Australian Folk Songs

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A Song of the Axeman (1905)

(By F.B.).

There are glorious panegyrics
Of the soldier and of the tar :
But silent are all the lyrics
When muscle and strength wage war
What of toil ?

Let us sing of the timber getters--
What a music is in their steel !
Whose arms, breaking nature's fetters
Make proudest of enemies kneel !

See where a giant army stands,
In the Darling's sylvan glades ;
A force opposed to tilling lands,
And to the axemen's blades !
What of toil ?

Let us sing of the sleeper makers--
With a chorus of wedge and maul--
Before whom the forestal acres
Bow down at the sinews' call !

Impenetrable forest foes !
To them the hewing warrior hies :
Fearless he wields his mighty blows
Till skill takes up the enterprise !
What of toil ?

Let us sing of the timber fellers,
And the billeters--rough but true--
Who with the broad axemen are dwellers :
That's a theme tor me and for you !


From the Bunbury, West Australian newspaper the Southern Times Saturday 14 October 1905, p. 5.


australian traditional songs . . . a selection by mark gregory