Friday, April 1, 2011

The Drover's Dream


One night when travelling sheep, all my mates they were asleep
The stars and moon illumined the summer sky
My eyes they'd hardly closed, in fact I must have dozed
When a very strange procession passed me by
First there came a kangaroo, with his swag of blankets blue
A dingo likewise followed for a mate
While a possum and a crow said, "Come on, we'd better go,
And hurry up before it gets too late."

The goanna and the snake and the adder wide awake
Struck up "The Old Log Cabin in the Dell"
Then a parrot green and blue sang, "A Doodle, Doodle, Doo"
And a platypus clattered with the bells
A fox he came along and he sang a comic song
And the audience gave a hearty cheer
Then a big white cockatoo and a brolga dressed in blue
Sang some songs we hadn't heard for many a year.

A pretty young galah played upon a steel guitar
With twenty magpies dancing all the while
Some plovers flew around to investigate the sound
And a frill-necked lizard listened with a smile.
A little bower bird said he'd like to have a word
And whistled off "When Coming Through the Rye"
Then a great big eagle hawk let out an awful squawk,
As he swooped down from his place up in the sky.

Three frogs from out the swamp, where the atmosphere is damp
Came creeping up and sat upon some stones
They unrolled their little swags and took from out their bags
The violin, the banjo and the bones
The sweet young bandicoot played a tune upon his flute
Three native bears came in and formed a ring
The pelican and the crane, they came in from off the plain
And amused the audience with the Highland Fling

A porcupine came along and he sang a comic song
And a wombat played upon a mandolin
While an emu standing near with his claw up to his ear
Said it was the finest thing he'd ever seen.
Then there came an awful crash as if creation had gone smash
And waking found that I had been asleep
For the Boss behind the cart awoke me with a start
Shouting, "Murphy, where the dickens are the sheep?"

A popular song across Australia in it's day. This version collected by Ron Edwards from Mick Dolan (b. 1895). The tune is a variation of Killaloe, which is also the regimental quick march of the Royal Irish Regiment. (Follow this link for a fairly startling rendition.)

The illustration for this post is by Deborah Niland from her 1979 book, The Drover's Dream

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