John Burroughs.

The Bulletin reciter, a collection of verses for recitation from The Bulletin, 1880-1901 online

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Tried to sell a golden lode, and took no specimens along,
He would answer very cutely : " How on earth 's a chap

to know
What he's buying if you haven't any samples here to



So for bits of golden stone arose a wonderful demand ;
They were prigged from stopes and hoppers, they were

gathered in the land.
Treasured specimens from Bendigo and half-a-hundred

Served to advertise the local lodes and guarantee the


Peter Hirst with lumps of barren quartz and seven weights

of gold
Made the sweetest lot of " samples " ('t was a cunning

trick of old),
And the stranger placed the specimens in little canvas

With the vendors' names and figures neatly stated on the


Clyde was eager to submit the splendid offers he 'd


With the "samples," to his people in the city, we believed;
And in some way every owner knew his cat was in the pot,
Though the Infant rather fancied that his firm would buy

the lot.

Now, its wondrous expectations worked the Creek a moral

And so cold and proud the diggers grew they would n't

lift a drill ;
But they drank of Hogan's whisky till the sinners could n't

And the town and district started on a bucking jamboree.


Still from far and near the miners came with properties to sell,
Bringing " samples " down in sacks, and some on sleds

and drays as well.
When the Infant took receipt they joined the dissipated

Charming snakes in Hogan's bar until their cheques

should come along.

When at length the vendors sobered, they went searching

Round the township for the Infant, but the Infant was n't


He had fled. A studious absence on the part of Mrs. Hirst
Was coincidental maybe, but the husband feared the


Then a letter came to Hogan, which he kindly read aloud:
"As I 've cleaned you out at Mullock Creek, it 's fair to

tell the crowd
How those lovely 'samples' yielded," so the Infant's

letter ran.
"I have had them milled ; they ran to sixty ounces in the

pan ! "

Not a syllable was spoken, stunned and silently the men
Turned and drifted off, and silently they sought their

holes again.
Should you visit Mullock Creek to-day, you '11 find they

can't forget,
And that awful silence broods upon the stricken township





WE 'RE on a farm not far from town
There 's just a dozen acres ;
Our neighbours range from atheists

And infidels to Quakers ;
We Ve got the good old pious sort

'Long-side the hardened sinner
But that won't spoil our appetite
When Mother calls to dinner.

When, years ago, we started first

And did the pioneering
The fencing and the breaking-up,

The stumping and the clearing
If stuck at some old ironbark

Which looked a likely winner,
We always got our courage up

When Mother called to dinner.

We 've had some floods, when weeks of rain

Have given us a notion
We 'd wake some day and find the place

Adrift towards the ocean ;
And then such droughts and failing crops

As daunt the green beginner !
But still we fought and struggled on,

And Mother called to dinner.


So though the droughts may scourge the land,

Or floods roar like a river,
We '11 hope that better times '11 come

The bad can't last for ever !
And though the worry and the care

Are making Dad grow thinner,
There 's always hope of winning yet

While Mother calls to dinner.



M'GINTY the fair, and O'Ryan the wise,
They set out so they did for a drink ;
And they wanted to drink over head, ears and eyes,
But they 'd not the least taste of the jink
They were sadly in want of the jink !

Said M'Ginty, " My t'roat is as dhry as a brick ! "
Said O'Ryan, "Faith, moine is the same !"

Said M'Ginty, " But shure we cud alter it quick
If we took a deep dhrink at the sthrame
Sweet bad luck to the tasthe of the sthrame ! "

Said O'Ryan, " We 're here at the back of God-speed,

And the divil a penny we own ;
Faith, 't is hard wid our tongues out for whisky indeed,

To be threatened wid wather alone

Raw wather's the divil alone !


"And the docthors all say that 't is full of disase,
Chock-full o' young divils with tails ! "

Says O'Ryan, "Oi 've dodged them the most of my days,
But at last here their father prevails
Yis, the divil their father prevails ! "

But Mac gev a bounce and he shouted " Hurroo !
Here ? s a moighty good thing I Ve discerned

You mismerise me an' Oi '11 mismerise you,
And we '11 think that the wather has turned,
Ay, to best Oirish whisky has turned ! "

In a minute 't was done, and the mesmerised pair
At once to the river ran down ;

And ever since that hypnotising affair
They 're the envy of all in the town :
They 're the two drunkest men in the town !



OH, there's great exhilaration in the bosoms of the

Who are sailing for the goldfields in the West ;
Though the dear old days are dead, there 's a roaring time

And the bonny birds are flying from the nest.


Let the old folk bide alone, for the whole wide world 's

your own,
And there 's yellow gold in plenty in the West !

For it 's gold ! bright gold !
And it 's yours to handle, to have, and to hold !
Will you sell your homes, as they have been sold,
For the bright, hard gold ?

Oh, there 's grief and tribulation for the mothers of the


For the sisters and the sweethearts left behind.
Ah, the good old time is dead ! Ah, the weary wait

instead !

But the ship is scudding on before the wind ;
And it 's well for those who go to the gay new life, you

But it's cruel hard for those who stay behind !

But it 's gold ! bright gold !
And it 's yours to handle, to have, and to hold !
Will you sell your hearts, as they have been sold,
For the bright, hard gold ?

Ah, there 's mighty jubilation in the hearts of all the boys
Who are drinking in the grog-shops of the town ;

And the gas flares overhead till the wild carouse is sped
And the jolly boys have knocked their last sovs. down:

What with billiards, dice, and gin, you can make the

gold-boys spin,
When you leave the blessed diggings for the town.


And it 's gold ! bright gold !
And it 's yours to handle, to have, and to hold !
Will you sell your souls as they have been sold,

For the bright, hard gold ?

Oh, there 's strange inanimation on the faces of the boys

Who went gaily to the gold-fields long ago :
Though the parched earth is their bed, very quiet are the


Very peaceful are the sleepers lying low.
They are scattered here and there, does it matter why or

When their mothers' hearts were broken long ago ?

It was gold ! bright gold !
It was theirs to handle, to have, and to hold !
Did they sell their lives, as they have been sold,
For the bright, hard gold ?



C\ I THE Woman of the Future ! Sound the trumpets

^ beat the drums !

She has donned the coat and breeches, and in triumph

on she comes ;
She has fixed her vengeful optic on the trembling tyrant

She has sworn to quit the bondage of the wash-tub and

the pan.



[ To face Page 7/.


She has sworn to crush the despot, and to puff his best

Sworn to spout from many a pulpit and to practise at the

Sworn to clip her flowing ringlets, whether auburn, black,

or brown,
And to raise upon her upper lip a tiny crop of down.

She will come as comes a conqueror, and she '11 scorn to

bill and coo,
And she '11 whistle for her darling when she comes to win

and woo ;
And she'll brave the boot capacious of our own irate

And she '11 hug us in a frenzy when we bid her " Ask

mamma ! "

And she'll leave us in the evening, saying, "Rock the

cradle, John !
If you 're lonesome, darn some stockings, dear, or sew

some buttons on ;
Pray, be careful that you don't disturb the baby's soft

And you '11 find his feeding-bottle close beside his little


Yea! she'll hold the land in awe from far Beersheba

unto Dan,
And she '11 take us to the opera and go out " to see a

man " ;


And with cursed cunning ogle (ah, ye husbands ! there 's

the rub ! )
Will she leer upon the barman when she calleth at the pub.

And she '11 chuck the handsome youths she meets beneath

the chubby chin,
And she '11 tell you with a hiccup, " Sack and sugar 's not

a sin 1 "
And she'll wander home at 2 a.m. and tell her trusting

"We were slaying of the microbe at the Gay Galooters'


And the pride of Man shall dwindle, and his glory fade


Like the glory of the sunset in the train of parting day ;
And a huge, discarded petticoat shall be his funeral pall,
And a cackling Hen Convention scream a paean at his fall !



STOWED deep below the load-line-
Ten feet to twenty-five
We face the glarin' dazzle

And make good steam to drive.
Keepin' the gauges steady

At near two hundred pound,
With scorching heat before us
And scorching steel all round.

STOK1N*. 73

And when an air-shoot 's loafin*

Instead of suckin' air,
We sneak on deck to fix it,

Then sling in coal an' swear,

To.^he scrape, scrape ', scrape of the shovels.
//An! the snarliri, rolliti rattle of the coal.
A'God has made some men to starve ashore in hovels,
/ And us to sweat our lives out in this hole.

You praise your gallant skipper

And skilful engineers ;
The A.B. is a hero

Who squints one eye and steers ;
The ladies like the moonlight

And officers to chaff ;
They have n't got no tickets

On us, the stoke'ole staff,
Who keep the boilers hummin'

And funnel-flues a-roar,
With blisterin' steel above us

And on a blisterin' floor.
They 're laughin' on the main-deck,

But I would like to know
If they are ever thinkin'

Of men who toil below,

To the clank, clank, clank and the bangin\
And the rattlirf of the heavy furnace doors.

Which is best: to loaf and starve or die by hangin\
Or waste your lives a-toilirf on these floor si


The steamers from La Plata

Take sufferin' cattle 'Ome ;
The liner leaves 'em standin'

With splutterin' screws afoam ;
The wool-tanks from Port Jackson,

Melbourne and Moreton Bay,
The meat-carts from New Zealand

Are smashin' clouds of spray ;
And down below their load-lines

Ten feet to twenty-five
We curse their graspin' owners

And give 'em steam to drive.
It 's double whacks of win's'ls

When cattle feels it hot,
But who cares two dead Chinkies

If we are grilled or not ?

We must stoke, stoke, stoke to the p

Of the gleamin\ glisfnin\ rolling snarlirf coal;
Up aloft it may be calm or gales a-roa?-in\

But it 's ahvays heat and stillness in this hole.

There 's men of every natur'

And every sort of breed
Sent down to make the vapour

The steam that makes the speed \
A canny Tyne-side Dogger

Is workin' right of me,
And, may my eyes be jiggered 1

My left 's a Portugee 1


With blunderin' swing she 's rollin',

There 's ugly swells abeam ;
The draught is singin' noisy

And makin' tons of steam ;
Our forehead- veins are bulgin'

And veins on arms as well.
I wonder what they 're burnin'

If it 's hotter down in hell?

They must graft, graft, graft as we are graftin"
Ten times as hard and twice as hard again;

But they '// miss the kick and rumble of the shaftln\
Which tells us that we labour not in vain.

There 's flirtin' on the spar-deck,

Both sittin' on one spar ;
There's drinkin' in the smoke-room

And in the steamer's bar ;
They 're playin' a pianner,

I s'pose, in the saloon,
Some patriotic, rowdy,

And fashionable tune.
But better girls are waitin'

For us when we 're ashore,
Who '11 give us all the huggin 1

We ever want and more.
And all the shallow drinkin'

In smoke-room, bar, and such,
Compared to what we founder,

It don't amount to much.


For it 's thirst, thirst, thirst so dry and burning:
We want no grub, we only long for drink;

Until we see the pub-lights fade, returning,
We never want to pause or pause to think.

God makes some men's lives easy,

And some he makes as slaves ;
The first gets rich by thinkin',

The last on what they saves.
And berthed above her Plimsoll

Ten feet and mostly more
The men who live by thinkin'

Are dreamin' of the shore,
Or laughin' in their deck-chairs ;

They're all so blessed proud
They can't abear to look at

The dirty stoke-'ole crowd
Who feed the hungry boilers,

That drive the piston-heads,
Settin' the screw a-tearin'

The ocean into shreds,

To the scrape, scrape, scrape and the bangirf
Of the sweltering heavy, rattlirf furnace-doors ;

V/hich IS best: to loaf and starve or die by hanging
Or sweat and swear a-toilirf on these floors?




WHERE is my cash ? With this eternal query
I 'm pestered all my moments, grave and gay;
It haunts me in the midnight dark and dreary,

It dogs me at the dawn and close of day.
Where is my cash ? My watch, I know, reposes

Safe at my Uncle's, tightly held in pawn ;
My bills are known to all the tribe of Moses
But, where the mischief are my dollars gone ?

I lead a virtuous life. A trifle glorious

I may get, now and then, with comrades gay,
And paint the town vermilion, when uproarious,

And turn the gloomy night to crimson day ;
But, when at home at duty's call diurnal,

I pass my days as peaceably as John,
Our cabbage-vendor, at his toil eternal

Again I ask : Where are my dollars gone?

The dice-boxgambling ? Goodness knows I hate it,

And if at nap I linger now and then
And wander home with friends a bit belated,

'T is but as man who loves his fellow-men.
My winnings are but scant ; with melancholy

I own Dame Fortune's golden smile hath shone
But seldom on the hands my comrades jolly

Have dealt me but where are my dollars gone ?


I drink but little. Am abstemious very !

Though midnight suppers sometimes cost me dear;
My bill for Bass and Guinness, cham. and sherry

I cut it down a dozen times a year.
'T is not my fault that oysters through the season

Don't grow on hedges, and the price of yon
Choice wines has waxed entirely out of reason . . .

Again I ask where are my dollars gone ?

The girls God bless 'em Bellas, Janes, and Bessies,

They cost me little now and then a glove,
A summer hat, a parasol expresses

To Maud a fraction of her poet's love ;
A lady's watch inscribed in fashion tender,

A bracelet which she sometimes deigns to don,
A brooch that gleams in simple jewelled splendor,

Poor trifles these ! Where are my dollars gone ?



WHEN I was digging in the hills 'way up on Wattle

A parson came to straighten us a little one at that.
He told us we should sling the cards, and give the liquor


And oh ! 't was grand to hear the way he 'd chuck it off
his chest !


Said he : " My friends, you 're going to hell damnation 's

very near.
You are a shocking godless lot you wretched slaves of

beer !
Give up your Sunday football now avoid the flaming

And let's improve our minds and start a Parlyment'ry


We reckoned that he'd struck a patch if none would

act the goat ;
And met the follerin' Friday to decide " Should Women

The chaps rolled up to see the fun and girls! Each

brought his own.
A bit of skirt, the parson said, would give the thing a

He would n't take the chair he thought 't was best for

one of us ;

So we elected Ratty Bill who took it with a cuss.
He always sunk a duffer when he tried to talk but, still,
He'd stoush a blooming bullock; so we all respected Bill.

And then the parson pitched it strong about our sisters'

rights ;
But Bli-me Joe, he reckoned only them should vote as

"That bars^0z/, then!" was my remark which terminated

(It ain't the chaps as flash their dukes that fight the willing

goes !)


Then Mick the Giant started with, " The man 's a rotten

fool "

" You must n't swear," the Speaker said " You '11 break

the blanky rule."
"When I'm wanting information," said Mick, "of any

Of course, I'll take it from a man that's got a shingle

short ! "

"I'm boss," said Bill ; " they 've put me here to carry out

the law
Sit down, and put yer flute away or else I '11 break yer


Mick started poking it again but ere he 'd said it all
The pair of them, in willing holts, were rastling for the fall.

It was a lively argument, and, long before its close,
A dozen keen debaters were a-dressin' ayes and noes ;
The little devil-dodger was a-yellin' for the p'lice ;
But we were holding down the trap to let 'em fight in

There's whips of self-improvement in a Parly ment, no

doubt ;
But members find it rough when half the House is counted


We drifted into sin again bein' all inclined to think
Debating far more dangerous than football, cards, or drink.




UPON his cheek there shone a tear ;
(They 'd dragged him from his home)
He sighed as one who dreams of beer
Or one who writes a pome.

He stood within the felon's dock

On yellow feet and large,
His face unreadable as rock ;

Whilst Murphy read the charge.

They swore he stole a speckled hen,

One pig, two boots, a hat ;
But Wing just murmured now and then,

" No ! me no savee that ! "

In English they examined Wing,

In Chow and Irish too ;
He answered all their questioning

With : " Me no savee you."

Their pigeon-Hebrew and Hindoo

He stood it all unmoved ;
They said, "We wish this case was through!

It 's very clearly proved


"To speak to him 's of no avail !

And 't would disgrace our land
To put a foreign man in gaol,

Who cannot understand.

"A trifling fine, and let him go

'S the best way, to our mind.
We '11 mercy to the heathen show !

Five shillings he is fined ! "

They asked Wing for five shillings then

His eye was dull and dim ;
His face was wood ; he said again

Just : " Me no savee him."

Then Murphy, the policeman, rose,

And in a brogue said he :
"This hay then in the baggy clothes,

Oi '11 make him savee me.

"No savee, is it ? Wing, me mahn !

Y' dirty haythen hound !
Come ! take y'r purse out in y'r hand

And pay y'r foine foive pound ! "

"Dam Ilishman ! too muchee lie !"
Shrieked Wing, " You tly me lob ?

Me savee magistlate, all li !
Here, takee fine ! fi bob ! "




SO you think because I 'm a woman
I was made but for pleasure and tears
You ! who smile and sneer at the sex I claim
With the savoir-faire of your forty years.

Ah, yes ! I 'm a woman, and human, too
I can laugh and weep, and pity me ! love.

That 's the part of me made for the play of man.
Man! No, thanks, I can manage my glove.

We shall meet to-night at the dance, perhaps ;

You '11 see me flirting behind my fan,
With arms a-gleam and shoulders bared

To the critical gaze of men, O man !

And you '11 come to me claiming a waltz, perhaps ;

I '11 grant your wish with a grateful smile ;
And your arm will clasp me a moment or two,

And we shall be lovers a little while.

But O, the thought that my smiles suppress
(For I am strong, quite strong, O man ! )

The measuring, searching, judging thoughts
That I hide as only a woman can !

I 'm only a woman, whose passionate heart
Is made for laughter, and tears, and love,

And that is for men ; but soul and brain
I keep for myself and the gods above.




CAME a man to Mary Casey,
In her hut at Maiden Camp,
Saying, " Mary now, be aisy !

But poor Casey's gone on tramp."
"Och? go plumb!" said Mary, scolding,

With a glitter in her eye,
"To the place where they'll be holding
Yez on griddles when yez die ;

Yah ! go aisy wid yer lyin' Micky gone on tramp, you say?
Shure, it 's me that knows he has n't, for he could n't get

Then the man who brought the tidings
Simply stood and gasped for breath ;
Stricken dumb by Mary's chidings,
Feared to tell of Michael's death.
" But, say, Mary," said he, crying,

When at length he found his voice
Michael's dead. There 's no denying :

'T was a case of Hobson's choice ;
He was loading in the cutting, and was just agoin' to 'tamp
When he dropped dead of a suddent. Yes, poor Michael 's
gone on tramp."


11 Wirra ! Wirra ! " moaned the mourner,

("Ah ! poor Michael ! " sighed the man)
"That's his best suit in the corner"

And her tears to flow began
" And he 's left me, och ! the vill'in ;

And he never said ' Good-bye '
To forget him I 'd be willin'

Sure I 've half a mind to thry.

You 're his size? Go aisy, sonny sure ye 're foolin', nothin'

Ye 're in earnest ? Come in, darlint ! hang yer hat behind

the door."



OLD diggings mates, who met once more,
He 'd been away and learned to shear ;
She knew him ere he reached the door,
Though parted now for many a year.

But he'd forgotten those forget

Who go away until the name
Called up her face and some regret :

She was the same, and not the same.

Was this girl, now sedate and fair,

The same brown Kate who stole with him,

And rode all day old Frenchy's mare
The chestnut mare that worked the whim ?


Who helped him hunt for sugar-bags,
Quicker than he to spot the trees ?

Who made a smoke from burning rags,
Whilst he chopped out the buzzing bees ?

And, talking, they went once again
Hunting for specks all down the creek,

And found once more in tropic rain
The two-ounce slug that lucky week.

" You bought a filly with your share ;
My colt died out on the Paroo."

" Why, Dan, that 's she tied over there-
Grown such a beauty." "So have you !

" I swore from out the Golden West
A hundred wondrous things to bring ;

But from that land, fly-, drought-distressed,
Have only brought this golden ring.

" Don't care for it ? Won't take a ring ? "
" A ring has ever murdered love ! "

" Take these, then ; hide pear-gray 's the thing-
Those pretty fingers in a glove.

" But what for me in our new times ?

A kiss, at least, my old-time mate!
Although for me no love-bell chimes,

'T would show I 'm not forgotten, Kate."

She laughed, and shook her sunny head
Laughter from gates of rose and pearl.

"Look in the cook-book, Dan," she said;
"To kiss, you first must catch your girl ! "


And as away with streaming tail

Across the flat her pony flies,
She turns a moment. Through the veil

He saw the challenge in her eyes,

And quick into the saddle sprang,

And flew as clouds fly when they pass ;
The hoofs upon the roadway rang,

Then deadened on the short, green grass.

On broken ground at such a pace

Is surely riding for a spill ;
The girl is down ! That ends the race ;

Her, horse is up the girl lies still.

Ah, joy has speech, but here with Death

What words avail ? Her eyes o'er-ran :
He stooped to catch the last faint breath . . .

" You Ve caught me won't you kiss me Dan ? "



TAKE my word ! he could buck, could Brown Baron;
And to ride! who could ride like Long Jack?
There was never a thing born with hair on
Could throw him when once on its back.


In the crush went on saddle and bridle,

And he set Jack a go pretty hard ;
But his previous efforts seemed idle

When we flung down the rails of the yard.

A few bucks, and the gear was all lying
Busted girths, broken bit on the sand ;

And away through the trees he went flying
Nothing on him but Jack and the brand.

Through the paddock the Baron went sailing ;

Jack was keeping him straight with his hat
When we saw him jump over the railing

At the creek on the Kurrajong Flat.

And then where on earth were they hidden ?
Though the boss swore he 'd soon have 'em back,

And rode as he never had ridden,
The traps had to start on their track.

But Jack was not beaten by trifles,
And, when he and the Baron were found,

It took four police, ditto rifles,

Ere the long-'un set foot on the ground.

When we came to examine the Baron,

All the brand-mark had disappeared clean :

'T was the horse, we could swear a great scar on
The place where the Z 9 had been.

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Online LibraryJohn BurroughsThe Bulletin reciter, a collection of verses for recitation from The Bulletin, 1880-1901 → online text (page 4 of 11)