Australian Folk Songs

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The Rabbit-Buyer's Lament (1904)

Standing on the station platform, as the cart come rolling in,
Bringing loads on loads of rabbits--rabbits fat and rabbits thin ;
Rabbits grey, and black, and yellow--throw them all into the crates !
Hurry ! Hurry ! Grading rabbits, Quick ! Another carter waits.

And the wheels are creaking " rabbit " as they slowly circle round,
Not a thought but that of rabbit in your noddle can be found ;
Classing rabbits, grading rabbits--'tis a life of woe and pain,
White tails glistening all around you--fur and whiskers on the brain.

Where the green sea-horses gambol, tossing up their creats of foam,
While the good ship underneath you bears you hence or bears you home ;
As the smoke drifts off to leeward, and the wanton passing breeze
Whistling through the scanty cordage makes you think of she-oak trees.

When the spray mounts to the f o'c'ale, when the sky above is blue,
Think not that you can escape it-- you may not, whate'er you do.
Universal ! world-pervading ! even there, upon the sea,
Stewards serve you curried rabbit aa a relish with your tea !

Out among the western stations, where the boys can drink and ride,
'Mid the gidyee and the saltbush--over on " the other side "
Where the sun, like molten metal, sinking in the western sky,
Presage brings of dread disaster, dooming hapless flocks to die.

There, when Nature, gracious, smiling, spreads her emerald carpet far,
While the Star of Hope is shining from the zenith ! Happy star !
Then the flocks, in calm contentment, on Dame Nature's bounty thrive,
And you'll find the wily rabbit, vevy, very much alive.

Where the arc-lamps, brilliant, glowing, throw a flood of silver light
Down upon the passing thousands, moving onward through the night ;
While the tram bells clang and clatter, and the cabs flit here and there,
And the cries of paper-sellers strident rise upon the air.

In the morn, in that same city yon may hear a raucous cry,
As the fish and rabbit merchant with his barrow saunters by ;
" Rabbit ! Rabbit ! Fresh wild rabbit !" Oh, for Death to bring release !
Then, divorced for aye from rabbits, we may hope for lasting peace !



From the NSW newspaper the Albury Banner and Wodonga Express Friday 5 August 1904, p. 26.


australian traditional songs . . . a selection by mark gregory