William Henry Ogilvie

William Henry Ogilvie Poems

The hats of a man may be many

In the course of a varied career,
...

My road is fenced with the bleached, white bones
And strewn with the blind, white sand,
Beside me a suffering, dumb world moans
On the breast of a lonely land.
...

Ben Hall was out on Lachlans side
With a thousand pounds on his head;
A score of troopers were scattered wide
...

The camp-fire gleams resistance
To every twinkling star;
The horse-bells in the distance
Are jangling faint and far;
...

Great big lolloping lovable things!
Rolling and tumbling on every lawn,
Tearing at slippers and bones and wings-
...

Store cattle from Nelanjie! The mob goes feeding past,
With half-a-mile of sandhill 'twixt the leaders and the last;
The nags that move behind them are the good old Queensland stamp-
Short backs and perfect shoulders that are priceless on a camp;
...

Now, money was scarce and work was slack
And love to his heart Crept in,
And he rode away on the Northern track
To war with the world and win;
...

The skies that arched his land were blue,

His bush-born winds were warm and sweet,
...

When you've ridden a four-year-old half of the day
And, foam to the fetlock, they lead him away,
...

He was the Red Creek overseer, a trusted man and true,
Whose shoulder never left the wheel when there was work to do;
...

Hurrah for the storm-clouds sweeping!

Hurrah for the driving rain!
...

All day we had driven the starving sheep to the scrub where the axes ply,
And the weakest had lagged upon weary feet and dropped from the ranks to die;
And the crows Hew up from the rotting heaps and the ewes too weak to stand,
And the fences Haunted red skins like flags, and the dour drought held the land.
...

These are the men with the sun-tanned faces
and the keen far-sighted eyes-
the men of the open spaces,
and the land where the mirage lies.
...

As I wandered home
By Hedworth Combe
I heard a lone horse whinney,
...

‘ He's away ! '- With a quickened wild beat of the heart
Every horseman responds, riding hard for a start,
...

The real ones, the right ones, the straight ones and the true,
The pukka, peerless sportsmen-their numbers are but few;
...

If I were old, a broken man and blind,
and one should lead me to Mid-Eildon's crest,
and leave me there a little time to rest
...

Harry Morant was a friend I had
In the years long passed away,
A chivalrous, wild and reckless lad,
A knight born out of his day.
...

This is our heritage; the far-flung grass,
The golden stubble and the dark-red moor;
Men pass and perish as the swift years pass,
...

On a little old bush racecourse at the back of No Man’s Land,
Where the mulgas mark the furlongs and a dead log marks the stand,
...

William Henry Ogilvie Biography

Born in Kelso, Scotland, Ogilvie moved to Australia at the age of twenty. One of his reasons for leaving his homeland was his admiration of the writer Adam Lindsay Gordon and like Gordon, a great love for horses. When he arrived in Australia he found work as a drover, a breaker, and a musterer. He worked at Maroupe, located in South Australia as well as Belalie on the Warrego. It was during this time that he began writing, his poetry focusing on the Outback life and it's many adventures in an acclamatory, romantic verse. Ogilvie had many of his works published in the Mount Gambier Border Watch, the Australasian and the Bulletin. A couple of years before his return to Scotland in 1901 he published his most well known collection of verse in 1898. It is considered to be his best and most notable piece of work. While all of his works were published in Australia, he never returned. After his return to Scotland he continued to write poems that concerned the Scottish borders. The well known poet, Hugh McDairmund, hailed his work as a triumph. Unfortunately, though he was successful in both countries, he died practically unknown and has become one of the more obscure poets of that era.)

The Best Poem Of William Henry Ogilvie

My Hat!

The hats of a man may be many

In the course of a varied career,

And some have been worth not a penny

And some have been devilish dear;

But there's one hat I always remember
When sitting alone by the fire.

In the depth of a Northern November,

Because it fulfilled my desire.



It was old, it was ragged and rotten

And many years out of mode,

Like a thing that a tramp had forgotten

And left at the side of a road.

The boughs of the mulga had torn it,

It's ribbon was naught but lace,

And old swaggie would not have worn it

Without a sad smile on his face.


When I took off the hat to the ladies

It was rather with sorrow than swank,

And often I wished it in Hades
When the gesture drew only a blank;

But for swatting a fly on the tucker

Or lifting a quart from the fire

Or belting the ribs of a bucker

It was all that a man could desire.



When it ought to have gone to the cleaner's

(And stayed there, as somebody said!)

It was handy for flogging the weaners

From the drafting-yard into the shed.

And oft it has served as a dish for

A kelpie in need of a drink;

It was all that a fellow could wish for

In many more ways than you'd think.



It was spotted and stained by the weather,

There was more than one hole in the crown,

And it made little difference whether

The rim was turned up or turned down.

It kept out the rain (in a fashion)

And kept off the sun (more or less),

Bt it merely comanded compassion

Considered as part of one's dress.



Though it wasn't a hat you would bolt with

Or be anxious to borrow or hire,

It was useful to blindfold a colt with

Or handle a bit of barbed wire.

Though the world may have thought it improper

To wear such old rubbish as that,

I'd have scorned the best London-made topper

In exchange for my old battered hat.

William Henry Ogilvie Comments

Bootlace Phil 13 September 2018

Ogilvie what a Wonderful Poet, One of the Finest! can you Imagine He and Harry Morant Together? One wonders, Did they collaborate together When Versing? There is a Similarity Esp with Morants verse? ?

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