Australian Folk Songs

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The Shepherd's Song

Quick! boys; roll up the blankets, and saddle up the nags ;
No time to lose to-night, my boys ; so buckle up the swags ;
At home are many waiting; we've many miles to tramp.
Ere we get back from shearing. So, quick, break up the camp.

The hut's all in a bustle ; billies, pint pots strew the floor ;
And half a dozen roll'd-up swags are blocking up the door ;
The rouseabouts, and shearers, and saucy tar-boys gay,
Are getting ready for the road ; all haste to be away.

From many homes are many eyes now watching many tracks
And many hands are burning to clasp Harry's, Tom's, and Jack's
Many husbands, sons, and brothers are spurring on the way.
For it is Christmas Eve to-night ; to-morrow's Christmas Day.

And many are the meetings upon this joyous night ;
And merry are the greetings while tear-fill'd eyes glow bright ;
As they welcome home the loved ones from many a far-off run,
When Johnny's home from shearing, and father's fencing's done.

Right welcome, Father Christmas, a hundred thousand times,
Though in this land thou comest not with, merry belfry chimes ;
The voices of the children make our music just so sweet,
For they tell us, in a minute, our dear ones we shall greet.

Right welcome, Father Christmas ; the children welcome thee,
As, open-ey'd, they dance around the glistening Christmas tree ;
And wifely clasp, and mother's hug, and sweetheart's blushing kiss,
Shall bid thee royal welcome, thou harbinger of bliss.

Right Welcome, Father Christmas,—see, the old folks of the door,
Who welcome thee us heartily as in the days of yore ;
Though sight may fail, and hearing's dull, and hair is chang'd to gray,
They joy in all the blessings thou bringest them to-day,

The moon is waning, but the stars shed down their holy light ;
And " Peace on Earth " seems mingled with the star-beams chaste and bright ;
"Good Will to Man's " borne on the breeze ; the gum trees catch the song ;
And, whispering it to the wattles, they sing it all night long.

The flocks are sleeping peacefully, safe shelter'd in the fold.
so slumber'd they beneath the trees in Juda's land of old.
And here again tho earth seems still a listening oat to bring,
And breathless waits again to hear those " herald angels" sing.

But with the morning sun win rise the grand old chant once more,
When heavenly hosts and sons of men their triumph song shall pour ;
From every bird, and every flower, and every Christian home
Incense of prayer and praise shall rise up to the Great White Throne.

The shepherds kept their watch by night beneath. His own bright star ;
Beneath His cross ih southern skies, we shearers watch afar ;
" Unto us a Son is born," they raised Isaiah's song,
" Unto us a child is giyen," we Isaiah's notes prolong.

A blessed Christmas time to all, and happy may they be,
The rich, the poor, the great, the small, the pris'ner and the free:
And each Australian household sitting round the evening lamp,
When Johnny's home from shearing, and father's in from camp.

P.C.B. Townsvllle.


From the Sydney magazine the Australian Town and Country Journal Saturday 22 December 1888 p. 16.


australian traditional songs . . . a selection by mark gregory