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Musings in Maoriland

Old Bendigo

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Old Bendigo.

Let Poley go with Redman; mind be careful of the steer;
Bring Bob and Rambler from the creek they'll find good picking here.
Just fling this she-oak on the fire; there, catch that end, now throw—
This 'minds me of our maiden trip to dear old Bendigo.

Old Bendigo! the very name is treasured in my breast—
Just pass the billy this way, Jack. Not boiled yet! Well, I'm blest
If that there wood will ever burn; this ironbark is slow—
You knew the gully of that name on dear old Bendigo.

Oh, when we camped upon the track—that damper must be done—
Around the blazing log at night, what tough old yarns were spun

page 189

By Sydney Ned, and Derwent Bill, and Murrumbidgee Joe!
Where are they now? Ah, mate, they'll drive no more to Bendigo.

I can't help laughing when I think—old mate, just pass a chew—
Of that ere time when Murphy's team got bogged at Carlsruhe.
Big Barney Fagan shouted—whilst the wheels were bedding low—
"Faix, boys, there's some deep sinkin' on the road to Bindigo,"

Mount Macedon is gazing down as proudly as of old
And Alexander's lofty brow look's over fields of gold;
They never shift; but where are all the friends we used to know
On Castlemaine and Forest Creek, and dear old Bendigo?

No other land has mustered such a kingly race of men
As that brave golden legion on the march to fortune then;
The digger's shirt was freedom's badge: beneath it honour's glow
Lit up a gen'rous, manly flame on dear old Bendigo.

Old mate of mine, together we have roughed it, through the bush
For twenty years, and Time begins to lay his frosting brush
Upon our heads; but in our hearts the flowers of friendship grow
As fresh as when we planted them on dear old Bendigo.

page 190

I sigh whene'er I think upon—Jack, pass along the grub—
The music of the puddling mill, the cradle, and the tub;
The hurdy-gurdies, German bands, and minstrels too—why, blow
It, you've upset the tea—on dear old Bendigo.

The track of life is sometimes smooth, at other times 'tis rough;
But we must take it as it comes—this beef is rayther tough—
I feel a spider on my cheek—I've caught the varmint—no;
Why, bless me! if it ain't a tear for dear old Bendigo.