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At Lazy Harry's (1922)

Sing a song of sixpence, two swaggles on a spree
Came to Lazy Harry's, on the road to Wingadee.
"Pass the whisky out, boss, for my mate an' me."

When the grog was poured out: "Pour it back again;
We will stick to long beers," said those thirsty men.
"If the drowt wud break, 'Arry, we'd 'ave lots ov rain."

When they'd mopped the beer up in the good Australian way,
They lit their pipes and humped their swags and bade the boss "Good-day."
" 'Ere"' said Lazy Harry, "Ain't yous goin to pay?"

"Whaffor?" asked the travellers, grinning to their ears,
"Gostruth" blustered Harry, "For them blanky beers."
And the way he said it moved a drover's dog to tears.

I don't accuse those swagmen of intention to defraud;
It may have merely been their scheme of high finance was bad,
But certainly they did get Lazy Harry hoppin' mad

Though they were calm. "What beers?" They asked, "'Ere, 'Arry, wots the game?
We swopped ye for the whisky." Dubiously, the answer came:
"That's right; well, say the whiskies; Lor-lumme, pay for them."

Those semi-shickered swagmen looked at him in sad surmise;
They twigged a gleam of doubt in Lazy Harry's bleary eyes.
"Why, 'Arry, we ain't 'ad none.'" And out across the rise

Serenely towards the sunset slid the pair of simple blokes;
And the story of the sixpences is added to the jokes
That "these 'ere crooks of publicans" put up on country folks.

Still, up and down the west, I'm told, the rumour goes about,
That to this day Lazy Harry hasn't quite resolved the doubt,
Whether he is two small whiskies in or just two long beers out.

--D. H. S.


From the NSW Journal the Sydney Stock and Station Journal 1 Aug 1922 p. 2.
See also in this collection The Guile Of Dad M'Ginnis (1898)


australian traditional songs . . . a selection by mark gregory