June 2011 Archives

The Broken-Down Squatter by Charles A. Flower

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Come, Stumpy, old man, we must shift while we can;
   All our mates in the paddock are dead.
Let us wave our farewells to Glen Eva's sweet dells
   And the hills where your lordship was bred;
Together to roam from our drought-stricken home --
   It seems hard that such things have to be,
And it's hard on a "hoss" when he's nought for a boss
   But a broken-down squatter like me!

No more shall we muster the river for fats,
   Or spell on the Fifteen-mile plain,
Or rip through the scrub by the light of the moon,
   Or see the old stockyard again.
Leave the slip-panels down, it won't matter much now,
   There are none but the crows left to see,
Perching gaunt in yon pine, as though longing to dine
   On a broken-down squatter like me.

When the country was cursed with the drought at its worst,
   And the cattle were dying in scores,
Though down on my luck, I kept up my pluck,
   Thinking justice might temper the laws.
But the farce has been played, and the Government aid
   Ain't extended to squatters, old son;
When my dollars were spent they doubled the rent,
   And resumed the best half of the run.   

'Twas done without reason, for leaving the season
   No squatter could stand such a rub;
For its useless to squat, when the rents are so hot
   That one can't save the price of one's grub;
And there's not much to choose 'twixt the banks and the Jews
   Once a fellow gets put up a tree;
No odds what I feel, there's no court of appeal
   For a broken-down squatter like me.

First published in The Queenslander, 30 June 1894;
and later in
Old Bush Songs: Composed and Sung in the Bushranging, Digging and Overlanding Days edited by A. B. Paterson, 1905;
The North Queensland Register, 25 February 1924;
The Bulletin, 17 January 1951;
From the Ballads to Brennan edited by T. Inglis Moore, 1964;
The Penguin Australian Song Book edited by J.S. Manifold, 1964;
Folk Songs of Australia and the Men and Women Who Sang Them edited by John Meredith and Hugh Anderson, 1967;
The Overlander Songbook edited by Ronald George Edwards, 1971;
Complete Book of Australian Folk Lore edited by Bill Scott, 1976;
Old Bush Songs and Rhymes of Colonial Times edited by Douglas Stewart and Nancy Keesing, 1976; and
The Penguin Book of Australian Ballads edited by Elizabeth Webby and Philip Butterss, 1993.

Author:  Charles Augustus Flower (1856-1948) was born in Port Fairy, Victoria and worked as a jackaroo there until moving to South West Queensland. He owned and ran properties in that area until his death in 1948.

Author reference sites:

Australian Poets #22 - Ethel Turner

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Ethel Turner (1870-1958)

Author reference sites: Austlit, Australian Dictionary of Biography

See also.

Scarlet-flowering Gums by Louis Lavater

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Wantons ye are to madden so the bees
   Drunk with your dripping sweetness through long hours
Of shimmering honey-gold! There are no flowers
Dappling the green of any sort of trees
Can match your blaze of scarlet ecstasies.
   Wantons ye are, indeed, whom Nature dowers
With greater wealth than heaped Old Persia's bowers
Or ripened for remote Hesperides.

In time to come (they say) shall trees no more
   Foam up in sudden beauty, nor the furze
With yellow flecks of it be scattered o'er.
   Nor bees nor moths be Cupid's messengers.
How in that day would tender souls be hurled
Back to this era from a blossomless world!

First published in The Bulletin, 29 June 1922

Author: Louis Lavater (1867-1953) was born in St Kilda, Victoria, and entered the University of Melbourne to study medicine. He did not finish his degree deciding instead to follow his love of music.  He was active in Melbourne literary circles and, while he did not write a lot of  poetry, his work was appreciated by those who knew him.  He died in St Kilda in 1953.

Author reference sites: Austlit, Australian Dictionary of Biography

Shearing Shed Echoes by Henry O'Donnell

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"May be, you don't think," argued Peter the Ringer,
The dad of the shed as a "pitcher" and singer,
"That a shed, full of shearers both perky and fly,
Is the place for a man who is painfully shy.

"But, way back in Brunee, near Berrigan's Gap,
Somewhere in the eighties, I knew such a chap
With an eye-lid that drooped, and a delicate curl
In his lip, that made all of us think him a girl.

"When the 'tally' soon fell to his lightning-like shears,
And they dubbed him the 'ringer,' he blushed to his ears.
But, thunder! he just was a man you would love,
With the heart of a horse, and the eye of a dove.

"But -- the timidest man that the shed ever knew,
His diffidence almost to lunacy grew,
When the shed had 'cut out,' he so little would reck
That he hadn't the nerve, boys, to ask for his cheque.

"But, plucky? by snakes! 'twould have kindled your blood
When he swam the Bogung, when the creek was in flood,
To rescue a child; but, when just coming round,
He seemed half ashamed that he hadn't been drowned.

At last, when he lay on the banks of the Grumbie,
Stretched out out on the grass, by a kick from a brumby,
We knew that his very last 'jumbuck' was shorn,
And bitterly waited the first streak of dawn.

"When the priest cantered over from Crooked Creek Slip --
Thought the delicate curl has gone out of his lip,
Hang me! if he wasn't -- ask Father M'Minns --
Too timid to ask to be shrived of his sins."

First published in Melbourne Punch, 28 June 1906

Author reference site: Austlit.

See also.

The River Road by Ella McFadyen

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With the cut hill rising over,
   And the gully drop below,
Where the surly, burly drover
   Or the trudging swagmen go,
Or the teamster with his load,
      And the bell-birds high are calling,
      And the echoes falling, falling
   Down the winding River Road.

Or perhaps some country maiden,
   In her finery arrayed,
Or the bullocks, heavy-laden,
   Pausing briefly in the shade,
Ere he driver plies the goad,
      And the morning air is bringing
      Tidings of an axe-blade ringing
   Down the dusty River Road.

Here at noon a picnic party
   Spread their hamper on the grass,
With a greeting free and hearty
   For the travellers as they pass,
In the ready country mode;
      And the hills grow blue and hazy,
      And the hot air still and lazy,
   By the rutted River Road.

Then the evening shades caressing,
   Slowly down the hill-side creep,
Breathing sorely as a blessing,
   To the gully dark and deep,
Place of shadowy abode;
      Then the children come, returning.
      From some bush-built shrine of learning,
   Singing down the River Road.

Sinks the sun, red lances falling
   'Twixt the silhouetted trees,
And the plaintive plovers, calling,
   Blend their evening minstrelsies;
Rest, my pilgrims, shed your load,
      What is life beyond a passing?
      A dispensing, an amassing?
   And our path the River Road.

First published in The Sydney Mail, 27 June 1906

Author reference site: Austlit

See also.

The Whaler's Pig by E. J. Brady

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We shipped him at the Sandwich Isles --
   'Fore God, he's mostly nose ---
We've fetched him full eight thousand miles
   To fatten in the Floes.

The Arctic wind may whistle down
   The ice-strewn Baffin Sea,
Our "passenger" don't care a darn --
   A whaler's pig is he.

The blubber which the brute devours --
   Hard fruit of our harpoon ---
He merely holds in trust; 'tis ours,
   Fresh pork! God send it soon!

Now, when her sloppy deck's amuck
   With stale cetacean spoil,
The glutton wallows in the ruck,
   His paunch a-drip with oil.

When from the crow's-nest rings the shout,
   Clean-echoed "There she blows!"
"Jeff Davis" lifts his grizzled snout,
   To let us know he knows.

The white ash blades drop down and rise,
   The royal chase begins,
He watches with his wicked eyes,
   And multiplies his sins.

With critic squint he stands betide
   The harpooner prepares,
And, if the erring steel goes wide
In swinish tongue he swears
(Great Heavens! how he swears!)

But when we strike her good and fair,
   Before the line runs hot,
He'll lift a hoarse hog cheer out there
   With all the strength he's got.

And when he sees the steerer take
   The bold boat-header's place,
A gourmand smile will slowly break
   Like sunrise round his face.

Around the loggerhead that line
   Grows taut as taut may be --
Three turns to hang your life and mine
   High o'er Eternity!

Who thinks of that? Not I, not you,
   Not he who most complains,
When like hell's fire the blood swirls through
   Our thumping hearts and veins,

'Tis "Fast she is" ----- "Now! ... Let her go!"
   Our college stroke-oar yells;
This hour is worth a life to know;
   'Tis now the savage tells.

They maybe shared (ere progress rose)
   Who sired first earls and dukes,
A kindred ecstasy with those
   Who dodge a "fighter's" flukes.

So felt our simian sires who tied
   Their sheet-o'-bark canoes
To some mosasaur's slimy hide
   With only life to lose.

But this Kanaka hog will see
   The whetted lance succeed;
Glad epicure grunts in glee,
   Fore-knowledged of his feed.

Thus will his belly teach his tongue
   What eloquence it may
(Some noble songs by poets sung
   Have been inspired that way).

So will he squeal approval when
   Our six-hour fight is done,
And lord it bravely in his pen
   O'er quarry chased and won.

So will he join the chanty free
   That echoes as she tows,
To add his porcine jubilee
   And glad his adipose.

It is not clean or nice of taste,
   This episode of trade,
That lurches with indecent haste
   Towards the blubber spade.

But still it goes that man made sail,
   Invented rig on rig,
And God Almighty made the whale
   That feeds the whaler's pig.

This sorry beast which might have drowned,
   As hogs and humans can,
He also made, so runs the round,
   To feed the Whaler-man.

The whaler-man will get his "lay,"
   The whaler's pig his share --
First whale, then pig, then man, some day
   The worm will make it square.

First published
in The Bulletin, 26 June 1897;
and later in
The New Oxford Book of Australian Verse edited by Les Murray, 1986.

Author reference sites: Austlit, Australian Dictionary of Biography, Australian Poetry Library

See also.

Her Eyes by John Shaw Neilson

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Dark eyes are hers; but in their darkness
   lies all the white holiness of Paradise;
A tender violet within them shows
   and the unsullied beauty of the rose;
         Dark eyes are hers.

Dark eyes are hers --- that move my heart to sing.
They have consumed the Summer! caught the Spring!
Stolen the star-light, and exultingly
   lifted the moon-beams' old embroidery:
         Dark eyes are hers.

First published in The Sun [Sydney], 25 June 1911;
and later in
Collected Poems of John Shaw Neilson by John Shaw Neilson, 1934;
Poems by John Shaw Neilson, 1964;
Australian Letters, 4 September 1964;
Green Days and Cherries: the early verses of Shaw Neilson edited by Hugh Anderson and Leslie James Blake, 1981; and
John Shaw Neilson: Poetry, Autobiography and Correspondence edited by Cliff Hanna, 1991.

Author reference sites: Austlit, Australian Dictionary of Biography, Australian Poetry Library

See also.

On the Arrival of Winter by W. B. Attley

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Yet once more summer days have fled,
A spring matured so soon is dead;
One bright page more of nature's dream
Thus closed for ever on the stream.

So silent gliding to its doom,
To that great ocean and the tomb,
Where swells the bosom of the past
With joys and sorrows -- some the last.

And yet we welcome season's change --
A ghost of summer on the range,
A paler form of golden days,
A silvery time of sunny rays.

Where comforts are, there welcomes roll
To this pale daughter of the pole,
Whose kiss imparting in repose,
To cheeks awake the blushing rose.

Where dainty morsels all aglow
Can brave the falling feahery snow,
and warm, theu hapy hearts renew,
With draughts of breath from morning dew.

But still another phase we see
In cold and want, in misery;
Here hangs the burden of my song,
When days are short, and nights are long.
There where mortals feel the blast,
Where winter fills the cup at last;
Where sunny smiles are seen no more,
Since death has cast its shadows o'er.

So weal and woe shall ever flow,
While sun and shadow onward go,
Till breaks the bright eternal day,
When winter's chill shall flee away.

First published in The Australian Town & Country Journal, 24 June 1882

Author: nothing is known about the author of this poem.

Author reference sites: Austlit

"The Blue Mountains", An Invitation by Douglas B. W. Sladen

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Come to the Mountains, Blue Mountains, Blue Mountains,
   Come to the Mountains this lovely spring day,
To see crisp runnels and bright little fountains,
   Bubbling and gushing and hurrying away!

Come to the Mountains, to see the spring flowers,
   The wattle, the tea tree, the heath in bloom,
To quaff the fresh breeze that blows through their bowers,
   Refreshing the sense and sowing perfume!

Come to the Mountains, to look on the forest,
   Spread out like a cushion beneath your feet,
To look on the monstrous crags, where thou soarest,
   O Eagle, to render the awe complete!

Come to the Mountains, to gaze down the gorges,
   Huge bays with their sealess expanse tree-lined,
To learn how the waterfall roars and surges,
   And drifts its spray with the will of the wind!

Come to the Mountains, to hunt for a valley,
   Deep down in the breast of a rifted hill,
With a shade of woven tree-tops, and gaily
   Bedizened with ferns round each drip and rill!

Come to the Mountains, to roam on the Mountains,
   The Blue Mountains you see so far away,
If it is but to hear our careless fountains,
   O ye who toil in the city all day.

First published
in The Australian Town & Country Journal, 23 June 1883;
and later in
A Century of Australian Song edited by Douglas Sladen, 1888.

Author reference sites: Austlit, Australian Dictionary of Biography

See also.

The Evening Star by Charles Harpur

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The stars were lit in heaven, and we did rove,
   Rosa and I, in the cool shadowless haze
   Of early night, at those wild lights to gaze,
Ere yet the moon, whose rim was now above
An eastern hill, should dim them. Soon did move
   In both strange sympathies, as though their rays
   Were memories of bright eyes, that in the days
Of the still past look'd heavenward in love.
Distinguishingly then our thoughts begun
   To single for regard such as were rare;
To fix at length, by mute consent, on one
   That burns in the deep west beyond compare --
And fixing, deem, that when the day was done,
   The spirit of our love resided there.

First published in The Maitland Mercury & Hunter River General Advertiser, 22 June 1844

Author reference sites: Austlit, Australian Dictionary of Biography, Australian Poetry Library

See also.

Meditation by Alex Scott

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When steerin' weans are sleeping sound,
   And night is getting late;
I smoke my pipe, and dauner round,
   And lean across my gate.

I hear the rumble far awa'
   Of trains and tramway cars;
I hardly notice them at a',
   But stand and watch the stars.

For stars, to me, aye seem to say,
   "What's a' your fash and fret?
You never lacked three meals a day,
   Nor died in winter yet."

If folk exist in distant stars,
   As clever bodies state;
I wonder if some man in Mars,
   Is leaning o'er his gate.

First published in The Sydney Morning Herald, 21 June 1930

Author: nothing is known about the author of this poem.

Author reference sites: Austlit

The Drover's Sweetheart by Henry Lawson

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An hour before the sun goes down
   Behind the ragged boughs,
I go across the little run
   And bring the dusty cows;
And once I used to sit and rest
   Beneath the fading dome,
For there was one that I loved best
   Who'd bring the cattle home.

Our yard is fixed with double bails,
   Round one the grass is green,
The bush is growing through the rails,
   The spike is rusted in;
And 'twas from there his freckled face
   Would turn and smile at me --
He'd milk a dozen in the race
   While I was milking three.

I milk eleven cows myself
   Where once I milked but four;
I set the dishes on the shelf
   And close the dairy door;
And when the glaring sunlight fails
   And the fire shines through the cracks,
I climb the broken stockyard rails
   And watch the bridle-tracks.

He kissed me twice and once again
   And rode across the hill,
The pint-pots and the hobble-chain
   I hear them jingling still;
He'll come at night or not at all --
   He left in dust and heat,
And when the soft, cool shadows fall
   Is the best time to meet.

And he is coming back again,
   He wrote to let me know,
The floods were in the Darling then --
   It seems so long ago;
He'd come through miles of slush and mud,
   And it was weary work,
The creeks were bankers, and the flood
   Was forty miles round Bourke.

He said the floods had formed a block,
   The plains could not be crossed,
And there was foot-rot in the flock
   And hundreds had been lost;
The sheep were falling thick and fast
   A hundred miles from town,
And when he reached the line at last
   He trucked the remnant down.

And so he'll have to stand the cost;
   His luck was always bad,
Instead of making more, he lost
   The money that he had;
And how he'll manage, heaven knows
   (My eyes are getting dim),
He says -- he says -- he don't -- suppose
   I'll want -- to -- marry -- him.

As if I wouldn't take his hand
   Without a golden glove --
Oh! Jack, you men won't understand
   How much a girl can love.
I long to see his face once more --
   Jack's dog! thank God, it's Jack! --
(I never thought I'd faint before)
   He's coming -- up -- the track.

First published in The Boomerang, 20 June 1891;
and later in
The Bulletin, 22 February 1896;
In the Days When the World Was Wide and Other Verses by Henry Lawson, 1900;
The Water Lily by Henry Lawson, 1977;
A Camp-Fire Yarn: Henry Lawson Complete Works 1885-1900 edited by Leonard Cronin, 1984;
A Collection of Australian Bush Verse, 1989;
The Language of Love: An Anthology of Australian Love Letters, Poetry and Prose edited by Pamela Allardice, 1991; and
Classic Australian Verse edited by Maggie Pinkney, 2001.

Author reference sites: Austlit, Australian Dictionary of Biography, Australian Poetry Library, The Poetry of Henry Lawson website

See also.

The Austral "Light!" by Harry "Breaker" Morant

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We were standing by the fireside at the pub. one wintry night,
Drinking grog and "pitching fairies" while the lengthening hours took flight,
And a stranger there was present, one who seemed quite city-bred --
There was little showed about him to denote him "mulga fed."

For he wore a four-inch collar, tucked-up pants, and boots of tan --
You might take him for a new-chum or a Sydney-city man --
But in spite of cuff and collar, Lord! he gave himself away
When he cut and rubbed a pipe-full, and had filled his colored clay!

For he never asked for matches -- - although in that boozing band
There was more than one man standing with a match-box in his hand;
And I knew him for a bushman 'spite his tailor-made attire
As I saw him stoop and fossick for a fire-stick from the fire.

And that mode of weed ignition to my memory brought back
The long nights when nags were hobbled on a far North-Western track:
Recalled camp fires in the timber, when the stars shone big and bright,
And we learnt the matchless virtues of a glowing gidgee light.

And I thought of piny sand-ridges! --- and somehow I could swear
That this tailor-made young johnnie had at one time been "out there"!
And as he blew the white ash from the tapering, glowing coal --
Faith! my heart went out towards him for a kindred country soul!

First published in The Bulletin, 19 June 1897, and again in the same magazine on 23-30 December 1980;
and later in
Bushman and Buccaneer: Harry Morant: His 'Ventures and Verses by Breaker Morant, 1902
The Poetry of 'Breaker' Morant: from "The Bulletin" 1891-1903 with original illustrations by Breaker Morant, 1980.

Author reference sites: Austlit, Australian Dictionary of Biography

See also.

The Wild Kangaroo by Henry Kendall

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The rain-clouds have gone to the deep --
The East like a furnance doth glow,
And the Day-spring in flooding the steep,
And sheening the landscape below!
Oh! ye who are gifted with souls
That delight in the music of birds,
Come forth where the scattered mist rolls,
And listen to eloquent words! --
Oh! ye who are fond of the sport,
And would travel yon wilderness through,
Gather -- each to his place -- for a life-stirring chase
In the wake of the wild kangaroo!    
   Gather -- each to his place --  
   For a life-stirring chase
In the wake of the wild kangaroo!  

Beyond the wide rents of the fog,  
The trees are illumm'd with gold,
And the bark of the shepherd's brave dog
Shoots away from the sheltering fold!
Down the depths of yon rock-border'd glade,
A torrent goes foaming along;
While the blind owls retire into shade,
And the "echu"* beginneth its song.
By the side at that yawning abyss
Where the vapours are hurrying to,
We will merrily pass, looking down to the grass
For the tracks of the wild kangaroo!
   We will merrily pass,
   Looking down to the grass,
For the tracks of the wild kangaroo.

Ho! brothers, away to the woods!
Euroka+ hath clamber'd the hill;
But the morning there seldom intrudes,
Where the night shadows slumber on still!
We will roam o'er these forest-land's wild,
And thread the dark masses of vines,
Where the winds, like the a voice of a child,
Are singing aloft in the pines!
We must keep down the glee of our hounds --
We must steal through the glittering dew;
And the breezes shall sleep, as we cautiously creep
To the haunts of the wild kangaroo!
   And the breezes shall sleep,
   As we cautiously creep
To the haunts of the wild kangaroo!    

When we pass thro' a stillness like Death,
The swamp-fowl and timorous quail,
Like the leaves in a hurricane's breath,
Will start from their nests in the vale.
And the forester#, snuffing the air,
Will bound from his covert so dark,
While we follow along in the rear,
As arrows speed on to their mark!
Then the swift hounds shall bring him to bay,
And we'll send forth a hearty halloo;
As we gather them all, to be in at the fall --
At the death of the wild kangaroo!
   As we gather them all,
   To be in at the fall --
At the death of the wild kangaroo!    

First published in The Sydney Morning Herald, 18 June 1861;
and later in
Bell's Life in Sydney and Sporting Chronicle, 2 August 1862;
Poems and Songs by Henry Kendall, 1862; and
The Poetical Works of Henry Kendall edited by Thomas Thornton Reed, 1966.

* A bird commonly called "The Coachman's Whip."       
+ " Euroka," an aboriginal name for the Sun.      
# This is a term applied by settlers to the "Old Man Kangaroo." 

Author reference sites: Austlit, Australian Dictionary of Biography, Australian Poetry Library

See also.

The Australian by Arthur H. Adams

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Once more this Autumn-earth is ripe,
Parturient of another type.

While with the Past old nations merge
His foot is on the Future's verge;

They watch him, as they huddle pent,
Striding a spacious continent,

Above the level deserts marge
Looming in his aloofness large.

No flower with fragile sweetness graced --
A lank weed wrestling with the waste.

Pallid of face and gaunt of limb,  
The sweetness withered out of him.

Sombre, indomitable, wan,
The juices dried, the glad youth gone.

A little weary from his birth;
His laugh the spectre of a mirth.

Bitter beneath a bitter sky,
To Nature he has no reply.

Wanton, perhaps, and cruel. Yes,
Is not his sun more merciless?

Joy his such niggard dole to give,
He laughs, a child, glad just to live.

So drab and neutral in his day
He gleans a splendour in the grey.

And from his life's monotony
He lifts a subtle melody.

When earth so poor a banquet makes
His pleasures at a gulp he takes.

The feast is his to the last crumb;
Drink while he can, the drought will come.

His heart a sudden tropic flower,
He loves and loathes within an hour.

Yet you who by the pools abide,
Judge not the man who swerves aside.

He sees beyond your hazy fears;
He roads the desert of th eyears.

Rearing his cities in the sand,
He builds where even God has banned.

With green a continent he crowns,
And stars a wilderness with towns.

His gyves of steel the great plain wears;
With roads the distances he snares.

A child given a world for toy,
To build a nation, or destroy.

His childish features frozen stern,
A nation's task he has to learn.

From feeble tribes to federate
One splendid, peace-encompassed State.

What if there be no goal to reach?
The road lies open, dawns beseech!

Enough that he lay down his load
A little further on the road.

So, toward undreamt-of destinies
He slouches down the centuries!

First published in The Bulletin, 17 June 1899;
and later in
Maoriland: and Other Verses by Arthur H. Adams, 1899;
The Golden Treasury of Australian Verse edited by Bertram Stevens, 1909;
The Oxford Book of Australasian Verse edited by Walter Murdoch, 1918;
From the Ballads to Brennan edited by T. Inglis Moore, 1964;
The Poet's Discovery: Nineteenth Century Australia in Verse edited by Richard Douglas Jordan and Peter Pierce, 1990;
Australian Verse: An Oxford Anthology edited by John Leonard, 1998;
Our Country: Classic Australian Poetry: From the Colonial Ballads to Paterson & Lawson edited by Michael Cook, 2004; and
The Puncher & Wattmann Anthology of Australian Poetry edited by John Leonard, 2009.

Author reference sites: Austlit, Australian Dictionary of Biography, Australian Poetry Library

See also.

Australian Scenery: Bondi Bay by Henry Halloran

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What troubled murmurs meet my anxious ear?
What sounds so awful -- melancholy -- drear?  
Is it the thunder's unexhausted roar,
Dying in echoes on the cavern'd shore?
Is it the voice of Ocean, whispering low
The secrets of his depths -- the tales of woe
Unheard by human ears? The gloomy fate
Of some lorn spirit, sad and desolate,
Whelm'd 'neath the waves? The curse -- the hideous cry --
The phrenzied shriek of gasping agony?

Imagination, with discursive wing,
Paints every scene; and, with impetuous spring,
Bursts through the clouds, mysterioutsly spread,
In silent gloom, above the shipwreck'd dead:--
She shews the dastard wretch, unnerv'd by fear,
Sink in the surge;-- the manlier appear
Riding the ridges, and, with look elate,
Struggling, with hope, against the pow'r of fate.
But vain their efforts -- the impetuous surge
Bears them, resisting, to the vortex' verge.
The eddies yawn, and the resistless shock
Dashes their panting bosoms on the rock;--
The waves retire, commingled with their gore,
Leaving their bodies bleaching on the shore!

Hoarser and louder now the surge resounds --
Wilder the woody prospect that surrounds; --
Here heavenly Solitude extends her reign
On the white margin of the bubbling main; --
Here Inspiration bids the heart rejoice --
In ocean's roar we hear th' Eternal's voice:
In every shrub, that decks the sparkling sand,
We trace the work of His creative hand.
The heart expands, unfetter'd by the chain
The world imposes; here the phrenzied brain
May seek repose -- the anguish'd bosom find
A solace for its woes: free as the wind
The thoughts may wander, mid the heart o'erflow
With the wild joy impassion'd spirits know!   

Thro' a long vista of embow'ring trees,
Which give their sear leaves to the rustling breeze,
The wide expanse of Ocean meets the eye --
The awful emblem of Eternity!  

From North to South a sweeping bay extends --
The South-East point in rocky masses ends --
While here and there, upon th' untrodden shore,
Are strewed the 'thwart, the helm, the broken oar --
The fragments of a sail, the splinter'd mast --
The fisher's joy! the victim of the blast!
But where's the fisher? Did the langhing gale
Close round his head? did ev'ry effort fail?  
No tongue can tell: perchance he found a grave
Beneath the azure mantle of the wave; --
Perchance he lives, and in some dark-ribb'd skiff
Now bounds triumphant past the threat'ning cliff.

To the North-East a frowning headland rears
His giant form; on his rough brow appears
The scar of time; magnificently rude,  
He towers above the deep; the waves subdued,
Boil round his base; the many-cavern'd shore
In flying echoes iterates the roar!

The white-haired waves, from Ocean's bosom thrown,
Roll to the shore with melancholy moan;
But gathering strength and fury in their course,
They meet the breakers with resistless force.
Swift to the strand the quiv'ring surges fly,
And hissing spread their rainbow volumes high.
On the wide beach the lucid sparkles blaze
With glow reflected from the solar rays;
As if two planets, from their orbits hurl'd,
Should meet, and pour their star-showers on the world.
The shell-clad shore is gemm'd with glitt'ring surge,
Which fades like light on evening's sombre verge,
Back to the main the weeping tide recoils,
Or midst the barrier rocks in torture boils.
Again returning with impetuous force,
The frantic billows urge their boisterous course:
Across the bay the snow-capt ridges sweep,
And howl in concert with the lab'ring deep!

A little barque, in undulating play,
Dances in distance on her wat'ry way;
And where the blue waves with the clouds unite,
She seems some lonely spirit in her flight:
Still less and less her form; at length she dies,
As fades the rainbow in the azure skies.
No trace remains of where the vessel danc'd --
No trace remains of where the meteor glanc'd --
No trace remains of where the Siroc flew --
No trace remains of morn's aerial dew --
No trace remains to mark the course of man --
His space, a point -- his being, but a span!

Note: "Bondi Bay," distant about 5 1/4- miles due East of Sydney. The word Bondi, in the language of the Aborigines, signifies falling, and is peculiarly apposite to the continual falling of the waters at this spot.

First published in The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser, 16 June 1831.

Author reference sites: Austlit, Australian Dictionary of Biography

See also.

Color by Mabel Forrest

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"Where the rainbow meets the ground, shall a crock of gold be found."

On these grey days I dream of color.
   Oh, to hold the rainbow in one's arms and in one's soul,
Staining dour fancy with its streak of gold,
   Winding its ribbons for some gay maypole
Of whimsy; to entreat the damask rose
For its fresh crimsons ere the freshness goes!

To steal from mountain tops the distant blue,
   The amethyst of valleys when the sun
Tries to pry there, the misty morning through,
   Or, ere the blaze of sunset's fire is done,
To lock it in a secret chest, and see
Through the black night it burning endlessly!

Oh, to take for your own the apple-green
  Of fragile leaves before the summer dust
Has blotted there, to dull the fairy sheen,
   To keep your spoil secure from moth and rust,
With all the changing opals of the sea
Mosaic'd in the tiles of memory!

Distilling scarlets from the desert--pea,
   And ebon of its glossy heart, to find
A yellow wattle fixed eternally
   In the dark, unswept corners of the mind,
Carrying with you earth's sad trails along,
Color on color, shouting to a song!

The dazzling liveries that wild things deck,
   The glint of bronze-wing's feathers, or the ring
Of pure cerise about the bower-bird's neck,
   Blue of those wrens whom cold Julys hear sing,
The pert vermillian cap the brolga wears,
The soldier-reds the parrot's shoulder bears!

Suffusing hues in glass or china, rayed
   With prisms filched from gems for buyers' eyes,
Lacquer and pearl grave Orientals made,
   Fine Persian carpets and bold Tyrian dyes,
Tribute to gods, flung down a tawny stream:
Graves of dead kings where broken emeralds gleam.

Stone slabs enamelled in a sapphire hue,
   Half-buried in a drift of yellow sands,
Beneath a sky so wonderfully blue
   We know that Allah holds it in his hands!
And pray he spill a morsel, lest we die,
There must be blue to spare in such a sky!

Ribbons on city counters, rolled like tyres
   For pixy cars. A vivid heliotrope:
A radiant pink. The ciel a bride desires
   To make her garter of (that she may hope
For luck in loving -- as the old saw goes!)
Fastened demurely with a silver rose.

Peach blossoms blowing over sodden grass,
   Time-reddened walls, and orange creepers flung
Over brown balconies where jade moths pass,
   Oh, color has a universal tongue,
And, like a wild reveille, how it calls
From tower to tree, from water unto walls!

I think some lives are starved for color, so
   They hunger for it. As a flower might lie
Over a vault's cold floor, sick for the glow
   Of that fierce sun that burns an unseen sky --
For there be those who, seeking treasure, hold
They need the rainbow more than all the gold!

First published in The Bulletin, 15 June 1922

Author reference sites: Austlit, Australian Dictionary of Biography

See also.

Australian Poets #21 - Bernard O'Dowd

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Bernard O'Dowd (1866-1953)

Author reference sites: Austlit, Australian Dictionary of Biography

See also.

Eulone by Helen E. Eades

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The winds that here so faintly sigh,
   A soft and gentle breeze,
Are wailing where we need to be,
   Through grand old forest trees.
With a weary, weary sobbing,
   Like a restless spirit's moan;
Oh, the sweetness and the sadness
   Of the music at Eulone!

The same sweet moon is shining
   O'er the river banks to-night,
Changing the deep still waters
   To a sheet of gleaming light;
Turning darkness into blackness,
   'Neath the river gums that grew
Where they used to camp the cattle,
   Round the bend at Woomaroo.

Now the camp fires never blazes,
   Where the drover slept so sound,
With nothing for his pillow,
   But his saddle on the ground;
But now, through all the silent night,
   And through the long warm day,
No sound is heard but the waters
   Falling, falling, far away.

Only the distant waterfall
   Makes music all day long,
Singing to the forest trees,
   Its sweet melodious song;
The wild ducks there are seen at noon
   The rushes green among;
No footstep nears the broad lagoon,
   No sportsman with his gun.

And only through the night time,
   The morepoke's voice is heard,
And coming though the darkness,
   The cry of startled bird;
Only the song of the waters,
   And winds that wail and moan,
And whisper though the native oaks,
   All round silent Eulone.
Perhaps the winds that whisper,
   And sighs the boughs among,
Could tell a tale of other times,
   Of hearts so glad and young;
Of merry festive parties
   That will never meet again,
of boating on the river,
   And of riding on the plain.

And then at eve returning,
   Coming home to warmth and light,
Or watching sweetest twilight
   Deepen into darkest night;
And of plucking fairest flowers,
   Giving them in play and jest.
Did we offer none in earnest?
   Ah, the giver knoweth best!

And lingering in the moonlight,
   Learning language of the flowers,
Half jest, and half in earnest,
   Passed the pleasant evening hours:
All through the long hot summer time,
   And winter's rain and wind,
We thought not that the life we led
   Must soon be left behind.

The grey owl sits where roses bloomed,
   And hung around the door,
And wild dogs howl along the banks
   Where lovers walked of yore;
The whitewashed walls where swallows build
   With vines are overgrown,
And night birds cry where voices rang,
   All round thee, dear Eulone.

First published in The Australian Town & Country Journal, 14 June 1884.

nothing is known about the author of this poem.

Author reference site:

The Old Brown Hen by Louisa Lawson

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The bane of my life is an old brown hen,
You never know where to find her, or when;
She's all day long on her wings or her feet,
Tormenting the neighbours, or out in the street;
There never was a fence built so high it could pen
Or keep out of mischief that old brown hen.

She scratches the flower-beds, takes out the seed,
Then gets in the manger and scatters the feed;
She wakes up the baby, and flies at the cat,
And tears, like a fury, the fibre door-mat.
Sometimes I could kill her in cold blood; but then
She lays a fine egg - does the old brown hen.

She upsets the dust-box, fills up the sink,
Then leaves on the white step a footprint like ink:
She makes me so angry, the bird I could choke:
I chase her with potsticks, and pelt her with coke.
But would you believe it? Nine times out of ten
She dodges them all, does the old brown hen.

No beauty or breed has the old brown hen,
She never set foot in a fancier's pen;
Her breast has no feathers, her tail is awry,
And sometime I think she is blind of an eye.
Nobody would steal her, that's certain, but then
They don't know her value -- the old brown hen.
She's laying or hatching the whole year round,
She nests in the long grass, and sits on the ground;
And though she's a terror, and so full of tricks,
If I do not get eggs I'm sure to get chicks.
She never once brought out chicks fewer than ten --
She pays for her keep, does the old brown hen.

First published
in The Australian Town & Country Journal, 13 June 1906;
and later in
The Worker, 22 December 1910; and
Louisa Lawson: Collected Poems with Selected Critical Commentaries edited by L. M. Rutherford, M. E. Roughley and Nigel Spence, 1996.

Author: Louisa Lawson (1848-1920) was born Louisa Albury in Mudgee, New South Wales, and married Niels "Peter" Larsen in 1866; the couple later anglicised their surname to Lawson.  Louisa's son Henry Lawson was born in 1867, and she separated from her husband and moved to Sydney on 1883.  She bought the Republican in 1887 and produced most of the copy in partnership with her son.  In 1888 she started the Dawn, Australian's first publication for women.  After an accident in 1900 her newspaper work slowly waned and she died in Gladesville in 1920.

Author reference sites: Austlit, Australian Dictionary of Biography, Australian Poetry Library

See also.

Drought by Will M. Fleming

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Old Drought, Death's dearest champion,
   Walks gauntly o'er the land;
His teeth all white and gleaming,
   His weapons in his hand,
And near and far his war-notes,
   The stifled groans of pain,
Roll slowly to the welkin
   And echo back again.

The dust, his rolling standard,
   Waves high across the runs,
While throbbing thirst and famine,
   His two quick-firing guns,
With callous claim and deadly aim
Put peace and happiness to shame
Till joy is but an empty name,
   And Hope the horror shuns.

See! gloating o'er its suffering,
   With eager, straining eyes,
He stoops above the struggler
   And mocks it as it dies
With visions wild and joyful,
   Till, sure that joy is shown,
With rattle weird and eerie
   He claims it as his own.

Then, sweeping on in laughter,
   He calls; from far and wide
The ghosts of bygone suffering
   Stream in on every side;
And as they come, with moaning hum
Through lips that struggle to be dumb,
He sneers at most, but jests with some
   In very lust of pride.

The skeletons of sorrow
   Beneath his baneful stare,
With weary limbs and aching,
   Are all assembled there,
And, by his mournful music,
   Awakened from their trance,
With heavy feet and listless
   Begin to reel and dance.

With hollow tones and mocking
   He laughs to scorn their dread;
And now his teeth are gleaming
   A bright and smoking red.
The revelry of misery
Sweeps onward in its agony,
Till life itself has ceased to be ---
   The empty earth is dead.

First published in The Queenslander, 12 June 1897

Author reference sites: Austlit, Australian Dictionary of Biography

See also.

The M'Camley Mixture by W.T. Goodge

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         Jack M'Camley,
         Lank and long,
      Bluff and hearty
      Sort o' party,
Got the "blanky" habit strong!

      Says the parson,
         Bright old bird,
      "Why'd you use that
         Horrid word? -
      (Jack looked grinful) -
      Not say sinful,
But most vulgar and absurd!"

      "It's the blanky
         Church, betwixt
      You and me, that
         Got me fixed!"
      Says M'Camley,
      "In our fam'ly
Things is all so blanky mixed!

      "There's me father -
         Whoa back, Dick! -
      Church o' Blanky
         England, stric'!
      There's me mother
      And one brother,

      "But me sister -
         Way, you Stan!
      Don't them bullocks
         Rile a man?
      Kilts enticed her,
      Went and spliced a

First published in The Bulletin, 11 June 1898;
and later in
Anthology of Australian Religious Poetry edited by Les Murray, 1986; and
The Oxford Book of Australian Light Verse edited by R.F. Brissenden and Philip Grundy, 1991.

Author reference sites: Austlit, Australian Poetry Library

See also.

Sea-Grief by Dowell O'Reilly

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Along the serried coast the South wind raves,
Grey birds scream landward through the distance hoar,
And, swinging from the dim confounded shore,
The everlasting boom of broken waves    
Like muffled thunder rolls about the graves
Of all the wonder lands and lives of yore,
Whose bones asunder bleach for evermore    
In sobbing chasms and under choking caves.    
O breaking heart --- whose only rest is rage,
White tossing arms, and lips that kiss and part
In lonely dreams of Love's wild liberty --
Not the mean earth thy suffering can assuage
Nor highest heaven fulfil that hungry heart,
O fair, full bosomed, passionate, weeping Sea!

First published in The Bulletin, 10 June 1899, and again in the same magazine on 29 January 1980;
and later in
The Golden Treasury of Australian Verse edited by Bertram Stevens, 1909;
The Oxford Book of Australasian Verse edited by Walter Murdoch, 1918;
An Australasian Anthology: Australian and New Zealand Poems edited by Percval Serle, R. H. Croll, and Frank Wilmot, 1927;
From the Ballads to Brennan edited by T. Inglis Moore, 1964; and
A Treasury of Colonial Poetry, 1982.

Author: Dowell O'Reilly (1865-1923) was born in Sydney and educated at Sydney Grammar.  He was elected to parliament in 1894, but was defeated at an election in 1898.  He then became a master at his old school, where he remained until 1909.  His daughter Eleanor later achieved fame as the novelist Eleanor Dark.  He died in Leura, NSW, in 1923.

Author reference sites: Austlit, Australian Dictionary of Biography

Autumn in New South Wales by Douglas B. W. Sladen

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April came in mid the sunshine, but April went out in showers,
   Came neath the sun of your friendship, went through the vain of our tears;
Came in with delicious loungings in balmy afternoon hours,
   Went out on a chilly evening of desolation and fears.

May danced in lovely and fair, but not as she came in the old land
   When she was the crown of spring and the hope of the summertime,
Where her dropping down on the leaves made a green land not a gold land,
   Where she had the youth of the year and not his decaying prime.

Had you been with us autumn would have been a type of reposing,
  A pleasant haven of refuge from the summer's stormy heat;
But when you vanished with April it seemed to us just the closing
   Of the season of brightness and flowers and fruit and ramblings sweet.

We might have wandered together and have heard the oakleaves patter
   Like films of ruddy gold, in the avenue under the hills;
With the rustling under our feet accompanying the chatter
   In a rippling obligato like the tunes of tiny rills.

So might we two have beguiled the autumn away, and thereafter,
   Whene'er the cold-hearted winter had taken the autumn's place,
We might have melted his chill with our warmth of shouting and laughter,
   Sending a glow through the body and summer back to the face.

Spring will come back with the sunshine after winter's storms and showers,
   Perhaps neath sun of your friendship, perhaps through vain of our tears;
But will the delicious loungings in balmy afternoon hours,
   That we had in that golden April, be ours in after years?

First published
in the Australian Town and Country Journal, 9 June 1883

Author reference sites: Austlit, Australian Dictionary of Biography

See also.

Northward to the Sheds by Will H. Ogilvie

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There's a whisper from the regions out beyond the Barwon banks,
There's a gathering of the legions and a forming of the ranks,
There's a murmur coming nearer with the signs that never fail,
And it's time for every shearer to be out upon the trail;
They must leave their girls behind them and their empty glasses, too,
For there's plenty left to mind them when they cross the dry Barooo:
There'll be kissing, there'll be sorrow much as only sweethearts know,
But before the noon to-morrow they'll be singing as they go;
      For the Western creeks are calling,
         And the idle days are done,
      With the snowy fleeces falling,
         And the Queensland sheds begun.

There is shortening of the bridle, there is tightening of the girth,
There is fondling of the idol that they love the best on earth,
Northward from the Lachlan River and the sun-dried Castlereagh,
Outward to the Never-Never ride the "ringers" on their way.
From the green bends of the Murray they have run their horses in,
For there's haste and there is hurry when the Queensland sheds begin;
On the Bogan they are bridling, they are saddling on the Bland,
There is plunging and there's sidling -- for the colts don't understand
      That the Western creeks are calling,
         And the idle days are done,
      With the snowy fleeces falling,
         And the Queensland sheds begun.

They will camp below the station, they'll be outting peg and pole,
Rearing tents for occupation till the "calling of the roll,"
And it's time the nags were driven, and it's time to strap the pack,
For there's never license given to the laggards on the track.
Hark! The music of the battle: it in time to bare our swords!
Do you hear the rush and rattle as they tramp along the boards?
They are past the pen-doors picking light-wooled weeners one by one;
I can hear the shear-blades clicking, and I know the fight's begun!
   Northward to the Sheds - illo.jpg

First published in The Bulletin, 8 June 1895, and again in the same magazine on 26 August 1959;
and then later in
Fair Girls and Gray Horses by Will H. Ogilvie, 1958;
The Shearers: Songbook edited by Ted Egan, 1984;
The Penguin Book of Australian Ballads edited by Elizabeth Webby and Philip Butterrs, 1993;
Breaker's Mate: Will Ogilvie in Australia by Will H. Ogilvie and edited John Meredith, 1996; and
Two Centuries of Australian Poetry edited by Kathrine Bell, 2007.

Note: the poem was originally published with the illustration shown here.

Author reference sites: Austlit, Australian Dictionary of Biography

See also.

Australian Poets #20 - Emily Coungeau

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Emily Coungeau (1860-1936)

Author reference sites: Austlit, Australian Dictionary of Biography

See also.

Enigma by Zora Cross

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My body is a flower, a leaf of light
The good white day once gave the happy night;
A gracious melody the years still chime,
Scented with all the woman-bloom of Time.

And yet I am the mother of all things
Drifting and floating on the earth's green wings;
I give to God child-worlds of mist and star
Because my love dreams all the things that are.

First published in The Sydney Mail, 7 June 1922

Author reference sites: AustlitAustralian Dictionary of BiographyOld Qld Poetry

See also.

Morning Glory by Kathleen Dalziel

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The rambling morning-glory curled
   Her clasping tendrils through
Rubble and refuse, till the world
   Was all Madonna-blue --

Was all blue cloud and cluster, born
   Of weeds in ways remote;
Each blossom trumpet was a horn
   That blew a fairy note.

A fantasy of leaf and flower,
   So deftly, I descried,
All suddenly, the sober hour
   With beauty deified.

And, seeing that flare of flower and spray
   The barren earth adorning,
My heart forgot its winter day,
   And blossomed with the morning.

And dreams, disjointed and askew,
   Conformed to newer grace,
Where the morning-glory's myriads grew
   About the commonplace.

Her rambling banners all unfurled,
   Her armies marching through
Old desolations, till the world
   Was all Madonna-blue.

First published in The Sydney Morning Herald, 6 June 1931

Author reference sites: Austlit

See also.

Bellevue Park by Roderic Quinn

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I think that man has seldom looked upon
   A scene more beautiful than I behold
From this high park --- upon such azure ways,
   Endowed with such a lavishment of gold.

'Tis afternoon, and slanting autumn rays
   Are falling on the Harbour and the sea,
Which, 'neath a land-wind's soft and sweet caress,
   Awake to life and ripple raliantly.

By white loam washed --- a coast of gold and grey,
   Grey cliff and golden sand, shine north and south;
While, rail and sail, bright-glancing in the sun,
   A pleasure yacht glides towards the Harbour's mouth.

Entranced, enthralled, are all who hither come
   To gaze upon the loveliness outspread
Beneath, around; entranced, also, must be
   Yon single lark that singing floats o'erhead.

Entranced, enchanted, surely it must be,
   Such music dropping as it drifts along,
As though it seeks to voice the peerless scene --
   To tell its utter loveliness in song.

First published in The Sydney Mail, 5 June 1929

Author reference sites: Austlit, Australian Dictionary of Biography, Australian Poetry Library

See also.

June by A. J. Rolfe

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   Like the swell of some sweet tune
   Morning rises into noon,
   May glides onward into June.


Night's gloomy spell is broken, and the light
   Is pale and tender in the waking East;
The sudden sun with splendour sails to sight,
   The wailing night-bird's weary note has ceased.
All, all rejoice as day and life return,
   Bearing a song of gladness to the hearts
Of weary mortals who in patience yearn
   For aught to salve the wounds of Life's fierce darts.
O weary ones, look upward to the Light
   That guides our stumbling footsteps to the bourn
Where care-worn hearts are soothed, and where the night
   Is all unknown amidst eternal morn,
Where life shall spring from death, and joy from pain,
And earthly loss shall be a heavenly gain.

First published
in The Queenslander, 4 June 1892
and later in:
A Sheaf of Sonnets by A. J. Rolfe, 1892

Note: this poem in the sixth in a sequence of poems that the author wrote about each month of the year.

Author reference sites: Austlit

See also.

Joi the Glug by C. J. Dennis

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The Glugs abide in a far, far land
That is partly pebbles and stones and sand,
   But mainly earth of a chocolate hue,
   When it isn't purple or slightly blue.
And the Glugs live there with their aunts and their wives,
In draughty tenements built like hives.
   And they climb the trees when the weather is wet,
   To see how high they can really get.
   Pray, don't forget,
   This is chiefly done when the weather is wet.

And every shadow that flits and hides,
And every stream that glistens and glides
   And laughs its way from a highland height,
   All know the Glugs quite well by sight.
And they say, "Our test is the best by far;
For a Glug is a Glug; so there you are!
   And they climb the trees when it drizzles or hails
   To get electricity into their nails;
   And the Glug that fails
   Is a luckless Glug, if it drizzles or hails."

Now, the Glugs abide in the Land of Gosh;
And they work all day for the sake of Splosh.
   For Splosh the First is the Nation's pride,
   And King of the Glugs, on his uncle's side.
And they sleep at night, for the sake of rest;
For their doctors say this suits them best.
   And they climb the trees, as a general rule,
   For exercise, when the weather is cool.
   They're taught at school
   To climb the trees when the weather is cool.

And the whispering grass on the gay, green hills
And every cricket that skirls and shrills,
   And every moonbeam, gleaming white,
   All know the Glugs quite well by sight.
And they say, "It is safe, the text we bring;
For a Glug is an awfully Glug-like thng.
   And they climb the trees when there's sign of fog,
   To scan the land for a feasible dog.
   They love to jog
   Through dells in quest of the feasible dog."

Now the Glugs eat meals three times a day
Because their fathers ate that way.
   And their grandpas said the scheme was good
   To help the Glugs digest their food.
And it's wholesome food the Glugs have got,
For it says so plain on the tin and pot.
   And they climb the trees when the weather is dry
   To get a glimpse of the pale green sky.
   We don't know why,
   But they love to gaze on the pale green sky.

And every cloud that sails aloft,
And every breeze that blows so soft,
   And every star that shines at night,
   All know the Glugs quite well by sight.
For they say, "Our text is safe and true;
What one Glug does, the other Glugs do;
   And they climb the trees when the weather is hot,
   For a birds'-eye view of the garden plot.
   Of course, it's rot,
   But they love that view of the garden plot."

At half-past two on a Wednesday morn
A most peculiar Glug was born;
   And later on, when he grew a man,
   He scoffed and sneered at the Chosen Plan.
"It's wrong!" said this Glug, whose name was Joi.
"Bah!" said the Glugs.  "He's a crazy boy!"
   And they climbed the trees, as the West wind stirred,
   To hark to the note of the guffer bird.
   It seems absurd,
   But they're awfully fond of the guffer bird.

And every reed that rustles and sways
By the gurgling river that plashes and plays,
   And the beasts of the dread, neurotic night,
   All know the Glugs quite well by sight.
And, "Why," say they; "it is easily done;
For a dexter Glug's like a sinister one!
   And they climb the trees when the thunder rolls,
   To soddenly salve their small, pale souls,
   For they fear the coals
   That threaten to frizzle their pale, pink souls."

Said the Glug called Joi: "This climbing trees
Is a foolish art, and things like these
   Cause much distress in the land of Gosh.
   Let's stay on the ground and kill King Splosh!"
But Splosh, the King, he smiled a smile,
And beckoned once to his hangman, Guile,
   Who climbed a tree when the weather was calm;
   And they hanged poor Joi on a snufflebust palm:
   Then sang a psalm.
Did those pious Glugs 'neath the sufflebust palm.

And every bee that kisses a flower,
And every blossom, born for an hour,
   And ever bird on its gladsome flight,
   All know the Glugs quite well by sight.
For they say: "'Tis a simple text we've got:
If you know one Glug, why you know the lot!
   So they climbed a tree in the burgeoning Spring,
   And they hanged poor Joi with some second-hand string.
   It's a horrible thing
   To be hanged by Glugs with second-hand string.

Then Splosh, the king, rose up and said:
"It's not polite; but he safer dead.
   And there's not much room in th eland of Gosh
   For a Glug named Joi and a king named Splosh!"
And ever Glug flung high his hat,
And cried, "We're Glugs!  And you can't change that!"
   So they climbed the trees, since the weather was cold,
   As their great-grandmothers climbed of old.
   We are not told
   Why Grandma climbed when the weather was cold.

And every cloud that sails the blue,
And every dancing sunbeam too,
   And every spakling dewdrop bright,
   All know the Glugs quite well by sight.
"We tell," say they, "by a simple test;
For any old Glug is like the rest.
   And they climb the trees when there's weather about,
   In a general way, as a cure for gout.
   Though some folk doubt
   If the climbing of trees is good for gout."

First published in The Bulletin, 3 June 1915;
and later in
The Glugs of Gosh by C. J. Dennis, 1917; and
The Selected Works of C. J. Dennis by C. J. Dennis, 1988.

Author reference sites: C.J. Dennis, Austlit, Australian Dictionary of Biography, Australian Poetry Library

See also.

How Gilbert Died by A. B. "Banjo" Paterson

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There's never a stone at the sleeper's head,
   There's never a fence beside,
And the wandering stock on the grave may tread
   Unnoticed and undenied,
But the smallest child on the Watershed
   Can tell you how Gilbert died.

For he rode at dusk, with his comrade Dunn
   To the hut at the Stockman's Ford,
In the waning light of the sinking sun
   They peered with a fierce accord.
They were outlaws both -- and on each man's head
   Was a thousand pounds reward.

They had taken toll of the country round,
   And the troopers came behind
With a black that tracked like a human hound
   In the scrub and the ranges blind:
He could run the trail where a white man's eye
   No sign of a track could find.

He had hunted them out of the One Tree Hill
   And over the Old Man Plain,
But they wheeled their tracks with a wild beast's skill,
   And they made for the range again.
Then away to the hut where their grandsire dwelt,
   They rode with a loosened rein.

And their grandsire gave them a greeting bold:
   "Come in and rest in peace,
No safer place does the country hold --
   With the night pursuit must cease,
And we'll drink success to the roving boys,
   And to hell with the black police."

But they went to death when they entered there,
   In the hut at the Stockman's Ford,
For their grandsire's words were as false as fair --
   They were doomed to the hangman's cord.
He had sold them both to the black police
   For the sake of the big reward.

In the depth of night there are forms that glide
   As stealthy as serpents creep,
And around the hut where the outlaws hide
   They plant in the shadows deep,
And they wait till the first faint flush of dawn
   Shall waken their prey from sleep.

But Gilbert wakes while the night is dark --
   A restless sleeper, aye,
He has heard the sound of a sheep-dog's bark,
   And his horse's warning neigh,
And he says to his mate, "There are hawks abroad,
   And it's time that we went away."

Their rifles stood at the stretcher head,
   Their bridles lay to hand,
They wakened the old man out of his bed,
   When they heard the sharp command:
"In the name of the Queen lay down your arms,
   Now, Dunn and Gilbert, stand!"

Then Gilbert reached for his rifle true
   That close at his hand he kept,
He pointed it straight at the voice and drew,
   But never a flash outleapt,
For the water ran from the rifle breech --
   It was drenched while the outlaws slept.

Then he dropped the piece with a bitter oath,
   And he turned to his comrade Dunn:
"We are sold," he said, "we are dead men both,
   But there may be a chance for one;
I'll stop and I'll fight with the pistol here,
   You take to your heels and run."

So Dunn crept out on his hands and knees
   In the dim, half-dawning light,
And he made his way to a patch of trees,
   And vanished among the night,
And the trackers hunted his tracks all day,
   But they never could trace his flight.

But Gilbert walked from the open door
   In a confident style and rash;
He heard at his side the rifles roar,
   And he heard the bullets crash.
But he laughed as he lifted his pistol-hand,
   And he fired at the rifle flash.

Then out of the shadows the troopers aimed
   At his voice and the pistol sound,
With the rifle flashes the darkness flamed,
   He staggered and spun around,
And they riddled his body with rifle balls
   As it lay on the blood-soaked ground.

There's never a stone at the sleeper's head,
   There's never a fence beside,
And the wandering stock on the grave may tread
   Unnoticed and undenied,
But the smallest child on the Watershed
   Can tell you how Gilbert died.

First published in The Bulletin, 2 June 1894, and again in the same magazine on 23-30 December 1980;
and later in
The Man From Snowy River and Other Verses by A.B. Paterson, 1895;
Favourite Australian Poems edited by Ian Mudie, 1963;
The Collected Verse of A.B. Paterson by A.B. Paterson, 1982;
A Treasury of Colonial Poetry, 1982;
Singer of the Bush, A.B. (Banjo) Paterson: Complete Works 1885-1900 compiled by Rosamund Campbell and Philippa Harvie, 1983;
A Vision Splendid: The Complete Poetry of A.B. 'Banjo' Paterson by A.B. Paterson, 1990;
Selected Poems: A. B. Paterson compiled by Les Murray, 1992;
A.B. 'Banjo' Paterson: Bush Ballads, Poems, Stories and Journalism edited by Clement Semmler, 1992;
The Collected Verse of Banjo Paterson edited by Clement Semmler, 1993;
Banjo Paterson: His Poetry and Prose compiled by Richard Hall, 1993;
The Penguin Book of Australian Ballads edited by Elizabeth Webby and Philip Butterrs, 1993; and
Classic Australian Verse edited by Maggie Pinkney, 2001.

Author reference sites: Austlit, Australian Dictionary of Biography, Australian Poetry Library

See also.

Men of Australia by Edward Dyson

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Men of all the lands Australian from the Gulf to Derwent River,
   From the Heads of Sydney Harbour to the waters of the West,
There's a spirit loudly calling where the saplings dip and quiver,
   Where the city crowds are thronging, and the range uplifts its crest!
Do ye feel the holy fervour of a new-born exultation?
   For the task the Lord has set us is a trust of noblest pride --
We are named to march unblooded to the winning of a nation,
   And to crown her with a glory that may evermore abide.  

Have ye looked to great old nations, have ye wondered at their making,
   Seen their fair and gracious cities, gemmed with palaces of light,
Felt the pulse of mighty engines beating ever, never slaking,
   Like the sandalled feet of Progress moving onward in the night?
Can ye stand on some high headland when the drowsy day is fading,
   And in dreamlike fancy see a merchant fleet upon the seas,
See the pinioned ships majestic 'gainst the purple even sailing,
   And the busy steamers racing down to half a thousand quays?

Have ye dreamed of this or seen of this, and feel ye no elation
   O'er the most heroic duty that a free-born people knows?
To the chain of kindred nations ours to link another nation,
   Ours to stay and build and bless her for a future great as those!
Cold and sordid hearts may linger still to bargain over trifles,
   But the big-souled men have only hate for huckstoring and for sloth,
These would barter down division, tear away the bonds that stifle,
   And would free our dear Australia for the larger, nobler growth.  

Bushmen, loaming on the ridges, tracking "colours" to their sources,
   Swinging axes by the rivers where the mill-saws rend and shriek,     
Smoking thoughtful pipes, or dreaming on your slow, untroubled horses,
   While the lazy cattle feed along the track or ford the creek,
Ye have known our country's moods in all her wild and desert places,
   Ye have felt the sweet, strange promptings that her solitudes inspire,
To have breathed the spirit of her is to love her - turn your faces,
   Ride like lovers when the day dawns, ride to serve her, son and sire!  

Miners in the dripping workings, farmers, pioneers who settle
   On the bush lands, city workers of the benches and the marts,
Swart mechanics at the forges, beating out the glowing metal,
   Thinkers, planners, if ye feel the love of country stir your hearts,
Help to write the bravest chapter of a fair young nation's story --
   Great she'll be as Europe's greatest, more magnificent in ruth!-
That our children's children standing in the rose light of her glory
   May all honour us who loved her, and who crowned her in her youth!

First published in The Argus, 1 June 1898;
and later in
The Sunday Times (Perth, WA), 26 June 1898;
Selections from the Australian Poets edited by Bertram Stevens and George Mackaness, 1925; and
This Land: An Anthology of Australian Poetry for Young People edited by M. M. Flynn and J. Groom, 1968.

Author reference sites: Austlit, Australian Dictionary of Biography, Australian Poetry Library

See also.

Australian Poets #19 - E. J. Brady

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E. J. Brady (1869-1952)

Author reference sites: Austlit, Australian Dictionary of Biography, Australian Poetry Library

See also.

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