The Roaring Days
The night too quickly passes And we are growing old, So let us fill our glasses And toast the Days of Gold; When finds of wondrous treasure Set all the South ablaze, And you and I were faithful mates All through the roaring days! Then stately ships came sailing From every harbour’s mouth, And sought the land of promise That beaconed in the South; Then southward streamed their streamers And swelled their canvas full To speed the wildest dreamers E’er borne in vessel’s hull. Their shining Eldorado, Beneath the southern skies, Was day and night for ever Before their eager eyes. The brooding bush, awakened, Was stirred in wild unrest, And all the year a human stream Went pouring to the West. The rough bush roads re-echoed The bar-room’s noisy din, When troops of stalwart horsemen Dismounted at the inn. And oft the hearty greetings And hearty clasp of hands Would tell of sudden meetings Of friends from other lands; When, puzzled long, the new-chum Would recognise at last, Behind a bronzed and bearded skin, A comrade of the past. And when the cheery camp-fire Explored the bush with gleams, The camping-grounds were crowded With caravans of teams; Then home the jests were driven, And good old songs were sung, And choruses were given The strength of heart and lung. Oh, they were lion-hearted Who gave our country birth! Oh, they were of the stoutest sons From all the lands on earth! Oft when the camps were dreaming, And fires began to pale, Through rugged ranges gleaming Would come the Royal Mail. Behind six foaming horses, And lit by flashing lamps, Old `Cobb and Co.’s’, in royal state, Went dashing past the camps. Oh, who would paint a goldfield, And limn the picture right, As we have often seen it In early morning’s light; The yellow mounds of mullock With spots of red and white, The scattered quartz that glistened Like diamonds in light; The azure line of ridges, The bush of darkest green, The little homes of calico That dotted all the scene. I hear the fall of timber From distant flats and fells, The pealing of the anvils As clear as little bells, The rattle of the cradle, The clack of windlass-boles, The flutter of the crimson flags Above the golden holes. . . . . . Ah, then our hearts were bolder, And if Dame Fortune frowned Our swags we’d lightly shoulder And tramp to other ground. But golden days are vanished, And altered is the scene; The diggings are deserted, The camping-grounds are green; The flaunting flag of progress Is in the West unfurled, The mighty bush with iron rails Is tethered to the world.