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Ben Bolt (1853)

As sung by an Old Colonist to a friend returned from a few years' stop in England.
Slightly altered from the original, as sung by White.

Oh ! don't you remember sweet Fanny, Ben Bolt,
Sweet Fanny, so ruddy and brown,
Tie housemaid we used to admire so much
When we come from the bush into town ?
In a fine large home with white facing, Ben Bolt,
In Collins-street built or grey stone,
Your Fanny presides over servants herself,
And her husband the mansion doth own.

Oh ! don't you remember the oak, Ben Bolt,
That stood upon old Batman's Hill,
Where oft we have laid in the scanty shade.
As we spied on the Yarra so still ;
The Yarra is now covered with shipping, Ben Bolt ?
And the steamers ply, coining the tin ;
And there, where tranquillity peacefully reigned,
You may now hear a great city's din.

Oh I don't you remember the bar, Ben Bolt,
The bar where we all used to swill ?
'Tis now built of marble--of course you'll expect
A proportionate change in the bill
You remember the corner-allotment, Ben Bolt,
That I bought for ten pounds from the Crown ?
'Tis now worth ten thousand--I perhaps might get more--
'Tis the best piece of land in the town.

There's a change in the state of affairs, Ben Bolt,--
A change from the old to the new ;
But, ye streets, drains, and footpaths, and shambles,--I feel
That there is no change in you.
Twelve years, nay thirteen, have passed, Ben Bolt,
Since they should have been made--but I shame
To say that, with Mayor and town-council, since then
They continue exactly the same.--

Arm Chair, Melbourne.


From the Tasmanian Newspaper the Cornwall Chronicle 17 Dec 1853 p. 4.

See also in this collection A New Version of Ben Bolt (1855)


australian traditional songs . . . a selection by mark gregory