Banjo Paterson

That Half-Crown Sweep

The run of Billabong-go-dry Is just beyond Lime Burner's Gap; Its waterhole and tank supply Is excellent -- upon the map. But lacking nature's liquid drench, The station staff are wont to try With "Bob-in Sweeps" their thirst to quench, Or nearly quench, at Bong-go-dry. The parson made five-yearly rounds That soil of arid souls to delve, He wrote, "I'll come for seven pounds, Or I could stop away for twelve." But lack of lucre brought about The pusillanimous reply: "Our luxuries are all cut out, You'll have to go to Bong-go-dry." Now rabbit skins were very high -- There'd been a kind of rabbit rush -- And what with traps and sticks they'd shy, The station blacks were very flush, And each was taught his churchman's job, "When that one parson's plate comes roun' No good you put in sprat or bob, Too quick you put in harp-a-crown." The parson's word was duly kept, He came and did his bit of speak; The boss remarked he hadn't slept So sound and well for many a week. But Gilgai Jack and Monkey Jaw Regarded preaching as a crime Against good taste; they said, "What for That one chap yabber all the time?" Proceedings ceased: the boss's hat Was raked from underneath his chair; The coloured congregation sat And waited with expectant air. At last from one far-distant seat Where Gilgai's Mary'd been asleep, There came a kind of plaintive bleat, "Say, boss! Who won the harp-crown sweep?"

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