Though joys of which the poet rhymes Was not for Bill an' me, I think we had some good old times Out on the wallaby. I took a wife and left off rum, An' camped beneath a roof; But Bill preferred to hump his drum A-paddin' of the hoof.
The lazy, idle loafers what In toney houses camp Would call old Bill a drunken sot, A loafer, or a tramp; But if the dead should ever dance -- As poets say they will -- I think I'd rather take my chance Along of Corny Bill.
His long life's-day is nearly o'er, Its shades begin to fall; He soon must mount his bluey for The last long tramp of all; I trust that when, in bush an' town, He's lived and learnt his fill, They'll let the golden slip-rails down For poor old Corny Bill.
The rafters are open to sun, moon, and star, Thistles and nettles grow high in the bar -- The chimneys are crumbling, the log fires are dead, And green mosses spring from the hearthstone instead. The voices are silent, the bustle and din, For the railroad hath ruined the Cherry-tree Inn.
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.