Struck It at Last by Edward Dyson

| No TrackBacks
He was almost blind, and wasted
   With the wear of many years;
He had laboured and had tasted
   Bitter troubles, many cares;
But his laugh was loud and ringing,
   And his flag was on the mast --
Every day they heard him singing:
   "Bound to strike it rich at last."

Here he brandished axe and maul ere
   Buninyong, and, after that,
Fought and bled with Peter Lalor
   And the boys at Ballarat.
East and west and northward, striving,
   As the tides set fresh and fast --
Ever trying, rarely thriving --
   Yes, he'd strike it rich at last.

Now and then she'd pan out snugly,
   Mostly all the other way,
But he never cut up ugly
   When he bottomed on the clay;
Never cursed or got disgusted,
   Mourned the days and chances past --
Geordie always hoped, and trusted
   He would strike it rich at last.

If the days were very dull, or
   When the store~men cut up rough
And he couldn't raise a colour
   From a cart-load of the stuff,
No man found him chicken-hearted,
   He'd no time to bang and blast;
Pegged her out again and started ---
   Bound to strike it rich at last.

Blinded by a shot in Eighty,
   Sinking for the Pegleg Reef,
If he sorrowed o'er his fate, he
   Let no mortal see his grief.
In the Home there in the city
   Geordie won their favour fast,
All the inmates learned his ditty ---
   "Bound to strike it rich at last."

When brought low, and bowed, and hoary,
   Still his eyes alone were blind,
Undimmed by fortune was the glory
   Of his happy, tranquil mind;
In his heart a flame was glowing
   That defied the roughest blast,
And he sang: "There is no knowing,
   Mates, I'll strike ii rich at last."

As the end approached he prattled
   Of old days at Ballarat,
And again the windlass rattled
   At Jim Crow and Blanket Flat,
And the nurses heard him mutter
   As his conquering spirit passed:
"Streak of luck, boys! On the gutter!"
   Geordie's struck it rich at last.

First published in The Bulletin, 23 April 1892;
and later in
Rhymes from the Mines and Other Lines by Edward Dyson, 1896;
Freedom on the Wallaby: Poems of the Australian People edited by Marjorie Pizer, 1953; and
The Poet's Discovery: Nineteenth Century Australia in Verse edited by Richard Douglas Jordan and Peter Pierce, 1990.

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

See also.

No TrackBacks

TrackBack URL:

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Perry Middlemiss published on April 23, 2012 8:59 AM.

The Turn of the Tide by Roderic Quinn was the previous entry in this blog.

Launceston 1806-1906 by John Bufton is the next entry in this blog.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.


Powered by Movable Type 4.23-en