Save the glimmer of stars, or the moon's pallid streams, And the sounds of the 'possums that camp on the beams, The bar-room is dark and the stable is still, For the coach comes no more over Cherry-tree Hill. No riders push on through the darkness to win The rest and the comfort of Cherry-tree Inn.
I drift from my theme, for my memory strays To the carrying, digging, and bushranging days -- Far back to the seasons that I love the best, When a stream of wild diggers rushed into the west, But the `rushes' grew feeble, and sluggish, and thin, Till scarcely a swagman passed Cherry-tree Inn.
Do you think, my old mate (if it's thinking you be), Of the days when you tramped to the goldfields with me? Do you think of the day of our thirty-mile tramp, When never a fire could we light on the camp, And, weary and footsore and drenched to the skin, We tramped through the darkness to Cherry-tree Inn?
Then I had a sweetheart and you had a wife, And Johnny was more to his mother than life; But we solemnly swore, ere that evening was done, That we'd never return till our fortunes were won. Next morning to harvests of folly and sin We tramped o'er the ranges from Cherry-tree Inn.
The years have gone over with many a change, And there comes an old swagman from over the range, And faint 'neath the weight of his rain-sodden load, He suddenly thinks of the inn by the road. He tramps through the darkness the shelter to win, And reaches the ruins of Cherry-tree Inn.
I am back from up the country -- very sorry that I went -- Seeking for the Southern poets' land whereon to pitch my tent; I have lost a lot of idols, which were broken on the track, Burnt a lot of fancy verses, and I'm glad that I am back. Further out may be the pleasant scenes of which our poets boast, But I think the country's rather more inviting round the coast. Anyway, I'll stay at present at a boarding-house in town, Drinking beer and lemon-squashes, taking baths and cooling down.
`Sunny plains'! Great Scott! -- those burning wastes of barren soil and sand With their everlasting fences stretching out across the land! Desolation where the crow is! Desert where the eagle flies, Paddocks where the luny bullock starts and stares with reddened eyes; Where, in clouds of dust enveloped, roasted bullock-drivers creep Slowly past the sun-dried shepherd dragged behind his crawling sheep. Stunted peak of granite gleaming, glaring like a molten mass Turned from some infernal furnace on a plain devoid of grass.
Miles and miles of thirsty gutters -- strings of muddy water-holes In the place of `shining rivers' -- `walled by cliffs and forest boles.' Barren ridges, gullies, ridges! where the ever-madd'ning flies -- Fiercer than the plagues of Egypt -- swarm about your blighted eyes! Bush! where there is no horizon! where the buried bushman sees Nothing -- Nothing! but the sameness of the ragged, stunted trees! Lonely hut where drought's eternal, suffocating atmosphere Where the God-forgotten hatter dreams of city life and beer.