Saltbush Bill, J.P., and Other Verses

Part 2 out of 2

That night rode down the troopers, the squatter at their head,
They rode into the homestead, and pulled Morgan out of bed.
"Now, show to us the carcase of the bullock that you slew --
The great marsupial bullock that you killed in Gundaroo."

They peered into the harness-cask, and found it wasn't full,
But down among the brine they saw some flesh and bits of wool.
"What's this?" exclaimed the trooper -- "an infant, I declare;"
Said Morgan, "'Tis the carcase of an old man native bear.
I heard that ye were coming, so an old man bear I slew,
Just to give you kindly welcome to my home in Gundaroo.

"The times is something awful, as you can plainly see,
The banks have broke the squatters, and they've broke the likes of me;
We can't afford a bullock -- such expense would never do --
So an old man bear for breakfast is a treat in Gundaroo."

And along by Grabben Gullen, where the rushing river flows,
In the block of broken country where there's no one ever goes,
On the Upper Murrumbidgee they're a hospitable crew,
But you mustn't ask for "bullock" when you go to Gundaroo.

Lay of the Motor-Car

We're away! and the wind whistles shrewd
In our whiskers and teeth;
And the granite-like grey of the road
Seems to slide underneath.
As an eagle might sweep through the sky,
So we sweep through the land;
And the pallid pedestrians fly
When they hear us at hand.

We outpace, we outlast, we outstrip!
Not the fast-fleeing hare,
Nor the racehorses under the whip,
Nor the birds of the air
Can compete with our swiftness sublime,
Our ease and our grace.
We annihilate chickens and time
And policemen and space.

Do you mind that fat grocer who crossed?
How he dropped down to pray
In the road when he saw he was lost;
How he melted away
Underneath, and there rang through the fog
His earsplitting squeal
As he went ---- Is that he or a dog,
That stuff on the wheel?

The Corner Man

I dreamed a dream at the midnight deep,
When fancies come and go
To vex a man in his soothing sleep
With thoughts of awful woe --
I dreamed that I was a corner-man
Of a nigger minstrel show.

I cracked my jokes, and the building rang
With laughter loud and long;
I hushed the house as I softly sang
An old plantation song --
A tale of the wicked slavery days
Of cruelty and wrong.

A small boy sat on the foremost seat --
A mirthful youngster he;
He beat the time with his restless feet
To each new melody,
And he picked me out as the brightest star
Of the black fraternity.

"Oh father," he said, "what WOULD we do
If the corner-man should die?
I never saw such a man -- did you?
He makes the people cry,
And then, when he likes, he makes them laugh."
The old man made reply --

"We each of us fill a very small space
In the great creation's plan,
If a man don't keep his lead in the race
There's plenty more that can;
The world can very soon fill the place
Of even a corner-man."

. . . . .

I woke with a jump, rejoiced to find
Myself at home in bed,
And I framed a moral in my mind
From the words the old man said.
The world will jog along just the same
When its corner-men are dead.

When Dacey Rode the Mule

'Twas to a small, up-country town,
When we were boys at school,
There came a circus with a clown,
Likewise a bucking mule.
The clown announced a scheme they had
Spectators for to bring --
They'd give a crown to any lad
Who'd ride him round the ring.

And, gentle reader, do not scoff
Nor think a man a fool --
To buck a porous-plaster off
Was pastime to that mule.

The boys got on; he bucked like sin;
He threw them in the dirt,
What time the clown would raise a grin
By asking, "Are you hurt?"
But Johnny Dacey came one night,
The crack of all the school;
Said he, "I'll win the crown all right,
Bring in your bucking mule."

The elephant went off his trunk,
The monkey played the fool,
And all the band got blazing drunk
When Dacey rode the mule.

But soon there rose a galling shout
Of laughter, for the clown
From somewhere in his pants drew out
A little paper crown.
He placed the crown on Dacey's head
While Dacey looked a fool;
"Now, there's your crown, my lad," he said,
"For riding of the mule!"

The band struck up with "Killaloe",
And "Rule Britannia, Rule",
And "Young Man from the Country", too,
When Dacey rode the mule.

Then Dacey, in a furious rage,
For vengeance on the show
Ascended to the monkeys' cage
And let the monkeys go;
The blue-tailed ape and chimpanzee
He turned abroad to roam;
Good faith! It was a sight to see
The people step for home.

For big baboons with canine snout
Are spiteful, as a rule --
The people didn't sit it out
When Dacey rode the mule.

And from the beasts that made escape,
The bushmen all declare,
Were born some creatures partly ape
And partly native-bear.
They're rather few and far between,
The race is nearly spent;
But some of them may still be seen
In Sydney Parliament.

And when those legislators fight,
And drink, and act the fool,
Just blame it on that torrid night
When Dacey rode the mule.

The Mylora Elopement

By the winding Wollondilly where the weeping willows weep,
And the shepherd, with his billy, half awake and half asleep,
Folds his fleecy flocks that linger homewards in the setting sun,
Lived my hero, Jim the Ringer, "cocky" on Mylora Run.

Jimmy loved the super's daughter, Miss Amelia Jane McGrath.
Long and earnestly he sought her, but he feared her stern papa;
And Amelia loved him truly -- but the course of love, if true,
Never yet ran smooth or duly, as I think it ought to do.

Watching with his slow affection once Jim saw McGrath the boss
Riding out by Jim's selection, looking for a station 'oss
That was running in the ranges with a mob of outlaws wild.
Old McGrath "Good day" exchanges -- off goes Jim to see his child;

Says, "The old man's after Stager, which he'll find is no light job,
And to-morrow I will wager he will try and yard the mob.
Will you come with me to-morrow? I will let the parson know,
And for ever, joy or sorrow, he will join us here below.

"I will bring my nags so speedy, Crazy Jane and Tambourine,
One more kiss -- don't think I'm greedy -- good-bye, lass, before I'm seen --
Just one more -- God bless you, dearie! Don't forget to meet me here,
Life without you is but weary; now, once more, good-bye, my dear."

. . . . .

The daylight shines on figures twain
That ride across Mylora plain,
Laughing and talking -- Jim and Jane.
"Steadily, darling. There's lots of time,
Didn't we slip the old man prime!
I knew he'd tackle that Bowneck mob,
I reckon he'll find it too big a job.
They've beaten us all. I had a try,
But the warrigal devils seem to fly.
That Sambo's a real good bit of stuff
No doubt, but not quite good enough.
He'll have to gallop the livelong day,
To cut and come, to race and stay.
I hope he yards 'em, 'twill do him good;
To see us going I don't think would."
A turn in the road and, fair and square,
They meet the old man standing there.
"What's up?" "Why, running away, of course,"
Says Jim, emboldened. The old man turned,
His eye with wild excitement burned.
"I've raced all day through the scorching heat
After old Bowneck: and now I'm beat.
But over that range I think you'll find
The Bowneck mob all run stone-blind.
Will you go and leave the mob behind?
Which will you do? Take the girl away,
Or ride like a white man should to-day,
And yard old Bowneck? Go or stay?"
Says Jim, "I can't throw this away,
We can bolt some other day, of course,
Amelia Jane, get off that horse.
Up you get, Old Man. Whoop, halloo.
Here goes to put old Bowneck through!"
Two distant specks on the mountain side,
Two stockwhips echoing far and wide.
Amelia Jane sat down and cried.

. . . . .

"Sakes, Amelia, what's up now?
Leading old Sambo, too, I vow,
And him dead beat. Where have you been?
"Bolted with Jim! What DO you mean?"
"Met the old man with Sambo licked
From running old Bowneck." "Well, I'm kicked --
Ran 'em till Sambo nearly dropped?
What did Jim do when you were stopped?
Did you bolt from father across the plain?
Jim made you get off Crazy Jane!
And father got on, and away again
The two of 'em went to the ranges grim.
Good boy, Jimmy! Well done, Jim!
They're sure to get them now, of course,
That Tambourine is a spanking horse.
And Crazy Jane is good as gold.
And Jim, they say, rides pretty bold;
Not like your father, but very fair.
Jim will have to follow the mare."
"It never was yet in father's hide
To best my Jim on the mountain-side.
Jim can rally, and Jim can ride."
But here again Amelia cried.

. . . . .

The sound of a whip comes faint and far,
A rattle of hoofs, and here they are,
In all their tameless pride.
The fleet wild horses snort with fear,
And wheel and break as the yard draws near.
Now, Jim the Ringer, ride!
Wheel 'em! wheel 'em! Whoa back there, whoa!
And the foam-flakes fly like the driven snow,
As under the whip the horses go
Adown the mountain side.
And Jim, hands down, and teeth firm set,
On a horse that never has failed him yet,
Is after them down the range.
Well ridden! well ridden! they wheel -- whoa back!
And long and loud the stockwhips crack,
Their flying course they change,
"Steadily does it -- let Sambo go!
Open those sliprails down below.
Smart! or you'll be too late.
They'll follow old Sambo up -- look out!
Wheel that black horse -- give Sam a clout.
They're in! Make fast the gate."

. . . . .

The mob is safely in the yard!
The old man mounts delighted guard.
No thought has he but for his prize.
Jim catches poor Amelia's eyes.
"Will you come after all? the job is done,
And Crazy Jane is fit to run
For a prince's life -- now don't say no;
Slip on while the old man's down below
At the inner yard, and away we'll go.
Will you come, my girl?" "I will, you bet,
We'll manage this here elopement yet."

. . . . .

By the winding Wollondilly stands the hut of Ringer Jim.
And his loving little Meely makes a perfect god of him.
He has stalwart sons and daughters, and, I think, before he's done,
There'll be numerous "Six-fortys" taken on Mylora run.

The Pannikin Poet

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

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

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

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

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

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

Not on It

The new chum's polo pony was the smartest pony yet --
The owner backed it for the Cup for all that he could get.
The books were laying fives to one, in tenners; and you bet
He was on it.

The bell was rung, the nags came out their quality to try,
The band played "What Ho! Robbo!" as our hero cantered by,
The people in the Leger Stand cried out, "Hi, Mister, Hi!
Are you on it?"

They watched him as the flag went down; his fate is quickly told --
The pony gave a sudden spring, and off the rider rolled.
The pony finished first all right, but then our hero bold
Was not on it.

The Protest

I say 'e ISN'T Remorse!
'Ow do I know?
Saw 'im on Riccarton course
Two year ago!
Think I'd forget any 'orse?
COURSE 'e's The Crow!

Bumper Maginnis and I,
After a "go",
Walkin' our 'orses to dry,
I says, "Hello!
What's that old black goin' by?"
Bumper says "Oh!
That's an old cuddy of Flanagan's --
Runs as The Crow!"

Now they make out 'e's Remorse.
Well, but I KNOW.
Soon as I came on the course
I says "'Ello!
'Ere's the old Crow."
Once a man's seen any 'orse,
'Course 'e must know.
Sure as there's wood in this table,
I say 'e's The Crow.

(Cross-examined by the Committee.)

'Ow do I know the moke
After one sight?
S'posin' you met a bloke
Down town at night,
Wouldn't you know 'im again when you met 'im?
That's 'IM all right!

What was the brand on 'is 'ide?
_I_ couldn't say,
Brands can be transmogrified.
That ain't the way --
It's the LOOK of a 'orse and the way that 'e moves
That I'd know any day.

What was the boy on 'is back?
Why, 'e went past
All of a minute, and off down the track.
-- "The 'orse went as fast?"
True, so 'e did! But, my eyes, what a treat!
'Ow can I notice the 'ands and the seat
Of each bumble-faced kid of a boy that I meet?
Lor'! What a question to ast!

(Protest dismissed.)

The Scapegoat

We have all of us read how the Israelites fled
From Egypt with Pharaoh in eager pursuit of 'em,
And Pharaoh's fierce troop were all put "in the soup"
When the water rolled softly o'er every galoot of 'em.
The Jews were so glad when old Pharaoh was "had"
That they sounded their timbrels and capered like mad.
You see he was hated from Jordan to Cairo --
Whence comes the expression "to buck against faro".

For forty long years, 'midst perils and fears
In deserts with never a tramline to follow by,
The Israelite horde went roaming abroad
Like so many sundowners out on the wallaby.
When Moses, who led 'em, and taught 'em, and fed 'em,
Was dying, he murmured "A rorty old hoss you are:
I give you command of the whole of the band" --
And handed the Government over to Joshua.

. . . . .

But Moses told 'em before he died,
"Wherever you are, whatever betide,
Every year as the time draws near
By lot or by rote choose you a goat,
And let the high priest confess on the beast
The sins of the people, the worst and the least.
Lay your sins on the goat! Sure the plan ought to suit yer,
Because all your sins are "his troubles" in future.
Then lead him away to the wilderness black
To die with the weight of your sins on his back:
Of thirst let him perish alone and unshriven,
For thus shall your sins be absolved and forgiven!"

'Tis needless to say, though it reeked of barbarity,
This scapegoat arrangement gained great popularity.
By this means a Jew, whate'er he might do,
Though he burgled, or murdered, or cheated at loo,
Or meat on Good Friday (a sin most terrific) ate,
Could get his discharge, like a bankrupt's certificate.
(Just here let us note -- DID THEY CHOOSE THEIR BEST GOAT?
It's food for conjecture; to judge from the picture
By Hunt in the Gallery close to our door, a
Man well might suppose that the scapegoat they chose
Was a long way from being their choicest Angora.
In fact I should think he was one of their weediest;
'Tis a rule that obtains, no matter who reigns,
When making a sacrifice, offer the seediest;
Which accounts for a theory known to my hearers
Who live in the wild by the wattle beguiled,
That a "stag" makes quite good enough mutton for shearers.)
Be that as it may, as each year passed away,
A scapegoat was led to the desert and freighted
With sin (the poor brute must have been overweighted)
And left there -- to die as his fancy dictated.

. . . . .

The day it has come; with trumpet and drum,
With pomp and solemnity fit for the tomb,
They led the old billy-goat off to his doom:
On every hand a reverend band,
Prophets and preachers and elders stand
And the oldest rabBI, with a tear in his eye,
Delivers a sermon to all standing by.
(We haven't his name -- whether Cohen or Harris, he
No doubt was the "poisonest" kind of a Pharisee.)
The sermon was marked by a deal of humility
And pointed the fact, with no end of ability,
That being a Gentile's no mark of gentility,
And, according to Samuel, would certainly d--n you well.
Then, shedding his coat, he approaches the goat
And, while a red fillet he carefully pins on him,
Confesses the whole of the Israelites' sins on him.
With this eloquent burst he exhorts the accurst --
"Go forth in the desert and perish in woe,
The sins of the people are whiter than snow!"
Then signs to his pal for to let the brute go.

The animal, freed from all restraint
Lowered his head, made a kind of a feint,
And charged straight at that elderly saint.
So fierce his attack, and so very severe, it
Quite floored the Rabbi, who, ere he could fly,
Was rammed on the -- no, not the back -- but just near it.
The scapegoat he snorted, and wildly cavorted,
A light-hearted antelope "out on the ramp",
Then stopped, looked around, got the "lay of the ground",
And made a bee-line back again to the camp.
The elderly priest, as he noticed the beast
So gallantly making his way to the East,
Says he: "From the tents may I never more roam again
If that there old billy-goat ain't going home again.
He's hurrying, too! This never will do.
Can't somebody stop him? I'm all of a stew.
After all our confessions, so openly granted,
He's taking our sins back to where they're not wanted.
We've come all this distance salvation to win agog,
If he takes home our sins -- it'll burst up the Synagogue!"

He turned to an Acolyte making his bacca light,
A fleet-footed youth who could run like a crack o' light.
"Run, Abraham, run! Hunt him over the plain,
And drive back the brute to the desert again.
The Sphinx is a-watching, the Pyramids frown on you,
From those granite tops forty cent'ries look down on you --
Run, Abraham, run! I'll bet half-a-crown on you."
So Abraham ran; like a man did he go for him,
But the goat made it clear each time he drew near
That he had what the racing men call "too much toe" for him.

The crowd with great eagerness studied the race --
"Great Scott! isn't Abraham forcing the pace --
And don't the goat spiel? It is hard to keep sight on him,
The sins of the Israelites ride mighty light on him.
The scapegoat is leading a furlong or more,
And Abraham's tiring -- I'll lay six to four!
He rolls in his stride; he's done, there's no question!"
But here the old Rabbi brought up a suggestion.
('Twas strange that in racing he showed so much cunning),
"It's a hard race," said he, "and I think it would be
A good thing for someone to take up the running."
As soon said as done, they started to run --
The priests and the deacons, strong runners and weak 'uns
All reckoned ere long to come up with the brute,
And so the whole boiling set off in pursuit.
And then it came out, as the rabble and rout
Streamed over the desert with many a shout --
The Rabbi so elderly, grave, and patrician,
Had been in his hot youth a bold metallician,
And offered, in gasps, as they merrily spieled,
"Any price Abraham! Evens the field!"
Alas! the whole clan, they raced and they ran,
And Abraham proved him an "even-time" man,
But the goat, now a speck they could scarce keep their eyes on,
Stretched out in his stride in a style most surprisin'
And vanished ere long o'er the distant horizon.

Away in the camp the bill-sticker's tramp
Is heard as he wanders with paste, brush, and notices,
And paling and wall he plasters them all,
"I wonder how's things gettin' on with the goat," he says,
Then pulls out his bills, "Use Solomon's Pills":
"Great Stoning of Christians! To all devout Jews! you all
Must each bring a stone -- Great sport will be shown;
Enormous Attractions! And prices as usual!
Roll up to the Hall!! Wives, children, and all,
For naught the most delicate feelings to hurt is meant!"
Here his eyes opened wide, for close by his side
Was the scapegoat devouring the latest advertisement!
One shriek from him burst -- "You creature accurst!"
And he ran from the spot like one fearing the worst.
His language was chaste, as he fled in his haste,
But the goat stayed behind him -- and "scoffed up" the paste.

With downcast head, and sorrowful tread,
The people came back from the desert in dread.
"The goat -- was he back there? Had anyone heard of him?"
In very short order they got plenty word of him,
In fact as they wandered by street, lane and hall,
"The trail of the serpent was over them all."
A poor little child knocked out stiff in the gutter
Proclaimed that the scapegoat was bred for a "butter".
The billsticker's pail told a sorrowful tale,
The scapegoat had licked it as dry as a nail;
He raced through their houses, and frightened their spouses,
But his latest achievement most anger arouses,
For while they were searching, and scratching their craniums,
One little Ben Ourbed, who looked in the flower-bed,
Discovered him, eating the Rabbi's geraniums.


The moral is patent to all the beholders --
Don't shift your own sins on to other folk's shoulders;
Be kind to dumb creatures and never abuse them,
Nor curse them nor kick them, nor spitefully use them;
Take their lives if needs must -- when it comes to the worst,
But don't let them perish of hunger or thirst.
Remember, no matter how far you may roam,
That dogs, goats, and chickens, it's simply the dickens
Their talent stupendous for "getting back home".
Your sins, without doubt, will aye find you out,
And so will a scapegoat, he's bound to achieve it --
But, die in the wilderness? Don't you believe it!

An Evening in Dandaloo

It was while we held our races --
Hurdles, sprints and steeplechases --
Up in Dandaloo,
That a crowd of Sydney stealers,
Jockeys, pugilists and spielers
Brought some horses, real heelers,
Came and put us through.

Beat our nags and won our money,
Made the game by no means funny,
Made us rather blue;
When the racing was concluded,
Of our hard-earned coin denuded
Dandaloonies sat and brooded
There in Dandaloo.

. . . . .

Night came down on Johnson's shanty
Where the grog was no means scanty,
And a tumult grew
Till some wild, excited person
Galloped down the township cursing,
"Sydney push have mobbed Macpherson,
Roll up, Dandaloo!"

Great St. Denis! what commotion!
Like the rush of stormy ocean
Fiery horsemen flew.
Dust and smoke and din and rattle,
Down the street they spurred their cattle
To the war-cry of the battle,
"Wade in, Dandaloo!"

So the boys might have their fight out,
Johnson blew the bar-room light out,
Then, in haste, withdrew.
And in darkness and in doubting
Raged the conflict and the shouting,
"Give the Sydney push a clouting,
Go it, Dandaloo!"

Jack Macpherson seized a bucket,
Every head he saw he struck it --
Struck in earnest, too;
And a man from Lower Wattle,
Whom a shearer tried to throttle,
Hit out freely with a bottle,
There in Dandaloo.

Skin and hair were flying thickly,
When a light was fetched, and quickly
Brought a fact to view --
On the scene of the diversion
Every single, solid person
Come along to help Macpherson --
ALL were Dandaloo!"

When the list of slain was tabled,
Some were drunk and some disabled,
Still we found it true.
In the darkness and the smother
We'd been belting one another;
Jack Macpherson bashed his brother
There in Dandaloo.

So we drank, and all departed --
How the "mobbing" yarn was started
No one ever knew --
And the stockmen tell the story
Of that conflict fierce and gory,
How we fought for love and glory
Up in Dandaloo.

It's a proverb now, or near it --
At the races you can hear it,
At the dog-fights, too!
Every shrieking, dancing drover
As the canines topple over
Yells applause to Grip or Rover,
"Give him `Dandaloo'!"

And the teamster slowly toiling
Through the deep black country, soiling
Wheels and axles, too,
Lays the whip on Spot and Banker,
Rouses Tarboy with a flanker --
"Redman! Ginger! Heave there! Yank her!
Wade in, Dandaloo!"

A Ballad of Ducks

The railway rattled and roared and swung
With jolting carriage and bumping trucks.
The sun, like a billiard red ball, hung
In the Western sky: and the tireless tongue
Of the wild-eyed man in the corner told
This terrible tale of the days of old,
And the party that ought to have kept the ducks.

"Well, it ain't all joy bein' on the land
With an overdraft that'd knock you flat;
And the rabbits have pretty well took command;
But the hardest thing for a man to stand
Is the feller who says `Well, I told you so!
You should ha' done this way, don't you know!' --
I could lay a bait for a man like that.

"The grasshoppers struck us in ninety-one
And what they leave -- well, it ain't `de luxe'.
But a growlin' fault-findin' son of a gun
Who'd lent some money to stock our run --
I said they'd eaten what grass we had --
Says he, `Your management's very bad,
You had a right to have kept some ducks!'

"To have kept some ducks! And the place was white!
Wherever you went you had to tread
On grasshoppers guzzlin' day and night;
And when with a swoosh they rose in flight,
If you didn't look out for yourself they'd fly
Like bullets into your open eye
And knock it out of the back of your head.

"There isn't a turkey or goose or swan,
Or a duck that quacks, or a hen that clucks,
Can make a difference on a run
When a grasshopper plague has once begun;
`If you'd finance us,' I says, `I'd buy
Ten thousand emus and have a try;
The job,' I says, `is too big for ducks!

"`You must fetch a duck when you come to stay;
A great big duck -- a Muscovy toff --
Ready and fit,' I says, `for the fray;
And if the grasshoppers come our way
You turn your duck into the lucerne patch,
And I'd be ready to make a match
That the grasshoppers eats his feathers off!'

"He came to visit us by and by,
And it just so happened one day in Spring
A kind of a cloud came over the sky --
A wall of grasshoppers nine miles high,
And nine miles thick, and nine hundred wide,
Flyin' in regiments, side by side,
And eatin' up every living thing.

"All day long, like a shower of rain,
You'd hear 'em smackin' against the wall,
Tap, tap, tap, on the window pane,
And they'd rise and jump at the house again
Till their crippled carcases piled outside.
But what did it matter if thousands died --
A million wouldn't be missed at all.

"We were drinkin' grasshoppers -- so to speak --
Till we skimmed their carcases off the spring;
And they fell so thick in the station creek
They choked the waterholes all the week.
There was scarcely room for a trout to rise,
And they'd only take artificial flies --
They got so sick of the real thing.

"An Arctic snowstorm was beat to rags
When the hoppers rose for their morning flight
With a flapping noise like a million flags:
And the kitchen chimney was stuffed with bags
For they'd fall right into the fire, and fry
Till the cook sat down and began to cry --
And never a duck or a fowl in sight!

"We strolled across to the railroad track --
Under a cover, beneath some trucks,
I sees a feather and hears a quack;
I stoops and I pulls the tarpaulin back --
Every duck in the place was there,
No good to them was the open air.
`Mister,' I says, `There's your blanky ducks!'"

Tommy Corrigan

(Killed, Steeplechasing at Flemington.)

You talk of riders on the flat, of nerve and pluck and pace,
Not one in fifty has the nerve to ride a steeplechase.
It's right enough while horses pull and take their fences strong,
To rush a flier to the front and bring the field along;
But what about the last half-mile, with horses blown and beat --
When every jump means all you know to keep him on his feet?

When any slip means sudden death -- with wife and child to keep --
It needs some nerve to draw the whip and flog him at the leap --
But Corrigan would ride them out, by danger undismayed,
He never flinched at fence or wall, he never was afraid;
With easy seat and nerve of steel, light hand and smiling face,
He held the rushing horses back, and made the sluggards race.

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

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

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

The Maori's Wool

~Now, this is just a simple tale to tell the reader how
They civilised the Maori tribe at Rooti-iti-au.~

. . . . .

The Maoris are a mighty race -- the finest ever known;
Before the missionaries came they worshipped wood and stone;
They went to war and fought like fiends, and when the war was done
They pacified their conquered foes by eating every one.
But now-a-days about the pahs in idleness they lurk,
Prepared to smoke or drink or talk -- or anything but work.
The richest tribe in all the North in sheep and horse and cow
Were those who led their simple lives at Rooti-iti-au.

'Twas down to town at Wellington a noble Maori came,
A Rangatira of the best, Rerenga was his name --
(The word Rerenga means a "snag" -- but until he was gone
This didn't strike the folk he met -- it struck them later on).
He stalked into the Bank they call the "Great Financial Hell",
And told the Chief Financial Fiend the tribe had wool to sell.
The Bold Bank Manager looked grave -- the price of wool was high.
He said, "We'll lend you what you need -- we're not disposed to buy.
You ship the wool to England, Chief! -- You'll find it's good advice,
And meanwhile you can draw from us the local market price."
The Chief he thanked him courteously and said he wished to state
In all the Rooti-iti tribe his mana would be great,
But still the tribe were simple folk, and did not understand
This strange finance that gave them cash without the wool in hand.
So off he started home again, with trouble on his brow,
To lay the case before the tribe at Rooti-iti-au.

They held a great korero in the Rooti-iti clan,
With speeches lasting half a day from every leading man.
They called themselves poetic names -- "lost children in a wood";
They said the Great Bank Manager was Kapai -- extra good!
And so they sent Rerenga down, full-powered and well-equipped,
To draw as much as he could get, and let the wool be shipped;
And wedged into a "Cargo Tank", full up from stern to bow,
A mighty clip of wool went Home from Rooti-iti-au.

It was the Bold Bank Manager who drew a heavy cheque;
Rerenga cashed it thoughtfully, then clasped him round the neck;
A hug from him was not at all a thing you'd call a lark --
You see he lived on mutton-birds and dried remains of shark --
But still it showed his gratitude, and, as he pouched the pelf,
"I'll haka for you, sir," he said, "in honour of yourself!"
The haka is a striking dance -- the sort they don't allow
In any place more civilised than Rooti-iti-au.

He "haka'd" most effectively -- then, with an airy grace
Rubbed noses with the Manager, and vanished into space.
But when the wool-return came back, ah me, what sighs and groans!
For every bale of Maori wool was loaded up with stones!
Yes -- thumping great New Zealand rocks among the wool they found;
On every rock the Bank had lent just seven pence a pound.
And now the Bold Bank Manager, with trouble on his brow,
Is searching vainly for the chief from Rooti-iti-au.

The Angel's Kiss

An angel stood beside the bed
Where lay the living and the dead.

He gave the mother -- her who died --
A kiss that Christ the Crucified

Had sent to greet the weary soul
When, worn and faint, it reached its goal.

He gave the infant kisses twain,
One on the breast, one on the brain.

"Go forth into the world," he said,
"With blessings on your heart and head,

"For God, who ruleth righteously,
Hath ordered that to such as be

"From birth deprived of mother's love,
I bring His blessing from above;

"But if the mother's life He spare
Then she is made God's messenger

"To kiss and pray that heart and brain
May go through life without a stain."

The infant moved towards the light,
The angel spread his wings in flight.

But each man carries to his grave
The kisses that in hopes to save
The angel or his mother gave.

Sunrise on the Coast

Grey dawn on the sand-hills -- the night wind has drifted
All night from the rollers a scent of the sea;
With the dawn the grey fog his battalions has lifted,
At the call of the morning they scatter and flee.

Like mariners calling the roll of their number
The sea-fowl put out to the infinite deep.
And far over-head -- sinking softly to slumber --
Worn out by their watching, the stars fall asleep.

To eastward, where resteth the dome of the skies on
The sea-line, stirs softly the curtain of night;
And far from behind the enshrouded horizon
Comes the voice of a God saying "Let there be light."

And lo, there is light! Evanescent and tender,
It glows ruby-red where 'twas now ashen-grey;
And purple and scarlet and gold in its splendour --
Behold, 'tis that marvel, the birth of a day!

The Reveille

Trumpets of the Lancer Corps,
Sound a loud reveille;
Sound it over Sydney shore,
Send the message far and wide
Down the Richmond River side --
Boot and saddle, mount and ride,
Sound a loud reveille.

Whither go ye, Lancers gay,
With your bold reveille?
O'er the ocean far away
From your sunny southern home,
Over leagues of trackless foam,
In a foreign land to roam
With your bold reveille.

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

[End of original text.]

[Original Advertisement]

Pocket Editions for the Trenches

Price, 4/- each (postage, per volume: within the Commonwealth, 1d.;
to New Zealand, 2d.; Abroad, 5d.)

Saltbush Bill, J.P. By Major A. B. Paterson ("The Banjo")
The Moods of Ginger Mick. By C. J. Dennis
The Australian, and other Verses. By Will H. Ogilvie
Songs of a Sentimental Bloke. By C. J. Dennis
The Man from Snowy River. By Major A. B. Paterson
Rio Grande, and other Verses. By Major A. B. Paterson

Over 30,000 volumes of these Editions for the Trenches have been sold
during the last five months. They are illustrated in colour
by Norman Lindsay, Hal Gye and Lionel Lindsay, and are obtainable
from all Booksellers, Bookstalls and Newsagents in Australia and New Zealand.

[End Original Advertisement]

About the author:

Andrew Barton Paterson was born on 17 February 1864 at Narambla,
New South Wales. He lived at Illalong station until he was ten,
when he went to Sydney to attend school. He trained as a solicitor
(a type of lawyer) but also contributed some verse to the Sydney "Bulletin"
under the pseudonym of "The Banjo", taken from the name of a horse.
His first book, "The Man from Snowy River", was published in 1895,
and has sold more copies than any other book of Australian poetry.
He later gave up law to become a journalist, and went to South Africa
to report on the Boer War. When World War I broke out
he sought work as a war correspondent, but failed to get it.
He then went to work driving an ambulance in France, and later became
a Remount Officer with the Australian forces then in Egypt.
After returning to Australia in 1919 he continued as a writer,
and died in Sydney on 5 February 1941.

Paterson's most famous work is "Waltzing Matilda", written in 1895,
and now an unofficial anthem of Australia. "The Man from Snowy River"
has since become the inspiration for a well-known movie of the same name,
and even a series on a cable television network. "Clancy of the Overflow"
is similarly well known.

An incomplete Glossary of Australasian and obscure terms:

Billabong: A waterhole that dries up during the dry season.

Billy: A kettle used for camp cooking, especially to boil water for tea.

Box: When referring to plants, it can be any of a number of trees and shrubs,
especially those of genus Buxus or genus Eucalyptus.

Cocky/cockatoo: A small-time farmer.

Coolabah: (more often Coolibah) Eucalyptus microtheca.
The leaves of the Eucalyptus hang sideways, with the narrow edge to the sun,
as an adaptation to drought. Hence they are famous for not providing shade.

Edward Rex: (Rex = King) Edward VII, 1841-1910, King of the United Kingdom
(and therefore nominal head of state in Australia) from 1901 to 1910.

Fi. fa.: fieri facias -- a legal paper authorising the seizure
of a debtor's goods.

Flash: Ostentatious; fake; (obsolete) relating to shady characters.

Gully-raker: A person who musters unbranded cattle (or horses).

Humpy: (Aboriginal) A rough or temporary hut or shelter in the bush,
especially one built from bark, branches, and the like.
A gunyah, wurley, or mia-mia.

Jumbuck: A sheep.

Korero: (Maori) a discussion, meeting, etc.

Leichhardt, Ludwig [1813-1848?]: Prussian-born Australian explorer,
his last expedition (in 1848) never returned.

Matilda: A swag. See "Waltz Matilda".

Mob: When referring to animals, a group or herd.

Myall: An Aborigine living according to tradition; wild;
any of several types of wattle trees (genus Acacia).

Native bear: A koala.

Overland: (Historical) A route by land, especially for driving stock,
and especially a route from New South Wales to South Australia;
to drive stock by land, especially on this route.

Overlander: One who travels or drives stock overland.

Paddy-melon/paddymelon/pademelon: One of several species of wallabies,
of the genus Thylogalefound.

Pah/Pa: A Maori village.

Pannikin: A small pan; also (colloquial), self-important.

Push: Any group of people sharing something in common; a gang.

Rangatira: (Maori) a lord, chief, boss, etc.

Ringer: When speaking of shearing sheep, the fastest shearer in the group.

Saltbush: Any of a number species of the family Chenopodiaceae,
especially of genus Atriplex and of genus Rhagodia, the latter of which
is limited to Australia and New Zealand. Used as a grazing crop,
saltbush can grow in arid, saline, or alkaline conditions;
the region where saltbush grows.

Selector: A free selector, a farmer who selected and settled land
by lease or license from the government.

Shout: To buy a round of drinks.

Squatter: A person who first settled on land without government permission,
and later continued by lease or license, generally to raise stock;
a wealthy rural landowner.

Station: A farm or ranch, especially one devoted to cattle or sheep.

Sturt, Charles [1795-1869]: Indian-born Australian explorer,
explored eastern Australia, his explorations led to the discovery
of the river system in southeastern Australia.

Sundowner: (Historical) A swagman who arrives at a place too late for work,
but looking for food and/or shelter.

Swag: A bundle or roll of bedding and other personal items.

Swagman: A man who travels from place to place looking for work,
e.g. carrying a swag.

Tucker: Food.

Wallaby: One of a number of marsupial species of the genus Wallabia, etc.,
related to the kangaroo, but smaller; (colloquial) "on the wallaby (track)",
on the move, on the road.

Waltz Matilda: To wander with a swag. "Waltz", to travel in circles.

Warrigal: Originally the dingo, or native dog of Australia;
by association, anything wild; brumbies (wild horses).

Water-bag/waterbag: A bag for carrying water, usually canvas.

Wattle: Any of a number of shrubs or trees of the genus Acacia,
having off-white or yellow flowers. So named because
the branches were used to weave wattle, a type of construction
made of interwoven branches and the like.

Wombat: Any of several species of burrowing marsupials, family Vombatidae,
which vaguely resemble small bears; (colloquial) an ignorant person.

Yarran: A small tree, Acacia homalophylla, also the bastard myall,
A. glaucescens.

Notes on the text:

"An Answer to Various Bards" appeared 10 Oct. 1892 as one of a series of poems
in the Sydney `Bulletin', debating what life in the bush was like,
or, the city versus the bush (according to the interpretation),
primarily between A. B. Paterson and Henry Lawson [1867-1922],
who may have staged the debate as a way of selling more poems.

Other writers joined the debate, including Edward Dyson [1865-1931],
who, despite Paterson's remark in this poem, also favoured the bush
in at least one poem. Another noted participant was Will Ogilvie [1869-1963]
who was in Australia during the 1890's (born in Scotland, returned in 1901,
and was in Iowa, U.S.A, from 1905 to 1907).

Other verses from the debate maybe found in "The Man from Snowy River"
by Paterson and "In the Days When the World was Wide" by Henry Lawson.

The second stanza was mistakenly broken into two equal parts
in the original edition.

"`Shouting' for a Camel": A number of camels were brought to Australia,
with their Afghan handlers, in order to have suitable beasts of burden
in the desert regions. There are still wild camels there today.
(A similar scheme was tried in America during the 1800's,
but no camels remain.)

"The Gundaroo Bullock":

[ Said Morgan, "Tis the carcase of an old man native bear. ]
changed to:
[ Said Morgan, "'Tis the carcase of an old man native bear. ]

"Lay of the Motor-Car": To put this poem in perspective,
it must be remembered that this book was published in 1917,
and the poem written earlier. It may be helpful to compare
Paterson's short story, "Three Elephant Power", in the book of the same name
that was published in the same year. The plot centres around a speed demon
who would drive at unspeakable speeds, even up to 45 MPH! (About 72 Km/H.)

"The Mylora Elopement":

[ No thought has be but for his prize. ]
changed to:
[ No thought has he but for his prize. ]

"The Protest":

[ W ll, but I KNOW. ]
changed to:
[ Well, but I KNOW. ]

"The Maori's Wool":

[ In any place more civilised that Rooti-iti-au. ]
changed to:
[ In any place more civilised than Rooti-iti-au. ]

"The Lost Drink", "The Matrimonial Stakes", "Not on It", "The Scapegoat",
"The Angel's Kiss", and "The Reveille" were all dropped from "Saltbush Bill"
when it was included in Paterson's "Collected Verse" (first issued in 1921).
No poems were added, though "The Song of the Pen" moved
from the front of the book to the back, and several titles
were slightly changed. No effort has been made to compare the texts.

There was no Table of Contents in the original trench-edition; one was added.

Omitted from the original are the index (to Paterson's first 3 books)
and the "frontispiece and vignette by Lionel Lindsay",
the first of which was set above the lines:

"But when the dawn makes pink the sky
And steals across the plain,
The Brumby horses turn and fly
Towards the hills again."

which is a (mis)quote of the fourth stanza of "Brumby's Run"
(should be "steals along the plain").


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