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Bourke's Dream

Andrew Barton Paterson 1864 (Orange, New South Wales) – 1941 (Sydney, New South Wales)



Lonely and sadly one night in November
I laid down my weary head in search of repose
On my wallet of straw, which I long shall remember,
Tired and weary I fell into a doze.
Tired from working hard
Down in the labour yard,
Night brought relief to my sad, aching brain.
Locked in my prison cell,
Surely an earthly hell,
I fell asleep and began for to dream.

I dreamt that I stood on the green fields of Erin,
In joyous meditation that victory was won.
Surrounded by comrades, no enemy fearing.
"Stand," was the cry, "every man to his gun."
On came the Saxons then
Fighting our Fenian men,
Soon they'll reel back from our piked volunteers.
Loud was the fight and shrill,
Wexford and Vinegar Hill,
Three cheers for Father Murphy and the bold cavaliers.

I dreamt that I saw our gallant commander
Seated on his charger in gorgeous array.
He wore green trimmed with gold and a bright shining sabre
On which sunbeams of Liberty shone brightly that day.
"On," was the battle cry,
"Conquer this day or die,
Sons of Hibernia, fight for Liberty!
Show neither fear nor dread,
Strike at the foeman's head,
Cut down horse, foot, and artillery!"
I dreamt that the night was quickly advancing,
I saw the dead and dying on the green crimson plain.
Comrades I once knew well in death's sleep reposing,
Friends that I once loved but shall ne'er see again.
The green flag was waving high,
Under the bright blue sky,
And each man was singing most gloriously.
"Come from your prison, Bourke,
We Irishmen have done our work,
God has been with us, and old Ireland is free."

I dreamt I was homeward, back over the mountain track,
With joy my mother fainted and gave a loud scream.
With the shock I awoke, just as the day had broke,
And found myself an exile, and 'twas all but a dream.

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Submitted on May 13, 2011

1:39 min read
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Andrew Barton Paterson

Andrew Barton "Banjo" Paterson, was an Australian bush poet, journalist and author. He wrote many ballads and poems about Australian life, focusing particularly on the rural and outback areas, including the district around Binalong, New South Wales, where he spent much of his childhood. Paterson's more notable poems include "Clancy of the Overflow" (1889), "The Man from Snowy River" (1890) and "Waltzing Matilda" (1895), regarded widely as Australia's unofficial national anthem. more…

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