John Burroughs.

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

. (page 7 of 11)
Online LibraryJohn BurroughsThe Bulletin reciter, a collection of verses for recitation from The Bulletin, 1880-1901 → online text (page 7 of 11)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook


Truly our Lord is good to the suffering sons of Sin !

"Here is the balm we have needed give us a rousing

joke !
Help us to empty our lungs of the stench of the sulphur

smoke !

"Make us scoff at the brimstone, teach us to laugh at the

coals;
Yours shall it be to win the debris of the hearts of poor

damned souls!

"Way for the grand procession! Room for the Lords of

Hell!
Guards, present your pokers ! Ring the Great Fire Bell !"

They marched the Laughter- Maker in : Cerberus wagged

his tail;
Charon caught a crab with joy, when he joined in the

crowd's "All Hail!"

They gave him a lofty throne on the edge of a crater's pit,
With heralds around in a ring to trumpet forth his wit.

Loud they blared his laughter, over the burning seas,
Into the bubbling cesspits, bringing a brief surcease



THE JESTER OF THE DAMNED. 139

To roast and toast and turning-spit and skewer and

frizzling hide,
The rabid devouring draught that flew through the

damper open wide.

They tied their tails in true-love knots, danced round him

where he sat;
But they prodded his ribs with toasting-forks whenever

the joke fell flat.

They splashed him over with lava, made him skip on

red-hot bricks,
Gave him to drink from a kettle's mouth till he had to

learn new tricks.

And when his wage they threw him, laughing and shouting

"Encore!"
He picked it up 'twas heated pence and then they

laughed the more.

There in the City of Devils star of comedians he
Plays the lead in a one-act farce for all eternity.

And sitting where they have throned him, the Jester of

the Damned,
At times he thinks of the Gates of Gold, that in his face

were slammed,

And then his laugh is loudest! never he plays so well,
As when he remembers Heaven, he who is damned in
Hell.

J. H. GREENE



140 THE BULLETIN RECITER.



THE HAIRY MAN OF KOOR4WATHA.

THERE 'S a range beneath whose savage scowl the
low land cowers in craven dread,
A fierce black ridge that Nature seems to have formed in

a furious whim ;
Where gibbers grey through the scrub show bare, like

warts and wens on a woolly head,
And shunned by shepherds in bygone days as the haunt

of a Monster grim.
And all whom evil chance allowed that Being's shape to

scan,
With white and shuddering lips avowed 't was ugh !

just like a man /

"If Oi must choose betwane yahoos an' settlers' sheep/

said he,
"Oi'll take my chance wid the hairy min," and he

chuckled with churlish glee.
Well, years had passed in a hum-drum way since the

Creature had last been seen of men,
When Mick Mulleary came along in search of a vacant

block,
And coolly put in his corner peg within a mile of the

Monster's den,
Quite chirpy indeed to have dropped upon such a splendid

run for stock.



THE HAIRY MAN OF KOORAWATHA. 141

So he settled down like a pioneer and was well content

as a bear might be,
Till he took a fit in the field one day at the sound of a

splitter's axe ;
And he growled to his wife as he rallied to, " Is there no

law for the loikes of me ?
Be the powers of war Oi '11 make him shift in less than a

brace o' cracks.
There 's the rabbit-pest an' all the rest of the plagues

we 've got to face,
But there 's divil a nuisance among thim ahl to aiqual the

human race."

Then he rigged himself from scalp to toe in a glove-tight

suit of dingo-skins,
And stole away to the mountain side while muttering in

undertone :
"Consarnin' that shplitter beyant," said he, "if he's

annyways frisky about his pins
Oi'll make him clare out of camp as fast as the divil

wint out of Athlone.
And thin, maybe, they '11 lave me free whin they find, as

sure as they will,
There are rale yahoos -an' bunyips an' things round

Koorawatha still.

"But hould on now! is it mad ye are that ye've no

regard for a loaded gun ?
Fwhat a splindid mark for a sportsman ! . . \ Och ! the

saints be kind this day ! " . . .



142 THE BULLETIN RECITER.

He stood aghast, for fair in front was the thing itself

the Hairy One !
There, peering over a clump of rock not twenty yards

away,
In nasty truth a face uncouth all nose and mouth and

ears,
And a straggling beard like stringy-bark, and hair all

spikes and spears.

Limp as a rag with awful fright, Mick felt just then he 'd

lost his legs,
But soon re-action braced him tight and gave him wings

instead ;
And nearing home he came upon his wife on the hunt

for turkey-eggs,
Who, unaware of his wild disguise, let out a screech

and fled.
He chased her straight through the cow-yard gate 'mid a

racket of terrified howls
From freckled young savages, mixed with the yelps of

curs and the cackle of fowls.

Time kills romance. A candidate drove up one day to

Mulleary's gate,
And sought with greasy smile and speech a solid vote

to score ;
But Mick could only gape and stare, for in the trap

before him there
Was the very face he 'd seen amongst the rocks three

years before.




THE HAIRY MAN OF KOORAWATHA.

\ To face Page 14.2.



THE HAIRY MAN OF KOORAWATHA. 143

At length, in pique at non-success, the face began to

sneer
"No doubt," said he, "you hit it well among your

neighbours here,
Although a passing glimpse of one was quite enough for

me;

But p'rhaps he was a friend of yours a relative, maybe?"
"It 's not the Hairy Man," said Mick, "ye need be afther

fearin' ;
As I belave he 's had a shave and gone electioneering / "

TOM FREEMAN.



A BIG "BUST."

wildest bust I ever struck," the lean old
A bushman said,
"Was run up by a gentleman they christened Heavy Ned.

"A s'perior sort o' person which they often is the worst
With Gehenner and the Tropics planted in him fer a thirst.

"To try an' quench that thirst by pourin' liquor in his

shirt
Was like a-irrigatin' the Sahara with a squirt.

"He went out on a bust one time, an' when the devils

come
He scooted for the plain with 'arf a yard o' Hogan's rum.



144 THE BULLETIN RECITER.

" An' there he held his jamboree for fourteen days, I swear,
An' jim-jams swarmed from all the world like locusts in
the air.

"It was a noble levee. In the middle of a ring

Ned sat in state, receivin' of his jim-jams, like a king."

"Two weeks?" a doubter murmured "Why; he'd starve.

What did he eat?"
"He caught the fantods," said old Jim, "an' ate the

beggars neat."

"The fantods? Rats! They was n't real." The old man

answered: "So,
Of course, they was n't real, my lad, but how was he to

know?"

EDWARD DYSON.



A TIGHT CORNER.

^ ^ T7ES, I know it's a mighty poor chance, but there's

J- no other way.
Look, man, look at her lips ! Don't you see they 're

already quite blue?

P'r'aps ten minutes, p'r'aps twenty, and then it will be

as I say.
No. There's no other remedy now; it's the one thing

to do.



A TIGHT CORNER. 145

'Where's the canula, nurse? And the silk, and that

needle, quick !
One per thousand 'perchloride' here, please; put the

lamp on that chair.

"Are you ready now, Clarisse? All right, dear ! it 's only
a prick,

"Sponge, nurse ! No, no a clean one ! The tube !
just a second now There!

...

"Hold up, Ted! It 's all over - Oh, bosh ! She 's as

right as the bank.
Yes, perhaps for a moment but mind, she can't speak,

so don't talk.

"Owe me! Fiddlesticks! don't be an ass; it's not me

you Ve to thank.
Here! drink this. Light your pipe: that's your sort!

Now then, come for a walk."

C. H, SOUTER.



THE ROAD TO WYOMING.

UPON the road to Wyoming
The cool ferns rustled in the wood,
When I rode forth to gain a thing

That was to me Life's only good.
j



146 THE BULLETIN RECITER.

Love so lightly understood !

O last gleam of a golden wing !

1 may not ride now, though I would,
Upon the road to Wyoming.



The deep, cool stillness after rain,
The fragrant earth, the dripping trees,

The road still winding to attain
The far-off mountain's mysteries,

The dappled shade the boughs would fling-
My dream of joy endeared all these

Upon the road to Wyoming.



Till, all the long miles ridden through,
I saw her standing by the fence

To greet me with a shyness new,
A heavenly coldness of pretence.

She knew the gift I came to bring,
She knew I loved her, soul and sense,

Upon the road to Wyoming.

She stood between the day and night,
Between red sunset and pale moon ;

Her head drooped in the mystic light
As droops a lily in the noon ;

Her voice was low and faltering,
Her beauty made my senses swoon,

Upon the road to Wyoming.



THE ROAD TO WYOMING. 147

I leaped from off my horse in haste

(The moon grew bright, the day waxed pale)

The world without was but a waste :
I feared to let her power prevail,

Yet spoke, on reason's backward swing ;
I kissed her, by the paddock rail,

Upon the road to Wyoming.

unforgotten moment ! won

From out the clutch of ruthless Fate !

1 clasped her close, my only one,
The mistress of my love and hate,

My heart that gold head pillowing,

Ah me ! ah me ! we lingered late
Upon the road to Wyoming.



I rode away before the morn,

I rode to win her wealth and fame ;

Her love should never turn to scorn,
Her pride should be to bear my name.

For I would conquer Life, and bring
All gifts to feed that altar flame

Upon the road to Wyoming.

I whispered close to her pale mouth

One year should see me claim my bride ;

Then East and West and North and South
I fought the cold, fierce ocean-tide :



148 THE BULLETIN RECITER.

One gold tress twisted in a ring
Was all my token of that ride
Upon the road to Wyoming.



For her I fought, for her I won;

I came when Summer's golden haze
Lay on this land that loves the sun,

The land of pastoral, peaceful days ,
Straight as a shaft flies from the string

I passed along the old, old ways
Upon the road to Wyoming.



I drew so near our meeting-place,
I dreamed I kissed her lips again;

Then, ah ! I saw her living face,

Her grey eyes washed with purple stain,

Her shape, her light, swift footsteps' swing,
Her loosened tresses' golden grace,

Upon the road to Wyoming.



But, oh ! just gods ! even more than this
I saw, and better were she dead !

A stranger came that face to kiss,

And laughed, and stroked that sunlit head;

Even now I feel the serpent sting
That turned the azure sky blood-red,

Upon the road to Wyoming.



THE ROAD TO WYOMING. 149

I held my hand I did not slay;

woman ! you were pale with fear,
/was the fool, you cried that day;

1 left you for a whole long year,
As if you were a flower to fling

Aside for months ! I had faint cheer
Upon the road to Wyoming.



For so you spoke when he was gone,

And I rode up and faced you there;
Ah, well, poor reed that I leaned on,
You have some sorrow for your share !

I think your guardian saint took wing

When you grew false through sheer despair,

Upon the road to Wyoming.

Ah, better had you died, in truth;

And I I dreamed of death that hour;
But in a flash, my stricken youth,

My slain love, faded like a flower.
I saw what gifts the years might bring :

Great truths should crush that falsehood's power
Upon the road to Wyoming.

So forward to outlive the lie,

Far from your false white arms and breast !
Though I shall carry till I die

The fierce regret that cannot rest.



150 THE BULLETIN RECITER.

Though love has grown a worthless thing,

I see you always, golden tressed,
Upon the road to Wyoming.

I see you always, though again

I shall not clasp your perjured hand;

Though love survive, betwixt us twain
For evermore the fierce gods stand !

Farewell ! for myriad voices sing

From shore to shore, though none remain

Upon the road to Wyoming.

Farewell ! farewell ! Had you been true,
Even life had been not much to miss ;

But now a few more years lived through,

And we forget the pang of this.
Death's starry silence shall not bring
One promise precious as your kiss

Upon the road to Wyoming !

EVELYN THRELFALL
j*

JIM JAM1ESON, OF TRINGABAR.

JIM JAMIESON,
Of Tringabar,
By everyone

Both near and far
Was known to be the meanest man
That e'er sold sawdust mixed with bran :



JIM JAMIESON OF TR1NGABAR. 151

He had a stiff-
Kneed, mangy moke,
Which looked as if

Its heart was broke;
A nag of venerable age
But questionable parentage.

Now this same Jim,
One morning hot,
Selected him

A gun and shot,
And cantered off to try to shoot
Some wandering hare or bandicoot.

And when so far
Arrived as the
Particular
Locality

Where game abounds, he tied his horse
But just beyond a watercourse.

"You beast ! " he said,

"You landed me
Upon my head

This morning. See!
No food or drink with my consent
Until to-night, for punishment."

He stalked away;

With anxious eye
His famished steed



I $3 THE BULLETIN RECITER.

Observed near by
A juicy pile (delicious sight ! )
Of cartridges, marked "Dynamite."

One dubious sniff

And they had passed,
Gulped down as if
The region vast

Where they reposed had ne'er before
Partaken such ambrosia.

When Jim arrived,

His gallant steed,
Although deprived

Of grassy feed,

Bulged slightly; on his bony side
He lay, prostrate but satisfied.

A curse, a whack,

An angry snort,
A rumble; and

A loud report ! . . .
Now o'er the plains of Tringabar

Jim Jamieson lies scattered far.

PAN.



THE MALLEE FIRE.

I SUPPOSE it just depends on where you 're raised.
Once I met a cove as swore by green belar!
Could n't sight the good old mallee-stump I praised :
Well / could n't sight belar, and there you are !



THE MALLEE FIRE. 153

But the faces in the fire where the mallee-stump's a-blinking
Are the friendliest I ever seen, to my way o' thinking !

In the city where the fires is mostly coal
There ! I can't abear to go and warm my feet !
Spitting, fizzing things as has n't got no soul !
Things as puffs out yaller smoke instead of heat !

But at home well, it is home when the mallee-stump 's

a-burning,
And the evening's drawing chilly and the season isa-turning!

And there's some as runs them down because they're

tough.

Well? And what's the good of anythink as ain't?
No. It 's nary use to serve 'em any bluff,
For they 'd use up all the patience of a saint.

But they '11 split as sweet as sugar if you know the way to

take 'em.
If you dorft) there isn't nothink in the world as '11 make 'em !

They're tremenjus hard to kindle, tho', at first:
Like a friendship of the kind as comes to stay.
You can blow and blow and blow until you burst,
And when they won't, they won't burn, anyway !

But when once they gets a start, tho' they make no showy

flashes,
Well, they '11 serve you true and honest to the last pinch

of ashes !

C. H. SOUTER.



154 THE BULLETIN RECITER.



AMONG THE PALMS.

TO save the past by one brave deed !
The time was "now," the place "this spot"
Love-stifled rage importunes speed,

For Hate can thrive where Love will rot.

A noiseless step, a whispered word,
A man clasped in a woman's arms !

The white-faced watcher saw and heard,
And beckoned Death among the palms.

He kissed a dagger's silvered hilt

Her gift once in the long ago ;
Then whispering Heaven " Forgive her guilt ! "

He freed her with a single blow.

And who shall say 't was ill or good

Who reads not the Recorder's scroll? , . .

An angel came and caught his blood;
A devil laughed and took his soul.

I only see what might have been ;

A girl locked in a dead man's arms;
A traitor slain, a stain wiped clean

Among the palms, among the palms.

HESKETH.



DREAMS AND DEEDS. 155



DREAMS AND DEEDS.

IN dreams I wield the lightning's flash
And whip the wearying planet's pace.
In deed I tremble at the dash

Of cabman's whip flicked near my face.

In dreams with joyous gods I dine,
And nectar's none too good for me.

In fact I take another line:
A very mildish kind of tea.

In dreams I lead an armed host
To victory through storm and stress.

In deed my fiercest fight at most
Is but an ill-played game of chess.

In dreams I own a business vast,
And in huge industries engage.

In deed at risks I stand aghast
And tremble for my weekly wage.

In dreams my well-kept garden knows
The harvest of my steady toil.

In deed the weeds in serried rows
Possess my patch of city soil.

Good Sancho gave his thanks for Sleep,
But, when I see how sordid seems

This world of those who toil and weep,
I offer up my thanks for Dreams.



I $6 THE BULLETIN RECITER.

They come with cruel Fact to cope
And temper stern old Fate's decrees;

They dower day with art and hope
And night with varied fantasies.

And, if you add up Life's account,

You'll find the dreams, though filmy-light,

Are far the best of the amount :

The things that make the balance right !

E. J. DEMPSEY.



BOKO.

ALL the riding-gear is rusty, all the girths and straps
are dusty,
And the saddle 's old and mouldy where it 's hanging on

the wall;
While the stockwhip and the bridle on their pegs are

hanging idle,
And old Boko comes no longer to the sliprails when I

call.
No, because his bones are lying where / lay beneath him

dying
When the game old stock-horse blundered at the jump,

and broke his neck ;
And I got a woeful smashing when the poor old fellow,

crashing
Through the timber, crushed me under to a bruised and

sightless wreck.



BOKO. 157

With his single eye to guide him, very few could live
beside him,

Though he was no thoroughbred, but just a poor old
grass-fed moke ;

And we held the reputation, crack scrub-dashers on the
station :

You could track us through the mulga by the timber
that we broke.

And the day we got the buster was just after bangtail-
muster;

I had asked the super.'s daughter to become head-
stockman's wife :

She had answered, " I am ready. If you '11 promise to be
steady ;

If you'll give up drink and fighting, Jack, and lead a
decent life."

And from that our quarrel started both grew angry and

we parted,

And that night I started drinking at the shanty on the Flat
Where the o.p.grog is snaky; and next dayallwild andshaky
I rode over to a picnic that I knew she would be at.
She was there all mirth and gladness, but I masked my

sullen madness
Held aloof, and would not see the sorrow growing in

her eyes;
All around were gay and busy, but my brain was hot and

dizzy,
When an old man kangaroo went bounding past across

the rise.



I $8 THE BULLETIN RECITER.

Spurs and bits and stirrups jingled, shouts and glad

confusion mingled,
While we urged the dogs and horses, fresh and eager

for the fray;
Horses, too, with plenty breeding, but the old bush nag

was leading,
Once we left the open country Boko showed them all

the way.

Dead Box Rise and She-oak Hollow taxed their horse-
manship to follow ;
At the old marsupial fence I had them pounding at their

top;
Half-insane and wild with liquor, still I led and urged

them quicker,
Though the rest were pulling up and some were calling

out to stop.



It was only reckless flashness, only harebrained drunken

rashness ;
I looked back and laughed to see them drawing rein

away behind ;
Then I turned and spurred him to it, but he struck and

toppled through it,
When they dragged me from beneath him he was dead,

and I was blind.
When I woke to know my blindness, then I woke to

know her kindness,
For she stood beside my bed and bandaged up my

shattered brow,




BOKO.

" Then I turned and spurred him to ?V, but he struck and toppled through it /"

\Toface Page 138.



BOKO. 159

Whisp'ring, "Let me help to bear it. I was wrong and I

will share it.
Won't you have me, for I love you just as much as ever

now ? "

And she would have shared my sorrow through this night

that has no morrow,
But I loved her far too well to let her be a cripple's

bride ;

And at times when I am able just to ramble to the stable,
Where I sit and dream of Boko and of many a merry

ride,
I can hear her children playing ; I can hear the horses

neighing ;
I can hear the stockwhips cracking when the cattle reach

the yard ;
But my sightless eyes may glisten all the world is one

dark prison,
And the gates to light and gladness shall be never more

unbarred.



For the riding-gear is rusty, and the racing-tackle musty,
And though Boko's bones are bleaching, there are colts

upon the plain
Fiery colts just fit for breaking; but my heart is sadly

aching,
For I know that I will never ride nor show the way again.

CURLEW



i6o THE BULLETIN RECITE K.



"DUNNO!"

J TI/T EMBER Jim? Long, lanky slab,
AT JL Seemed he had no tongue to gab.
Shed all clucking, he'd lie low;
Ask him; /kV/say, "Oh! dunno!"

Mighty hard to interest Jim,
Most things wuz the same to him;
Sport or politics had no show;
Jim would say, "Oh, I dunno!"

Jim got struck on Quigly's girl,
She on him she was a pearl !
But he couldn't talk, an' he wouldn't go,
An' what to do Jim did n't know.

So, seein' 's how Jim made no play,
"D'yerlove me?" she asks him one day.
Jim he thinks, looks at her slow,
An' s'elp me! says he, "I dunno!"

Broke it off? You bet a quid !
Took it easy too, Jim did.
Not a chap much on for show,
But he felt it yes ! /know !



"DUNNO!" 161

Night the fire burnt Quigly's place,
Jim yer should 'ave seen 'is face!
Rushed in bli' me, he would go!
What for? Quigly's girl, you know.

Got her safe but he, my word !
Parson came 's soon 's he heard.
"You a Christian?" he says low,
Jim just gasps out, "I dun no!"

Died then, Jim did. Parson, well,
He guessed Jim would go to Hell.
'Cos he wasn't "saved," I s'pose
Mebbe there 's a God who knows.

BERNARD ESPINASSE.



THE FAT MAN AND THE WAR.

THEY sing of the pride of battle,
They sing of the Dogs of War,
Of the men that are slain like cattle
On African soil afar.

They sing of the gallant legions
A-bearin' the battle's brunt

Out in them torrid regions
A-fightin' the foe in front.



162 THE BULLETIN RECITER.

They sing of Mauser and Maxim,
And their doin's across the foam,

But I hear none sing of the Fat Man
Who sits at his ease at home,

Contrivin' another measure

For scoopin' a lump o' tin,
New coffers to hoard the treasure

That his brothers' blood sweeps in ;

Chock-full o' zeal for speedin'
The sword of his Queen's behest,

But other men's legs to bear it
Is the notion that suits him best.

Nothin' he knows of fightin';

He never was built that way;
But the game of War is excitin'

When the stake's worth more than the play.

An' a fat little time is comin',

When the turmoil has settled down,

An' the Dogs of War are silent,
And the veldt is bare an' brown;

When the sun has licked the blood up
An' the brown earth hid the bones,

His miners will go out seekin'
For gold and precious stones.



THE FAT MAN AND THE WAR. 163

Like a ghoul from the reekin' shambles

He grubs out his filthy pelf,
Reapin' a cursed harvest

Where he dursn't have sown himself.

Now, this is one man's opinion,

An' I think it is fair an' right :
If he wants the land of the Dutchman

Let him go like a man an' fight.

If the African mines have treasure,

An' the Fat Man wants a bone,
Let him go by himself an' find it,

Let him trek for the Front alone !

MAGNET.



THE SHOE,

"QATTERED and worn on the wayside lay
U A shoe, unseen by the busy throng
Of passers who, through the dusty way,
From morn to eve had hurried along.

The sight of that shoe to me has brought
A host of fancies, merry and sad,

Of a heart that struggled and toiled and wrought,
With never an hour of its life made glad.



164 THE BULLETIN RECITER.

Of a joyous and happy and winsome maid,
' With mind all free from thought of guile;
Of a soul with sin's black sorrows lade,
Of a face that ne'er was lit by a smile.

Had the shoe been worn by any of these?

Was the wearer of it young and fair?
The answer is one, I hope, will please

It was torn from the hoof of old Brown's mare.

J. M. L.



THE COCKY'S HANDY MAN.

THE soldier has his glory, and the sailor has his joy,
And we've heard in song and story of the little

cabin-boy;

The shearer's mostly beering when he isn't on the strike;
The city clerk's careering on the "time-extended" bike;
Their web of life they spin it on a fast and fevered plan,
But for fun they aren't in it with the cocky's handy
man !

Then it's feed the squealing "Dinnis," and it's yard the

milkers up;
The sun's behind Maginnis; an* "Hi! Patsy, chain that

> pup !
Put up thim rails behind you, there, you good-for-nothing

lout;
'Tis often I remind you Holy Smoke! the pig is out!



THE COCKY* S HANDY MAN. 165

Here, Tiger heel him heel him! head him, Patsy, at

the fince;
Hurr hiss, Tiger! wheel him, there, you gaping want-o'-

sinse."

And " Dinnis" listens gravely to the wild halloo they raise,


1 2 3 4 5 7 9 10 11

Online LibraryJohn BurroughsThe Bulletin reciter, a collection of verses for recitation from The Bulletin, 1880-1901 → online text (page 7 of 11)