For they lured him far from pathways, where all things were dull and tame;
They spread before him visions, right beyond the drowsy bush,
For that youngster's burning longing was, to organise a push.
Of the fringe he cultivated, of the rapture of his crowd,
When he learned to whistle through his teeth, discordantly and loud,
I say nothing. For such attributes are commonplace and dead.
He longed to wreck a township and to paint the backblocks red.
So he studied all the papers that discoursed upon the theme;
Of the youths who make a city night one wild, delirious dream.
And he came to the conclusion that the town of Hogan's Flat
Was peculiarly adapted for the game that he was at.
Hogan's Flat was on the Darling, very sleepy, very slow;
There one policeman only did his steady sentry go.
The inhabitants were scanty, and an aged lot and meek,
And very slow and ancient was the Honorary Beak.
He mustered up his followers and told them what he thought,
And discoursed to them quite glibly on the battle to be fought
And he said, "You can believe me, for you know I've learnt the trade,
That on angular blue metal our reliance must be laid.
"We will stone their glass shop-windows, and we'll sack their blooming bars,
And pile our blazing bonfires to the timid, frighten'd stars,
And that solitary Bobby, he will wish himself miles back,
When a well-aimed gibber hits him with a loud, resounding whack."
So they came, these desperate pushites, vowed before they went to bed,
To paint that little township one big sunset glare of red.
And o'er the road for metal they dispersed with wild acclaim --
And were very much disgusted when they could not find the same.
Not a stone, nor flint, nor gibber, not a rock could there be found,
For the Darling's banks are noted an an utter stoneless ground.
And the leader felt no beaten at the failure of his scheme
That he let that single bobby run him in as in a dream.
Where has gone that soaring youngster with his intellectual brow?
As Hans Breitmann would ejaculate, "Whar is dot barty now?"
Is he working for his tucker, and when shearing's at an end,
Does he hump a shabby bluey, and go fishing in the Bend?
Alas, we can't conjecture where all the failures go.
And, after such wild yearnings, tame existence must be slow.
But he lived to paint a moral --- if you wish to cut it grand,
You should find out first for certain the materials are at hand.
First published in The Bulletin, 7 July 1904.
Author: Ernest Favenc (1845-1908) was born in Surrey, England, and arrived in Australia in 1864. He initially worked on stations in North Queensland before joining an expedition to survey a possible rail link between Brisbane and Darwin. He married in 1880 and moved to Sydney. He continued to travel throughout Australia during which he wrote poetry and essays and histories of Australian exploration. He died in Sydney in 1908.
Author reference sites: Austlit, Australian Dictionary of Biography