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The Lonely Shepherd's Song (1850)

Far away from the City, its bustle and crowd,
From the haunts of the wealthy, the gay, and the proud;
What I live in is built--not of wood, brick, or stone
It's a little bark mia-mi that stands all alone.

No artist's skilled labour e'er lent me its aid
To furnish my mia-mi with aught of his trade;
And of tables, and sofas, and chairs, there are none
In my little bark mia-mi that stands all alone.

A few slips of bark raised some space from the ground,
Make up all the furniture here to be found;
These are floor, chair, and table, and bed, all in one,
In my little bark mia-mi that stands all alone.

Ere the sun's golden beams have illumined the sky,
I rise up, cook my breakfast, and soon pass it by;
Then off with my dogs and my sheep I am gone,
pass all the day in the forest alone.

When the laughing bird sounds his farewell to the day,
And the ev'ning sheds o'er me her mantle of grey;
Then my sheep are all folded,--my day's work is done,
And I lie down to sleep in my mia-mi alone.

Thus daily I wander where no one is near,
But my fancy is crowded with objects most dear,
For it gathers around me the friends I have known,
When I passed not my days in the forest alone.

Though so lonely my lot, yet I've not a sad mind,
For I feel that content to no station confined:
It will dwell in a mia-mi, as well as a throne;
And why not with me in the forest alone ?

A SHEPHERD. Broken River, Nov., 1850.


From the Melbourne newspaper the Argus Wednesday 20 August 1851 p. 4.


To the Editor of the Argus.
Sir,--Those who are acquainted with the pastoral pursuits of the people of this Colony, are aware that a shepherd is sometimes, particularly in the lambing season, and when fattening a flock for market, sent with his flock to a hut or a miami, to live there for a few weeks, alone, and cook for himself, and watch the sheep at night. The writer of the following lines was living this way, alone, last summer, for a period of six weeks, in charge of a flock of ewes and lambs. He sends them to you, not that they possess any intrinsic merit, but as they throw some light on two features of the working man's life in the Bush,--its loneliness, and the absence of those luxuries contributed by the upholsterer and the other tradesmen, who follow in the train of civilization.


australian traditional songs . . . a selection by mark gregory