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Stonebreaking (1924)

By Tom Black.

Dame Fortune's angry frown is past,
Which often sore dismayed me;
She kindly smiles on me at last--
A navvy she has made me.

I thank thee, ma'am, and will in rhymes
Commemorate the favor,
And prize the more in these hard times
Thy welcome gift of labor.

I knew I felt it was to be,
Though hope was oft extinguished;
I knew the gods had destined me
Some day to be distinguished.

O, glorious day! How shall I write,
Or speak my high elation;
My head is swelling at the sight
Of my proud elevation.

A man of money soon I'll be,
I'm jolly and light-hearted;
The demon that tormented me,
Grim want, has now departed.

My napping hammer is my stay,
On which my fate's depending;
I battle on the King's highway,
With many stones contending.

I've begged for work to earn my bread,
And begged in vain times many,
When I was but half-clothed and fed,
Possessing not a penny.

O, Fortune, thou art kind to me
To find me occupation;
And from much worry set me free,
And saved me from starvation.

Still be my friend. I now declare,
My dear, capricious, Madam,
The Muse no more shall be my care,
I'll study great Macadam.

Macadam! Name renowned afar
In pick and shovel story.
Be thou my cheering, guiding star
Along the path to glory.

Thy fame will spur me on each day
With eager emulation,
Till in some future time I may
Attain a rival station.

And when from earth I pass away--
In other lands to settle,
Some navvy may, lamenting, say,
"He was a man of mettle."

Note by Author.--Some of these verses were written a long time ago, and some lately. I have often
been employed at stonebreaking; not that I liked it, but because I could obtain no thing better.


From the South Australian Newspaper the Southern Cross Fri 11 Apr 1924 p. 4.


australian traditional songs . . . a selection by mark gregory