Banjo Paterson

On Kiley's Run

The roving breezes come and go On Kiley's Run, The sleepy river murmurs low, And far away one dimly sees Beyond the stretch of forest trees -- Beyond the foothills dusk and dun -- The ranges sleeping in the sun On Kiley's Run. 'Tis many years since first I came To Kiley's Run, More years than I would care to name Since I, a stripling, used to ride For miles and miles at Kiley's side, The while in stirring tones he told The stories of the days of old On Kiley's Run. I see the old bush homestead now On Kiley's Run, Just nestled down beneath the brow Of one small ridge above the sweep Of river-flat, where willows weep And jasmine flowers and roses bloom, The air was laden with perfume On Kiley's Run. We lived the good old station life On Kiley's Run, With little thought of care or strife. Old Kiley seldom used to roam, He liked to make the Run his home, The swagman never turned away With empty hand at close of day From Kiley's Run. We kept a racehorse now and then On Kiley's Run, And neighb'ring stations brought their men To meetings where the sport was free, And dainty ladies came to see Their champions ride; with laugh and song The old house rang the whole night long On Kiley's Run. The station hands were friends I wot On Kiley's Run, A reckless, merry-hearted lot -- All splendid riders, and they knew The `boss' was kindness through and through. Old Kiley always stood their friend, And so they served him to the end On Kiley's Run. But droughts and losses came apace To Kiley's Run, Till ruin stared him in the face; He toiled and toiled while lived the light, He dreamed of overdrafts at night: At length, because he could not pay, His bankers took the stock away From Kiley's Run. Old Kiley stood and saw them go From Kiley's Run. The well-bred cattle marching slow; His stockmen, mates for many a day, They wrung his hand and went away. Too old to make another start, Old Kiley died -- of broken heart, On Kiley's Run. . . . . . The owner lives in England now Of Kiley's Run. He knows a racehorse from a cow; But that is all he knows of stock: His chiefest care is how to dock Expenses, and he sends from town To cut the shearers' wages down On Kiley's Run. There are no neighbours anywhere Near Kiley's Run. The hospitable homes are bare, The gardens gone; for no pretence Must hinder cutting down expense: The homestead that we held so dear Contains a half-paid overseer On Kiley's Run. All life and sport and hope have died On Kiley's Run. No longer there the stockmen ride; For sour-faced boundary riders creep On mongrel horses after sheep, Through ranges where, at racing speed, Old Kiley used to `wheel the lead' On Kiley's Run. There runs a lane for thirty miles Through Kiley's Run. On either side the herbage smiles, But wretched trav'lling sheep must pass Without a drink or blade of grass Thro' that long lane of death and shame: The weary drovers curse the name Of Kiley's Run. The name itself is changed of late Of Kiley's Run. They call it `Chandos Park Estate'. The lonely swagman through the dark Must hump his swag past Chandos Park. The name is English, don't you see, The old name sweeter sounds to me Of `Kiley's Run'. I cannot guess what fate will bring To Kiley's Run -- For chances come and changes ring -- I scarcely think 'twill always be Locked up to suit an absentee; And if he lets it out in farms His tenants soon will carry arms On Kiley's Run.

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