`When you feel your life is sinking in a dull and useless course, And begin to find in drinking keener pleasure and remorse -- When you feel the love of leisure on your careless heart take holt, Break away from friends and pleasure, though it give your heart a jolt. Shun the poison breath of cities -- billiard-rooms and private bars, Go where you can breathe God's air and see the grandeur of the stars! Find again and follow up the old ambitions that you had -- See if you can raise a drink, old man, I'm feelin' mighty bad -- Hot and sweetened, nip o' butter -- squeeze o' lemon, Pete,' he sighed. And, while Peter went to fetch it, Joseph went to sleep -- and died With a smile -- anticipation, maybe, of the peace to come, Or a joke to try on Peter -- or, perhaps, it was the rum.
Peter staggered, gripped the table, swerved as some old drunkard swerves -- At a gulp he drank the toddy, just to brace his shattered nerves. It was awful, if you like. But then he hadn't time to think -- All is nothing! Nothing matters! Fill your glasses -- dead man's drink.
Yet, to show his heart was not of human decency bereft, Peter paid the undertaker. He got drunk on what was left; Then he shed some tears, half-maudlin, on the grave where lay the Co., And he drifted to a township where the city failures go. Where, though haunted by the man he was, the wreck he yet might be, Or the man he might have been, or by each spectre of the three, And the dying words of Joseph, ringing through his own despair, Peter `pulled himself together' and he started business there.
But his life was very lonely, and his heart was very sad, And no help to reformation was the company he had -- Men who might have been, who had been, but who were not in the swim -- 'Twas a town of wrecks and failures -- they appreciated him. They would ask him who the Co. was -- that queer company he kept -- And he'd always answer vaguely -- he would say his partner slept; That he had a `sleeping partner' -- jesting while his spirit broke -- And they grinned above their glasses, for they took it as a joke. He would shout while he had money, he would joke while he had breath -- No one seemed to care or notice how he drank himself to death; Till at last there came a morning when his smile was seen no more -- He was gone from out the office, and his shingle from the door, And a boundary-rider jogging out across the neighb'ring run Was attracted by a something that was blazing in the sun; And he found that it was Peter, lying peacefully at rest, With a bottle close beside him and the shingle on his breast. Well, they analysed the liquor, and it would appear that he Qualified his drink with something good for setting spirits free. Though 'twas plainly self-destruction -- `'twas his own affair,' they said; And the jury viewed him sadly, and they found -- that he was dead.
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.'