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Song Of The Squatter (1864)
While senators make the Macquarie-street Halls
Resound with their eloquence, shoaly or deep ;
Or weary the world with their twaddle and brawls,
In peace I'll stay home, and look after my sheep
While the learned savans of the Bench, and the Bar.
In black bombazine, and white poodle-skin wigs ;
'Mid a throng of subordinate " limbs of the law,"
Are meting out justice to squatters and "prigs."
While bankers, and merchants, and brokers, and scribes
(A multitude more than five frigates could hold)
With brewers, distillers, and victualling tribes,
Are active as Chinamen gleaning for gold.
While doctors, and dentists, and brave volunteers
Stand ready and willing to kill or to cure ;
And charlatans, sharper than scissors or shears,
Are groping for garbage, like rats in a sewer.
I smile--while they view me with scorn or with pity--
For I've comfort by day, and at night roundly sleep :
A fig for the honours or gains of the city !
I would rather be home, looking after my sheep.
" Looking after your sheep !" sneers a cynical soul--
" Pooh ! a pastime for addle-brained idlers or 'muffs. ;'
Come out or jour burrow, you gloom-loving mole !
Take your seat in the senate, and keep out the 'roughs'
" Who cares a tin pot for your carcase or fleece--
Your mutton or wool, except butchers or weavers !
Pshaw ! rather than study each fellows to please,
I'd see them all pelted wilh shuttles and cleavers"
" Your jumbucks will gambol, and nibble their feed ;
Grow fleshy, and woolly, though lacking your care.
Hie hence from the bush then ; the country's in need
Of the talent you're wasting on wilderness air."
I reply--"Mr. Censor-- afflicted, with bile,
Though far in the bush, I am far from asleep ;
And I'll prove, that I'm serving my country the while
I am staying at home, looking after my sheep.
" Dare you ask me, 'who care far my carcase or fleece !'
(O ghost of famed Mac,* please to howl in his ears !
Such puerile, ungrateful inquiries as these
Might melt your bronze bust if you have one--to tears.)
" Those wool-laden ships, now afloat at your quays.
Without space left to spare for a cockroach to creep ;
Would seldom indeed meet your cynical gaze,
If the squatters left home, and neglected their sheep.
" Don't boast of our export of bullion to me
(Though to say I despise it would show me a fool) ;
Old England our gold is delighted to see,
But what would she do if we grudged her our wool !
"If I could give you sound logic, as long as my run,
To prove that I'm far from it cumbersome drone ;
But folks, such as you, I'm afraid, when I'd done,
Would growl at my logic, like curs at a bone.
" If by care, then, I add to my carcase and fleece ;
To the weight, Mr. Cynic, and quality too,
And meanwhile I add to my comfort and fleece,
I will stay in the bush, though I irritate you.
" Yes ; Solons may make the Macquarie-street halls
Resound with their eloquence, shoaly or deep,
Or weary all lovers of peace with their brawls,
But I'll stay at home and look after my sheep "
Darlinghurst . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . OLD BOOMERANG
* Captain Macarthur, the first importer of sheep to New South Wales.
From the Sydney newspaper the Sydney Mail Saturday 14 May 1864 p. 10.
australian traditional songs . . . a selection by mark gregory