The Beautiful Squatter by Charles Harpur

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Where the wandering Barwin delighteth the eye,
   Befringed with the myall and golden-bloomed gorse,
Oh, a beautiful Squatter came galloping by,
   With a beard on his chin like the tail of his horse;
And his locks trained all round to so equal a pitch,
   That his mother herself, it may truly be said,
Had been puzzled in no small degree to find which
   Was the front, or the back, or the sides of his head.

Beside a small fire 'neath a fair-spreading tree,
   (A cedar, I think, but perhaps 'twas a gum)
What vision of Love did that Squatter now see,
   In the midst of a catch so to render him dumb?
Why, all on the delicate herbage asquat,
   And smiling to see him so flustered and mute,
'Twas the charming Miss 'Possum-skin having a chat
   With the elegant Lady of Lord Bandycoot.

The Squatter dismounted -- what else could he do?
   And meaning her tender affections to win,
'Gan talking of dampers and blankets quite new
   With a warmth that soon ruined poor Miss 'Possum-skin!
And Lord Bandycoot also, while dining that day
   On a baked kangaroo of the kind that is red,
At the very third bite to King Dingo did say --
   O, how heavy I feel all at once in the head!

But alas for the Belles of the Barwin! -- the youth
   Galloped home, to forget all his promises fair;
Whereupon Lady Bandicoot told the whole truth
   To her lord, and Miss 'Possum-skin raved in despair!
And mark the result! royal Dingo straightway,
   And his Warriors, swore to avenge them in arms!
And that beautiful Squatter on beautiful day,
   Was waddied to death in the bloom of his charms!

First published in The Weekly Register of Politics, Facts and General Literature, 15 March 1845;
and later in
The Port Phillip Patriot and Morning Advertiser, 26 March 1845;
The Poetical Works of Charles Harpur edited by Elizabeth Perkins, 1984;
The Penguin Book of Australian Satirical Verse edited by Philip Neilsen, 1986;
Old Ballads from the Bush edited by Bill Scott, 1987;
The Sting in the Wattle: Australian Satirical Verse edited by Philip Neilsen, 1993;
The Penguin Book of Australian Ballads edited by Elizabeth Webby and Philip Butterss, 1993;
Australian Verse: An Oxford Anthology edited by John Leonard, 1998;
100 Australian Poems You Need to Know edited by Jamie Grant, 2008;
Macquarie PEN Anthology of Australian Literature edited by Nicholas Jose, Kerryn Goldsworthy, Anita Heiss, David McCooey, Peter Minter, Nicole Moore and Elizabeth Webby, 2009; 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.

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This page contains a single entry by Perry Middlemiss published on March 15, 2012 7:21 AM.

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