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At Waterloo (1900)

'Twas on a Summer's morning, the wind it gently blew,
The sun shot forth a shaft of warning to wither up the glistening dew,
Where stood twelve burly willing shearers with faces all aglow,
Watching for the boss's coming to ring the bell and let 'em go.

One Ikey Backchain was the ringer, with Splinter close upon his track;
Some said he had no show with Ikey, yet Splinter was no blooming flat.
Says Splinter to his mate, the Rager: "I'll shake this Ikey up to-day;
I'll cut him out of three by breakfast; I'll best him bloomin' bad to-day."

Ding-dong-ding, the bell has rang, and quickly opened up the ball;
All the shearers rushed in madly—Ikey was the last of all.
Up the neck, along the shoulders, ran their blades, keen, open wide,
Quickly round the tail were turning, now they're on the whipping side.

Splinter was the first, his pen mate second, poor old Ikey in the ruck;
Splinter got in three sheep on him when the breakfast hour was struck.
But Ikey was as cool as winter, for he didn't know the joke
Until he heard young Splinter saying: "I've got you now, my bloomin' bloke;

Three sheep on you up till breakfast, and you'll never cut them back;
I'll break my shears but what I'll beat you, or else I'll get the bleedin' sack."
Ikey only smiled a little—thought, he'd see just how things went:
"If he wins he'll have to travel—them three sheep are only lent.

Click ! click ! click ! the shears are knocking, as they start the evening run,
Splinter's language was quite shocking—Ikey is a constant gun.
Well, the day at last was ended— all the tallies came out big;
And young Splinter stopped his skitingmdash;Ikey almost danced a jig.

Thus the day of battle finished—oh, it was a lively day!
The drummer shore one ninety-sevenmdash; his biggest tally; by the way;
Ikey shore just on. three hundred. Sixty short was Splinter's score,
And his lip dropped as he wondered—What the—How the—? ! Gory gore !



From the Wagga NSW newspaper the Worker Saturday 17 November 1900 p. 2.



australian traditional songs . . . a selection by mark gregory