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Taking His Chance

Written by: Henry Lawson | Biography
 | Quotes (1) |
 They stood by the door of the Inn on the Rise; 
May Carney looked up in the bushranger's eyes: 
`Oh! why did you come? -- it was mad of you, Jack; 
You know that the troopers are out on your track.' 
A laugh and a shake of his obstinate head -- 
`I wanted a dance, and I'll chance it,' he said. 

Some twenty-odd bushmen had come to the `ball', 
But Jack from his youth had been known to them all, 
And bushmen are soft where a woman is fair, 
So the love of May Carney protected him there; 
And all the short evening -- it seems like romance -- 
She danced with a bushranger taking his chance. 

`Twas midnight -- the dancers stood suddenly still, 
For hoofs had been heard on the side of the hill! 
Ben Duggan, the drover, along the hillside 
Came riding as only a bushman can ride. 
He sprang from his horse, to the shanty he sped -- 
`The troopers are down in the gully!' he said. 

Quite close to the homestead the troopers were seen. 
`Clear out and ride hard for the ranges, Jack Dean! 
Be quick!' said May Carney -- her hand on her heart -- 
`We'll bluff them awhile, and 'twill give you a start.' 
He lingered a moment -- to kiss her, of course -- 
Then ran to the trees where he'd hobbled his horse. 

She ran to the gate, and the troopers were there -- 
The jingle of hobbles came faint on the air -- 
Then loudly she screamed: it was only to drown 
The treacherous clatter of slip-rails let down. 
But troopers are sharp, and she saw at a glance 
That someone was taking a desperate chance. 

They chased, and they shouted, `Surrender, Jack Dean!' 
They called him three times in the name of the Queen. 
Then came from the darkness the clicking of locks; 
The crack of the rifles was heard in the rocks! 
A shriek and a shout, and a rush of pale men -- 
And there lay the bushranger, chancing it then. 

The sergeant dismounted and knelt on the sod -- 
`Your bushranging's over -- make peace, Jack, with God!' 
The bushranger laughed -- not a word he replied, 
But turned to the girl who knelt down by his side. 
He gazed in her eyes as she lifted his head: 
`Just kiss me -- my girl -- and -- I'll -- chance it,' he said.