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One of "the Have Beens"

A Song by Robert StewartİRobert Stewart 1875
[Air: "Polly Perkins"]

I am one of "the have beens,"
A shearer, I mean;
For I once was a " ringer,"
And used to shear clean,
I could make the wool roll off,
Like soil off a plough-
Though you may not believe me,
Because I can't do it now.

For I'm awkward as a new chum,
And quite used to the frown,
That the boss often shows me
When he says "Keep your blades down."

I've been at the Yanko,
Steam Plain, and Bundore,
And in Most of the big sheds
Down down there I have shore.
And although you may smile,
When I talk about speed,
Among sixty-eight shearers
I have taken the lead.


I've shorn with Jack Bright,
Billy Boyd and Jack Gunn,
With Big Leyton, and Fergus.
And the great Roaring Dunn,
And they've brought from Launceston
The best they could find,
But there's not one among them
Could leave me behind.


But it's no use complaining,
I'll never say "die,"
Though the days of fast shearing
For me have gone by,
So I'll take the world easy,
Shear slowly and clean;
And I merely have told you
Just what I have been.


Cooma, 15th. November, 1875.


From the Manaro Mercury November 1875, courtesy of the National Library of Australia TROVE Project.


australian traditional songs . . . a selection by mark gregory