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Cricketers' Song (1864)

The merry old Grecian may crack of his games--
Of his running, and racing, and fighting ;
The Roman seek sport that humanity shames,
And the Spaniard his bull-ring delight in ;
The German his waltz, and the Frenchman his sword,
And the Irish their "sprig o' shillaleh ;"
But nobler and manlier the sport we regard,
And vigour and health seek it gaily.


Then hail to our manly and national game,
Nurse of manhood and pleasure and fame !
Hurrah for our national game !
The blue skies above us--the green earth below--
And around the blithe bird and the blossom,
With hearts beating lightly and spirits in flow,
How joyously bounds every bosom !
"Game ! game!"--and the field it is quick in array ;
To his favourite post each advances,--
The wickets are pitched, and the bowler calls "Play,"
And the batsman upon him swift glances.

Then hail, &c., &c.

Away like a swallow the ball sweeps along,
But the batsman is cautious and ready ;
And he blocks, or he strikes, either gentle or strong,
As the course of its flight, wild or steady,
"Run, run boys, a notch !"--now they eagerly cry--
" Another-quick, quick--and another !"--
As far over long man it circles the sky,
As if joyed to set all in a pother.

Then hail, &c, &c.

Now "over" is called, and each like a gay fawn,
Straight flies to his well-known position ;
Again the ball measures the smooth-shaven lawn,
And fatal to one its precision ;
The stumps leap from earth--the bails vault into air--
And the ball flies with proud exultation ;
But quickly replaced, see another is there,
Soon haply "caught out"--sad vexation !

Then hail, &c., &c.

The game waxes warm--the pulse quickens apace,
And gazing crowds share the proud feeling ;
And many a bright eye and beautiful face
A secret delight are revealing ;
For concious that thousands are marking the game
Each tries the best skill of the player,
As if on himself lay the conquest and fame,
And the thought makes him prouder and gayer.

Then hail, &c, &c.

Thus blithely they sport as the noon wears away,
Good feeling and friendship inspiring ;
Some are bowled, some are caught, some are run from the play,
Till the last tells the hour of retiring.
And glory to him who with skill and good heed
Takes his bat from the field, and the laurel ;
And hail to the game where no victim must bleed,
Or gambler may shuffle or quarrel.

Oh ! hail, &c., &c.

Then at night we assemble around the gay board,
Mirth and sentiment brighten our glasses ;
And the thoughts of the day new enjoyments afford,
As we pledge the loved game and our lasses;
In fancy each plays o'er the feats of the day,
And vows each mishap to amend it ;
Or we make a fresh match with some famed club to play,
And pen the bold challenge and bend it.

Then hail, &c., &c.



From the NSW Newspaper the Sydney Morning Herald 4 Mar 1864 p. 2.


australian traditional songs . . . a selection by mark gregory