Australian Folk Songs

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The Shearer's Carnival
A.D., 1880.

Nip by nip the grog is flowing,
Whiskey, rum, and double-stout ;
Shearers into town are going,
From the stations round about ;
Honest-hearted fellows all,
Strong of limb as myalls tall.

Hear their merry peals of laughter--
See those forms upon the ground--
Ev'ry pub. from floor to rafter
Echoes with a wond'rous sound.
Mirth sits throned on left and right,
Blackall looks her best to-night.

Lanky Dave, 'tween smokes and boozes,
Spins his yarns both short and long ;
" Greenhide Jim, the ringer," chooses
Other topics quite as strong;
" Boko" tells with awry face
How he rode some break-neck race.

" Scotty" sings of vales prolific,
Scotland's strength and Scotland's pride
" Yorkie Ned," in tones terrific,
How the gallant Nelson died ;
Pat's lament, for Sarafield's fall,
Means a shout for one and all.

See that group of beardless faces--
Natives are they to a man ;
Watch their antics and grimaces
As they whisperingly plan,
Some arch plot wherein Ah Soo,
The Chinese cook, may loose his cue.

Fun and sport for saints and deviis,
Grog to animate the dead ;
Jigs and frolics, mirth and revels,
Quite enough to turn one's head ;
Never did the planet see
Jollier fellows on the spree.

* * *

Toast we to them : some lie sleeping
Where the Western rivers roll ;
Others jog along, still keeping
Green those days in heart and soul ;
Grand old days, ere sham and fraud
Made tramps of noblest work of God.


From the Queensland newspaper the Queensland Figaro and Punch Saturday 21 August 1886, p. 31.


australian traditional songs . . . a selection by mark gregory