Ah! my friend, you call it nonsense, and your upper lip is curled, I can see that you have never worked your passage through the world; But when fortune rounds upon you and the rain is on the track, You will learn the bitter meaning of the shame of going back; Going home with empty pockets, Going home hard-up; Oh, you'll taste the bitter poison in humiliation's cup.
I met Jack Ellis in town to-day -- Jack Ellis -- my old mate, Jack -- Ten years ago, from the Castlereagh, We carried our swags together away To the Never-Again, Out Back.
But times have altered since those old days, And the times have changed the men. Ah, well! there's little to blame or praise -- Jack Ellis and I have tramped long ways On different tracks since then.
His hat was battered, his coat was green, The toes of his boots were through, But the pride was his! It was I felt mean -- I wished that my collar was not so clean, Nor the clothes I wore so new.
He saw me first, and he knew 'twas I -- The holiday swell he met. Why have we no faith in each other? Ah, why? -- He made as though he would pass me by, For he thought that I might forget.
He ought to have known me better than that, By the tracks we tramped far out -- The sweltering scrub and the blazing flat, When the heat came down through each old felt hat In the hell-born western drought.
The cheques we made and the shanty sprees, The camps in the great blind scrub, The long wet tramps when the plains were seas, And the oracles worked in days like these For rum and tobacco and grub.
Could I forget how we struck `the same Old tale' in the nearer West, When the first great test of our friendship came -- But -- well, there's little to praise or blame If our mateship stood the test.