twas here that my heart-strings were broken,
And the noon of my life became night.
’Twas here that my Darling first met me,
As the glowing sun sank in the west;
So glad and so eager to greet me,
And to pillow her face on my breast.
Her presence could banish my sadness,
Her smile was the herald of mirth;
She came, like an angel of gladness,
Who was sent to make Heaven of earth.
Now, Grief, like a shroud, doth enfold me,
As I sigh for the joys that are fled;
’Twas here, by the slip-rail, they told me
That my pure, bright-eyed Darling was dead.
The cry of a curlew is falling,
Like a dirge from a withered gum-tree;
To me, ’tis a Bad spirit calling
From the unknown, and calling to me.
Yet Reason still mocks me, and lingers,
While my soul yearns in vain to depart;
And Memory’s icy-cold fingers
Are implanting despair in my heart.
I seek, as I grieve and I ponder,
For the waters of Lethe in vain;
I sigh by the slip-rail, and wonder
Whether Time will bring surcease of pain.
Max Sharfstien coomed from Deutscherland
Vhence cooms der lager peer,
Und if he’d shtopped in Deutscherland,
Max neffer vas peen here.
Dat Max could not pe here und dhere
You all must own vas true,
As true as pirds fly in der air,
Or twice times four is two.
Max Sharfstien had von leetle flask,
Vhat held a pint or so,
Und efferyvheres dat Sharfstien vent,
Dat flask vas sure to go.
Und if it’s fine, or rain, or shine,
Or shtormy vinds plow fair,
If dat same flask is full mit vine,
Max Sharfstien didn’t care.
He vorked at effery sorts of yob,
For effery kinds of men;
Soom veeks he earned him thirty bob,
Und some veeks von pound ten.
His nose grew red, his vaist got pig,
His coat too tight to vear,
But, if he only got his svig,
Max Sharfstien didn’t care.
Von day his flask vas drained qvite dry,
But Max shpied out a tent,
No dead nor livin’ soul was nigh.
So through dat tent he vent;
He saw some liquor in a flask—
He seized it, dhen und dhere,
Vhat kind it vas he didn’t ask,
Max Sharfstien didn’t care.
Max neffer shtopped to reason vhy,
To scratch his head or think,
But tipped it oop, und drained it dry,
So quick as you could vink.
Dhen Max turned vhite, und plue, und green
Und tried in vain to schvear;
For drinkin’ nitro-glyeerine
Max Sharfstien didn’t care!
Max shcreamed mit pain, und from dat tent
Like soom fat porpoise shprang,
Dhen oop he tripped, und down he vent,
Mit von almachty bang!
Dhere was von pig ear-shplittin’ sound,
But vhere vas Max? Oh! vhere?
Dhere vas soom leetle pieces round,
But—Sharfstien didn’t care.
There’s a little green flat near the river Paroo,
Where the wallabies feed, and the bandicoots play,
Where the cries of the magpie and white cockatoo
Greet the echoing hills at the advent of day.
The kangaroo seeks it to browse and to rest,
The sleek ’possum explores its deep shadows at night,
And ’twas there, in that valley so peaceful and blest,
That we played the great game, and we fought the great fight.
We were shearing for Lindsay, who owns Killiemore,
And Macpherson, our boss, when returning from town,
Met Dutch Peter, the super from Gulligalore,
And they both lit their pipes and then sat themselves down.
They conversed about horses, and cattle and sheep,
About women and whisky, the drought and Queen Ann,
But, as both had been drinking—not wisely, but deep—
When they talked about football the trouble began.
“I could find.” said Macpherson. “braw men that could play
Ony team in Australy, frae roun’ Killimore”
“I vas pick,” said Dutch Peter, “vourdeen deams a day
Vhat could roon dem round rings, out at Gulligalore.”
“Hech! ye gowk! Ye are daft,” cried Macpherson with scorn,
“Wow! the proof o’ the puddin’s the preein’, ye ken,
Pick ye’re bleth’rin team oot, and, as sure’s they are born,
They’ll gang chitter’in hame mair like bogles then men!”
Then the blood of the warlike Macpherson ran hot,
While Dutch Peter in vain tried to frame words to speak;
But a bargain was made that on that very spot,
They would meet with their forces on Saturday week.
When the summons went forth to assemble the clan.
All Macpherson’s bold Scotchmen proved true to the core;
For, while Killiemore’s shearers were Scotch to a man,
They were Irish and Dutch down at Gulligalore.
Every man that was present remembers that day,
When he rode down the hill singing “Young Lochinvar,”
While our foes, as they eagerly stripped for the fray,
Sang “The Watch on the Rhine,” and “Sweet Erin-go-bragh.”
How our cheers shook the hills, as we met on the ground,
When we faced the O’Gradys, Von Stuntze, and O’Shea!
How the braw Scotchmen smiled, as the whisper went round.
That the name of the umpire was Donald McRae!
In the place of a whistle, bold Donald McRae
Had an old bullock bell, which he used in its stead;
There’s a kick off! a run! and then Michael O’Shea
Has to go off the field, while they stitch up his head.
There’s a rush and a tackle, a squabble, a scrum,
Then the ball is kicked out, and the players divide;
Old Macpherson throws in: like a whirlwind they come,
“Regan has it! He’s gone!” But the bell rings “Off side!”
“Come ye back.” said McRae, ’twas the last word he spoke,
For the crowd gathered round him; I saw Donald fall,
Then a knock made me dizzy, and when I awoke
They were kicking poor Donald in place of the ball!
“Let me yoomp on his shest,” said Dutch Peter, “Py shinks!
I vos make him soon tink his pehind vas pefore!”
And then Peter saw stars, and said: “Tonner! I tinks
I vas blayed out mit footballs fer neffer-some more!”
We laid Donald to rest by the bank of the creek,
While Dutch Peter crawled down to a big water-hole;
But, while we weren’t looking, O’Grady, the sneak,
Ran away with the ball, and they scored the first goal.
“Be the Powers,” cried O’Toole, “we’re the bhoys that can play;
’Tis the sons of ould Ireland can handle the ball;
Faith! we’ll make all the Scotchmen remimber the day
That they tackled a player from bould Donegal.”
“Hog-shouther him, Jock,” cried McLeish to McGee,
“Von Stuntze is ram-feezled, O’Toole is the same,
Dinna fash wi’ O’Grady, just lea him to me,
I’ll turn him tapsalteerie and jimp on his wame.”
So we knocked out O’Grady, Von Stuntze and O’Toole,
But they settled the hash of McCabe and McGee;
When we sat down at half-time to rest and get cool
We had four sound men left, but they only had three.
Murder gleamed from the eye of Macpherson, the grim,
“’Tis a foight to a finish!” cried Dinny Molloy,
“Sure the eyes of ould Ireland are watchin’ us, Tim,
Time is up! Put your heads down and at him, me bhoy!”
Grim Macpherson was stout, Tim O’Leary was big,
And Tim butted at Mac, with a rush and a yell;
So Macpherson went down with a grunt like a pig,
He fell heels over head—and he stayed where he fell.
Then McLeish knocked the wind out of Dinny Molloy,
And big Tim broke the ankle of Duncan McNair,
But then Tim, in his turn, got laid out by McCoy,
And McCoy got his nose broke by Paddy O’Hare.
So McLeish was the only sound man of us all,
But he threw Pat O’Hare, and danced reels on his head;
And proud Gordon McLeish stood alone with the ball,
While around on the field lay the wounded and dead.
“Hech! ’tis grand!” said McRae, from his bed near the creek,
“Ye have ten meenits left. Mak’ the maist of them, mon,
I can umpire ye yet, though I’m drouthy and weak,
Kick awa, mon! And kick a’ the goals that ye can!
While McLeish kept on kicking, McRae kept the score,
And he cried: “It’s a record, mon, sure’s ye’re alive;
I’m a sma’ wee bit slow, ye have time for yin mair,
Sooth! Ye’ve won, and the score stan’s at saxty to five!”
And Dutch Peter, the super, when telling the tale,
And describing the game to Von Kopsen, his friend,
Said: “Mine sheeks vas got giddy, mine prain he turn pale,
All mine hair vas run cold, and mine plood shtand on end!”
Thus McLeish became famous along the Paroo,
And we had a Scotch nicht when we reached Killiemore;
But from that day to this there’s a hullabaloo
If a man mentions football at Gulligalore.
When Saxon bold, in days of old,
Met Scot in deadly frays,
Those sturdy foes struck doughty blows,
In old historic days.
But Rose and Thistle now entwine,
And Scots with Saxons now combine;
They join to form the “thin red line”
Renowned in Britain’s story.
At Waterloo with Wellington; with Nelson on the Nile;
They charged the guns at Balaclava, cheering all the while,
And the Campbells came to Lucknow with the English rank and file,
And they mingled their red blood for Britain’s glory.
In days of peace, when cannons cease,
The ships from Thames and Clyde
Sail gracefully on every sea,
And float on every tide.
The Thistle and the Rose entwine,
And Scots with Britons now combine
To make our peaceful glory shine;
Each day repeats the story.
And maids from Merry England wed braw lads from Bonnie Doon,
Their gallant sons are scattered from the Orkneys to Rangoon,
And they’d take the dear old Union Jack and plant it in the moon
If they thought that they could add to Britain’s glory.
He was journeying from Gundagai, a simple artless man;
He was coming down to Sydney on the train;
His beard was full of grass seeds, and his face was like the tan,
And he told us that the country wanted rain.
He propounded simple questions with a child-like innocence,
And accepted all our answers with a smile;
So we envied him his honesty and perfect confidence,
Pure and simple, and without a trace of guile.
We were near our destination when the ticket porter came,
Shouting, “Tickets!” but our venerable friend
Was so busy looking round him that you really couldn’t blame
Him, because he didn’t readily attend.
But at length the situation seemed to dawn upon his mind.
He began to search his pockets with a grin;
‘I know,” said he, “I had one, but it’s jolly hard to find
Just the very spot I put the beggar in.
“I had it in the pocket of my weskit or my coat,
Or it might ha’ bin my trousers! Let me see;
I ought t’ a’ had it ready. But a ride in train or boat
Is a very new experience to me.”
“You have it in your mouth,” said I. He murmured, “So I have,
I’m so sorry that I made the porter wait;”
But he whispered when we parted as a little wink he gave,
’Twas an old ’un, I was suckin’ off the date!”
When I called unexpectedly, he sat dejectedly,
As though some great grief were oppressing him;
When I spoke to him mildly, he rolled his eyes wildly,
Sighing deeply, while I was addressing him.
I said: “Sandy Macready, you’re looking quite seedy,
Though mostly so jovial and jolly;
Have you got an attack of that pain in your back?
You’re the picture of dull melancholy.
“Say! While you were sleeping, did goblins come creeping,
To plague you with tortures unnameable?
Did they tickle your nose, and put cramps in your toes,
And do other things equally blameable?
“Did you put all your cash in a bank that went smash,
Or a boom that has burst like a bubble?
Oh! Sandy, you frighten me, won’t you enlighten me
As to the cause of your trouble?”
“Hech! Mon, it’s nae jokin’,” said Mac, ‘‘it’s provokin’,
When we think of a life’s possibeelities;
When you’re thinking to prove your guid luck’s on the move,
To discover hoo deid an’ hoo still it is.
“I’d a thirst that was killin’, an’ picked up a shillin’,
Wow! Ye ken I was muckle delighted;
Dae ye wonder I’m mad? Mon! The shillin’ was BAD!
And my great expectations are blighted.”
Full many a woman has found to her cost,
That to hesitate means that she’s sure to get lost,
But the proverb cuts both ways, and maidens will find,
If they travel too fast they’ll be still left behind.
There are plenty of maids who are pining to-day,
And deploring the fact that the men ran away,
For they’ve found that a maiden who chases a man,
Will get left, like Maria Matilda M’Gann.
She was lively and witty and sweet seventeen,
When she started by ogling Theophilus Green;
She waylaid him and watched for him day after day,
Till he packed his portmanteau and faded away.
Then she smiled at a squatter, a shearer, a cook,
And made eyes at a man who was writing a book,
At an auctioneer’s clerk—at a tram guard—but none
Had she managed to catch when she reached twenty-one.
To assemblies, and parties, and races she ran,
In a frantic endeavour to catch a young man;
And she fretted and fumed, and was ready to cry,
When she found the young men so remarkably shy.
So she reached twenty-two, twenty-three, twenty- four,
And a suitor seemed farther away than before;
When she saw her cheeks fade she was ready to faint,
But she plucked up her courage, and started to paint.
So she rushed through the world with a swish and a whirl,
And she loved to be called, “Such a giddy young girl,”
Till she found a grey hair, then alas and alack!
She went out of her mind, and she never came back.
Pretty maidens, take warning, whatever you do
Don’t run after the men—let them run after you;
For be sure that the maid who runs after a man
Will get left—like Maria Matilda M’Gann.
Though with sorrow thy bosom heaves,
Wipe the tear from thy jet-black eye;
Look thy best at him, when he leaves,
Try to smile when he says “ Good-bye.”
One more trip must thy lover make.
Just this parting, the only one;
Now, be brave, for thy lover’s sake,
Just one trip, and his task is done.
Cheer his going, sweet eyes of jet,
Though he knows that thy love is true,
Make him feel thou wilt ne’er forget
His auburn curls and his eyes of blue.
Send him forth on his lonely track,
So that, when resting ’neath star-lit skies,
He’ll see, to cheer him, and speed him back
The light of Love in thy jet-black eyes.
* * * * * * * *
Wipe those tears away, eyes of jet,
The parting’s over, thy lover gone;
What said he to thee? “Do not fret,
Just this trip, and my task is done.
Courage! Darling, although we part,
Think, what bliss will our meeting be?
Well thou knowest my constant heart
While it beats will be true to thee.”
Long the track o’er the sun-parched plain,
Long the journey from sea to sea;
Months must pass ere he comes again
To smile at dangers he braved for thee.
Many a prayer he will breathe for you,
Often the sun must arise and set;
Ere those merry, brave eyes of blue
Can gaze again on those eyes of jet.
* * * * * * * * * *
Months have passed; and thine eyes grow dim.
The roses fade from thy haggard cheek;
Thou art waiting for news from him,
Thinking thoughts that you dare not speak.
Thoughts of famine, and creeks run dry,
Dreams of blacks and of lurking spears;
So must thou dream, till thy once bright eye
Reflects the pain of the waiting years.
“One more trip.” Yes, the only one!
Just one trip o’er the lonely plain;
One spear thrust—and his task was done —
His journey over, his toil in vain.
Closed for ever his eyes of blue,
His auburn curls with his blood were wet,
His soul went out with a prayer for you—
“God be kind to you, Eyes of Jet.”
He reached our camp at dinner time and passed the time of day,
As he dumped his well-worn swag upon the ground;
He ate our beef and damper in a patronising way,
Drank our tea and smiled benignantly around.
He ran hs slender fingers through his patriarchal beard,
Which impressed our unsophisticated youth;
His voice was low and soothing, and his sole desire appeared
To say all he said with strict regard to truth.
He was not a bit uncouth;
So we looked on him forsooth
As a pattern of benovolence and truth.
He told us tales of Bendigo, of Forbes and Ballarat,
Of his fights with Morgan, Gilbert, Hall, and Dunn;
Of how he drove the Chinkies from their claims at Lambing Flat;
Of the trophies and the prizes he had won.
His style was so convincing, his appearance so sublime,
All his sentiments so honest and devout,
We swallowed all he told us and believed it at the time
For it seemed a sort of sacrilege to doubt.
When he told us all about
His adventures coming out,
Even then we couldn’t find the heart to doubt.
He said he knew a lawyer who would not accept a fee,
And a parson with a disregard to pelf;
He vowed he knew a lady void of curiosity,
And a man who loved his neighbour as himself;
That he knew a politician who was honest and devout,
And a funny man who thought himself absurd,
But I put my thumb unto my nose and spread my fingers out,
And I told him I was forced to doubt his word.
I was sorry, I averred,
If his anger I incurred;
But I really must decline to take his word.
But when he said he saw a wombat walking on the sea,
And a kookaburra flying round the moon:
Described the geebungs growing on a paddymelon tree,
And a bunyip playing jigs on a bassoon;
Spoke gravely of a wallaby that made a barbed-wire fence,
And a platypus who danced upon the wire,
I thought he was an idiot devoid of common sense,
Or an absolute, unmitigated liar.
I had not the least desire
To offend, or rouse his ire,
But I hinted that I thought he was a liar.
He said he had a maiden aunt who owned to forty-nine.
Knew a boy who wasn’t wiser than his dad,
Knew a man who made a fortune in the literary line,
And a comic bard who wasn’t always sad;
Then I felt it time to stop him, and with frenzy in my eye,
Hit him just about the belt, or slightly higher;
And I said, as down he tumbled. “Do you now admit you lie?”
And I called him every sample of a liar,
Then I built his funeral pyre,
And I hurled him on the fire;
For I hate a man who beats me as a liar.
’Tvas a long times ago, shoost so long I don’t know,
Vhen I first seen der land of der gum-tree;
I vas young, I vas bold, I vas look me for gold,
I vas gay as der ploom on der plum-tree.
It vas pleasin’ to me, vhen I happens to see
Dhat Italian named Paddy O’Higgins;
For by him I vas told, if I vant to find gold,
I must shvag mine hump oop to der diggin’s.
So I packs oop mine load, und I sharts on der road,
Mit mine heart tvice so light as a feather;
Don’t I vhistle und sing, till der gum-trees dey ring?
Und I don’t care a clam for der weather.
So I sings me mine song, as I tramps me along,
Till avay in der bush-land I find me,
I vas out on der hunt, all der gold vas in front,
Und mine troubles vas all left pehind me.
So I valks me all day, till I gets me dhat vay,
Dhat I couldn’t shtand oop midhout sittin’,
Und der veight of mine pack put a kink in mine back
Dhat I couldn’t get out midhout shplittin’.
I vas ready to cry, vhen I happens to shpy
A red shirt, mit a pig man inside it;
Vhen mine shtory I told, und I shpoke apout gold,
He said, “Dutchy, you’re sittin’ peside it.
“See dhat pig yellow hump, shoost peside der black shtump,
If you vant to get gold I’ll advise you,
Dig it oop und I’ll pet you von’t neffer forget
Vhat you find. It vas sure to surprise you.”
Dhen he said me good-day, und he vent him avay,
Und I felt dhat dhat hump I could hug it;
For mine heart felt so pig, as I shtarted to dig .
Und egshpected to find von pig nugget.
I can see mineself now mit der shveat on mine prow,
As right on to dhat ant-hill I flung me,
I can feel der pig ants, as dhey crawl oop mine pants,
Und like ten tousand teffils dhey shtung me.
How dhey crawled round apout, pickin’ leetle pits out,
Like some goats dhat vas turned into clover;
How, like arrows dhey darts for mine tenderest parts,
On mine arms, und mine legs, und all ofer.
Covered ofer mit bumps, how I yells und I yumps,
How I cursed Signor Paddy O’Higgins;
As I rolled in der dirt, how I vished dhat red shirt
Vas pe puried alive in dhat diggin’s.
I remembered dhat day, dhat I’d somevon heard say
Dhat der gold vas der roots of all efil;
It vas true vat dhey told, for I tried to dig gold,
Und I dug oop der roots of der teffil.
I’m a farmer. Where my farm is, well, I don’t intend to say;
It’s enough for you to know that it’s up Tumberumba way.
I don’t often take a holiday, and, even when I do,
It’s not one time in twenty I get on the jamberoo.
But the crops were doing splendidly, the wool was all sent down;
So at Christmas time the missus thought we’d have a run to town.
She remarked: “Without we see some life, we might as well be dead.”
And, as is my usual custom, I agreed with what she said.
We arrived in the big city, after travelling all night,
And the crowds that came to meet us was a gratifying sight.
But the shovin’ and the rushin’, and the shoutin’ and the roar.
Raised a sort of feelin’ in me that I’d never felt before.
When the porter stowed us in a cab, the cabby said: ‘‘Where to?”
“Oh,” says I, “just drive us where it’s most convenient to you.”
“But,” says Jessie, “Drive us somewhere where they’ll let us go to bed.”
And I felt so awful sleepy, I agreed with what she said.
So he drove us to a big hotel—one of those grand affairs,
Where they’ve chambermaids to wait on you, and carpet on the stairs,
Where the bedrooms were so similar. I used to sleep in dread,
That I’d wake up in the morning in some other person’s bed.
Well, the sights we saw that Christmas time, are more than I can tell,
They made even Jessie say that she was doin’ fairly well;
For she liked the shops, she liked the trams, the gardens, and the parks,
And, when Jessie praised the tucker, I agreed with her remarks.
But she soon got tired and footsore. After that I had to roam,
And to put my time in anyhow, while Jessie stayed at home;
It was then I met Dick Donovan, who comes from Burradoo,
And he said: “We’ll go and see the town, and have a jamberoo,”
Every thing that followed after that seems strange and dim to me,
There’s a lot of things all jumbled up within my memory;
There are ballet girls and barmaids, and remarks that don’t seem plain,
Such as “Cumanavadrinkmebo” and “Fillemupagain.”
When I try to call to mind the folks I met, and their remarks,
It is just a jumbled memory of policemen, pubs, and parks;
But next day, before a magistrate it was explained to me,
That they found me yelling out “Police!” and clinging to a tree.
And my purse was gone, my watch was gone, my hat was gone as well,
Where they went to you must ask the wind—it’s more than I can tell;
I had lost my railway ticket, and my reputation too;
They had all vamoosed, and vanished in one little jamberoo.
Jessie said next day—and with her I could not well disagree—
That the city was a place that was a bit too warm for me;
And she said: “The only way to keep you safe, and free from harm,
Is to pack you up, and take you back, and dump you on the farm.”
She said: “You’re a pretty article, to get in such disgrace,
Why, you look as if a swarm of bees had settled on your face;
You must feel as if volcanoes were eruptin’ in your head.”
And, as is my usual custom, I agreed with what she said.
Now! Hurry up, Blossom!
Gee up! Good old mare. The sun’s getting low,
Though dusty the track, we have not far to go.
But hurry! To-morrow is Christmas, you know.
Get along, Blossom!
Hey! Shake her up, Blossom!
Remember the shining eyes watching the gate,
And the two loving hearts that impatiently wait
To welcome us home. Come, we must not be late.
Step along, Blossom!
Come! Walk along, Blossom!
You know they are anxious when we are away,
And eagerly watch at the close of the day;
Then, think of the treasures we have on the dray.
Step along, Blossom!
Now! Move along, Blossom!
I want to see Maggie. To watch her eyes shine
At sight, of the presents so dainty and fine,
To feel her warm kisses, responsive to mine.
Step it out, Blossom!
Way! Walk along, Blossom!
Don’t be lazy, old mare. I am eager to see
Wee Bobbie’s eyes sparkle, as, perched on my knee,
He sees his tin soldiers. How merry he’ll be.
Hurry up, Blossom!
Now, one more hill, Blossom!
Our house is away from the city’s mad rush,
Our carols are sung by the magpie and thrush,
But love reigns supreme in our home in the bush.
Get along. Blossom!
Hi! There’s the house, Blossom!
The nest of my loved ones. Just under the hill,
No Christmas chimes greet us, but there we fulfill
God’s glorious promise of Peace and Goodwill.
Step it out, Blossom!
See! There they are, Blossom!
How sweet Maggie looks, as she kisses her hand;
Why they’ve decked the verandah with flowers quite grand,
I think I’m the happiest man in the land.
Here we are, Blossom!
I have heard it remarked, as a matter of course,
By some folks pessimistic and vicious,
That a love that's Platonic must always perforce,
Lead to something that’s wrong or suspicious.
With such ill-natured people I cannot agree,
When I think of the love betwixt Polly and me.
She is pure as the daintiest lily that grows.
Not a rosebud is fairer or sweeter;
From her golden-crowned head to the tips of her toes,
There was never a maid that was neater.
And our friendship is candid, and open and free,
For there is not a secret ’twixt Polly and me.
We are chums. That is all. Just a man and a maid
Who resolve to be happy and jolly;
And I care not a jot what is whispered or said,
I shall still keep on loving sweet Polly.
When I stroke her bright hair, as she sits on my knee,
I rejoice at the love betwixt Polly and me.
So the gossips may wonder and talk as they please,
They may chuckle with laughter sardonic;
Though she asks me to kiss her, and shows me her knees,
Yet I swear that our love is Platonic.
There is not the least harm betwixt Polly and me,
For, alas! I am sixty, while Polly is three.
I once was light-hearted, good-tempered, and gay,
Not a trouble or care to oppress me,
And I cantered through life in a rollicking way,
Thinking nought could disturb or distress me.
The world was a circus, and I was a clown,
Till fate introduced me to Winifred Brown.
In our journey through life there are byways unseen,
That will lead us to good or to evil;
One will lead to the right, into pathways serene,
While another will lead to the Devil.
I had choice of two tracks when I rode into town;
I turned to the left—and met Winifred Brown.
She was close to the sliprail that led to the farm
When I first saw her merry eyes glancing.
And my soul became captive at once to the charm
Of her beauty, so sweet and entrancing.
The flag of my freedom at once fluttered down;
My heart was surrendered to Winifred Brown.
Oh! Those halcyon days! Like a poet’s sweet dream—
Sweeter far than was ever invented.
Then I told her my love; and my joy was supreme
When she bashfully blushed, and consented.
I was prouder of her than a king of his crown,
For the world was my own, with sweet Winifred Brown.
All the guests were assembled. The parson was there,
To unite us for worse or for better;
When I got a surprise, for a girl with red hair
Came and curtseyed, and gave me a letter.
It was short, it said briefly, “I’m not coming down,
Will you kindly apologise? Winifred Brown.”
Then a postscript said, “Charley, I hope you won’t mind,
But, I’ve met my old sweetheart, Pat Hogan.
We have made up our quarrel; he’s awfully kind,
So I’m going with him to the Bogan.
We were married this morning, I hope you won’t frown,
Yours, W. Hogan (nee Winifred Brown).”
Oh! The sun shone bright, and our hearts were light,
Whilst the scent from the wild, bush trees
Stole fresh and sweet, through the ripening wheat,
As it waved in the summer breeze.
O’er the golden grain, came the sweet refrain
Of the bell-bird’s evening call;
There was glad surprise in my Nell’s blue eyes,
And God’s blessing was over all.
I was young and strong, and my task was long,
But I’d planted the golden grain;
With a flush of pride I had brought my bride
To her home on the western plain.
It was sweet to me, when she laughed with glee,
And dilated with glowing face
On the ground I’d cleared, and the house I’d reared
For our home and our dwelling place.
It was rude and rough, but its slabs were tough.
It was cosy and snug and warm;
’Twas of rude design, but the plan was mine,
And ’twas built by my own strong arm.
So our hearts were light, as the sun was bright,
And the galloping years rolled by.
For our love was true as the skies were blue,
And contented were Nell and I.
’Twas at dawn of day that I rode away
From my wife and our chubby child,
Saying “God bless Nell,” as I waved farewell,
While she threw me a kiss and smiled.
As I gazed around at our well-tilled ground,
At our sheep and our fattening kine,
At the cultured grace of the dear old place,
All the pride of success was mine.
So I cross the bridge and the iron-stone ridge,
And I ride down the big red hill—
Till I note with dread, that some fire glow’s red
In the scrub near the ruined mill.
Then the red sparks fly, and the flames sweep by
As they tear through the sun-dried grass,
As they leap the trees in the gathering breeze,
Till the scrub is a roaring mass.
Then I turn me back—for the fiery track,
Like a demon let loose from Hell,
Flies from tree to tree, as with fiendish glee,
It is spreading for home and Nell.
So I urge my steed at breakneck speed,
And I spur, till his flanks run red,
But the mad flames rush through the hungry bush,
As they gallop and roar ahead.
I gasp and I choke, through the blinding smoke.
And I smart with the scorching heat,
In my great dismay I both curse and pray,
Then the merciless flames entreat.
But I pass the bridge and the iron-stone ridge,
And I raced down the bridle track;
Then—I wish me dead—for my home glows red
In a desert of smouldering black.
* * * * * * *
Now I sit alone, while the night winds moan.
As I ponder on joys long fled,
For the curlew’s cry is my lullaby,
As I creep to my lonely bed.
If I chance to dream, once again I seem
To be riding that frightful ride;
And the smoke grows dense, as I leap the fence
In my hurry to save my bride.
Then I wake and sigh—so the years drift by,
And the lingering seasons roll;
Neither day nor night bringing brief respite
To the gloom that immures my soul.
I can only pray for that brighter day
When my soul, from its cage set free,
Like a bird shall soar to join Nell’s, once more,
In a joyous eternity.
She vas told me she vas lofe me,
As she skveeze her hand mit mine.
It vas make mine heart go yumpin’,
Vhen her pright eyes on me shine.
Und effery leetle shmile she shmole
Vould make me dance und sing,
Und I feels so yolly happy
Dhat I laughs like efferyting.
Vhen she shlog me on der kopp
Yust pecause I couldn’t shtop,
I vas like some laughing-yackass, und I laughs till I could drop.
Vhen she out-valks me on Sundays,
She vas look so shveet und fair
Dhat mine heart vas like some vater-bubble
Floatin’ on der air.
Vhen I seen her mit some odder fellow,
Ridin’ on a shving,
Dhen mine heart vas like a boulder,
Und I sighs like efferyting.
Und I gets so mighty sad,
Dhat I yoomps apout like mad,
Und I kick mineself all ofer me mit all der feet I had.
Vhen she chucks dhat fellow ofer,
Und she shmole on me once more,
I vas happy as some pully-frogs
Vhat sings outside mine door.
Vhen she lets me take mine measure,
For dhat leetle veddin’ ring
I vas like soom Punch und Yudy,
Und I laughs like efferyting.
Und each pully poy I meet
As I valks me down der street,
Vas egsept mine invitation vhen I ask him to shtand treat.
Vhen ve apout sis months vas shpliced,
(It seemed apout six years)
Her leetle poots at me she threw,
Und box me on der ears.
She shtopped in ped each morning
Until I her preakfast prings,
Und vhen her leetle tongue vorked loose
It vagged like efferytings.
Und der ped-post of der bed,
She vas pang it mit mine head,
Und I vished ten tousand million times dhat I vas died qvite dead.
Von mornin’ to mine vork I goes,
Und I coomed me home at night;
I creeps me in der pack-side door,
Und shtarts mine fire to light.
Vhat’s in dhat leetle note I finds,
Dhat makes me yump and shpring?
It says she shlope mit dhat odder fellow,
Und I laughs like efferytings.
Und I vhistle und I sing,
Till I makes der roof-iron ring,
Vhen I finds she go to Yericho, vhy—I laughs like efferytings.
I dreamt, one hot and scorching day,
That ’neath the Sphinx’s shade I lay—
The climate was depressing.
The hot sands made me stare and blink,
And I was dying for a drink—
My thirst was quite distressing.
A camel stood quite close to me;
He chewed his cud contentedly,
As on me he kept gazing;
He seemed to know I craved a drink,
(I saw the ugly beggar wink)
His coolness was amazing.
He shook his long ungainly head,
And then, in camel language said:
“You poor unlucky mortal.
I’m better off than you,” said he,
“A drink a week’s enough for me ”—
Then he began to chortle.
“Avaunt!” cried I, “ungainly beast!
You might respect my thirst at least.
Why don’t you drink in season?
To thirst so long proves you a chump,
I wondered why you had the hump,
But now I know the reason.”
Away to the west, on the black-soil plains,
Where the teamsters swear and the bullocks toil,
A driver of bullocks, named Michael Baines,
Is leaving his tracks on the tough, black soil.
He cheerfully sings, though the pace be slow,
“Each mile that we gain is one less to go.”
When the waggon gets bogged and the leader strains,
When the trace-chains snap, and the wool-bales sway,
It may ruffle the temper of Michael Baines,
But he takes a shovel and digs his way.
The bullocks breathe hard as the big load swings,
But they move again, and so Michael sings.
Thus doggedly, cheerfully, day by day,
Over sun-parched plains or by swollen creeks,
Merrily Michael is forcing his way,
Still steadily on to the goal he seeks.
Each restful night sees some distance won;
A mile in a day is better than none.
The bullocks are lazy, the tracks are rough,
But Michael’s long whip has a potent thong;
The damper is stale, and the corned beef tough,
But Michael’s white teeth are both sharp and strong.
He sticks to his task and enjoys his dole,
Each day he gets nearer his distant goal.
Through all his misfortunes does Michael sing,
Though his trials are many, and life is hard;
But, at last, one day, with a lurch and a swing,
His team will crawl into the station yard.
His task will be over, his goal be won;
A mile in a day is better than none.
How many a man in the world to-day
Is yielding to trouble, in fear and doubt;
Who frets and mopes by the side of his dray,
When he ought to be trying to dig it out?
He who sits still and at Fortune complains
Might well take a lesson from Michael Baines.
John Tompkins was such an unfortunate man,
It appeared as though Fate had selected him
To use as her toy, for his troubles began
At his birth—when his nurses neglected him.
The consequence was he’d a cast in his eye,
While his nose was a petty apology:
His knees knocked together, his feet were awry,
And his head was a freak in phrenology.
His bump of morality lay almost flat,
While the vicious ones rose in immensity;
His forehead was small, but the back of his hat
Was bulged out with his vicious propensity.
At school he was backward in all that was right,
But in vice showed abnormal precocity;
His moral obliquity made him delight
In exceptional deeds of atrocity.
It followed, of course, when he reached man’s estate,
That his criminal turpitude clung to him;
His conscience was dumb—inexorable Fate,
Like a siren of sinfulness, sung to him.
To rob and to burgle he could not resist,
He neglected no fair opportunity;
And when he’d committed each crime on the list,
He invented new crimes with impunity.
He would steal anything that came near to his hand,
From a purse to a paltry geranium;
Yet, it wasn’t his fault, you will please understand
’Twas the fault of the bumps on his cranium.
Poor fellow! He happened, one dark winter’s night,
While exploring some business premises,
To be rather careless in showing a light,
And poor Tompkins got caught by his Nemesis.
They took him away to a mansion of stone,
And arranged for his long isolation,
Where he had the advantage, in peace and alone,
Of enjoying some cool contemplation.
A clean-shaven curate then came on the scene.
Who taught Science, combined with Theology;
The creed he believed in was somewhere between
The High Church and electro-biology.
He practised on Tompkins each day in his cell,
And discovered the cause that perverted him;
He argued so long, and he laboured so well,
That he turned Tompkins’ head and converted him.
His bump of iniquity now is quite flat,
While his moral ones swell with intensity;
He’s growing so good that the front of his hat
Is too small for his moral propensity.
The curate now points, with commendable pride,
To his pupil’s religious refulgence;
While Tompkins, converted, is often supplied
With full many a little indulgence.
Let this be the moral, conclusive, though brief—
It may savour of heterodoxy—but,
If you wish to convert an habitual thief,
You must alter the shape of his occiput.
I don’t lay claim to be a toff, nor yet a lady’s man;
I ain’t the least ambition to be called a Don Juan.
I gets me livin’ honestly, and alwis pays me way,
And tries to ’elp a decent pal wot strikes a rainy day.
But a bloke wot takes and flirts
With the finest thing in skirts
As I’ve found out to me sorrer, is a jay.
You needn’t think I talks abaht the things I ’aven’t seen,
I knows the things that once was, and the things that might ’ave been;
I knows the ways of wimmin, when they fix yer with their eyes,
When they starts yer ’art a jumpin’, with their giggles and their sighs,
But the cove wot starts a puzzlin’
Over dainty things in muslin,
Might as well jist turn ’is toes up to the skies.
I reckon Maude was out to ’ave ’er little bit of fun,
And p’raps she didn’t know the ’arm she did (or might ’ave done),
I spent me money freely on ’er, takin’ of ’er out,
To plays, with oyster suppers, which we finished up with stout;
But a tart wot chucks a lumper
For a knock-knee’d counter-jumper,
Well! She ain’t the sort, of tart to fret abaht.
I felt a sort of pleasure when I punched ’is fat red ’ed,
(She was callin’ of ’im “Harther,’’ while ’e shammed that ’e was dead)
She talked abaht ’is “salary,” (It’s wages wot I earn)
I don’t know many shopmen wot ’as ten-pun-notes to burn.
’Er old father was a sweep,
Wot ’ad thirteen kids to keep,
So I guess my social spear’s as good as ’em,
I don’t deny but wot, at fust, my jealousy was keen,
But p’raps things turned out better than the things that might ’ave been;
I takes me gruel quiet like, I don’t make any fuss,
The things that alwis ’as been, should be good enough for us;
For I might ’ave asked the cuss,
And she might ’ave answered “Yuss.”
Then the things that might ’ave ’appened might be wuss.
If you haf a good dog und he gets all der plame
For der mischief vat’s goin’ apout,
You might ash veil gif dat good dog a pad name
Ash to hang der poor beggar shtraight out.
If I always get plamed for der tings I don’t do—
Veil! I don’t see der place vhere der yoke vas. Do you?
There’s my Missus. I cannot abide her,
Though I made her mine vife, Mrs. Schneider,
She sits down in der damp, den gets oop mit der cramp,
Und she puts all der plame upon Schneider.
I neffer gets praised for der good I don’t do,
But dey plames me for all dat goes pad;
Dey tell facts about me vat neffer vas true,
Und when I goes vild dey gets glad.
If I neffer vas porn I vas happier peen,
For dey tink I’m a Dutchman pecause I vas green,
If a girl vas got pit py a shpider
Ten to von she vould plame it on Schneider;
If a hairy baboon vas fly down from der moon,
You can pet dey vould shvear it vas Schneider.
I vas valk der shtreet down in mine pest Sunday clothes,
Und I nottings to nopody say;
Till I see a fine girl shmilin’ under her nose,
So I valked oop und told her, “Good-day!”
She vas lookin’ so lofely, und shmilin’ so shveet
Dat I ask her to yoin me und valk oop der shtreet,
Vhen a pig man vat shtood shoost peside her,
Made a great interference mit Schneider;
He left plood on mine nose, und left mud on mine clothes,
Und der crowd made a goat-shcape of Schneider!
If effery house vas got plown down on land,
Und der ships all got plown oop at sea;
If all der pig oceans got filled oop mit sand,
Pet your poots dey vould plame it on me,
A change in der moon, or a change in der laws,
It vas alvays der same—it was Schneider’s der cause!
If a girl saw der Teffil peside her
She would sing out and shvear it vas Schneider;
If a comet fell down und set fire to der town
Dey, vould only plame von man, dat’s Schneider.
A student of divinity, I lived in the vicinity
Of one of our small towns which shall be nameless;
Spent my time in meditation, and in quiet contemplation
Of the things that were most innocent and blameless.
From my boyhood I was noted for my learning; was devoted
To my books; was not a scapegrace, like my brother;
And, until I left for college, to enlarge my sphere of knowledge,
I had never kissed a woman but my mother,
And if I may, I’d like to say,
Though it may seem digressing,
That, if a woman looked my way.
The feeling was distressing.
I left my Mother, I remember, in the middle of December,
For she wished me to spend Christmas in the city;
She said, “Go and hear the preaching, and take lessons from its teaching.
For to miss the chance just now would be a pity”
So I packed my bag and started, leaving Mother broken hearted,
Although I was filled with joyful aspirations,
Feeling that my great ambition was approaching its fruition,
For I longed so much to feel some new sensations.
And, by the way, I’d like to say,
Though it may seem disjointed,
I sought some new ones every day,
And wasn’t disappointed.
Mother said it was essential to select some residential
Suburb where the folk would honour and respect me;
And a porter at the station, when I asked for information,
Said he knew the home my Mother would select me.
’Twas a suburb cool and shady, with a pleasant widow lady
And her daughter, who was natty, neat and witty,
And I felt my hot cheeks flushing, when the latter, sweetly blushing,
Kindly volunteered to show me round the city.
And let me say—just by the way—
She seemed so like a sister,
That, when I’d known her scarce a day,
I—very nearly—kissed her.
I spent my time quite gaily, getting new sensations daily,
Taking lessons from the widow’s lovely daughter;
I indulged in dissipation, feeling quite a sweet sensation
Smoking cigarettes and drinking wine and water.
My lessons were so various that I grew quite hilarious,
I learned to play a charming game called “Poker,”
Then I learned to play at “Snooker,” and another game called “Eucure,”
Where she always had a card they called the “Joker.”
And let me say, that day by day,
My knowledge grew extensive.
Although the games we used to play
Were awfully expensive.
Christmas passed in fun and jollity, in frolic and frivolity,
My lessons so successfully proceeded,
That we grew quite confidential, and she said, in things essential
I had grown so wise, I knew as much as she did
But, alas! in my security, I heeded not futurity,
Was ignorant of life and its conventions;
So my confidence forsook me, when, one day her mother took me
By surprise, by asking, what, were my intentions?
And here I’ll say, just by the way,
Though it may not be needed,
Her question took me quite astray;
I knew as much as she did.
I was quite confused and hazy, for my mind was dull and dazy,
I could scarcely see the table just before me;
So I stammered and I stuttered, but before a word I uttered
Mrs. Tomkinson supplied the answer for me.
She remarked, in accents freezing. “I am sure it’s very pleasing
That you’re quite prepared to do what’s right and proper,”
Then, as if to quite confound me, she flung both her arms around me,
And kissed me twice before I’d time to stop her.
And, if I may, I’d like to say,
Though I may be derided,
She ultimately had her way—
In fact, she had decided.
So I sit, with brain all reeling, nearly void of sense and feeling,
Trying vainly my remorse and grief to smother;
I am weeping as I’m writing, for a letter I’m inditing,
To impart the sad intelligence to Mother.
I can see her in my fancy, when she learns I’ve married Nancy,
And I fortify myself with wine and water;
For, although it may seem curious, I feel that she’ll be furious
To know that I’ve a wife and she a daughter.
But, by the way, I’d chance to-day,
Her being mad or furious,
A worse thing fills me with dismay
I’m broke—and she’s penurious.
The Lord has willed. The mighty word is spoken
That speaks through Nature’s never-changing laws;
The heavenly spheres pursue their course unbroken,
Moved by the plan of which He is the cause.
The laws of motion and of gravitation
Control the planets, as they fly through space;
The law's of moisture and evaporation
Make earth for man a fit abiding place.
His voice is in the wind, the poet’s dreaming,
The mighty ocean’s ever-restless mood,
The bursting cloud, the lightning’s vivid gleaming,
Are words from Him—if men but understood.
The falling dew, the swat of budding rose,
The ceaseless beat of wave on coral strand.
The rain, the sunshine, and the storm disclose
The wondrous working of the Master’s hand,
The aeroplane, the tiny insect flying,
Are all subservient to Jehovah’s nod;
For ever teaching us and testifying
That Nature’s laws are but the laws of God.
The Great Design, by which each tide and season
Fulfil the task he exquisitely planned.
Marks the unwritten code for mind and reason
To use for guidance—could men understand.
Oppose those laws, and man is but a feather,
That tries to brave the simoon’s mighty blast,
A thistle-seed, that dares the wind and weather,
Yet must obey them when the storm is past.
If man could comprehend that mystic teaching,
He would be taught that love of man by man
Is the first lesson of the Master’s preaching;
The essence of the Great Designer’s plan.
When man perceives the light, for ever burning,
And grasps the hand that, beckons to his goal,
Then will he realise the Spirit’s yearning:
His mind will be a reflex of his soul.
Ye writers of Australian verse,
’Tis often told to you
It must, however tense or terse,
Possess some local view.
The shades of Milton, Pope, or Gray
Would do a foolish thing
To come back and neglect to-day
The local colouring.
If similes are hard to make,
And metaphors come slow,
Let Fancy an excursion take
Where wattle blossoms grow.
Throw rhymes unto the wallabies,
But make your mopokes sing.
Let curlews call from ring-barked trees
For local colouring.
Let parrots pipe to butcher birds,
Jackasses swallow snakes;
While stockmen chase stampeding herds
(For that’s the stuff that takes);
Let dingoes dance through every line,
Make gaunt goannas sing,
So that Australian verse may shine
With local colouring.
Let paddy melons take their stand
With crested cockatoos,
With wombats and with bunyips, and
Some old man kangaroos.
Perch them upon a geebung tree.
Then make the beggars sing,
And they will answer splendidly
For local colouring.
Go, gather grapes from quondong boughs,
And while the bell-bird whistles,
Let your buckjumping brumbies browse
On spinifex and thistles.
Let blackfellows their boomerangs
Through iron bark gullies fling.
Where by his tail the ’possum hangs.
(That’s local colouring.)
Still wave your wattle branch at us,
And make your gum trees talk;
Trot out your ancient platypus,
And teach him how to walk.
Perched high upon your stringy-bark
Let kookaburras sing;
Then you will surely make your mark
For local colouring.
And unborn generations will,
In camp and shearing shed,
Your local verses often trill,
When you are very dead.
Your geebungs then will surely wake
A true Australian ring—
You’ll get the scone and take the cake
For local colouring.
James Twycer is a citizen
Who leads a spotless life;
He meets his bills with promptitude,
And never beats his wife.
He never drinks, nor smokes, nor swears,
His clothes are spick and span;
In fact, he’s an example
Of a thorough business man.
He’s known throughout the city
As a great philanthropist;
In every public charity
His name is on the list;
He waxes fat ’neath Fortune’s smile,
(He never felt her frown),
No p’liceman ever took him up;
No rogue e’er took him down.
James Twycer runs a factory
On strictly moral lines,
Where, if a girl forgets herself,
She pays for it in fines;
He takes the fines reluctantly,
But some reward they bring,
For he spends them on his typewriter,
A sweetly prim, young thing!
His honesty is so pronounced,
It makes him sad to see
Dishonesty in other folks,
No matter who they be:
His horror for a factory girl
He can’t find words to speak.
Who fails to keep respectable
On sixty pence a week.
If people say he sweats his “hands,”
Or has a sordid mind,
He points unto his typewriter,
To whom he’s wondrous kind!
Or if they say his wealth is stained.
He says it cannot be,
Because his name is on the list
Of every charity.
So, when he takes his walks abroad
Folks touch their hats to him;
He’s the opulent James Twycer
(No one dares call him Jim!)
They feel that he will, by-and-bye,
At Heaven’s portal stand,
And overawe St. Peter
With his bank-book in his hand.
There was once a little maiden living on a little farm,
Near the township of Maringarangaroo,
She possessed each grace and virtue, with the innocence and charm
That such little maidens generally do.
She had cheeks as red as poppies, she was gentle as a dove,
While her glance was like the twinkle of a star;
She was just a little melancholy, being deep in love,
As such little maidens generally are.
So she used to sit and sigh, beneath a little wattle tree
Where a kookaburra sat and giggled, “Ha-ha! He-he-he!”
Every evening to the wattle tree the little maiden sped,
Where she sat and looked as lonely as could be.
While the kookaburra chuckled, as he wagged his old, grey head,
“I believe, by Jove! that maiden’s after me.”
So, one evening, as he watched her from his vantage point above,
He considered that the time had come to speak,
And he threw some goo-goo eyes at her, to show he was in love,
Then be voiced his pent-up feelings through his beak.
And he told her how he loved her—but the maiden never knew—
All she heard was, ‘‘He-he-he-he! Ha-ha-ha-ha! Hoo-hoo-hoo!”
The young maid could not imagine what the kookaburra meant
To be laughing, when the whole wide world was sad;
But the kookaburra winked his eye, and shook with merriment,
For, from his lookout, the world seemed very glad.
“Go away, you laughing jackass,” said the maiden with a sigh,
“It is stupid to pretend that you are gay;
I could listen to a mopoke, or a curlew’s plaintive cry,
But you shouldn’t laugh—when Charlie is away.”
And the maiden looked so doleful, and so very, very blue,
That the kookaburra cackled, “He-he! Ha-ha! Hoo-hoo-hoo!!”
The kookaburra flapped his wings—he was a merry bird—
One that evidently knew a thing or two;
In fact, what he had never seen, or felt, or known, or heard—
Well—it wouldn’t be much good to me or you.
You couldn’t call him very old, as kookaburras go,
He was just a kookaburra in his prime,
Yet, he’d knocked about Australia for a hundred years or so,
And he’d seen some funny people in his time.
So he thought a lot, although he told his thoughts to very few.
And when he spoke his words were, “He-he! Ha-ha! Hoo-hoo-hoo!!’’
And on countless summer evenings, under many a wattle tree,
He had seen such maidens sitting in the sun;
He knew all about the old, old tale, so chuckled joyfully,
Rubbed his claws, and watched the maid, and thought it fun.
But, he saw the maid’s eyes sparkle, as she heard a welcome sound,
’Twas as sweet as fairy music to her ear.
For, ’twas the sound of horse’s hoofs, and, as they beat the ground.
She knew each thud was bringing Charlie near.
Then the kookaburra tried to cackle. “Cock-a-doodle-doo!”
But he couldn’t—he could only say: “He-he! Ha-ha! Hoo-hoo!!”
Then he saw the pretty maiden greet her lover with a kiss,
Then he smacked his own beak wildly in refrain;
But the maiden never heard him, for her heart was choked with bliss,
And the universe was filled with joy again.
Charlie pressed her to his bosom, showering kisses on her brow,
“Ah! ’tis sweet!” he said, “to be alone with thee,”
But the kookaburra nearly lost his balance on the bough,
As he shook his claw and shouted, “What of me?”
Then as Charlie stroked her nut-brown hair, and praised her eyes of blue,
The kookaburra shouted, “He-he! Ha-ha! Hoo-hoo-hoo!”
Then said Charlie, “Oh! my darling, you are all the world to me,
And there never was a girl so sweet, I know!”
But the kookaburra muttered, an a scornful laugh laughed he,
“Ah! I heard his father tell his mother so.”
“You’re the dearest boy that ever lived,” remarked the blushing maid,
Then the kookaburra’s eyes grew moist and dim,
“Why, I saw her grandma, underneath this very tree,” he said,
“Meet her sweetheart, and she said the same to him.”
(This, of course, is a translation, ’Twould have sounded unto you,
As if the kookaburra said, “He-he! Ho-ha! Hoo-hoo!!”)
Time after time, when Charlie came, the kookaburra sat
And he felt so sad he couldn’t even squeak;
For the only satisfaction the poor kookaburra had
Was to tear his feathers out and gnash his beak.
But, when Charlie asked the little maid to name the happy day,
And she did, the kookaburra thought her bold,
So he sneered, and said, “You hussy! but it’s just the same old way.
For it’s what your grandma did, in days of old.”
As their solemn troth they plighted, vowing always to be true.
The kookaburra softly said. “He-he! Ha-ha! Hoo-hoo!!”
The sun was shining brightly, and the world was fresh and gay,
When Charlie came in confidence and pride;
All the world was filled with laughter, for it was their wedding day,
And the bridegroom had come out to claim his bride.
The poor mournful kookaburra sat alone upon his tree,
He felt gloomy us he watched his loved one go:
But the maiden saw him sitting there, and clapped her hands with glee,
Then she threw some kisses at him, and she laughed so merrily.
That the kookaburra had to laugh, especially when she
Said. “You darling kookaburra! Won’t you come along with me?
For I love you, and am sure to miss you so.”
So the kookaburra followed to Maringarangaroo,
Laughing, “He-he-he-he! Ha-ha-ha-ha! Hoo-hoo-hoo-hoo-hoo!!!”
Project Gutenberg Australia