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The Last Sundowner by C.J. Dennis

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He sat upon a fallen log
   And heaved a long, deep sigh.
His gnarled hand fondling his old dog
   As his gaze went to the sky.
"There goes another pane," said he --
   "A soarin', roarin' pest!
They robs a man of privacy,
   An' motor cars of rest."

"Sundownin' ain't the game ut was
   Since men have took to wings;
An' life grows narrer, jist because
   Of plans an' cars an' things.
For the planes have pinched me privit skies
   An' the cars have grabbed me earth
An' all the news by wireless flies;
   So what's sundownin' worth?

"Time was when I could sit me down
   Where man had left no sign,
An' earth an' sky for miles aroun'
   For that one hour was mine.
And I could sit an' think me thorts
   An' watch the sun go west
Without no crazy ingine's snorts
   To break into me rest.

"And as the afternoon grew late
   I'd seek the haunts of men,
An' at some lonely homestead gate
   I'd have sure welcome then;
An' tucker-bags were gladly filled,
   And rest found for my back,
In 'change for bits of news I spilled
   And gossip of the track.

"But now that wireless spreads its lies
   From this and other lands,
They look on me with hard, cold eyes
   An' give with grudgin' hands.
It's them that has to give me news;
   And when I seek some wide,
Once silent scene, planes spoil me views,
   An' cars honk me aside."

He sat upon a fallen log
   And heaved a long, deep sigh:
"We're agein', me an' my ole dog,
  An' old things have to die.
Sundownin's dead; men's minds an' ways
   Is changin' with a jerk.
Seems like I'll have to end me days,
   Travellin'; in search of work."

First published in The Herald, 17 December 1934;
and later in
The Queenslander, 24 January 1935; and
Classic Australian Verse edited by Maggie Pinkney, 2001.

The Sundowner by C.J. Dennis

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   I live a life thet's wild an' free,
      An' me troubles they are few;
   So 'ere's to another drink t' me
      An' a thousan' a year to you.
   A man can't count on much down 'ere;
      An' I don't long fur wealf.
   A trifle o' tucker an' whips o' beer,
      Is all that I ask -- meself.

Fur it's carryin' me bloomin' swag frum mornin' until night;
   An' it's waiting in the dusk outside the town
Fur I git me share o' walkin' when the world is fair and bright,
   An' me tucker when the sun goes down.
                    My oath!
   But I'm 'appy when the sun goes down.

   With honest work I don't agree,
     Fur where's the use o' toilin'?
   While other men they work for me,
      I watch me billy boilin'.
   I'll take wot e're you 'ave to give,
      An' steal wot e're I can;
   Be the sweat of other brows I live,
      So hurray fur the workin' man!

   An' this me song as I trudge along,
      Or watch me billy boil --
   "'Ere's to the man thet earns 'is bread -
      An' mine - by honest toil."
   Fur men must work, an' women weep,
      To make the world go roun';
   But I've no weepin' women to keep,
      So I watch the sun go down.

An' it's carryin' me bloomin' swag frum mornin' until night,
   An' waitin' near the station or the town;
Fur I git me share o' loafin' when the sun is at 'is height,
   An' me tucker when the sun goes down.
                     My oath!
   But I'm 'appy when the sun goes down.
First published in The Critic, 26 February 1898

Wanderers by James Hebblethwaite

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As I rode in the early dawn,
   While stars were fading white,
I saw upon a grassy slope
   A camp-fire burning bright,
With tent behind and blaze before,
   Three loggers in a row
Sang altogether joyously ---
   Pull up the stakes and go!

         Pull up the stakes and go,
         The world is free, and so are we,
         Pull up the stakes and go.

As I rode on by Eagle Hawk,
   The wide blue deep of air,
The wind among the glittering leaves,
   The flowers so sweet and fair,
The thunder of the rude salt waves,
   The creek's soft overflow,
All joined in chorus to the words --
   Pull up the stakes and go!

Now by the tent on forest skirt,
   By odor of the earth,
By sight and scent of morning smoke,
   By evening camp-fire's mirth,
By deep-sea call and foaming green,
   By new stars' gleam and glow,
By summer trails in antique lands --
   Pull up the stakes and go!

The world is wide, and we are young,
   And sounding marches beat,
And passion pipes her sweetest call,
   In lane, and field, and street;
So rouse the chorus, brothers all,
   We'll something have to show
When Death comes round and strikes our tent --
   Pull up the stakes and go.

         Pull up the stakes and go,
         The world is free, and so are we,
         Pull up the stakes and go.

First published in The Bulletin, 25 March 1899;
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;
Selections from the Australian Poets edited by Bertram Stevens, 1925;
An Australasian Anthology: Australian and New Zealand Poems edited by Percival Serle, R.H. Croll and Frank Wilmot, 1927;
New Song in an Old Land edited by Rex Ingamells, 1943;
Australian Bush Songs and Ballads edited by Will Lawson, 1944;
Favourite Australian Poems edited by Ian Mudie, 1963;
Silence Into Song: An anthology of Australian Verse edited by Clifford O'Brien, 1968;
A Treasury of Colonial Poetry, 1968;
Effects of Light: The Poetry of Tasmania edited by Vivian Smith and Margaret Scott, 1985;
Australian Bush Poems, 1991;
An Australian Treasury of Popular Verse edited by Jim Haynes, 2002; and
River of Verse: A Tasmanian Journey 1800-1924 edited by Helen Gee, 2004.

Author reference sites: Austlit, Australian Dictionary of Bibliography

See also.

Note: the "Eagle Hawk" mentioned in the poem refers to Eagle Hawk Neck in Tasmania, rather than "Eaglehawk" near Bendigo in Victoria.

Western Camps by Roderic Quinn

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Three men stood with their glasses lifted
   Night was around them and flaring lamps: --
"Here's to the tried and true and sifted;
Here's to the flotsam tossed and drifted;
   Here's to the men in the Western Camps.

"Fill and drink (there is little drinking
   Night or day on the lonely track),
Mostly heroes are hourly sinking,
Mostly, vain in the firelight thinking,
   Gather the hearts of gold out back.

"Stars that fall are their lot forever;
   Lights that perish and stars that fall;
Fighting Fate with a brave heart ever --
Drifting leaves on a wayward river --
   Men for ever in spite of all.

"Here's to the gallant souls defeated;
   Here's to the heroes under-trod --
Hope-abandoned and mirage-cheated,
And, yet, by the right of their failure, seated
   Somewhere close to the feet of God.

"Here's to the heart that braves undaunted
   Toil and trouble for home and wife;
Here's to the fallen-spirit taunted;
Here's to the memory, sorrow-haunted;
   Here's to the soul grown sick of life.

"Drink to the man in the firelight sitting;
   Drink to his mistress of long ago;
Well --- 'twere well --- and the time were fitting,
If, in the shades of firelight flitting,
   She should come with her eyes aglow.

"Drink to the purpose, iron, oaken,
   Brought to nought by a woman's guile;
Drink to men with an old love-token
Somewhere -- close to their brave hearts broken;
   Drink to the martyred souls that smile.

"Drink to courage and all fine daring --
   Spirit trampling the flesh beneath;
Drink to the reckless heart uncaring;
Drink to mates at the last pinch sharing
   Their little all in the face of death.

"Last toast this . . . may their hearts discover,
   On every track that the outcast tramps,
A friend in need and at need a lover,
Good roads beneath them and kind stars over,
   And pleasant dreams in their Western Camps.

First published in The Bulletin, 23 March 1905

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

See also.

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