Clarence Michael James Stanislaus Dennis

(7 September 1876 - 22 June 1938 / Auburn, South Australia)

The Song of the Sulky Stockman


Come, let us sing with a right good ring
(Sing hey for lifting lay, sing hey!)
Of any old, sunny old, silly old thing.
(Sing ho for the ballad of a backblock day!)
The sun shone brightly overhead,
And the shearers stood by the shearing shed;
But "The run wants rain," the stockman said
(Sing di-dum, wattle-gum, Narrabori Ned.
For a lifting lay sing hey!)

The colts were clipped and the sheep were shorn
(Sing hey for a lilting lay, sing hey!)
But the stockman stood there all forlorn.
(Sing ho for the ballad of a backblock day!)
The rails were up and the gate was tied,
And the big black bull was safe inside;
But "The wind's gone West!" the stockman sighed
(Sing, di-dum, wattle-gum, rally for a ride.
For a lifting lay sing hey!)

The cook came out as the clock struck one
(Sing hey for a lilting lay, sing hey!)
And the boundary rider got his gun.
(Sing ho for the ballad of a backblock day!)
He fired it once at an old black crow;
But the shot went wide, for he aimed too low;
And the stockman said, "Fat stock is low."
(Sing, di-dum, wattle-gum, Jerridiiii Joe.
For a lifting lay sing hey!)

They spread their swags in the gum-tree's shade
(Sing hey for a lilting lay, sing hey!)
For the work was done and the cheques were paid.
(Sing ho for the ballad of a backblock day!)
The overseer rode in at three,
But his horse pulled back and would not gee,
And the stockman said, "We're up a tree!"
(Sing, di-dum, wattle-gum, Johnny-cake for tea.
For a lilting lay sing hey!)

The sun sank down and the stars shone out
(Sing hey for a lifting lay, sing hey!)
And the old book-keeper moped about.
(Sing ho for the ballad of a backblock day!)
The dingo walled to the mopoke's call,
The crazy colt stamped in his stall;
But the stockman groaned, "it's bunk for all."
(Sing, di-dum, wattle-gum, wattle-gum, wattle-gum,
Hey for a backblock day!
Sing hey!
Sing hey for a lifting lay!)

Submitted: Thursday, January 01, 2004

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