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AUSTRALIAN SONGS

The Old
Stockman's Lament

by Henry Lawson (1867-1922)

This song shows the reaction an old stockman has towards the war in Germany.

What the words mean

  • coolibah ~ a species of gum or eucalyptus tree abundant along river banks.

Henry Lawson is considered by many as Australia's poet of the people. His difficulties in life shaped his writings and helped him become an  inspiration.

More Songs by Lawson

Lawson Poems & Stories

We also have a variety of  stories and poems written by Lawson on our website.

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Wrap me up in me stockwhip and blanket,
     And bury me deep down below,
Where this piffle and sham won't disgust me,
     In the land where the coolibahs grow;
For I've stayed with some well-to-do people,
     And I've dined with some middle-class folk;
And I've sorrowed by clock-tower and steeple
     Till my heart for the Commonwealth's broke.

They have flown in another direction,
     Who used to clack-clack by the hour
Of "this awful Freetrade and Protection,"
     Of our dear darling member "in power,"
And the Higher Religion for Dossers,
     And the Need of an Object for Drunks
Now they're all of them Red or Blue Crossers,
     With their tails sticking out of their trunks.

There are citified Martins in dozens
     The Darling Point Martins the pick
Who used to be horrified cousins
     Of a Martin we knew as "Mad Mick."
He is hanging out somewhere where French is;
     But they heard he'd enlisted somehow,
And 'twould paralyse Mick in the trenches
     To know how he's glorified now.

You remember the George Henry Crosses?
     They've packed up twelve trunks in despair.
He's the boss of the back-station bosses,
     And Ernie's the son and the heir.
He has never put hands on a wether,
     Nor heard a pithed store-bullock grunt;
So they're taking the mailboat to England
     To see Ernie safe to the Front.

And each of the war-going parsons
     Costs many a heart-breaking tear
Like that caddish young cub of old Carson's,
     All found and four hundred a year.
He feels not a word that he preaches,
     But he will not be criticised there,
Where, out where the flying shell screeches,
     Poor Tommy must fight, sweat and swear.

"Our relatives, too" (hang the Censor!)
     Each girl has a tear on her cheek.
Cousin Roger has gone as dispenser
     (Expenses and three pounds a week.
More risky than list'ning to sermons,
     As some of our fellows will find,
Is a fierce fortnight's fight with the Germans
     In front and with Roger behind.)

And the Girls, they are writing like blazes,
     And Auntie is moaning like hell;
And I wish I was under the daisies
     Or the bluegum would do just as well.
So I want to be wrapped in me blanket,
     And buried down deep down below;
Where this cant and this cackle won't reach me
     In the land where the coolibahs grow.

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