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The Swagsman (1888)

Full many a weary mile
Beneath the burning sun ;
Kindly sun you deem it ;
Not so that weary one :

Who plodding, sick and weary,
Looks for some shady tree ;
And thanks the gods who placed it
There, for "swaggers" such as he.

It seems as if that dreadful sun
Lags sadly in its course ;
Nor pity shows, but blazes on,
Regardless of its force.

At length 'tis night, so still, so calm,
It would not cause surprise
To see some spirit, shedding balm,
Pass where the pine trees rise.

Their tops funereal begin to wave ;
A breeze comes with the moon ;
A grand relief the zephyrs gave ;
He's thankful for the boon.

He sleeps, Ah, no ! he, restless, dreams
Of tables well supplied,
Oh, poverty, e'en thus, it seems,
Thou dost thy suit deride.

Pity for him would wasted be ;
None has he for himself.
The man who gained by his last spree
Calls him a foolish elf.




From the Brisbane newspaper the Telegraph Friday 2 November 1888, p. 9.


australian traditional songs . . . a selection by mark gregory