THE BLEATING OF THE SHEEP
Lo, I listened to the bleating of the sheep -- Squatters' sheep -- And I sat me down and pondered long and deep. And a cloud of gloom came o'er me At the empty leagues before me -- Yea, I marked the virgin grass-lands' mighty sweep -- Land that called for cultivation; Cried aloud for population -- Land that carried trees and fences, grass and sheep. 0, I listened to their bleating on the plain -- Virgin plain -- And I spoke to them with epithets profane. In the valley, on the hill, Yet were sheep, and more sheep still. (Which annoyed me very much, I must explain. For one sheep may he a blessing, But a million are depressing.) And I cursed them, but I knew I cursed in vain. Lo! and then I fell a-dreaming where I sat Sadly sat -- Till I didn't see what I was looking at. And my dream was most alluring. Ah ! But, had it been enduring, What a reckoning it would have been for Fat! What a blessing for Australia If my dream -- but inter alia, I'll explain to you what I am driving at. Lo! (excuse this weird redundancy of "lo," Soulful "lo"; But I want to be impressive, you must know). Lo! instead of jumbucks bleating, I could hear the reaper's beating; And I saw abundant milk and honey flow. I espied snug homesteads dotted O'er the plain. I also spotted Towns, with factories and workshops, rise and grow. Ay, at busy line of commerce filled the place -- Desert place -- And mine eyes beheld a happy populace Wresting from the land its treasure Loving work and earning leisure. Industry and population grew apace. I could hear the hammers ringing; Happy housewives blithely singing; And I read Prosperity in every face. Then I saw a file of troops go marching past -- Bravely past. Adown the plain I heard the bugle's blast. I beheld the banners streaming, And I fancied in my dreaming That our happy country owned an army vast. As each patriot marched proudly By, he cried, exulting loudly, "Fair Australia is safely ours at last!" Then a large, red man rode up upon a horse, (Large roan horse), And spoke to me in strident tones and coarse. And his discourse was (diluted) "Wanderers are prosecuted On this crimson run. Now get!" I got -- of course. As I've said, the man was bulky, And he seemed morose and sulky; And it just occurred to me he might use force. But, in spite of him, my dream I still may keep -- Fondly keep. And from out it sprouts the wisdom that I reap For the benefit of all men, But especially of little men. (Meaning men whose wealth does not exceed one heap.) Ay, the lesson is before you -- Pray forgive me if I bore you; But, my brothers, heed the lesson of the sheep! For, hark ye, hear the bleating of the sheep -- Human sheep! (O, my brothers, but their sheephood makes me weep!) Mark ye, how they flock together After some old, sly bell-wether -- One that Fat finds it convenient to keep; Watch them how they follow, follow. See the verbal weeds they swallow, And the squatter keeps his grass for paying sheep. O, the squatter has of woolly sheep a lot -- Quite a lot; But they're not the only sort of sheep he's got. How he profits by their fleeces And, when price of meat decreases - Human meat -- the butcher, Fat, will take the lot. O, ye farmers and selectors! Landless voters! Free electors! Think, my brothers: are ye sheep, or are ye not?
|Copyright © Perry Middlemiss 2002-06|