Australian Folk Songs

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The Drover's Dog (1932)

A faithful friend was the drover's dog
As from early morn till night.
Around and about the mob he'd jog,
With never a bark or bite.

In the blazing heat on the great stock route,
While the drover rested a while,
The dog would sit with his tongue lolled out,
And a look that was half a smile.

If the trip was long and the road were hot,
And his feet from stones were hot
The drover would sit in a shady spot
And tear some strips from his shirt.

He would make soft pads for the dog's sore feet,
And he'd stroke his shaggy head
And if dogs can speak when a friend they meet,
It was "Thank You, Mate" he said.

But times grow bad and the stock all died,
And the drover's hopes grew black;
But he kept his pride and a horse to ride,
And made for the runs outback.

When the tucker was short and the tramps were long,
And the plains were aglow with heat,
When his soul was sick of a world gone wrong,
He would fast that his dog might eat.

The dog would watch while his master slept,
And growl in the dead of night,
As the rambles broke when the dingoes crept,
To the glare of the camp fire-bright.

When the drover lay on a far out track,
Where the white man seldom goes,
Where death e'er lurks in the shadows black,
And the sun on the hot sand grows.

The poor old dog, as in the days of old,
His lonely vigil kept,
And he licked the hands grown cold and stiff,
And he wondered why he slept.

He guarded the corpse from the carrion crow,
As long as his strength held out;
But the crows grew bold, and they soon flew low,
The pirates born of drought.

The years rolled by in those desert zones,
And there by a fallen log,
The grass grows long through the whitened bones
Of a man and his faithful dog.



From the Queensland Newspaper the Longreach Leader 8 Apr 1932 p. 10.


australian traditional songs . . . a selection by mark gregory