Banjo Paterson

The Old Australian Ways

The London lights are far abeam Behind a bank of cloud, Along the shore the gaslights gleam, The gale is piping loud; And down the Channel, groping blind, We drive her through the haze Towards the land we left behind -- The good old land of `never mind', And old Australian ways. The narrow ways of English folk Are not for such as we; They bear the long-accustomed yoke Of staid conservancy: But all our roads are new and strange, And through our blood there runs The vagabonding love of change That drove us westward of the range And westward of the suns. The city folk go to and fro Behind a prison's bars, They never feel the breezes blow And never see the stars; They never hear in blossomed trees The music low and sweet Of wild birds making melodies, Nor catch the little laughing breeze That whispers in the wheat. Our fathers came of roving stock That could not fixed abide: And we have followed field and flock Since e'er we learnt to ride; By miner's camp and shearing shed, In land of heat and drought, We followed where our fortunes led, With fortune always on ahead And always further out. The wind is in the barley-grass, The wattles are in bloom; The breezes greet us as they pass With honey-sweet perfume; The parakeets go screaming by With flash of golden wing, And from the swamp the wild-ducks cry Their long-drawn note of revelry, Rejoicing at the Spring. So throw the weary pen aside And let the papers rest, For we must saddle up and ride Towards the blue hill's breast; And we must travel far and fast Across their rugged maze, To find the Spring of Youth at last, And call back from the buried past The old Australian ways. When Clancy took the drover's track In years of long ago, He drifted to the outer back Beyond the Overflow; By rolling plain and rocky shelf, With stockwhip in his hand, He reached at last, oh lucky elf, The Town of Come-and-help-yourself In Rough-and-ready Land. And if it be that you would know The tracks he used to ride, Then you must saddle up and go Beyond the Queensland side -- Beyond the reach of rule or law, To ride the long day through, In Nature's homestead -- filled with awe You then might see what Clancy saw And know what Clancy knew.

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