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A Wool Winder's Lament (1880)
(Lines found in a South-East Woolshed)
As all the day long the fleece I wind,
To the monotonous click of the shears,
Work for the body, though little for mind,
So the days crawl on like boyhood's years.
Sometimes comes a change, it may be a row,
Caused by bad shearing or hurting the sheep;
Whatever the cause, it matters not now,
The boss comes around with mutterings deep.
Then there is "Smoke O!" when shearers repose,
A sound so well known to all in the shed,
When some take a pipe, and others a doze,
Jack must have a drink, and Bill must be fed.
When 'Rouse up yourselves' shouts out the leader,
As soon as the few short minutes expire,
Then at it they go, none caring to linger,
And rip off the fleeces with eager desire.
Poor wool winders gets no 'smoke o' or rest,
For his weary limbs as he toils along,
Always something to do, kept at his best,
If he ventures a spell something goes wrong,
How like the world is a woolshed in work,
Bitter contention, and greedy of gain,
Some honest people, while some duty shirk,
The same in the World again and again.
There are young men we meet with in town,
Would so like the bush, so jolly and free,
Build up fine castles of wealth and renown,
Spurn all the cities, but stop till we see.
How quickly a change comes over the scene,
Instead of gay hunts, hard work they soon get.
Find all their fine thoughts like sailor boys' dreams,
Think of past comforts with bitter regret.
But all troubles have hopes disappointed,
Perhaps losing dear ones, position or wealth ;
Anticipated joys may blighted
From infirmities of age or bad health.
Now what can we learn from all the above?
Can the world give us the peace we require?
O no! it can only be found in God's love.
And His Grace in providing a Saviour.
Are we partakers of this blessed peace ?
Is it our daily and hourly desire
To know and to love the God of all Grace?
Glorify Him, and enjoy Him for ever.
Lines By An Old Shearer.
From the South Australian Newspaper the Narracoorte Herald Tuesday 7 December 1880 p. 4
australian traditional songs . . . a selection by mark gregory