The stream that, crooning to itself, Comes down a tireless rover, Flows calmly to the rocky shelf, And there leaps bravely over.
Now pouring down, now lost in spray When mountain breezes sally, The water strikes the rock midway, And leaps into the valley.
Now in the west the colours change, The blue with crimson blending; Behind the far Dividing Range, The sun is fast descending.
And mellowed day comes o'er the place, And softens ragged edges; The rising moon's great placid face Looks gravely o'er the ledges.
It was pleasant up the country, City Bushman, where you went, For you sought the greener patches and you travelled like a gent; And you curse the trams and buses and the turmoil and the push, Though you know the squalid city needn't keep you from the bush; But we lately heard you singing of the `plains where shade is not', And you mentioned it was dusty -- `all was dry and all was hot'.
True, the bush `hath moods and changes' -- and the bushman hath 'em, too, For he's not a poet's dummy -- he's a man, the same as you; But his back is growing rounder -- slaving for the absentee -- And his toiling wife is thinner than a country wife should be. For we noticed that the faces of the folks we chanced to meet Should have made a greater contrast to the faces in the street; And, in short, we think the bushman's being driven to the wall, And it's doubtful if his spirit will be `loyal thro' it all'.
Though the bush has been romantic and it's nice to sing about, There's a lot of patriotism that the land could do without -- Sort of BRITISH WORKMAN nonsense that shall perish in the scorn Of the drover who is driven and the shearer who is shorn, Of the struggling western farmers who have little time for rest, And are ruined on selections in the sheep-infested West; Droving songs are very pretty, but they merit little thanks From the people of a country in possession of the Banks.
And the `rise and fall of seasons' suits the rise and fall of rhyme, But we know that western seasons do not run on schedule time; For the drought will go on drying while there's anything to dry, Then it rains until you'd fancy it would bleach the sunny sky -- Then it pelters out of reason, for the downpour day and night Nearly sweeps the population to the Great Australian Bight. It is up in Northern Queensland that the seasons do their best, But it's doubtful if you ever saw a season in the West; There are years without an autumn or a winter or a spring, There are broiling Junes, and summers when it rains like anything.