Robert Lowe

(1811-1892 / England)

Song Of The Squatters I


The gum has no shade,
And the wattle no fruit,
The parrot don’t warble
In trolls like the flute,
The cockatoo cooeth
Not much like a dove,
Yet fear not to ride
To my station, my love;
Four hundred miles off
Is the goal of our way,
It is done in a week
At but sixty a day;
The plains are all dusty,
The creeks are all dried,
’Tis the fairest of weather
To bring home my bride.
The blue vault of heaven
Shall curtain thy form,
One side of a gum tree
The moonbeam must warm;
The whizzing mosquito
Shall dance o’er thy head,
And the guana shall squat
At the foot of thy bed;
The brave laughing jackass
Shall sing thee to sleep,
And the snake o’er thy slumbers
His vigils shall keep.
Then sleep, lady, sleep,
Without dreaming of pain,
Till the frost of the morning
Shall wake thee again.
Our brave bridal bower
I built not of stones,
Though, like old Doubting Castle,
’Tis paved with bones,
The bones of the sheep
On whose flesh I have fed,
Where thy thin satin slipper
Unshrinking may tread,
For the dogs have all polished
Them clean with their teeth,
And they’re better, believe me,
Than what lies beneath.
My door has no hinge,
And the window no pane,
They let out the smoke,
But they let in the rain;
The frying-pan serves us
For table and dish,
And the tin pot of tea stands
Still filled for your wish;
The sugar is brown,
The milk is all done,
But the stick it is stirred with
Is better than none.
The stockmen will swear,
And the shepherds won’t sing,
But a dog’s a companion
Enough for a king.
So fear not, fair lady,
Your desolate way,
Your clothes will arrive
In three months with my dray.
Then mount, lady, mount, to the wilderness fly,
My stores are laid in, and my shearing is nigh,
And our steeds, that through Sydney exultingly wheel,
Must graze in a week on the banks of the Peel.

Submitted: Tuesday, October 05, 2010

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