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A Farm Hand's Lament (1912)

Come all you Tipperary men,
Come listen to my tale ;
I'm working for a dairyman,
And wish I was in gaol.

From 3 o'clock on some old crock
You round the paddock spin,
And after tumbling once or twice,
You run milkers in.

Then on a block till 6 o'clock,
With back and elbows bent,
Your bend well buried in her flank
And toes dug in cement.

A bucket tight between your knees,
And round your neck a tail,
You tug and jerk and squeeze
To fill the cursed pail.

From four a.m. to six a.m.,
It's on your roost yon sit,
Black murder in your heart
And in your hand a teat.

The boss he yells "Come hurry up,
"Or else we will be late,
"Tom'll be round to get the cream
"Before we separate !"

Then in the muck, it's suck, suck,
With packets and with daddies,
For half the night without a light
It's feeding blasted poddies.

Sometimes we're in the pouring rain
Well, then the game is nice.
The boss will hike along and say,
"You've fed the same one twice."

And when the day is over,
And you try to get some rest,
He'll skite's a treat for half the night
About his "knockout test."

But if you mention raise my screw,
To ten and six and keep,
You'll hear no more except a score
The boss has gone to sleep !

The cocky's gone to bye-bye,
All snug in his little-bed.
Be sees poddy calves that's worth
A lovely quid a head.

The cocky is madly tossing,
Upon the feathered tick,
Thinking of the cow that calved,
And wondering if she'll kick.

I'm listening for a sweet clock chime
That sounds the hour of three,
For that's the time be prowls around
And yells "Get up!" to me.


From the New South Wales Newspaper the Coffs Harbour Advocate 31 May 1912 p. 3.


australian traditional songs . . . a selection by mark gregory