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A Drover's Dream of Clancy in Heaven (1900)

I'd just read of soughing breezes,
And the cold, sharp wind that freezes,
And the noise of running rivers, rippling on the bar ;
So I dreamed of drover Clancy,
And in that dream I rather fancy
That much poetized old drover's head was deeply dipped in tar.

Yet I thought I pitched with Clancy
For a long time, and perchance we
Must have yarned an hour or so, p'raps more ;
And he said he'd chucked the seven,
And gone droving up in heaven.
And it was the grandest country he had never seen before.

He'd been travelling on the Jordan--
This you can take his word on--
There's nothing here to touch it on the Cooper or Barcoo
Or the Thompson or the Bulla(oo) ;
And you may bet your bottom dollar,
It knocks into a cocked hat the Diamantina, too.

All the country up in heaven
Is so sound and very level--
Clancy never found an anthill or a crabhole all around--
And there's stacks of grass and clover,
That would please the oldest drover,
And sparkling crystal water is always to be found.

The river banks are laid with Jaspar ;
With beds and burs of Alibaster,
Which casts a sheen upon the water dazzling to behold.
Yes ! and silver-frosted mulga
And (this display seems rather vulgar)
Stock routes and pads to water all paved with solid gold.

With a joyous sort of prattle
Clancy talked about the cattle.
And said they were such beauties, always sleek and rolling fat ;
He'd never seen them rush or ringing,
And at night they liked good singing,
But angel Greenhide Billy attended well to that.

Then the stockmen are so chatty,
With their moles and leggings natty,
They never tell you you're miles out or whisper you to jog :
And from the youngest to the oldest--
I'm certain Clancy told this--
All had a diamond chin-strap and a cattle dog.

Then the gins are plum and pretty--
Not like Cunnamulla Kitty ;
They're always kind and loving--at least so Clancy said :
Their wings are silver-spangled,
And their ankles opal-bangled,
And everyone amongst them has a halo round her head.

Then the pubs are built of marble,
And at the rum you get you'd marvel,
Couldn't make it on the Mackay, 'tis the clearest ever seen ;
And it never drives you dotty,
Like chain lightning and the rot we
Used to get at Eulo from the dear departed Queen.

And he'd just seen Jimmy Fuller,
And Black Close from off the Bulla(oo),
Both riding grand winged chargers, one a bay and one a roan ;
And other ancient rovers,
Mostly old-time drovers,
All had their stockwhip handles all ablaze with precious stone.

Then he gave an assertation
'Bout the purchasing of rations,
The price per head for droving and the numbers in the mobs ;
And the one was quite tremendous,
And the other most stupendous
Five hundred pounds per head or more ; when I listen, and ye gods !

I'm roused up from my slumber
By a noise like rumbling thunder ;
The man on watch calls " up ;" it's blanky cold and damp--
I rise up somewhat hurried,
And confess to bring flurried,
For I hear my own fat bullocks rushing wildly on the camp.

Then I know I'm not in heaven,
And the bush it isn't level,
And I curse the scrub and night horse for stumbling on his head ;
And I know they all mean going,
As I hear the crash and blowing,
So I don't intend to head 'em, but I tail 'em up instead.

Clare Station, Nov. 25th, 1899.


From the Queensland Newspaper the Western Champion and General Advertiser 27 Mar 1900 p. 14.


australian traditional songs . . . a selection by mark gregory