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Drover's Dream

One night when travelling sheep, my companions lay asleep
There was not a star to illuminate the sky
I was dreaming, I suppose, for my eyes were nearly closed
When a very strange procession passed me by
First there came a kangaroo, with his swag of blankets blue
A dingo ran beside him for a mate
They were travelling mighty fast, and they shouted as they passed
"We'll have to jog along, it's getting late"

The pelican and the crane, they came in from off the plain
To amuse the company with a Highland Fling
The dear old bandicoot played a tune upon his flute
And the native bears sat round them in a ring
The drongo and the crow sang us songs of long ago
While the frill-necked lizard listened with a smile
And the emu standing near with his claw up to his ear
Said, "Funniest thing I've heard for quite a while"

The frogs from out the swamp, where the atmosphere is damp
Came bounding in and sat upon the stones
They each unrolled their swags and produced from out their bags
The violin, the banjo and the bones
The goanna and the snake, and the adder wide awake
With the alligator danced "The Soldier's Joy"
In the spreading silky oak the jackass cracked a joke
And the magpie sang "The Wild Colonial Boy"

Some brolgas darted out from the tea-tree all about
And performed a set of Lancers very well
Then the parrot green and blue gave the orchestra its cue
To strike up "The Old Log Cabin in the Dell."
I was dreaming, I suppose, of these entertaining shows
But it never crossed my mind I was asleep
Till the Boss beneath the cart woke me up with such a start
Yelling, "Dreamy, where the hell are all the sheep?"


There are many variants of this very popular song which has been collected form Darwin in the north down to Victoria. This version was printed in John Manifold's Penguin Australian Song Book. The original song was titled The Visions of a Night Watch and now part of this collection.


australian traditional songs . . . a selection by mark gregory