Rhymes from the Mines

Struck It at Last

Edward Dyson

HE WAS almost blind, and wasted
    With the wear of many years;
He had laboured, and had tasted
    Bitter troubles, many cares;
But his laugh was loud and ringing,
    And his flag was on the mast—
Every day they heard him singing:
    ‘Bound to strike it rich at last.’

Here he brandished axe and maul ere
    Buninyong, and after that
Fought and bled with Peter Lalor
    And the boys at Ballarat.
East and west and northward, striving,
    As the tides set fresh and fast—
Ever trying, rarely thriving—
    Yes, he’d strike it rich at last.

Now and then she’d pan out snugly,
    Mostly all the other way,
But he never cut up ugly
    When he bottomed on the clay;
Never cursed, or got disgusted,
    Mourned the days and chances past—
Geordie always hoped and trusted
    He would strike it rich at last.

If the days were very dull, or
    When the store-men cut up rough
And he couldn’t raise a colour
    From a cart-load of the stuff,
No man found him chicken-hearted,
    He’d no time to bang and blast;
Pegged her out again and started—
    Bound to strike it rich at last.

Blinded by a shot in Eighty,
    Sinking for the Pegleg Reef,
If he sorrowed o’er his fate, he
    Let no mortal see his grief.
In the Home there in the city
    Geordie won their favor fast,
All the inmates learned his ditty—
    ‘Bound to strike it rich at last.’

When brought low, and bowed, and hoary,
    Still his eyes alone were blind,
Fortune left undimmed the glory
    Of his happy, tranquil mind;
In his heart a flame was glowing
    That defied the roughest blast,
And he sang: ‘There is no knowing,
    Mates, I’ll strike it rich at last.’

As the end approached he prattled
    Of old days at Ballarat,
And again the windlass rattled
    At Jim Crow and Blanket Flat;
And the nurses heard him mutter
    As his dauntless spirit passed:
‘Streak of luck, boys! On the gutter!’
    Geordie struck it rich at last.

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