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Not What it Is Cracked to be (1901)
You may talk about the pleasures of a drover's life so free,
But with due respect, Sir Poet, it's not what you say it be ;
And though the life is not so bad, the saying old stands true,
That " distance lends enchantment very often to the view."
But I think your flights of fancy must be sped with rosy wine,
While close beside your slippered feet the warm red embers shine ;
For you prove yourself a " towny " who has never been far back,
By the way you talk of drovers and life upon the track.
You have little cause to envy us who lead a roving life,
Unbrightened by the tender love of sweet-heart, child, or wife ;
For the " freedom " that you rave about not often brings content,
And did yon change your lot with us you'd very soon repent.
If you had to leave your blankets ere the first dawn of the day,
And long ere sun had risen be dodging on your way,
Or had to live on salt-junk and damper hard as--well,
You might altar your opinion and a different story tell.
Or if when night-watch keeping the rain came pouring down,
While the lightning gleamed around you, you might wish yourself in town ;
For you'd find the click of billiard-balls in some warm club-room bright
Sweeter music than the rattle of horns and hoofs at night ;
And the good-night kiss of childish lips pressed to lip or brow
Far softer than the cold caress of icy storm lashed bough.
And you're shook on the "breeze's lullaby that hushes us to sleep"
Have you heard that other lullaby--the skeeter's war-song deep ?
You mention the jolly sprees we have down South when the trip is done,
But forget tbe weary months of toil that pay for all the fun ;
And now, take a mug's advice, sir, seldom straddle a horse's back,
And do all your droving on paper--it is easier than the track.
Warwick. J. L. TOOTH.
From the Queensland newspaper the Warwick Argus Saturday 6 April 1901, p. 4.
It was also published the Queensland newspaper the Darling Downs Gazette Saturday 6 April 1901, p. 5.
australian traditional songs . . . a selection by mark gregory