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The Shearer's Farewell (1896)

Far away amidst the mountains,
One misty morning in July,
Near where Mount Kosiusko towers
His hoary head toward the sky.
Behind a rude bush hut two ponies
Are quietly standing side by side,
With smiles their owner's face is beaming,
As on the pair he looks with pride.

Two wiry short-legged mountain ponies,
Whose courage he has often tried;
And well he knows that he can follow
Where any other man dare ride.
The little grey has never failed him,
Though he has often tested her ;
And more than once has done her hundred,
Without the taste of whip or spur.

The brown cob proved at "Big Willandra,"
Last season, that he was not slow ;
And in the Hack Race at Kiandra
He never gave the field a show.
And as his owner looks upon him,
Thinking of the deeds he's done,
He feels as proud as Wallace used to
When scanning Mersey's mighty son.

And now he fastens on his baggage,
His hobbles, old quart-pot, and bell ;
Then for the lost time looks around him,
To bid all those he loves farewell.
He kisses little Jack in silence,
Takes Molly in a last embrace,
Turns to the wife he loves so fondly
And wipes the tears from her sad face.

Good-bye, old girl, the time has come, love,
When for the sand-hills I must start ;
Must leave you in your mountain home, love,
And from the "little kinchens" part.
Yes, I must once more climb Talbinga ;
Must once more cross the Old Man plain,
And ride at least a thousand miles, love,
Before I clasp these hands again.

But when I reach the Western plains, love,
Down where the green wild willows grow,
You must not fear that I'll forget you,
I'll write at once and let you know.
And when I draw my T.U.S.'s,
Pull back both blades and set them true,
Oft while the soft white wool is falling,
I'll think of kinchens, home, and you.

When gossips visit in my absence,
You must not blush or hang your head,
But tell them boldly your old man is
Shearing in a union shed,
Where, when he greets last season's pen-mate,
He grasps a whiteman by the hand ;
But where the turncoat or backslider
Has never yet secured a stand.

And when the July fogs have vanished,
And I have put my first shed through,
I'll quietly cash my "bit of paper,"
And send the "rhino" on to you.
And when I've cut my second cobbler,
I'll bid farewell to Riverine ;
A few days ride and then once more, love,
I'll be beside my Mountain Queen.

Now, brush away those tears my beauty,
And when at nights I dream of thee,
Not tear-stained cheeks, but smiles and dimples
And laughing eyes I want to see.
Good-bye, old girl, just one more kiss, love,
Then duty's call I must obey ;
Mav heaven guard you and the youngsters,
And keep you safe while I'm away.




From the Hay NSW Newspaper the Riverine Grazier Tue 4 Aug 1896 P. 4.


australian traditional songs . . . a selection by mark gregory