Australian Folk Songs

songs | books | records | articles | glossary | links | search | responses | home

A Bushman's Lament (1893)

I'm a bushman half demented, not a towney discontented
With the bustle and the worry of the city's ceaseless strife ;
But we've been misrepresented by poetic yarns invented,
So I'm going to say a little 'bout this cursed country life.

For I've often gone a shearing and a droving, never fearing
Of the dangers and discomforts such as flood and drought and blight ;
I've gone sinking walls and clearing in rough places out of hearing,
Living lonely like a hermit, weeks together, day and night.

Ah, that awful lonesome feeling over mind and body stealing.
Bringing melancholy madness pressing down the soul like lead,
Till I felt my brain was reeling, all my mental powers congealing,
The whole world so sad and silent that I wished that I were dead.

Even Nature changed her seeming ; the red sun with hatred gleaming,
The bright stars, to me once glorious, scorned and jeered tne in my pain,
Aria the fickle moon smiled beaming, while the birds went shrieking, screaming,
Till my reason tottered trembling, trembling, trembling in my brain.

Do I like this wretched, dreary bush existence ? What a query !
'Tis a wonder, that I haven't suicided long before ;
For my bloodshot eyes are bleary, and my back is bent and weary,
I've rheumatics and lumbago, and my heart is seared and sore.

But soon it will be ended--this existence so commended--
Will be ended in the silence of the desert lone and drear,
By human hands untended, by human heart unfriended,
The eternal stars sole watchers, the dew of heaven sole tear.

J. L.


From the Queensland newspaper the Worker Saturday 1 April 1893, p. 3.


australian traditional songs . . . a selection by mark gregory