Open main menu

On western plain and eastern hill
   Where once my fancy ranged,
The station hands are riding still
   And they are little changed.
But I have lost in London gloom
   The glory of the day,
The grand perfume of wattle bloom
   Is faint and far away.

Brown faces under broad-brimmed hats
   The grip of wiry hands,
The gallops on the frosty flats,
   Seem dreams of other lands;
The camp fire and the stars that blaze
   Above the mystic plain
Are but the thoughts of vanished days
   That never come again.

The evening star I seldom view –
   That led me on to roam –
I never see the morning star
   That used to draw me home.
But I have often longed for day
   To hide the few I see,
Because they only point and say
   Most bitter things to me.

I wear my life on pavement stones
   That drag me ever down,
A paltry slave to little things,
   By custom chained to town.
I've lost the strength to strike alone,
   The heart to do and dare –
I mind the day I'd roll my swag
   And tramp to--God-knows-where.

When I should wait I wander out,
   When I should go I bide –
I scarcely dare to think about
   The days when I could ride.
I would not mount before his eyes,
   'Straight' Bushman tall and tan –
I mind the day when I stood up
   And fought him like a man.

I mind the time when I was shy
   To meet the brown Bush girls –
I've lunched with lords since then and I
   Have been at home with earls:
I learned to smile and learned to bow
   And lie to ladies gay –
But to a gaunt Bushwoman now
   I'd not know what to say.

And if I sought her hard bare home
   From scenes of show and sham,
I'd sit all ill at ease and fell
   The poor weak thing I am.
I could not meet her hopeless eyes
   That look one through and through,
The haggard woman of the past
   Who once thought I was true.

But nought on earth can last for aye,
   And wild with care and pain,
Some day by chance I'll break away
   And seek the Bush again.
And find awhile from bitter years
   The rest the Bush can bring,
And hear, perhaps, with truer ears
   The songs it has to sing.

This work is in the public domain in Australia because it was created in Australia and the term of copyright has expired.

See Australian Copyright Council - Duration of Copyright (August 2014).

This work is also in the public domain in the United States because it was in the public domain in Australia in 1996, and no copyright was registered in the U.S. (This is the combined effect of Australia having joining the Berne Convention in 1928, and of 17 USC 104A with its critical date of January 1, 1996.)

This work is in the public domain in the United States because it was published before January 1, 1924.

The author died in 1922, so this work is also in the public domain in countries and areas where the copyright term is the author's life plus 80 years or less. This work may also be in the public domain in countries and areas with longer native copyright terms that apply the rule of the shorter term to foreign works.