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Best Famous Andrew Barton Paterson Poems

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by Andrew Barton Paterson |

The Wreck of the Golfer

 It was the Bondi golfing man 
Drove off from the golf house tee, 
And he had taken his little daughter 
To bear him company.
"Oh, Father, why do you swing the club And flourish it such a lot?" "You watch it fly o'er the fences high!" And he tried with a brassey shot.
"Oh, Father, why did you hit the fence Just there where the brambles twine?" And the father he answered never a word, But he got on the green in nine.
"Oh, Father, hark from behind those trees, What dismal yells arrive!" "'Tis a man I ween on the second green, And I've landed him with my drive.
" "Oh, Father, why does the poor Chinee Fall down on his knees and cry?" "He taketh me for his Excellency, And he thinks once hit twice shy.
" So on they fared to the waterhole, And he drove with a lot of dash, But his balls full soon in the dread lagoon Fell down with a woeful splash.
"Oh, Father, why do you beat the sand Till it flies like the carded wool?" And the father he answered never a word, For his heart was much too full.
"Oh, Father, why are they shouting 'fore' And screaming so lustily?" But the father he answered never a word, A pallid corpse was he.
For a well-swung drive on the back of his head Had landed and laid him low.
Lord save us all from a fate like this When next to the links we go.


by Andrew Barton Paterson |

Mulga Bills Bicycle

 'Twas Mulga Bill, from Eaglehawk, that caught the cycling craze; 
He turned away the good old horse that served him many days; 
He dressed himself in cycling clothes, resplendent to be seen; 
He hurried off to town and bought a shining new machine; 
And as he wheeled it through the door, with air of lordly pride, 
The grinning shop assistant said, "Excuse me, can you ride?" 
"See here, young man," said Mulga Bill, "from Walgett to the sea, 
From Conroy's Gap to Castlereagh, there's none can ride like me.
I'm good all round at everything, as everybody knows, Although I'm not the one to talk - I hate a man that blows.
But riding is my special gift, my chiefest, sole delight; Just ask a wild duck can it swim, a wildcat can it fight.
There's nothing clothed in hair or hide, or built of flesh or steel, There's nothing walks or jumps, or runs, on axle, hoof, or wheel, But what I'll sit, while hide will hold and girths and straps are tight: I'll ride this here two-wheeled concern right straight away at sight.
" 'Twas Mulga Bill, from Eaglehawk, that sought his own abode, That perched above the Dead Man's Creek, beside the mountain road.
He turned the cycle down the hill and mounted for the fray, But ere he'd gone a dozen yards it bolted clean away.
It left the track, and through the trees, just like a silver streak, It whistled down the awful slope towards the Dead Man's Creek.
It shaved a stump by half an inch, it dodged a big white-box: The very wallaroos in fright went scrambling up the rocks, The wombats hiding in their caves dug deeper underground, As Mulga Bill, as white as chalk, sat tight to every bound.
It struck a stone and gave a spring that cleared a fallen tree, It raced beside a precipice as close as close could be; And then as Mulga Bill let out one last despairing shriek It made a leap of twenty feet into the Dead Man's Creek.
'Twas Mulga Bill from Eaglehawk, that slowly swam ashore: He said, "I've had some narrer shaves and lively rides before; I've rode a wild bull round a yard to win a five-pound bet, But this was the most awful ride that I've encountered yet.
I'll give that two-wheeled outlaw best; It's shaken all my nerve To feel it whistle through the air and plunge and buck and swerve.
It's safe at rest in Dead Man's Creek, we'll leave it lying still; A horse's back is good enough henceforth for Mulga Bill.
"


by Andrew Barton Paterson |

The Flying Gang

 And I worked my way to the end, and I 
Was the head of the "Flying Gang".
'Twas a chosen band that was kept at hand In case of an urgent need; Was it south or north, we were started forth And away at our utmost speed.
If word reached town that a bridge was down, The imperious summons rang -- "Come out with the pilot engine sharp, And away with the flying gang.
" Then a piercing scream and a rush of steam As the engine moved ahead; With measured beat by the slum and street Of the busy town we fled, By the uplands bright and the homesteads white, With the rush of the western gale -- And the pilot swayed with the pace we made As she rocked on the ringing rail.
And the country children clapped their hands As the engine's echoes rang, But their elders said: "There is work ahead When they send for the flying gang.
" Then across the miles of the saltbush plain That gleamed with the morning dew, Where the grasses waved like the ripening grain The pilot engine flew -- A fiery rush in the open bush Where the grade marks seemed to fly, And the order sped on the wires ahead, The pilot must go by.
The Governor's special must stand aside, And the fast express go hang; Let your orders be that the line is free For the boys in the flying gang.


by Andrew Barton Paterson |

Moving On

 In this war we're always moving, 
Moving on; 
When we make a friend another friend has gone; 
Should a woman's kindly face 
Make us welcome for a space, 
Then it's boot and saddle, boys, we're 
Moving on.
In the hospitals they're moving, Moving on; They're here today, tomorrow they are gone; When the bravest and the best Of the boys you know "go west", Then you're choking down your tears and Moving on.


by Andrew Barton Paterson |

Old Pardon the Son of Reprieve

 You never heard tell of the story? 
Well, now, I can hardly believe! 
Never heard of the honour and glory 
Of Pardon, the son of Reprieve? 
But maybe you're only a Johnnie 
And don't know a horse from a hoe? 
Well, well, don't get angry, my sonny, 
But, really, a young un should know.
They bred him out back on the "Never", His mother was Mameluke breed.
To the front -- and then stay there - was ever The root of the Mameluke creed.
He seemed to inherit their wiry Strong frames -- and their pluck to receive -- As hard as a flint and as fiery Was Pardon, the son of Reprieve.
We ran him at many a meeting At crossing and gully and town, And nothing could give him a beating -- At least when our money was down.
For weight wouldn't stop him, nor distance, Nor odds, though the others were fast; He'd race with a dogged persistence, And wear them all down at the last.
At the Turon the Yattendon filly Led by lengths at the mile-and-a-half, And we all began to look silly, While her crowd were starting to laugh; But the old horse came faster and faster, His pluck told its tale, and his strength, He gained on her, caught her, and passed her, And won it, hands down, by a length.
And then we swooped down on Menindie To run for the President's Cup; Oh! that's a sweet township -- a shindy To them is board, lodging, and sup.
Eye-openers they are, and their system Is never to suffer defeat; It's "win, tie, or wrangle" -- to best 'em You must lose 'em, or else it's "dead heat".
We strolled down the township and found 'em At drinking and gaming and play; If sorrows they had, why they drowned 'em, And betting was soon under way.
Their horses were good uns and fit uns, There was plenty of cash in the town; They backed their own horses like Britons, And, Lord! how we rattled it down! With gladness we thought of the morrow, We counted our wages with glee, A simile homely to borrow -- "There was plenty of milk in our tea.
" You see we were green; and we never Had even a thought of foul play, Though we well might have known that the clever Division would "put us away".
Experience docet, they tell us, At least so I've frequently heard; But, "dosing" or "stuffing", those fellows Were up to each move on the board: They got to his stall -- it is sinful To think what such villains will do -- And they gave him a regular skinful Of barley -- green barley -- to chew.
He munched it all night, and we found him Next morning as full as a hog -- The girths wouldn't nearly meet round him; He looked like an overfed frog.
We saw we were done like a dinner -- The odds were a thousand to one Against Pardon turning up winner, 'Twas cruel to ask him to run.
We got to the course with our troubles, A crestfallen couple were we; And we heard the " books" calling the doubles -- A roar like the surf of the sea.
And over the tumult and louder Rang "Any price Pardon, I lay!" Says Jimmy, "The children of Judah Are out on the warpath today.
" Three miles in three heats: -- Ah, my sonny, The horses in those days were stout, They had to run well to win money; I don't see such horses about.
Your six-furlong vermin that scamper Half-a-mile with their feather-weight up, They wouldn't earn much of their damper In a race like the President's Cup.
The first heat was soon set a-going; The Dancer went off to the front; The Don on his quarters was showing, With Pardon right out of the hunt.
He rolled and he weltered and wallowed -- You'd kick your hat faster, I'll bet; They finished all bunched, and he followed All lathered and dripping with sweat.
But troubles came thicker upon us, For while we were rubbing him dry The stewards came over to warn us: "We hear you are running a bye! If Pardon don't spiel like tarnation And win the next heat -- if he can -- He'll earn a disqualification; Just think over that now, my man!" Our money all gone and our credit, Our horse couldn't gallop a yard; And then people thought that we did it It really was terribly hard.
We were objects of mirth and derision To folks in the lawn and the stand, Anf the yells of the clever division Of "Any price Pardon!" were grand.
We still had a chance for the money, Two heats remained to be run: If both fell to us -- why, my sonny, The clever division were done.
And Pardon was better, we reckoned, His sickness was passing away, So we went to the post for the second And principal heat of the day.
They're off and away with a rattle, Like dogs from the leashes let slip, And right at the back of the battle He followed them under the whip.
They gained ten good lengths on him quickly He dropped right away from the pack; I tell you it made me feel sickly To see the blue jacket fall back.
Our very last hope had departed -- We thought the old fellow was done, When all of a sudden he started To go like a shot from a gun.
His chances seemed slight to embolden Our hearts; but, with teeth firmly set, We thought, "Now or never! The old un May reckon with some of 'em yet.
" Then loud rose the war-cry for Pardon; He swept like the wind down the dip, And over the rise by the garden The jockey was done with the whip.
The field was at sixes and sevens -- The pace at the first had been fast -- And hope seemed to drop from the heavens, For Pardon was coming at last.
And how he did come! It was splendid; He gained on them yards every bound, Stretching out like a greyhound extended, His girth laid right down on the ground.
A shimmer of silk in the cedars As into the running they wheeled, And out flashed the whips on the leaders, For Pardon had collared the field.
Then right through the ruck he was sailing -- I knew that the battle was won -- The son of Haphazard was failing, The Yattendon filly was done; He cut down The Don and The Dancer, He raced clean away from the mare -- He's in front! Catch him now if you can, sir! And up went my hat in the air! Then loud fron the lawn and the garden Rose offers of "Ten to one on!" "Who'll bet on the field? I back Pardon!" No use; all the money was gone.
He came for the third heat light-hearted, A-jumping and dancing about; The others were done ere they started Crestfallen, and tired, and worn out.
He won it, and ran it much faster Than even the first, I believe; Oh, he was the daddy, the master, Was Pardon, the son of Reprieve.
He showed 'em the method of travel -- The boy sat still as a stone -- They never could see him for gravel; He came in hard-held, and alone.
* * * * * * * But he's old -- and his eyes are grown hollow Like me, with my thatch of the snow; When he dies, then I hope I may follow, And go where the racehorses go.
I don't want no harping nor singing -- Such things with my style don't agree; Where the hoofs of the horses are ringing There's music sufficient for me.
And surely the thoroughbred horses Will rise up again and begin Fresh faces on far-away courses, And p'raps they might let me slip in.
It would look rather well the race-card on 'Mongst Cherubs and Seraphs and things, "Angel Harrison's black gelding Pardon, Blue halo, white body and wings.
" And if they have racing hereafter, (And who is to say they will not?) When the cheers and the shouting and laughter Proclaim that the battle grows hot; As they come down the racecourse a-steering, He'll rush to the front, I believe; And you'll hear the great multitude cheering For Pardon, the son of Reprieve


by Andrew Barton Paterson |

Any Other Time

 ALL of us play our very best game— 
Any other time.
Golf or billiards, it’s all the same— Any other time.
Lose a match and you always say, “Just my luck! I was ‘off’ to-day! I could have beaten him quite half-way— Any other time!” After a fiver you ought to go— Any other time.
Every man that you ask says “Oh, Any other time.
Lend you a fiver! I’d lend you two, But I’m overdrawn and my bills are due, Wish you’d ask me—now, mind you do— Any other time!” Fellows will ask you out to dine— Any other time.
“Not to-night, for we’re twenty-nine — Any other time.
Not to-morrow, for cook’s on strike, Not next day, I’ll be out on the bike — Just drop in whenever you like — Any other time!” Seasick passengers like the sea— Any other time.
“Something .
.
I ate .
.
disagreed .
.
with me! Any other time Ocean-trav’lling is .
.
simply bliss, Must be my .
.
liver .
.
has gone amiss .
.
Why, I would .
.
laugh .
.
at a sea .
.
like this— Any other time.
” Most of us mean to be better men— Any other time: Regular upright characters then— Any other time.
Yet somehow as the years go by Still we gamble and drink and lie, When it comes to the last we’ll want to die— Any other time!


by Andrew Barton Paterson |

A Bush Christening

 On the outer Barcoo where the churches are few,
 And men of religion are scanty,
On a road never cross'd 'cept by folk that are lost,
 One Michael Magee had a shanty.
Now this Mike was the dad of a ten year old lad, Plump, healthy, and stoutly conditioned; He was strong as the best, but poor Mike had no rest For the youngster had never been christened.
And his wife used to cry, "If the darlin' should die Saint Peter would not recognise him.
" But by luck he survived till a preacher arrived, Who agreed straightaway to baptise him.
Now the artful young rogue, while they held their collogue, With his ear to the keyhole was listenin', And he muttered in fright, while his features turned white, "What the divil and all is this christenin'?" He was none of your dolts, he had seen them brand colts, And it seemed to his small understanding, If the man in the frock made him one of the flock, It must mean something very like branding.
So away with a rush he set off for the bush, While the tears in his eyelids they glistened— "'Tis outrageous," says he, "to brand youngsters like me, I'll be dashed if I'll stop to be christened!" Like a young native dog he ran into a log, And his father with language uncivil, Never heeding the "praste" cried aloud in his haste, "Come out and be christened, you divil!" But he lay there as snug as a bug in a rug, And his parents in vain might reprove him, Till his reverence spoke (he was fond of a joke) "I've a notion," says he, "that'll move him.
" "Poke a stick up the log, give the spalpeen a prog; Poke him aisy—don't hurt him or maim him, 'Tis not long that he'll stand, I've the water at hand, As he rushes out this end I'll name him.
"Here he comes, and for shame! ye've forgotten the name— Is it Patsy or Michael or Dinnis?" Here the youngster ran out, and the priest gave a shout— "Take your chance, anyhow, wid 'Maginnis'!" As the howling young cub ran away to the scrub Where he knew that pursuit would be risky, The priest, as he fled, flung a flask at his head That was labelled "Maginnis's Whisky"! And Maginnis Magee has been made a J.
P.
, And the one thing he hates more than sin is To be asked by the folk, who have heard of the joke, How he came to be christened Maginnis!


by Andrew Barton Paterson |

The Ballad of M. T. Nutt and His Dog

 The Honourable M.
T.
Nutt About the bush did jog.
Till, passing by a settler's hut, He stopped and bought a dog.
Then started homewards full of hope, Alas, that hopes should fail! The dog pulled back and took the rope Beneath the horse's tail.
The Horse remarked, "I would be soft Such liberties to stand!" "Oh dog," he said, "Go up aloft, Young man, go on the land!"


by Andrew Barton Paterson |

A Bunch of Roses

 Roses ruddy and roses white, 
What are the joys that my heart discloses? 
Sitting alone in the fading light 
Memories come to me here tonight 
With the wonderful scent of the big red roses.
Memories come as the daylight fades Down on the hearth where the firelight dozes; Flicker and flutter the lights and shades, And I see the face of a queen of maids Whose memory comes with the scent of roses.
Visions arise of a scent of mirth, And a ball-room belle who superbly poses -- A queenly woman of queenly worth, And I am the happiest man on earth With a single flower from a bunch of roses.
Only her memory lives tonight -- God in his wisdom her young life closes; Over her grave may the turf be light, Cover her coffin with roses white She was always fond of the big white roses.
* Such are the visions that fade away -- Man proposes and God disposes; Look in the glass and I see today Only an old man, worn and grey, Bending his head to a bunch of roses.


by Andrew Barton Paterson |

The Angels Kiss

 An angel stood beside the bed 
Where lay the living and the dead.
He gave the mother -- her who died -- A kiss that Christ the Crucified Had sent to greet the weary soul When, worn and faint, it reached its goal.
He gave the infant kisses twain, One on the breast, one on the brain.
"Go forth into the world," he said, "With blessings on your heart and head, "For God, who ruleth righteously, Hath ordered that to such as be "From birth deprived of mother's love, I bring His blessing from above; "But if the mother's life he spare Then she is made God's messenger "To kiss and pray that heart and brain May go through life without a stain.
" The infant moved towards the light, The angel spread his wings in flight.
But each man carries to his grave The kisses that in hopes to save The angel or his mother gave.