Australian Folk Songs

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My Mate Bill

That's his saddle across the tie-beam an' them's his spurs up there
On the wall-plate over yonder, you kin see's they ain't a pair.
The " daddy" of all the stockmen as ever come must'rin' here--
Killed in the flamin' mallee, yardin' a scrub-bred steer !

They say as he's gone to Heaven, an shook off his worldly cares,
But I can't sight Bill in a halo set up on three blinded hairs.
In Heaven ! what next, I wonder, for, strike me pink an' blue,
If I savey what in thunder they'll find for Bill to do.

He'd never make one o' them angels with faces as white as chalk,
All wool to the toes, like hoggets, an' wings like a eagle 'awk :
He couldn't 'arp for apples, his voice 'ad tones as jarred,
An' he'd no more ear than a bald-faced bull, or calves in a brandin'-yard.

He could sit on a buckin' brumbie like a nob in an easy-cheer,
An' chop his name with a green bide fall on the flank of a flyin' steer,
He could show the saints in glory the way that a fall should drop,
But, sit on a throne ?--not William--unless they could make it " prop."

If the Heav'nly hosts got " boxed" now, as mobs most always will,
Why, who'd cut 'em out like William, or draft on the camp like Bill ?
An 'orseman 'ud find it awkward, at first, with a push that flew,
But, blame my cats, if I knows what else they'll find for Bill to do.

He mightn't freeze to the seraphs, or chum with the cherubim,
But if ever them seraph-johnnies get " pokin' it," like, at him,
Well, if there's hide in Heaven, an' silk for to make a lash,
He'll yard the lot in the Jasper Lake in a blinded lightnin' flash !

Its hard if there ain't no cattle, but p'raps they'll let him sleep,
An' wake him up at the Judgment for to draft them goats an sheep.
It's playin' it low on, William; but p'rhaps he'll buckle-to,
Just to show them high-toned seraphs what a mallee-man kin do.

If they saddles a big-boned angel--with a turn o' speed, of course--
As can spiel like a four-year brumbie, an prop like an old camp-horse,
If they puts Bill up with a snaffle, an' a four or five-inch spur,
An' eighteen foot o' green-hide for to chop the blinded fur,

He'll draft them blamed angoras in a way, it's safe to swear,
as'll make them loney seraphs sit back on their thrones an' stare.

IRONBARK. (From the Bulletin.)
Jimmy The Hut-Keeper (loq.):--


First published in the Bulletin then reprinted in the Melbourne newspaper the Independent Saturday 28 October 1893 p. 2.

Later included in A.B.Paterson c.1905, Old Bush Songs (1924)


australian traditional songs . . . a selection by mark gregory