Over The Range
Little bush maiden, wondering-eyed,
Playing alone in the creek-bed dry,
In the small green flat on every side
Walled in by the Moonbi ranges high;
Tell me the tale of your lonely life
'Mid the great grey forests that know no change.
"I never have left my home," she said,
"I have never been over the Moonbi Range.
"Father and mother are long since dead,
And I live with granny in yon wee place."
"Where are your father and mother?" I said.
She puzzled awhile with thoughtful face,
Then a light came into the shy brown face,
And she smiled, for she thought the question strange
On a thing so certain -- "When people die
They go to the country over the range."
"And what is this country like, my lass?"
"There are blossoming trees and pretty flowers
And shining creeks where the golden grass
Is fresh and sweet from the summer showers.
They never need work, nor want, nor weep;
No troubles can come their hearts to estrange.
Some summer night I shall fall asleep,
And wake in the country over the range."
Child, you are wise in your simple trust,
For the wisest man knows no more than you.
Ashes to ashes, and dust to dust:
Our views by a range are bounded too;
But we know that God hath this gift in store,
That, when we come to the final change,
We shall meet with our loved ones gone before
To the beautiful country over the range.
The Mylora Elopement
By the winding Wollondilly where the weeping willows weep,
And the shepherd, with his billy, half awake and half asleep,
Folds his fleecy flocks that linger homewards in the setting sun
Lived my hero, Jim the Ringer, "cocky" on Mylora Run.
Jimmy loved the super's daughter, Miss Amelia Jane McGrath.
Long and earnestly he sought her, but he feared her stern papa;
And Amelia loved him truly -- but the course of love, if true,
Never yet ran smooth or duly, as I think it ought to do.
Pondering o'er his predilection, Jimmy watched McGrath, the boss,
Riding past his lone selection, looking for a station 'oss
That was running in the ranges with a mob of outlaws wild.
Mac the time of day exchanges -- off goes Jim to see his child;
Says, "The old man's after Stager, which he'll find is no light job,
And tomorrow I will wager he will try and yard the mob.
Will you come with me tomorrow? I will let the parson know,
And for ever, joy or sorrow, he will join us here below.
"I will bring the nags so speedy, Crazy Jane and Tambourine,
One more kiss -- don't think I'm greedy -- good-bye, lass, before I'm seen --
Just one more -- God bless you, dearie! Don't forget to meet me here,
Life without you is but weary; now, once more, good-bye, my dear."
* * * * *
The daylight shines on figures twain
That ride across Mylora Plain,
Laughing and talking -- Jim and Jane.
"Steady, darling. There's lots of time,
Didn't we slip the old man prime!
I knew he'd tackle that Bowneck mob,
I reckon he'll find it too big a job.
They've beaten us all. I had a try,
But the warrigal devils seem to fly.
That Sambo's a real good but of stuff
No doubt, but not quite good enough.
He'll have to gallop the livelong day,
To cut and come, to race and stay.
I hope he yards 'em, 'twill do him good;
To see us going I don't think would."
A turn in the road and, fair and square,
They meet the old man standing there.
"What's up?" "Why, running away, of course,"
Says Jim, emboldened. The old man turned,
His eye with wild excitement burned.
"I've raced all day through the scorching heat
After old Bowneck: and now I'm beat.
But over that range I think you'll find
The Bowneck mob all run stone-blind.
Will you go, and leave the mob behind?
Which will you do? Take the girl away,
Or ride like a white man should today,
And yard old Bowneck? Go or stay?"
Says Jim, "I can't throw this away,
We can bolt some other day, of course --
Amelia Jane, get off that horse!
Up you get, Old Man. Whoop, halloo!
Here goes to put old Bowneck through!"
Two distant specks om the mountain side,
Two stockwhips echoing far and wide. . . .
Amelia Jane sat down and cried.
* * * * *
"Sakes, Amelia, what's up now?
Leading old Sambo, too, I vow,
And him deadbeat. Where have you been?
'Bolted with Jim!' What do you mean>
'Met the old man with Sambo, licked
From running old Bowneck.' Well, I'm kicked --
'Ran 'em till Sambo nearly dropped?'
What did Jim do when you were stopped?
Did you bolt from father across the plain?
'Jim made you get off Crazy Jane!
And father got on, and away again
The two of 'em went to the ranges grim.'
Good boy, Jimmy! Oh, well done, Jim!
They're sure to get them now, of course,
That Tambourine is a spanking horse.
And Crazy Jane is good as gold.
And Jim, they say, rides pretty bold --
Not like your father, but very fair.
Jim will have to follow the mare."
"It never was yet in father's hide
To best my Jim on the mountain side.
Jim can rally, and Jim can ride."
But here again Amelia cried.
* * * * *
The sound of whip comes faint and far,
A rattle of hoofs, and here they are,
In all their tameless pride.
The fleet wild horses snort and fear,
And wheel and break as the yard draws near.
Now, Jim the Ringer, ride!
Wheel 'em! wheel 'em! Whoa back there, whoa!
And the foam flakes fly like the driven snow,
As under the whip the horses go
Adown the mountain side.
And Jim, hands down, and teeth firm set,
On a horse that never has failed him yet,
Is after them down the range.
Well ridden! well ridden! they wheel -- whoa back!
And long and loud the stockwhips crack,
Their flying course they change;
"Steadily does it -- let Sambo go!
Open those sliprails down below.
Smart! or you'll be too late.
* * * * *
"They'll follow old Sambo up -- look out!
Whee! that black horse -- give Sam a clout.
They're in! Make fast the gate."
* * * * *
The mob is safely in the yard!
The old man mounts delighted guard.
No thought has he but for his prize.
* * * * *
Jim catches poor Amelia's eyes.
"Will you come after all? The job is done,
And Crazy Jane is fit to run
For a prince's life -- now don't say no;
Slip on while the old man's down below
At the inner yard, and away we'll go.
Will you come, my girl?" "I will, you bet;
We'll manage this here elopement yet."
* * * * *
By the winding Wollondilly stands the hut of Ringer Jim.
And his loving little Meely makes a perfect god of him.
He has stalwart sons and daughters, and, I think, before he's done,
There'll be numerous "Six-fortys" taken on Mylora Run.