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A Ballad of Queensland by Ironbark (G. Herbert Gibson)

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Overlanding Jim apostrophiseth his quondam mate who hath made his pile and gone home.

Oh! don't you remember Black Alice, Sam Holt --
   Black Alice so dusky and dark --
That Warrego gin with the straw through her nose,
   And teeth like a Moreton Bay shark;
The villainous sheep-wash tobacco she smoked
   In the gunyah down there by the lake;
The grubs that she gathered, the lizards she stewed,
   And the damper you taught her to bake?

They say you've ten thousand per annum, Sam Holt,
   In England a park and a drag,
And p'raps you forget you were six months ago
   In Queensland a humping your swag.
Who'd think now, to see you a dinin' in state
   With lords and the devil knows who,
You were "flashin' your dover"* six short months ago,
   In a lambin'-camp on the Paroo?

Oh! don't you remember the moon's silver sheen
   On the Warrego sandridges white?
And don't you remember the big bull-dog ants
   We found in our blankets at night?
The wild trailing creepers, the bush-buds, Sam Holt,
   That scattered their fragrance around,
And don't you remember that broken-down colt
   You sold me and swore he was sound!

Say, don't you remember that fiver, Sam Holt,
   You borrowed so frank and so free,
When the publicans landed your £50 cheque,
   In Tambo, your very last spree?
Luck changes some natures, and yours, Sammy Holt,
   Ain't a grand one as ever I see;
And I guess I may whistle a good many times,
   'Fore you think of that fiver or me.

Oh, don't you remember the cattle you "duffed,"
   And yer luck at the Sandy Creek "rush,"
The poker you played, and the bluffs that you bluffed,
   And yer habit of holding a "flush"?
Perhaps you've forgotten the pastin' you got
   From the "Barks"† down at Callaghan's store,
When Mick Houlaghan found a fifth ace in his hand,
   And you'd raised him his pile upon four!
You weren't quite the cleanly potato, Sam Holt,
   And you hadn't the cleanest of fins;
But you lifted your pile at "The Towers,"‡ Sam Holt,
   And that covers most of your sins.
When's my turn a-comin'? Well, never, perhaps,
   And it's likely enough yer old mate
'll be "humping his drum" on the Warrego banks
   To the end of the chapter of Fate.

First published in The Bulletin, 26 March 1881 and again in the same magazine on 29 January 1980;
and later in
The Lone Hand, June 1912;
The North Queensland Register, 15 March 1930;
Colonial Ballads edited by Hugh Anderson, 1962;
Favourite Australian Poems edited by Ian Mudie, 1963;
From the Ballads to Brennan edited by T. Inglis Moore, 1964;
The Overlander Songbook edited by Ronald George Edwards, 1971;
Complete Book of Australian Folk Lore edited by Bil Scott, 1976;
The Penguin Book of Australian Humorous Verse edited by Bill Scott, 1984;
On the Track with Bill Bowyang: With Australian Bush Recitations edited by Hugh Anderson and Dawn Anderson, 1992;
The Penguin Book of Australian Ballads edited by Elizabeth Webby and Philip Butterss, 1993.

* - Taking pot-luck with a sheath-knife.
† - Back-block vernacular for "Irish".
‡ - Charters Towers.
The poem was also published under the title "Sam Holt".

Author reference site: Austlit

See also.

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