Poem – The Rum Parade

Now ye gallant Sydney boys, who have left your household joys
To march across the sea in search of glory,
I am very much afraid that you do not love parade,
But the rum parade is quite another story.
For the influenza came and to spoil its little game,
They ordered us to drink a curious mixture;
Though at first it frightened some, when we found it mostly rum,
Parade became a very pleasant fixture.

Chorus

So it’s forward the Brigade, if they’ll hold a rum parade
At Pretoria there’s nothing to alarm ye;
And it’s easy to be seen if they leave the quinine,
Ye’ll be there before the blessed British Army.
Then a corporal he come and he said I drank the rum,
But the quinine never reached its destination;
For begob he up and swored that I threw it overboard,
Sure my heart was filled with grief and indignation.
For I’m different to some, I prefer quinine to rum,
And I only take the rum just as a favour,
And it’s easy to be seen I’m so fond of the quinine,
That I keep it lest the rum should spoil its flavour.

When we get to Africay we’ll be landed straight away,
And quartered with the troops of Queen Victoria;
And we hope they’ll understand that the moment that we land
We are ready for a march upon Pretoria.
And we’ll pay off all the scores on old Kruger and his Boers,
And just to prove our manners aren’t a failure,
And to show we are not mean, shure we’ll give them the quinine,
And drink the rum in honour of Australia.

The Old Keg Of Rum – Banjo Paterson

My name is old Jack Palmer, 

I’m a man of olden days, 

And so I wish to sing a song 

To you of olden praise. 

To tell of merry friends of old 

When we were gay and young; 

How we sat and sang together 

Round the Old Keg of Rum. 
Oh! the Old Keg of Rum! the Old Keg of Rum! 

How we sat and sang together 

Round the Old Keg of Rum. 
There was I and Jack the plough-boy, 

Jem Moore and old Tom Hines, 

And poor old Tom the fiddler, 

Who now in glory shines; 
And several more of our old chums, 

Who shine in Kingdom Come, 

We all associated round the 

Old Keg of Rum. 
Oh! the Old Keg of Rum! the Old Keg of Rum! 

We all associated round the 

Old Keg of Rum. 
And when harvest time was over, 

And we’d get our harvest fee, 

We’d meet, and quickly rise the keg, 

And then we’d have a spree. 

We’d sit and sing together 

Till we got that blind and dumb 

That we couldn’t find the bunghole 

Of the Old Keg of Rum. 
Oh! the Old Keg of Rum! the Old Keg of Rum! 

That we couldn’t find the bunghole 

Of the Old Keg of Rum. 
Its jovially together, boys 

We’d laugh, we’d chat, we’d sing; 

Sometimes we’d have a little row 

Some argument would bring. 
And oftimes in a scrimmage, boys, 

I’ve corked it with my thumb, 

To keep the life from leaking 

From the Old Keg of Rum. 
Oh! the Old Keg of Rum! the Old Keg of Rum! 

To keep the life from leaking 

From the Old Keg of Rum. 
But when our spree was ended, boys, 

And waking from a snooze, 

For to give another drain 

The old keg would refuse. 

We’d rap it with our knuck 

If it sounded like a drum, 

We’d know the life and spirit 

Had left the Old Keg of Rum. 
Oh! the Old Keg of Rum! the Old Keg of Rum! 

We’d know the life and spirit 

Had left the Old Keg of Rum. 
Those happy days have passed away, 

I’ve seen their pleasures fade; 

And many of our good old friends 

Have with old times decayed. 
But still, when on my travels, boys, 

If I meet with an old chum, 

We will sigh, in conversation, 

Of the Grand Old Keg of Rum. 
Oh! the Old Keg of Rum! the Old Keg of Rum! 

We will sigh, in conversation, 

Of the Grand Old Keg of Rum. 
So now, kind friends, I end my song, 

I hope we’ll meet again, 

And, as I’ve tried to please you all, 

I hope you won’t complain. 

You younger folks who learn my song, 

Will, perhaps, in years to come, 

Remember old Jack Palmer 

And the Old Rum Of Rum. 
Oh! the Old Keg of Rum! the Old Keg of Rum! 

Remember old Jack Palmer 

And the Old Keg of Rum.

The Lost Drink – Banjo Paterson

I had spent the night in the watch-house — 

My head was the size of three — 

So I went and asked the chemist 

To fix up a drink for me; 

And he brewed it from various bottles 

With soda and plenty of ice, 

With something that smelt like lemon, 

And something that seemed like spice. 

It fell on my parching palate 

Like the dew on a sunbaked plain, 

And my system began to flourish 

Like the grass in the soft spring rain; 

It wandered throughout my being, 

Suffusing my soul with rest, 

And I felt as I “scoffed” that liquid 

That life had a new-found zest. 
I have been on the razzle-dazzle 

Full many a time since then 

But I never could get the chemist 

To brew me that drink again. 

He says he’s forgotten the notion — 

‘Twas only by chance it came — 

He’s tried me with various liquids 

But oh! they are not the same. 
We have sought, but we sought it vainly, 

That one lost drink divine; 

We have sampled his various bottles, 

But somehow they don’t combine: 

Yet I know when I cross the River 

And stand on the Golden Shore 

I shall meet with an angel chemist 

To brew me that drink once more.

The Plains – Banjo Paterson

A land, as far as the eye can see, where the waving grasses grow 

Or the plains are blackened and burnt and bare, where the false mirages go 

Like shifting symbols of hope deferred – land where you never know. 
Land of the plenty or land of want, where the grey Companions dance, 

Feast or famine, or hope or fear, and in all things land of chance, 

Where Nature pampers or Nature slays, in her ruthless, red, romance. 
And we catch a sound of a fairy’s song, as the wind goes whipping by, 

Or a scent like incense drifts along from the herbage ripe and dry 

  • Or the dust storms dance on their ballroom floor, where the bones of the cattle lie.

The Shepherd – Banjo Paterson 

He wore an old blue shirt the night that first we met, 

An old and tattered cabbage-tree concealed his locks of jet; 

His footsteps had a languor, his voice a husky tone; 

Both man and dog were spent with toil as they slowly wandered home. 
I saw him but a moment—yet methinks I see him now 

While his sheep were gently feeding ‘neath the rugged mountain brow. 

When next we met, the old blue shirt and cabbage-tree were gone; 

A brand new suit of tweed and “Doctor Dod” he had put on; 

Arm in arm with him was one who strove, and not in vain, 

To ease his pockets of their load by drinking real champagne. 
I saw him but a moment, and he was going a pace, 

Shouting nobbler after nobbler, with a smile upon his face. 

When next again I saw that man his suit of tweed was gone, 

The old blue shirt and cabbage-tree once more he had put on; 

Slowly he trudged along the road and took the well-known track 

From the station he so lately left with a swag upon his back. 
I saw him but a moment as he was walking by 

With two black eyes and broken nose and a tear-dropp in his eye.

The Swagman – Banjo Paterson

Kind friends, pray give attention 

To this, my little song. 

Some rum things I will mention, 

And I’ll not detain you long. 

Up and down this country 

I travel, don’t you see, 

I’m a swagman on the wallaby, 

Oh! don’t you pity me. 

I’m a swagman on the wallaby, 

Oh! don’t you pity me. 
At first I started shearing, 

And I bought a pair of shears. 

On my first sheep appearing, 

Why, I cut off both its ears. 

Then I nearly skinned the brute, 

As clean as clean could he. 

So I was kicked out of the shed, 

Oh! don’t you pity me, &c. 
I started station loafing, 

Short stages and took my ease; 

So all day long till sundown 

I’d camp beneath the trees. 

Then I’d walk up to the station, 

The manager to see. 

“Boss, I’m hard up and I want a job, 

Oh! don’t you pity me,” &c. 
Says the overseer: “Go to the hut. 

Says the overseer: “Go to the hut. 

In the morning I’ll tell you 

If I’ve any work about 

I can find for you to do.” 

But at breakfast I cuts off enough 

For dinner, don’t you see. 

And then my name is Walker. 

Oh! don’t you pity me. 

I’m a swagman, &c. 

And now, my friends, I’ll say good-bye, 

For I must go and camp. 

For if the Sergeant sees me 

He may take me for a tramp; 

But if there’s any covey here 

What’s got a cheque, d’ye see, 

I’ll stop and help him smash it. 

Oh! don’t you pity me. 

I’m a swagman on the wallaby, 

Oh! don’t you pity me.

Tom Collins – Banjo Paterson

Who never drinks and never bets, 

But loves his wife and pays his debts 

And feels content with what he gets? 

Tom Collins. 
Who has the utmost confidence 

That all the banks now in suspense 

Will meet their paper three years hence? 

Tom Collins. 
Who reads the Herald leaders through, 

And takes the Evening News for true, 

And thought the Echo’s jokes were new? 

Tom Collins. 
Who is the patriot renowned 

So very opportunely found 

To fork up Dibbs’s thousand pound? 

Tom Collins.