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The Song of the Sulky Stockman

Clarence Michael James Stanislaus Dennis 1876 (Auburn) – 1938 (Melbourne)



Come, let us sing with a right good ring
(Sing hey for lifting lay, sing hey!)
Of any old, sunny old, silly old thing.
(Sing ho for the ballad of a backblock day!)
The sun shone brightly overhead,
And the shearers stood by the shearing shed;
But "The run wants rain," the stockman said
(Sing di-dum, wattle-gum, Narrabori Ned.
For a lifting lay sing hey!)

The colts were clipped and the sheep were shorn
(Sing hey for a lilting lay, sing hey!)
But the stockman stood there all forlorn.
(Sing ho for the ballad of a backblock day!)
The rails were up and the gate was tied,
And the big black bull was safe inside;
But "The wind's gone West!" the stockman sighed
(Sing, di-dum, wattle-gum, rally for a ride.
For a lifting lay sing hey!)

The cook came out as the clock struck one
(Sing hey for a lilting lay, sing hey!)
And the boundary rider got his gun.
(Sing ho for the ballad of a backblock day!)
He fired it once at an old black crow;
But the shot went wide, for he aimed too low;
And the stockman said, "Fat stock is low."
(Sing, di-dum, wattle-gum, Jerridiiii Joe.
For a lifting lay sing hey!)

They spread their swags in the gum-tree's shade
(Sing hey for a lilting lay, sing hey!)
For the work was done and the cheques were paid.
(Sing ho for the ballad of a backblock day!)
The overseer rode in at three,
But his horse pulled back and would not gee,
And the stockman said, "We're up a tree!"
(Sing, di-dum, wattle-gum, Johnny-cake for tea.
For a lilting lay sing hey!)

The sun sank down and the stars shone out
(Sing hey for a lifting lay, sing hey!)
And the old book-keeper moped about.
(Sing ho for the ballad of a backblock day!)
The dingo walled to the mopoke's call,
The crazy colt stamped in his stall;
But the stockman groaned, "it's bunk for all."
(Sing, di-dum, wattle-gum, wattle-gum, wattle-gum,
Hey for a backblock day!
Sing hey!
Sing hey for a lifting lay!)

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Submitted on May 13, 2011

1:51 min read
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Clarence Michael James Stanislaus Dennis

Clarence Michael James Stanislaus Dennis, better known as C. J. Dennis, was an Australian poet known for his humorous poems, especially "The Songs of a Sentimental Bloke", published in the early 20th century. Though Dennis's work is less well known today, his 1915 publication of The Sentimental Bloke sold 65,000 copies in its first year, and by 1917 he was the most prosperous poet in Australian history. Together with Banjo Paterson and Henry Lawson, both of whom he had collaborated with, he is often considered among Australia's three most famous poets. While attributed to Lawson by 1911, Dennis later claimed he himself was the 'laureate of the larrikin'. When he died at the age of 61, the Prime Minister of Australia Joseph Lyons suggested he was destined to be remembered as the 'Australian Robert Burns'. more…

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