Henry Lawson

Corny Bill

His old clay pipe stuck in his mouth, His hat pushed from his brow, His dress best fitted for the South I think I see him now; And when the city streets are still, And sleep upon me comes, I often dream that me an’ Bill Are humpin’ of our drums. I mind the time when first I came A stranger to the land; And I was stumped, an’ sick, an’ lame When Bill took me in hand. Old Bill was what a chap would call A friend in poverty, And he was very kind to all, And very good to me. We’d camp beneath the lonely trees And sit beside the blaze, A-nursin’ of our wearied knees, A-smokin’ of our clays. Or when we’d journeyed damp an’ far, An’ clouds were in the skies, We’d camp in some old shanty bar, And sit a-tellin’ lies. Though time had writ upon his brow And rubbed away his curls, He always was an’ may be now A favourite with the girls; I’ve heard bush-wimmin scream an’ squall I’ve see’d ’em laugh until They could not do their work at all, Because of Corny Bill. He was the jolliest old pup As ever you did see, And often at some bush kick-up They’d make old Bill M.C. He’d make them dance and sing all night, He’d make the music hum, But he’d be gone at mornin’ light A-humpin’ of his drum. Though joys of which the poet rhymes Was not for Bill an’ me, I think we had some good old times Out on the wallaby. I took a wife and left off rum, An’ camped beneath a roof; But Bill preferred to hump his drum A-paddin’ of the hoof. The lazy, idle loafers what In toney houses camp Would call old Bill a drunken sot, A loafer, or a tramp; But if the dead should ever dance As poets say they will I think I’d rather take my chance Along of Corny Bill. His long life’s-day is nearly o’er, Its shades begin to fall; He soon must mount his bluey for The last long tramp of all; I trust that when, in bush an’ town, He’s lived and learnt his fill, They’ll let the golden slip-rails down For poor old Corny Bill.

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