A lonely young wife
In her dreaming discerns
A lily-decked pool
With a border of ferns,
And a beautiful child,
With butterfly wings,
Trips down to the edge of the water and sings:
‘Come, mamma! come!
‘Quick! follow me—
‘Step out on the leaves of the water-lily!’
And the lonely young wife,
Her heart beating wild,
Cries, ‘Wait till I come,
‘Till I reach you, my child!’
But the beautiful child
With butterfly wings
Steps out on the leaves of the lily and sings:
‘Come, mamma! come!
‘Quick! follow me!
‘And step on the leaves of the water-lily!

And the wife in her dreaming
Steps out on the stream,
But the lily leaves sink
And she wakes from her dream.
Ah, the waking is sad,
For the tears that it brings,
And she knows ’tis her dead baby’s spirit that sings:
‘Come, mamma! come!
‘Quick! follow me!
‘Step out on the leaves of the water-lily!’

When The Children Come Home

On a lonely selection far out in the West
An old woman works all the day without rest,
And she croons, as she toils 'neath the sky's glassy dome,
`Sure I'll keep the ould place till the childer come home.'

She mends all the fences, she grubs, and she ploughs,
She drives the old horse and she milks all the cows,
And she sings to herself as she thatches the stack,
`Sure I'll keep the ould place till the childer come back.'

It is five weary years since her old husband died;
And oft as he lay on his deathbed he sighed
`Sure one man can bring up ten children, he can,
An' it's strange that ten sons cannot keep one old man.'

Whenever the scowling old sundowners come,
And cunningly ask if the master's at home,
`Be off,' she replies, `with your blarney and cant,
Or I'll call my son Andy; he's workin' beyant.'

`Git out,' she replies, though she trembles with fear,
For she lives all alone and no neighbours are near;
But she says to herself, when she's like to despond,
That the boys are at work in the paddock beyond.

Ah, none of her children need follow the plough,
And some have grown rich in the city ere now;
Yet she says: `They might come when the shearing is done,
And I'll keep the ould place if it's only for one.'

The Peace Maker

It has a “point” of neither sex
But comes in guise of both,
And, doubly dangerous complex,
It is a thing to loathe—
A lady with her sweet, sad smile,
A gentleman on oath.

Strip off the mother-veil, and fur!
And signs of “quiet taste”.
The dead child’s locket take from her
(The dead man’s gift in haste)
And wash from every evil line
The layers of filling paste!

From “saddened eyes” the hell’s own glare!
From “sweet mouth” blasphemy!
Wrench out the gold-filled false teeth there
That twice mock honesty,
And leave the evil face awry
For married folk to see.

For foolish girl wives in despair,
For men’s and children’s sakes,
Let loose the glossed and padded hair
To writhe like scorching snakes!
And strip the barren body bare
To show what Satan makes.

Aye! I could take her by the throat
More sure than hangman’s noose,
And set my teeth and set my nails,
And hate would set my thews.
And fling her to the drought-starved swine,
Were all my brethren Jews.

There was the kindest man I knew,
Brave, handsome, straight and tall—
Between his loved ones and the world
He stood, a fortress wall.
He whines, a ruined drunkard now,
And this thing did it all.

There was the girl who married me
And bore my children twain,
We’ll never meet each other’s eyes
Like boy and girl again.
The very children’s love and trust
By this foul thing was slain.

There was a girl my manhood loved,
She’d Love’s own red gold hair,
And grey eyes that were Pity’s own
And courage that was rare.
She sleeps amongst the suicides,
And this thing sent her there.

And all because the town was dull
And goodness was too tame,
And people took no interest
In one they could not blame.
And all because my life was clean
And I had won a name.

And now, for years of senseless hate
And paltry, bitter strife,
For “reparation” come too late,
For sweetheart, mate and wife,
I tread her vile heart in the dust
And ashes of my life.

The Drums Of Ages

Drums of all that’s right and wrong—of love and hate and scorn,
And the new-born baby hears them and it wails when it is born.
Drums of all that is to be, and all that has gone by,
And we hear them when we’re dreaming, and we hear them while we die.

Drums of martyred innocence and drums of driven guilt
Beating backward from the future when the first rude town was built;
Beating louder through the slave days and the dark and hungry nights,
While the hovels filled the valleys and the castles crowned the heights;
Beating louder while the mansions shifted east from miles of slums—
Don’t you hear them? Don’t you hear them? Don’t you hear the alley drums?

Drums of human sacrifice and drums of war at home—
While the Romans conquered nations they were beating loud in Rome.
Children heard them through the ages, mothers paused and glanced behind,
Madmen saw and heard the drummers, but the rest were deaf and blind.
Peasants starved on fields of plenty, workmen rotted in the slums—
Till the drummers came to Paris and the nations heard the drums.

Drums of hope and bursting hearts—the drums of Westward Ho!—
From the homes of generations and their native land they go.
’Groom and bride and grey-haired mother, bent old men who go alone—
Fleeing bitter persecution for the terrible unknown:
Seeking freedom, rest, or justice—and the peace that never comes—
And the wilderness was conquered when the pilgrims beat their drums.

Drums of Greed that followed fast where men had made the way,
Waking drums of stern rebellion when the exiles turned at bay,
Spreading death and desolation, breeding old-world hells anew,
Until England lost a nation for the blindness of a few.
Still the dirty Jewish talon reached from palaces and slums
Till a hundred thousand English died to stop the farmers’ drums.

Drums of tortured hearts o’ men—the drums that never ceased—
Throbbing through the British Empire from the heart of London East;
Growling louder still wherever, in the wake of those who lead,
Comes the murmur of the board-room and the stealthy steps of greed;
Growling through the Southern cities, murmuring in the Western gums,
Till the Empire falls to pieces at the beating of the drums!

Drums of all that’s right and wrong—of love and hate and scorn;
And the new-born baby hears them, and he wails when he is born.
Drums of all that is to be, and all that has gone by—
And we hear there when we’re dreaming, and we hear then while we die.

The Men Who Made Bad Matches

'Tis the song of many husbands, and you all must understand
That you cannot call me coward now that women rule the land;
I have written much for women, where I thought that they were right,
But the men who made bad matches claim a song from me to-night.
Oh, the men who made bad matches are of every tribe and clime,
And, if Adam was the first man, then they date from Adam’s time.
They shall live and they shall suffer, until married life is past,
And the last sad son of Adam stands alone—at peace at last.

Oh, the men who made bad matches, and the Great Misunderstood,
Are through all the world a mighty and a silent brotherhood.
If a wife is discontented, every other woman knows—
But the men who made bad matches keep the cruel secret close.

You may say that you can tell them, by their clothing, if you will,
But a man may seem neglected, and his home be happy still.
You may tell by their assumption of conventional disguise—
But, the men who made bad matches, I can tell them by their eyes!

I have seen them by the camp-fire, where a child’s voice never comes,
I have seen them by the fireside, in their seeming happy homes—
Seen their wives’ false arms go round them, and the kisses that were lies—
Oh, the men who made bad matches! I can tell them by their eyes.

I have seen them bad in prison—seen them sullen, seen them sad;
I have seen them (in the mad-house)—I have seen them raving mad.
Watched them fight the battle bravely, for the children’s sake alone,
Like a father who has wronged them, and who lives but to atone.

But it’s cruel, oh! it’s cruel, for the husband and the wife,
Who have not one thought in common, and are yoked for weary life.
They must see it through and suffer, for the children they must rear—
Oh, the folk who made bad matches have a heavy cross to bear.

There is not a ray of comfort, in the future’s gloomy sky,
For the children of bad matches will make trouble by-and-bye.
And though second wives be angels, while the first wives were the worst,
No second wife yet wedded makes a man forget the first.

Ah! the men who made bad matches think more often than we know,
Of the girls they should have married, in the glorious long ago,
And there’s many a wife and mother thinks with bitter pain to-day,
Of her giddy, silly girlhood, and the man she sent away.

Life is sad for men and women, but the thoughts are bitter sad
Of the girls we should have married, and the boys we should have had.
But we’ll part now with a handshake, if we cannot with a kiss,
And bad matches may be mended in a better world than this.

A dusty clearing in the scrubs
Of barren, western lands—
Where, out of sight, or sign of hope
The wretched school-house stands;
A roof that glares at glaring days,
A bare, unshaded wall,
A fence that guards no blade of green—
A dust-storm over all.
The books and slates are packed away,
The maps are rolled and tied,
And for an hour I breathe, and lay
My ghastly mask aside;
I linger here to save my head
From voices shrill and thin,
That rasp for ever in the shed,
The ‘home’ I’m boarding in.

The heat and dirt and wretchedness
With which their lives began—
Bush mother nagging day and night,
And sullen, brooding man;
The minds that harp on single strings,
And never bright by chance,
The rasping voice of paltry things,
The hopeless ignorance.

I had ideals when I came here,
A noble purpose had,
But all that they can understand
Is ‘axe to grind’ or ‘mad.’
I brood at times till comes a fear
That sets my brain awhirl—
I fight a strong man’s battle here,
And I am but a girl.

I hated paltriness and deemed
A breach of faith a crime;
I listen now to scandal’s voice
In sewing-lesson time.
There is a thought that haunts me so,
And gathers strength each day—
Shall I as narrow-minded grow,
As mean of soul as they?

The feuds that rise from paltry spite,
Or from no cause at all;
The brooding, dark, suspicious minds—
I suffer for it all.
They do not dream the ‘Teacher’ knows,
What brutal thoughts are said;
The children call me ‘Pigeon Toes,’
‘Green Eyes’ and ‘Carrot Head.’

On phantom seas of endless change
My thoughts to madness roam—
The only thing that keeps me here,
The thoughts of those at home—
The hearts that love and cling to me,
That I love best on earth,
My mother left in poverty,
My brother blind from birth.

On burning West Australian fields
In that great dreadful land,
Where all day long the heat waves flow
O’er the seas of glowing sand.
My elder brother toils and breaks
That great true heart of his
To rescue us from poverty—
To rescue me from this.

And one is with him where he goes,
My brother’s mate and mine;
He never called me Pigeon Toes—
He said my eyes were ‘fine’;
And his face comes before me now,
And hope and courage rise,
The lines of life—the troubled brow,
Firm mouth and kind grey eyes.

I preach content and gentleness,
And mock example give;
They little think the Teacher hates
And loathes the life they live.
I told the infants fairy tales
But half an hour since—
They little dream how Pigeon Toes
Prays for a fairy Prince.

I have one prayer (and God forgive
A selfish prayer and wild);
I kneel down by the infants’ stool
(For I am but a child),
And pray as I’ve prayed times untold
That Heaven will set a sign,
To guide my brother to the gold,
For mother’s sake and mine.

A dust cloud on the lonely road,
And I am here alone;
I lock the door till it be past,
For I have nervous grown.

God spare me disappointment’s blow.
He stops beside the gate;
A voice, thrill-feeling that I know.
My brother! No! His mate!

His eyes—a proud, triumphant smile,
His arms outstretched, and ‘Come,
‘For Jack and I have made our pile,
‘And I’m here to take you home’!

The Captains sailed from all the World—from all the world and Spain;
And each one for his country’s ease, her glory and her gain;
The Captains sailed to Southern Seas, and sailed the Spanish Main;
And some sailed out beyond the World, and some sailed home again.
And each one for his daily bread, and bitter bread it was,
Because of things they’d left at home—or for some other cause.
Their wives and daughters made the lace to deck the Lady’s gown,
Where sailors’ wives sew dungarees by many a seaport town.

The Captains sailed in rotten ships, with often rotten crews,
Because their lands were ignorant and meaner than the ooze;
With money furnished them by Greed, or by ambition mean,
When they had crawled to some pig-faced, pig-hearted king or queen.

And when a storm was on the coast, and spray leaped o’er the quays,
Then little Joan or Dorothy, or Inez or Louise,
Would kneel her down on such a night beside her mother’s knees,
And fold her little hands and pray for those beyond the seas.
With the touching faith of little girls—the faith by love embalmed—
They’d pray for men beyond the seas who might have been becalmed.

For some will pray at CHRIST His feet, and some at MARY’S shrine;
And some to Heathen goddesses, as I have prayed to mine;
To Mecca or to Bethlehem, to Fire, or Joss, or Sol,
And one will pray to sticks or stones, and one to her rag doll.
But we are stubborn men and vain, and though we rise or fall,
Our children’s prayers or women’s prayers, GOD knows we need them all!
And no one fights the bitter gale, or strives in combat grim,
But, somewhere in the world, a child is praying hard for him.

The Captains sailed to India, to China and Japan.
They met the Strangers’ Welcome and the Friendliness of Man;
The Captains sailed to Southern Seas, and “wondrous sights” they saw—
The Rights of Man in savage lands, and law without a law.
They learnt the truth from savages, and wisdom from the wild,
And learned to walk in unknown ways, and trust them like a child.
(The sailors told of monstrous things that be where sailors roam . . .
But none had seen more monstrous things than they had seen at home.)

They found new worlds for crowded folk in cities old and worn,
And huts of hunger, fog and smoke in lands by Faction torn.
(They found the great and empty lands where Nations might be born.)
They found new foods, they found new wealth, and newer ways to live,
Where sons might grow in strength and health, with all that God would give.
They tracked their ways through unknown seas where Danger still remains,
And sailed back poor and broken men, and some sailed back in chains.
But, bound or free, or ill or well, where’er their sails were furled,
They brought to weary, worn-out lands glad tidings from the World.

The Seasons saw our fathers come, their flocks and herds increase;
They saw the old lands waste in War, the new lands waste in Peace;
The Seasons saw new gardens made, they saw the old lands bleed,
And into new lands introduced the curse of Class and Creed.
They saw the birth of Politics, and all was ripe for Greed.
And Mammon came and built his towers, and Mammon held the fort:
Till one new land went dollar-mad, and one went mad for Sport.

Where men for love of Science sailed in rotten tubs for years,
To hang or starve, while nought availed a wife or daughter’s tears—
Where men made life-long sacrifice for some blind Northern Power,
Now Science sinks a thousand souls, and sinks them in an hour.
You would be rich and great too soon—have all that mortal craves;
The day may come ere you have lived when you’ll be poor and slaves.
You heeded not the warning voice, for Self and Sport prevailed;
You yet might wish, in dust and dread, those Captains had not sailed.

Booth's Drum [1]

They were “ratty” they were hooted by the meanest and the least,
When they woke the Drum of Glory long ago in London East.
They were often mobbed by hoodlums—they were few, but unafraid—
And their Lassies were insulted, but they banged the drum—and prayed.
Prayed in public for the sinners, prayed in private for release,
Till they saved some brawny lumpers—then they banged the drum in peace.
(Saved some prize-fighter and burglars)—and they banged the drum in peace.
Booth’s Drum.
He was hook-nosed, he was “scrawny,”
He was nothing of a Don.
And his business ways seemed Yiddish,
And his speeches “kid”—or kiddish;
And we doubted his “convictions”—
But his drum is going on.

Oh, they drummed it ever onward with old Blood-and-Fire unfurled,
And they drummed it ever outward to the corners of the world.
Till they banged the drum in Greenland and they banged in Ispahan,
And they banged it round to India and China and Japan.
And they banged it through the Islands where each seasoned Son of Rum
Took them for new-fangled Jim Jams when he heard the Army Drum.
(For a bran’ new brand of Horrors, when he saw the Army come.)
So they banged it in the desert, and they banged in the snow—
They’d have banged the Drum to Mecca! with the shadow of a “show.”
(But Mohammed cut their heads off, so they had to let it go.)

Somewhere in the early eighties they had banged the drum to Bourke,
Where the job of fighting Satan was white-hot and dusty work.
Oh, the Local Lass was withered in the heat that bakes and glares,
And we sent her food and firewood but took small heed of her prayers.
We were blasphemous and beery, we were free from Creed or Care,
Till they sent their prettiest Lassies—and they broke our centre there.
So that, moderately sober, we could stand to hear them sing—
And we’d chaff their Testifiers, and throw quids into the ring.
(Never less than bobs or “dollars”—sometimes quids into the ring.)

They have “stormed” our sinful cities—banged for all that they were worth—
From Port Darwin to Port Melbourne, and from Sydney round to Perth.
We’d no need for them (or woman) when we were all right and well,
But they took us out of prison, and they took us out of Hell.
And they helped our fallen sisters who went down for such as we,
And our widows and our orphans in distress and poverty.
And neglected wives and children of the worst of us that be;
And they made us fit for Glory—or another Glorious Spree.
(So I rather think there’s something that is up to you or me.)

Oh! the Blindness of the Future!—Ah, we never reckoned much
That they’d beat the quids we gave them into bayonets and such.
That the coin would be devoted, when our world was looking blue,
To another kind of orphan—wife, or child, or widow too.
But the times have changed a sudden, and the past is very dim;
They Have Found a Real Devil, and They’re Going After Him.
(With a Bible and a Rifle they are going after him.)

For the old Salvation Army, and their Country, and their King,
They are marching to the trenches, shouting, “Comrades! Let us Sing!”
They’ll find foreign “Army” soldiers here and there and everywhere,
Who will speak their tongue and help them. And they’ll surely breathe a prayer
For the Spy—before they shoot him; and another when he’s still.
And they’re going to “fire a volley” in the Land of Kaiser Bill.
But, when all is done and quiet—as before they march away—
They will kneel about their banner, saying “Brethren. Let us pray.”

They have long used army rank-terms, and oh, say what it shall be,
When a few come back the real thing, and when one comes back V.C.!
They will bang the drum at Crow’s Nest, they will bang it on “the Shore,”
They will bang the drum in Kent-street as they never banged before.
And At Last they’ll frighten Satan from the Mansion and the Slum—
He’ll have never heard till that time such a Banging of the Drum.

He was lonely with his thousands,
Lonely in his household too,
For his children had deserted,
And his captains, not a few.
He was old and white and feeble
And his sight was nearly gone,
And he “could not see his people,”
But his drum is rolling on.
Booth’s Drum.

The Ballad Of Mabel Clare

Ye children of the Land of Gold,
I sing a song to you,
And if the jokes are somewhat old,
The main idea is new.
So be it sung, by hut and tent,
Where tall the native grows;
And understand, the song is meant
For singing through the nose.
There dwelt a hard old cockatoo
On western hills far out,
Where everything is green and blue,
Except, of course, in drought;
A crimson Anarchist was he—
Held other men in scorn—
Yet preached that ev’ry man was free,
And also ‘ekal born.’

He lived in his ancestral hut—
His missus wasn’t there—
And there was no one with him but
His daughter, Mabel Clare.
Her eyes and hair were like the sun;
Her foot was like a mat;
Her cheeks a trifle overdone;
She was a democrat.

A manly independence, born
Among the trees, she had,
She treated womankind with scorn,
And often cursed her dad.
She hated swells and shining lights,
For she had seen a few,
And she believed in ‘women’s rights’
(She mostly got’em, too).

A stranger at the neighb’ring run
Sojourned, the squatter’s guest,
He was unknown to anyone,
But like a swell was dress’d;
He had an eyeglass to his eye,
A collar to his ears,
His feet were made to tread the sky,
His mouth was formed for sneers.

He wore the latest toggery,
The loudest thing in ties—
’Twas generally reckoned he
Was something in disguise.
But who he was, or whence he came,
Was long unknown, except
Unto the squatter, who the name
And noble secret kept.

And strolling in the noontide heat,
Beneath the blinding glare,
This noble stranger chanced to meet
The radiant Mabel Clare.
She saw at once he was a swell—
According to her lights—
But, ah! ’tis very sad to tell,
She met him oft of nights.

And, strolling through a moonlit gorge,
She chatted all the while
Of Ingersoll, and Henry George,
And Bradlaugh and Carlyle:
In short, he learned to love the girl,
And things went on like this,
Until he said he was an Earl,
And asked her to be his.

‘Oh, say no more, Lord Kawlinee,
‘Oh, say no more!’ she said;
‘Oh, say no more, Lord Kawlinee,
‘I wish that I was dead:
‘My head is in a hawful whirl,
‘The truth I dare not tell—
‘I am a democratic girl,
‘And cannot wed a swell!’

‘Oh love!’ he cried, ‘but you forget
‘That you are most unjust;
‘’Twas not my fault that I was set
‘Within the upper crust.
‘Heed not the yarns the poets tell—
‘Oh, darling, do not doubt
‘A simple lord can love as well
‘As any rouseabout!

‘For you I’ll give my fortune up—
‘I’d go to work for you!
‘I’ll put the money in the cup
‘And drop the title, too.
‘Oh, fly with me! Oh, fly with me
‘Across the mountains blue!
‘Hoh, fly with me! Hoh, fly with me!—’
That very night she flew.

They took the train and journeyed down—
Across the range they sped—
Until they came to Sydney town,
Where shortly they were wed.
And still upon the western wild
Admiring teamsters tell
How Mabel’s father cursed his child
For clearing with a swell.

‘What ails my bird this bridal night,’
Exclaimed Lord Kawlinee;
‘What ails my own this bridal night—
‘O love, confide in me!’
‘Oh now,’ she said, ‘that I am yaws
‘You’ll let me weep—I must—
‘I did desert the people’s cause
‘To join the upper crust.’

O proudly smiled his lordship then—
His chimney-pot he floor’d—
‘Look up, my love, and smile again,
‘For I am not a lord!’
His eye-glass from his eye he tore,
The dickey from his breast,
And turned and stood his bride before
A rouseabout—confess’d!

‘Unknown I’ve loved you long,’ he said,
‘And I have loved you true—
‘A-shearing in your guv’ner’s shed
‘I learned to worship you.
‘I do not care for place or pelf,
‘For now, my love, I’m sure
‘That you will love me for myself
‘And not because I’m poor.

‘To prove your love I spent my cheque
‘To buy this swell rig-out;
‘So fling your arms about my neck
‘For I’m a rouseabout!’
At first she gave a startled cry,
Then, safe from care’s alarms,
She sigh’d a soul-subduing sigh
And sank into his arms.

He pawned the togs, and home he took
His bride in all her charms;
The proud old cockatoo received
The pair with open arms.
And long they lived, the faithful bride,
The noble rouseabout—
And if she wasn’t satisfied
She never let it out.

Trooper Campbell

One day old Trooper Campbell
Rode out to Blackman's Run,
His cap-peak and his sabre
Were glancing in the sun.
'Twas New Year's Eve, and slowly
Across the ridges low
The sad Old Year was drifting
To where the old years go.

The trooper's mind was reading
The love-page of his life --
His love for Mary Wylie
Ere she was Blackman's wife;
He sorrowed for the sorrows
Of the heart a rival won,
For he knew that there was trouble
Out there on Blackman's Run.

The sapling shades had lengthened,
The summer day was late,
When Blackman met the trooper
Beyond the homestead gate.
And if the hand of trouble
Can leave a lasting trace,
The lines of care had come to stay
On poor old Blackman's face.

`Not good day, Trooper Campbell,
It's a bad, bad day for me --
You are of all the men on earth
The one I wished to see.
The great black clouds of trouble
Above our homestead hang;
That wild and reckless boy of mine
Has joined M'Durmer's gang.

`Oh! save him, save him, Campbell!
I beg in friendship's name!
For if they take and hang him,
The wife would die of shame.
Could Mary or her sisters
Hold up their heads again,
And face a woman's malice
Or claim the love of men?

`And if he does a murder
'Twere better we were dead.
Don't take him, Trooper Campbell,
If a price be on his head;
But shoot him! shoot him, Campbell,
When you meet him face to face,
And save him from the gallows,
And us from that disgrace.'

`Now, Tom,' cried Trooper Campbell,
`You know your words are wild.
Though he is wild and reckless,
Yet still he is your child;
So bear up in your trouble,
And meet it like a man,
And tell the wife and daughters
I'll save him if I can.'

. . . . .

The sad Australian sunset
Had faded from the west;
But night brings darker shadows
To hearts that cannot rest;
And Blackman's wife sat rocking
And moaning in her chair.
`I cannot bear disgrace,' she moaned;
`Disgrace I cannot bear.

`In hardship and in trouble
I struggled year by year
To make my children better
Than other children here.
And if my son's a felon
How can I show my face?
I cannot bear disgrace; my God,
I cannot bear disgrace!

`Ah, God in Heaven pardon!
I'm selfish in my woe --
My boy is better-hearted
Than many that I know.
And I will face the world's disgrace,
And, till his mother's dead,
My foolish child shall find a place
To lay his outlawed head.'

. . . . .

With a sad heart Trooper Campbell
Rode back from Blackman's Run,
Nor noticed aught about him
Till thirteen miles were done;
When, close beside a cutting,
He heard the click of locks,
And saw the rifle muzzles
Were on him from the rocks.

But suddenly a youth rode out,
And, close by Campbell's side:
`Don't fire! don't fire, in heaven's name!
It's Campbell, boys!' he cried.
Then one by one in silence
The levelled rifles fell,
For who'd shoot Trooper Campbell
Of those who knew him well?

Oh, bravely sat old Campbell,
No sign of fear showed he.
He slowly drew his carbine;
It rested by his knee.
The outlaws' guns were lifted,
But none the silence broke,
Till steadfastly and firmly
Old Trooper Campbell spoke.

`That boy that you would ruin
Goes home with me, my men;
Or some of us shall never
Ride through the Gap again.
You know old Trooper Campbell,
And have you ever heard
That bluff or lead could turn him,
That e'er he broke his word?

`That reckless lad is playing
A heartless villain's part;
He knows that he is breaking
His poor old mother's heart.
He'll bring a curse upon himself;
But 'tis not that alone,
He'll bring dishonour to a name
That I'D be proud to own.

`I speak to you, M'Durmer, --
If your heart's not hardened quite,
And if you'd seen the trouble
At Blackman's home this night,
You'd help me now, M'Durmer --
I speak as man to man --
I swore to save that foolish lad,
And I'll save him if I can.'

`Oh, take him!' said M'Durmer,
`He's got a horse to ride.'
The youngster thought a moment,
Then rode to Campbell's side --
`Good-bye!' the outlaws shouted,
As up the range they sped.
`A Merry New Year, Campbell,'
Was all M'Durmer said.

. . . . .

Then fast along the ridges
Two bushmen rode a race,
And the moonlight lent a glory
To Trooper Campbell's face.
And ere the new year's dawning
They reached the home at last;
And this is but a story
Of trouble that is past!

The Last Review

Turn the light down, nurse, and leave me, while I hold my last review,
the Bush
is slipping from me, and the town is going too:
Draw the blinds, the streets are lighted, and I hear the tramp of feet—
And I’m weary, very weary, of the
Faces in the Street

In the dens of Grind and Heartbreak, in the streets of Never-Rest,
I have lost the scent and colour and the music of the West:
And I would recall old faces with the memories they bring—
Where are Bill and Jim and Mary and the
Songs They used to Sing

They are coming! They are coming! they are passing through the room
With the smell of gum leaves burning, and the scent of
Wattle bloom!

And behind them in the timber, after dust and heat and toil,
Others sit beside the camp fire yarning while the billies boil.

In the Gap above the ridges there’s a flash and there’s a glow—
Swiftly down the scrub-clad siding come the
Lights of Cobb and Co
Red face from the box-seat beaming—Oh, how plain those faces come!
From his ‘Golden-Hole’ ’tis Peter M’Intosh who’s going home.

Dusty patch in desolation, bare slab walls and earthen floor,
And a blinding drought is blazing from horizons to the door:
Milkless tea and ration sugar, damper junk and pumpkin mash—
And a
Day on our Selection
passes by me in a flash.

Rush of big wild-eyed store bullocks while the sheep crawl hopelessly,
And the loaded wool teams rolling, lurching on like ships at sea:
With his whip across his shoulder (and the wind just now abeam),
There goes
Jimmy Nowlett
ploughing through the dust beside his team!

Sunrise on the diggings! (Oh! what life and hearts and hopes are here)
From a hundred pointing forges comes a tinkle, tinkle clear—
Strings of drays with wash to puddle, clack of countless windlass boles,
Here and there
the red flag flying
, flying over golden holes.

Picturesque, unreal, romantic, chivalrous, and brave and free;
Clean in living, true in mateship—reckless generosity.
Mates are buried here as comrades who on fields of battle fall—
And—the dreams, the aching, hoping lover hearts beneath it all!

Rough-built theatres and stages where the world’s best actors trod—
Singers bringing reckless rovers nearer boyhood, home and God;
Paid in laughter, tears and nuggets in the play that fortune plays—
’Tis the palmy days of Gulgong—Gulgong in
the Roaring Days.

Pass the same old scenes before me—and again my heart can ache—
There the
Drover’s Wife
sits watching (not as Eve did) for a snake.
And I see the drear deserted goldfields when the night is late,
And the stony face of Mason watching by his
Father’s Mate.

And I see my
Haggard Women
plainly as they were in life,
’Tis the form of Mrs. Spicer and her friend,
Joe Wilson’s wife,

Sitting hand in hand
‘Past Carin
’,’ not a sigh and not a moan,
Staring steadily before her and the tears just trickle down.

It was
No Place for a Woman
—where the women worked like men—
From the Bush and Jones’ Alley come their haunting forms again.
And, let this thing be remembered when I’ve answered to the roll,
That I pitied haggard women—wrote for them with all my soul.

Narrow bed-room in the City in the hard days that are dead—
An alarm clock on the table, and a pale boy on the bed:
Arvie Aspinalls Alarm Clock with its harsh and startling call
Never more shall break his slumbers—I was Arvie Aspinall.

, cynic, spieler, stiff-lipped, battler-through
(Kept a wife and child in comfort, but of course they never knew—
Thought he was an honest bagman)—Well, old man, you needn’t hug—
Sentimental; you of all men!—Steelman, Oh! I was a mug!

Ghostly lines of scrub at daybreak—dusty daybreak in the drought—
And a lonely swagman tramping on the track to
Further Out
Like a shade the form of Mitchell, nose-bag full and bluey up
And between the swag and shoulders lolls his foolish cattle-pup.

Kindly cynic, sad comedian! Mitchell! when you’ve left the Track,
And have shed your load of sorrow as we slipped our swags out back,
We shall have a yarn together in the land of
Rest Awhile

And across his ragged shoulder Mitchell smiles his quiet smile.

Shearing sheds and tracks and shanties—girls that wait at homestead gates—
Camps and stern-eyed Union leaders, and
Joe Wilson and his Mates

True and straight, and to my fancy, each one as he passes through
Deftly down upon the table slips a dusty ‘note’ or two.

So at last the end has found me—(end of all the human push)
And again in silence round me come my
Children of the Bush
Listen, who are young, and let them—if I in late and bitter days
Wrote some reckless lines—forget them—there is little there to praise.

I was human, very human, and if in the days misspent
I have injured man or woman, it was done without intent.
If at times I blundered blindly—bitter heart and aching brow—
If I wrote a line unkindly—I am sorry for it now.

Days in London
like a nightmare—dreams of foreign lands and sea—
is the only land that seemeth real to me.
Tell the Bushmen to Australia and each other to be true—
‘Tell the boys to stick together!’ I have held my
Last Review.

A Fantasy Of War

From Australia
OH, tell me, God of Battles! Oh, say what is to come!
The King is in his trenches, the millionaire at home;
The Kaiser with his toiling troops, the Czar is at the front.
Oh! Tell me, God of Battles! Who bears the battle’s brunt?
The Queen knits socks for soldiers, the Empress does the same,
And know no more than peasant girls which nation is to blame.
The wounded live to fight again, or live to slave for bread;
The Slain have graves above the Slain—the Dead are with the Dead.
The widowed young shall wed or not, the widowed old remain—
And all the nations of the world prepare for war again!
But ere that time shall be, O God, say what shall here befall!
Ten millions at the battle fronts, and we’re five millions all!
The world You made was wide, O God, the world we made is small.
We toiled not as our fathers toiled, for
Sport was all our boast;
And so we built our cities, Lord, like warts, upon the coast.

From Europe
The seer stood on the mountain side, the witch was in her cave;
The gipsy with his caravan, the sailor on the wave;
The sophist in his easy chair, with ne’er a soul to save,
The factory slaves went forth to slave, the peasant to the field;
The women worked in winter there for one-tenth of the yield;
The village Granny nursed their babes to give them time to slave;
The child was in the cradle, and the grandsire in his grave.
The rich man slumbered in his chair, full fed with wine and meat;
The lady in her carriage sat, the harlot walked the street
With paint upon her cheek and neck, through winter’s snow and sleet.
We saw the pride of Wealth go mad, and Misery increase—
And still the God of Gods was dumb and all the world was Peace!

The wizard on the mountain side, he drew a rasping breath,
For he was old and near to life, as he was near to death;
And he looked out and saw the star they saw at Nazareth.
“Two thousand years have passed,” he said. “A thousand years,” he said.
“A hundred years have passed,” he said, “and, lo! the star is red!
The time has come at last,” he said, and bowed his hoary head.
He laid him on the mountain-side—and so the seer was dead.
And so the Eastern Star was red, and it was red indeed—
We saw the Red Star in the South, but we took little heed.
(The Prophet in his garret starved or drank himself to death.)

The witch was mumbling in her hole before the dawn was grey;
The witch she took a crooked stick and prodded in the clay;
She doddered round and mumbled round as is the beldame’s way.
“Four children shall be born,” she said, “four children at a birth;
Four children of a peasant brood—and what shall come on earth?
Four of the poorest peasantry that Europe knows,” she said,
“And all the nations of the world shall count their gory dead!”
The babes are born in Italy—and all the world is red!

The Ship

The world You gave was wide, O Lord, and wars were far away!
The goal was just as near, O Lord, to-morrow or to-day!
The tree You grew was stout and sound to carve the plank and keel.
(And when the darkness hid the sky Your hand was on the wheel.)
The pine You grew was straight and tall to fashion spar and mast.
Our sails and gear from flax and hemp were stout and firm and fast.
You gave the metal from the mine and taught the carpenter
To fasten plank and rib and beam, and sheath and iron her.
The world You made was wide, O Lord, with signs on sea and sky;
And all the stars were true, O Lord, you gave to steer her by.
More graceful than the albatross upon the morning breeze.
Ah me! she was the fairest thing that ever sailed the seas;
And when the madness of mankind burns out at last in war,
The world may yet behold the day she’ll sail the seas once more.
We were not satisfied, O Lord, we were not satisfied;
We stole Your electricity to fortify our pride!
You gave the horse to draw our loads, You gave the horse to ride;
But we must fly above the Alps and race beneath the tide.
We searched in sacred places for the things we did not need;
Your anger shook our cities down—and yet we took no heed.
We robbed the water and the air to give us “energy,”
As we’d exhaust Thy secret store of electricity.
The day may come—and such a day!—when we shall need all three.

And lest Thou shouldst not understand our various ways and whys,
We cut Thy trees for paper, Lord, where-on to print our lies.
We sent the grand Titanic forth, for pleasure, gold and show;
And all her skeletons of wealth and jewels lie below.
For fame or curiosity, for pride, and greed, or trade,
We sought to know all things and make all things that Thou hast made!
From Pole to Pole we sought to speak, and Heaven’s powers employ—
Our cruisers feverishly seek such language to destroy.
We shaped all things for war, and now the Sister Nations wade
Knee-deep in white man’s blood to wreck all things that we have made!
For in the rottenness of Peace—worse than this bitter strife!—
We murdered the Humanity and Poetry of Life.

The Bells and the Child
The gongs are in the temple—the bells are in the tower;
The “tom-tom” in the jungle and the town clock tells the hour;
And all Thy feathered kind at morn have testified Thy power.

Did ever statesman save a land or science save a soul?—
Did ever Tower of Babel stand or war-drums cease to roll?—
Or wedding-bells to ring, O Lord—or requiems to toll?

Did ever child in cradle laid—born of a healthy race—
Cease for an hour, all unafraid, to testify Thy grace?
That shook its rattle from its bed in its proud father’s face?

Cathedral bells must cease awhile, because of Pride and Sin,
That never failed a wedding-morn that hailed a king and queen,
Or failed to peal for victory that brave men died to win.
(Or failed to ring the Old Year out and ring the New Year in.)

The world You made was wide, O God!—O God, ’tis narrow now—
And all its ways must run with blood, for we knew more than Thou!
And millions perish at the guns or rot beside the plough,
For we knew more than Thou.

The Star Of Australasia

We boast no more of our bloodless flag, that rose from a nation's slime;
Better a shred of a deep-dyed rag from the storms of the olden time.
From grander clouds in our `peaceful skies' than ever were there before
I tell you the Star of the South shall rise -- in the lurid clouds of war.
It ever must be while blood is warm and the sons of men increase;
For ever the nations rose in storm, to rot in a deadly peace.
There comes a point that we will not yield, no matter if right or wrong,
And man will fight on the battle-field
while passion and pride are strong --
So long as he will not kiss the rod, and his stubborn spirit sours,
And the scorn of Nature and curse of God are heavy on peace like ours.

. . . . .

There are boys out there by the western creeks, who hurry away from school
To climb the sides of the breezy peaks or dive in the shaded pool,
Who'll stick to their guns when the mountains quake
to the tread of a mighty war,
And fight for Right or a Grand Mistake as men never fought before;
When the peaks are scarred and the sea-walls crack
till the furthest hills vibrate,
And the world for a while goes rolling back in a storm of love and hate.

. . . . .

There are boys to-day in the city slum and the home of wealth and pride
Who'll have one home when the storm is come, and fight for it side by side,
Who'll hold the cliffs 'gainst the armoured hells
that batter a coastal town,
Or grimly die in a hail of shells when the walls come crashing down.
And many a pink-white baby girl, the queen of her home to-day,
Shall see the wings of the tempest whirl the mist of our dawn away --
Shall live to shudder and stop her ears to the thud of the distant gun,
And know the sorrow that has no tears when a battle is lost and won, --
As a mother or wife in the years to come, will kneel, wild-eyed and white,
And pray to God in her darkened home for the `men in the fort to-night'.

. . . . .

But, oh! if the cavalry charge again as they did when the world was wide,
'Twill be grand in the ranks of a thousand men
in that glorious race to ride
And strike for all that is true and strong,
for all that is grand and brave,
And all that ever shall be, so long as man has a soul to save.
He must lift the saddle, and close his `wings', and shut his angels out,
And steel his heart for the end of things,
who'd ride with a stockman scout,
When the race they ride on the battle track, and the waning distance hums,
And the shelled sky shrieks or the rifles crack
like stockwhip amongst the gums --
And the `straight' is reached and the field is `gapped'
and the hoof-torn sward grows red
With the blood of those who are handicapped with iron and steel and lead;
And the gaps are filled, though unseen by eyes,
with the spirit and with the shades
Of the world-wide rebel dead who'll rise and rush with the Bush Brigades.

. . . . .

All creeds and trades will have soldiers there --
give every class its due --
And there'll be many a clerk to spare for the pride of the jackeroo.
They'll fight for honour and fight for love, and a few will fight for gold,
For the devil below and for God above, as our fathers fought of old;
And some half-blind with exultant tears, and some stiff-lipped, stern-eyed,
For the pride of a thousand after-years and the old eternal pride;
The soul of the world they will feel and see
in the chase and the grim retreat --
They'll know the glory of victory -- and the grandeur of defeat.

The South will wake to a mighty change ere a hundred years are done
With arsenals west of the mountain range and every spur its gun.
And many a rickety son of a gun, on the tides of the future tossed,
Will tell how battles were really won that History says were lost,
Will trace the field with his pipe, and shirk
the facts that are hard to explain,
As grey old mates of the diggings work the old ground over again --
How `this was our centre, and this a redoubt,
and that was a scrub in the rear,
And this was the point where the guards held out,
and the enemy's lines were here.'

. . . . .

They'll tell the tales of the nights before
and the tales of the ship and fort
Till the sons of Australia take to war as their fathers took to sport,
Their breath come deep and their eyes grow bright
at the tales of our chivalry,
And every boy will want to fight, no matter what cause it be --
When the children run to the doors and cry:
`Oh, mother, the troops are come!'
And every heart in the town leaps high at the first loud thud of the drum.
They'll know, apart from its mystic charm, what music is at last,
When, proud as a boy with a broken arm, the regiment marches past.
And the veriest wreck in the drink-fiend's clutch,
no matter how low or mean,
Will feel, when he hears the march, a touch
of the man that he might have been.
And fools, when the fiends of war are out and the city skies aflame,
Will have something better to talk about than an absent woman's shame,
Will have something nobler to do by far than jest at a friend's expense,
Or blacken a name in a public bar or over a backyard fence.
And this you learn from the libelled past,
though its methods were somewhat rude --
A nation's born where the shells fall fast, or its lease of life renewed.
We in part atone for the ghoulish strife,
and the crimes of the peace we boast,
And the better part of a people's life in the storm comes uppermost.

The self-same spirit that drives the man to the depths of drink and crime
Will do the deeds in the heroes' van that live till the end of time.
The living death in the lonely bush, the greed of the selfish town,
And even the creed of the outlawed push is chivalry -- upside down.
'Twill be while ever our blood is hot, while ever the world goes wrong,
The nations rise in a war, to rot in a peace that lasts too long.
And southern nation and southern state, aroused from their dream of ease,
Must sign in the Book of Eternal Fate their stormy histories.

The Ballad Of The Elder Son

A son of elder sons I am,
Whose boyhood days were cramped and scant,
Through ages of domestic sham
And family lies and family cant.
Come, elder brothers mine, and bring
Dull loads of care that you have won,
And gather round me while I sing
The ballad of the elder son.

’Twas Christ who spake in parables—
To picture man was his intent;
A simple tale He simply tells,
And He Himself makes no comment.
A morbid sympathy is felt
For prodigals—the selfish ones—
The crooked world has ever dealt
Unjustly by the elder sons.

The elder son on barren soil,
Where life is crude and lands are new,
Must share the father’s hardest toil,
And share the father’s troubles too.
With no child-thoughts to meet his own
His childhood is a lonely one:
The youth his father might have known
Is seldom for the eldest son.

It seems so strange, but fate is grim,
And Heaven’s ways are hard to track,
Though ten young scamps come after him
The rod falls heaviest on his back.
And, well I’ll say it might be caused
By a half-sense of injustice done—
That vague resentment parents feel
So oft towards the eldest son.

He, too, must bear the father’s name,
He loves his younger brother, too,
And feels the younger brother’s shame
As keenly as his parents do.
The mother’s prayers, the father’s curse,
The sister’s tears have all been done—
We seldom see in prose or verse
The prayers of the elder son.

But let me to the parable
With eyes on facts but fancy free;
And don’t belie me if I tell
The story as it seems to me—
For, mind, I do not mean to sneer
(I was religious when a child),
I wouldn’t be surprised to hear
That Christ himself had sometimes smiled.

A certain squatter had two sons
Up Canaan way some years ago.
The graft was hard on those old runs,
And it was hot and life was slow.
The younger brother coolly claimed
The portion that he hadn’t earned,
And sought the ‘life’ for which untamed
And high young spirits always yearned.

A year or so he knocked about,
And spent his cheques on girls and wine,
And, getting stony in the drought,
He took a job at herding swine,
And though he is a hog that swigs
And fools with girls till all is blue—
’Twas rather rough to shepherd pigs
And have to eat their tucker too.

“When he came to himself,” he said
(I take my Bible from the shelf:
There’s nothing like a feed of husks
To bring a young man to himself.
And when you’re done with wine and girls—
Right here a moral seems to shine—
And are hard up, you’ll find no pearls
Are cast by friends before your swine)—

When he came to himself, he said—
He reckoned pretty shrewdly, too—
‘The rousers in my father’s shed
‘Have got more grub than they can chew;
‘I’ve been a fool, but such is fate—
‘I guess I’ll talk the guv’nor round:
‘“I’ve acted cronk,” I’ll tell him straight;
‘(He’s had his time too, I’ll be bound).

‘I’ll tell him straight I’ve had my fling,
‘I’ll tell him “I’ve been on the beer,
‘“But put me on at anything,
‘“I’ll graft with any bounder here.”’
He rolled his swag and struck for home—
He was by this time pretty slim
And, when the old man saw him come—
Well, you know how he welcomed him.

They’ve brought the best robe in the house,
The ring, and killed the fatted calf,
And now they hold a grand carouse,
And eat and drink and dance and laugh:
And from the field the elder son—
Whose character is not admired—
Comes plodding home when work is done,
And very hot and very tired.

He asked the meaning of the sound
Of such unwonted revelry,
They said his brother had been ‘found’
(He’d found himself it seemed to me);
’Twas natural in the elder son
To take the thing a little hard
And brood on what was past and done
While standing outside in the yard.

Now he was hungry and knocked out
And would, if they had let him be,
Have rested and cooled down, no doubt,
And hugged his brother after tea,
And welcomed him and hugged his dad
And filled the wine cup to the brim—
But, just when he was feeling bad
The old man came and tackled him.

He well might say with bitter tears
While music swelled and flowed the wine—
‘Lo, I have served thee many years
‘Nor caused thee one grey hair of thine.
‘Whate’er thou bad’st me do I did
‘And for my brother made amends;
‘Thou never gavest me a kid
‘That I might make merry with my friends.’

(He was no honest clod and glum
Who could not trespass, sing nor dance—
He could be merry with a chum,
It seemed, if he had half a chance;
Perhaps, if further light we seek,
He knew—and herein lay the sting—
His brother would clear out next week
And promptly pop the robe and ring).

The father said, ‘The wandering one,
‘The lost is found, this son of mine,
‘But thou art always with me, son—
‘Thou knowest all I have is thine.’
(It seemed the best robe and the ring,
The love and fatted calf were not;
But this was just a little thing
The old man in his joy forgot.)

The father’s blindness in the house,
The mother’s fond and foolish way
Have caused no end of ancient rows
Right back to Cain and Abel’s day.
The world will blame the eldest born—
But—well, when all is said and done,
No coat has ever yet been worn
That had no colour more than one.

Oh! if I had the power to teach—
The strength for which my spirit craves—
The cant of parents I would preach
Who slave and make their children slaves.
For greed of gain, and that alone
Their youth they steal, their hearts they break
And then, the wretched misers moan—
‘We did it for our children’s sake.’

‘And all I have’—the paltry bribe
That he might slave contented yet
While envied by his selfish tribe
The birthright he might never get:
The worked-out farm and endless graft,
The mortgaged home, the barren run—
The heavy, hopeless overdraft—
The portion of the elder son.

He keeps his parents when they’re old,
He keeps a sister in distress,
His wife must work and care for them
And bear with all their pettishness.
The mother’s moan is ever heard,
And, whining for the worthless one,
She seldom has a kindly word
To say about her eldest son.

’Tis he, in spite of sneer and jibe,
Who stands the friend when others fail:
He bears the burdens of his tribe
And keeps his brother out of jail.
He lends the quid and pays the fine,
And for the family pride he smarts—
For reasons I cannot divine
They hate him in their heart of hearts.

A satire on this world of sin—
Where parents seldom understand—
That night the angels gathered in
The firstborn of that ancient land.
Perhaps they thought, in those old camps,
While suffering for the blow that fell,
They might have better spared the scamps
And Josephs that they loved so well.

Sometimes the Eldest takes the track
When things at home have got too bad—
He comes not crawling, canting back
To seek the blind side of his dad.
He always finds a knife and fork
And meat between on which to dine,
And, though he sometimes deals in pork,
You’ll never catch him herding swine.

The happy home, the overdraft,
His birthright and his prospects gay,
And likewise his share of the graft,
He leaves the rest to grab. And they—
Who’d always do the thing by halves,
If anything for him was done—
Would kill a score of fatted calves
To welcome home the eldest son.