Poems and Songs

The Barcoo

(The Squatters’ Song)

Henry Kendall

FROM the runs of the Narran, wide-dotted with sheep,
    And loud with the lowing of cattle,
We speed for a land where the strange forests sleep
    And the hidden creeks bubble and brattle!
Now call on the horses, and leave the blind courses
    And sources of rivers that all of us know;
For, crossing the ridges, and passing the ledges,
And running up gorges, we’ll come to the verges
    Of gullies where waters eternally flow.
Oh! the herds they will rush down the spurs of the hill
    To feed on the grasses so cool and so sweet;
And I think that my life with delight will stand still
    When we halt with the pleasant Barcoo at our feet.

Good-bye to the Barwon, and brigalow scrubs,
    Adieu to the Culgoa ranges,
But look for the mulga and salt-bitten shrubs,
    Though the face of the forest-land changes.
The leagues we may travel down beds of hot gravel,
    And clay-crusted reaches where moisture hath been,
While searching for waters, may vex us and thwart us,
Yet who would be quailing, or fainting, or failing?
    Not you, who are men of the Narran, I ween!
When we leave the dry channels away to the south,
    And reach the far plains we are journeying to,
We will cry, though our lips may be glued with the drouth,
    Hip, hip, and hurrah for the pleasant Barcoo!

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