Jim of the Hills

Grey Thrush

C.J. Dennis

GREY thrush was in the wattle tree, an’, “Oh, you pretty dear!”
He says in his allurin’ way; an’ I remarks, “Hear, hear!
    That does me nicely for a start; but what do I say next?”
    But then the Jacks take up the song, an’ I get very vexed.

The thrush was in the wattle tree, an’ I was underneath.
I’d put a clean white collar on, I’d picked a bunch of heath;
    For I was cleaned an’ clobbered up to meet my Nell that day.
    But now my awful trouble comes: What is a man to say?

I mean to tell her all I’ve thought since first I saw her there,
On the bark-heap by the mill-shed, with the sunlight in her hair.
    I mean to tell her all I’ve done an’ what I’ll do with life;
    An’, when I’ve said all that an’ more, I’ll ask her for my wife.

I mean to tell her she’s too good, by far, for such as me,
An’ how with lonely forest life she never may agree.
    I mean to tell her lots of things, an’ be reel straight an’ fine;
    And, after she’s considered that, I’ll ask her to be mine.

I don’t suppose I’ve got much hope—a simple country yob.
I’d like to have a word with Blair—He’s wise, is good old Bob.
    He’s got such common sense an’ that, he’d tip me what to say.
    But I’m not nervous, not a bit; I’ll do it my own way. . . . 

I seen her by the sassafras, the sun was on her hair;
An’ I don’t know what come to me to see her standin’ there.
    I never even lifts my hat, I never says “Good day”
    To her that should be treated in a reel respectful way.

I only know the girl I want is standin’ smilin’ there
Right underneath the sassafras. I never thought I’d dare,
    But I holds out my arms to her, an’ says, as I come near—
    Not one word of that speech of mine—but, “Oh, you pretty dear!”

It was enough. Lord save a man! It’s simple if he knew,
There’s one way with a woman if she loves you good an’ true.
    Next moment she is in my arms; an’ me? I don’t know where.
    If Heaven can compare with it I won’t fret much up there.

“Why, Mister Jim,” she says to me. “You’re very bold,” says she.
“Yes, miss,” I says. Then she looks up—an’ that’s the end of me . . . .
    “O man!” she cries. “O modest man, if you go on like this—”
    But I interrupt a lady, an’ I do it with a kiss.

“Jim, do you know what heroes are?” says she, when I’d “behaved.”
“Why, yes,” says I. “They’re blokes that save fair maids that won’t be saved.”
    “You’re mine,” says she, an’ smiles at me, “an’ will be all my life—
    That is, if it occurs to you to ask me for your wife.”

.     .     .     .     .

Grey thrush is in the wattle tree when I get home that day
Back to my silent, lonely house—an’ still he sings away.
    There is no other voice about, no step upon the floor;
    An’ none to come an’ welcome me as I get to the door.

Yet in the happy heart of me I play at make-believe:
I hear one singin’ in the room where once I used to grieve;
    I hear a light step on the path, an’, as I reach the gate,
    A happy voice, that makes me glad, tells me I’m awful late.

Now what’s a man to think of that, an’ what’s a man to say,
Who’s been out workin’ in the bush, tree-fallin’, all the day?
    An’ how’s a man to greet his wife, if she should meet him here?
    But Grey Thrush in the wattle tree says, “Oh, you pretty dear!”


Jim of the Hills - Contents

Back    |    Words Home    |    C.J. Dennis Home    |    Site Info.    |    Feedback