The Sheep-Washers’ Lament by Banjo Paterson

(Air: “The Bonnie Irish Boy.”)Come now, ye sighing washers all,Join in my doleful lay,Mourn for the times none can recall,With hearts to grief a prey.We’ll mourn the wash …

(Air: “The Bonnie Irish Boy.”)

Come now, ye sighing washers all,
Join in my doleful lay,
Mourn for the times none can recall,
With hearts to grief a prey.
We’ll mourn the washer’s sad downfall
In our regretful strain,
Lamenting on the days gone by
Ne’er to return again.

When first I went a-washing sheep
The year was sixty-one,
The master was a worker then,
The servant was a man;
But now the squatters, puffed with pride,
They treat us with disdain;
Lament the days that are gone by
Ne’er to return again.

From sixty-one to sixty-six,
The bushman, stout and strong,
Would smoke his pipe and whistle his tune,
And sing his cheerful song,
As wanton as the kangaroo
That bounds across the plain.
Lament the days that are gone by
Ne’er to return again.

Supplies of food unstinted, good,
No squatter did withhold.
With plenty grog to cheer our hearts,
We feared nor heat nor cold.
With six-and-six per man per day
We sought not to complain.
Lament the days that are gone by
Ne’er to return again.

With perfect health, a mine of wealth,
Our days seemed short and sweet,
On pleasure bent our evenings spent,
Enjoyment was complete.
But now we toil from morn till night,
Though much against the grain,
Lamenting on the days gone by,
Ne’er to return again.

I once could boast two noble steeds,
To bear me on my way,
My good revolver in my belt,
I never knew dismay.
But lonely now I hump my drum
In sunshine and in rain,
Lamenting on the days gone by
Ne’er to return again.

A worthy cheque I always earned,
And spent it like a lord.
My dress a prince’s form would grace.
And spells I could afford.
But now in tattered rags arrayed,
My limbs they ache with pain,
Lamenting on the days gone by,
Ne’er to return again.

May bushmen all in unity
Combine with heart and hand,
May cursed cringing poverty
Be banished from the land.
In Queensland may prosperity
In regal glory reign,
And washers in the time to come
Their vanished rights regain.

THE BROKEN-DOWN SQUATTER

(Air: “It’s a fine hunting day.”)

Come, Stumpy, old man, we must shift while we can;
All our mates in the paddock are dead.
Let us wave our farewells to Glen Eva’s sweet dells
And the hills where your lordship was bred;
Together to roam from our drought-stricken home-
It seems hard that such things have to be,
And its hard on a “hogs” when he’s nought for a boss
But a broken-down squatter like me!

Chorus

For the banks are all broken, they say,
And the merchants are all up a tree.
When the bigwigs are brought to the Bankruptcy Court,
What chance for a squatter like me.

No more shall we muster the river for fats,
Or spiel on the Fifteen-mile plain,
Or rip through the scrub by the light of the moon,
Or see the old stockyard again.

Leave the slip-panels down, it won’t matter much now,
There are none but the crows left to see,
Perching gaunt in yon pine, as though longing to dine
On a broken-down squatter like me.

Chorus: For the banks, etc.

When the country was cursed with the drought at its worst,
And the cattle were dying in scores,
Though down on my luck, I kept up my pluck,
Thinking justice might temper the laws.
But the farce has been played, and the Government aid
Ain’t extended to squatters, old son;
When my dollars were spent they doubled the rent,
And resumed the best half of the run.

Chorus: For the banks, etc.

‘Twas done without reason, for leaving the season
No squatter could stand such a rub;
For it’s useless to squat when the rents are so hot
That one can’t save the price of one’s grub;
And there’s not much to choose ‘twixt the banks and the Jews
Once a fellow gets put up a tree;
No odds what I feel, there’s no court of appeal
For a broken-down squatter like me.

Chorus: For the banks, etc.

Was this helpful?

0 / 0

Leave a Reply 0

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *