Australian Folk Songs
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Hats Off ! The Jackaroo ! (1916)
(For the "Stock and Station Journal.")
The butt of men and bosses, too,
He toiled long hours for little screw ;
Bearing the name of Jackaroo--
Itself almost a brand of shame,
Marking one it was safe to blame,
For each foul mishap in the game
Of working sheep ou stations far,
Where all the pests on God's earth are.
Should there be anything to do,
Barred aud banned by A.W.U.?
The boss would hail a Jackaroo,
And coarsely bid him do the thing
That surely would much censure bring
About his ears ; and scarcely fling
A word of thanks to cheer him up,
And sweeten his industrial cup.
Unused to hardships or the heat,
With bleeding hands and blistered feet,
Or saddle-galled about his seat;
With aching head and eyes inflamed,
His labor by a dozen claimed ;
And by the dozen cursed aud blamed ;
He fought his way from dawn 'till eve,
With scarce a moment's sweet reprieve.
For they were many, bound by fate,
To gang forlorn their weary gait ;
Nor could their friendly ways abate ;
In least degree the venom flung
In taunts that hurt and gibes that stung
By those who should by rights have hung,
For doing nought but rate and scold,
Marking the dross, but not the gold.
But Nemesis has sought us out ;
We mourn our docile rouseabout,
For whom we used to bravely shout,
That he attempt some task taboo,
With scarce a chance to put it through ;
And if he did not less to rue
The glory be to me or you--
The rest to "that d----d Jackaroo !)
We mourn, I say, and well we may,
For to a man they're passed away.
Our buffers in a sterner fray
They fend us as they did of old ;
'Midst summer heat aiul winter's cold,
Erring perhaps, but were truth told,
"Carrying on" in fierce offence--
Stopping the kicks but few good pence.
And I, or one, who had a share
In filling up their lives with care,
Would at this late hour fain repair
The ill to some extent, so say :
My thoughts are with you far away,
And though I very seldom pray,
I ask the gods that if you live,
Your gallant hearts may me forgive.
From the NSW newspaper the Sydney Stock and Station Journal Friday 22 December 1916, p. 3.
australian traditional songs . . . a selection by mark gregory