The Man From Snowy River and Other Verses

The Great Calamity

Andrew Barton ‘Banjo’ Paterson

MACFIERCE’UN came to Whiskeyhurst
    When summer days were hot,
And bided there wi’ Jock McThirst,
    A brawny brother Scot.
Gude Faith! They made the whisky fly,
    Like Highland chieftains true,
And when they’d drunk the beaker dry
    They sang “We are nae fou!
There is nae folk like oor ain folk,
    Sae gallant and sae true.”
They sang the only Scottish joke
    Which is, “We are nae fou.”
Said bold McThirst, “Let Saxons jaw
    Aboot their great concerns,
But bonny Scotland beats them a’,
    The land o’ cakes and Burns,
The land o’ partridge, deer, and grouse,
    Fill up your glass, I beg,
There’s muckle whusky i’ the house,
    Forbye what’s in the keg.”
And here a hearty laugh he laughed,
    “Just come wi’ me, I beg.”
MacFierce’un saw with pleasure daft
    A fifty-gallon keg.

“Losh, man, that’s grand,” MacFierce’un cried,
    “Saw ever man the like,
Now, wi’ the daylight, I maun ride
    To meet a Southron tyke,
But I’ll be back ere summer’s gone,
    So bide for me, I beg,
We’ll make a grand assault upon
    Yon deevil of a keg.”

.     .     .     .     .

MacFierce’un rode to Whiskeyhurst,
    When summer days were gone,
And there he met with Jock McThirst
    Was greetin’ all alone.
“McThirst what gars ye look sae blank?
    Have all yer wits gane daft?
Has that accursed Southron bank
    Called up your overdraft?
Is all your grass burnt up wi’ drouth?
    Is wool and hides gone flat?”
McThirst replied, “Gude friend, in truth,
    ’Tis muckle waur than that.”

“Has sair misfortune cursed your life
    That you should weep sae free?
Is harm upon your bonny wife,
    The children at your knee?
Is scaith upon your house and hame?”
    McThirst upraised his head:
“My bairns hae done the deed of shame—
    ’Twere better they were dead.
“To think my bonny infant son
    Should do the deed o’ guilt—
He let the whuskey spigot run,
    And a’ the whuskey’s spilt!”

.     .     .     .     .

Upon them both these words did bring
    A solemn silence deep,
Gude faith, it is a fearsome thing
    To see two strong men weep.

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