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The Spirit of the Bushmen (1891)

The slavery days when slavish men
Scarce claimed to own their very soul ;
When battening hordes of tyrant drones
Begrudged the herd their paltry dole ;
When grovelling serfs--afraid to think--
Dared not of " Right " or " Justice " dream ;
When word of " might " howe'er unjust
Was bowed to as the all-supreme ;
When over deeds and very thoughts
The power by soulless tyrants swayed,
Made men as blocks forget to hope
And crouch as whining curs, afraid ;--
Are passing now !
The coming dawn
Shall show the world a glorious light.
The wrongs of years shall be redressed
And Freedom crush the power of might.

. . .            

If tyrants shall oppose the light,
Their blood shall wash the stain of tears ;
Their groans shall echo to the groans
Of hearts oppressed through slavish years.
But ere the light of hope shall shine,
Before the tyrants' power is bent,
Our noblest efforts must be made,
The bravest of our life-blood spent.

. . .  

The very best of word and deed
Must greet the first notes of the drum.
And heroes for the cause must bleed,
Before the glorious light shall come.  

Barcaldine 12th February, 1891.


From the Brisbane newspaper the Worker which published this poem on on Saturday 7 March 1891, p. 6.

This poem was published as the 1891 Shearer's Strike was looming. Some 30 such lyrics were published in the Worker between December 1890 and December 1891.


australian traditional songs . . . a selection by mark gregory