Friday, April 22, 2011

Song of Artesian Water

Words: AB Paterson
Tune: The Overlanders

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Now the stock have started dying, for the Lord has sent a drought
But we're sick of prayers and Providence---we're going to do without
With the derricks up above us and the solid earth below
We are waiting at the lever for the word to let her go.

Sinking down, deeper down,
Yes, we'll find artesian water deeper down
Sinking down, deeper down,
Yes, we'll find artesian water deeper down

Now our engine's built in Glasgow by a very canny Scot
And he marked it twenty horse-power, but he don't what is what
When Canada Bill is firing with the sun-dried gidgee logs
She can equal thirty horses and a score or so of dogs

But the shaft has started caving and the sinking's very slow
And the yellow rods are bending in the water down below
And the tubes are always jamming, and they can't be made to shift
Till we nearly burst the engine with a forty horse-power lift

But there's no artesian water, though we've passed three thousand feet
And the contract price is growing, and the boss is nearly beat
But it must be down beneath us, and it's down we've got to go
Though she's bumping on the solid rock four thousand feet below

But it's hark! the whistle's blowing with a wild, exultant blast
And the boys are madly cheering, for they've struck the flow at last
And it's rushing up the tubing from four thousand feet below
Till it spouts above the casing in a million-gallon flow

And it's clear away the timber, and it's let the water run
How it glimmers in the shadow, how it flashes in the sun!
By the silent belts of timber, by the miles of blazing plain
It is bringing hope and comfort to the thirsty land again

An abridged poem by Banjo Paterson, from the 1978 album, Songs of the Great Australian Balladists.

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