Henry Lawson ( )

The Drovers Sweetheart

An hour before the sun goes down 
Behind the ragged boughs, 
I go across the little run 
And bring the dusty cows; 
And once I used to sit and rest 
Beneath the fading dome, 
For there was one that I loved best 
Whod bring the cattle home. 

Our yard is fixed with double bails, 
Round one the grass is green, 
The bush is growing through the rails, 
The spike is rusted in; 
And twas from there his freckled face 
Would turn and smile at me -- 
Hed milk a dozen in the race 
While I was milking three. 

I milk eleven cows myself 
Where once I milked but four; 
I set the dishes on the shelf 
And close the dairy door; 
And when the glaring sunlight fails 
And the fire shines through the cracks, 
I climb the broken stockyard rails 
And watch the bridle-tracks. 

He kissed me twice and once again 
And rode across the hill, 
The pint-pots and the hobble-chain 
I hear them jingling still; 
Hell come at night or not at all -- 
He left in dust and heat, 
And when the soft, cool shadows fall 
Is the best time to meet. 

And he is coming back again, 
He wrote to let me know, 
The floods were in the Darling then -- 
It seems so long ago; 
Hed come through miles of slush and mud, 
And it was weary work, 
The creeks were bankers, and the flood 
Was forty miles round Bourke. 

He said the floods had formed a block, 
The plains could not be crossed, 
And there was foot-rot in the flock 
And hundreds had been lost; 
The sheep were falling thick and fast 
A hundred miles from town, 
And when he reached the line at last 
He trucked the remnant down. 

And so hell have to stand the cost; 
His luck was always bad, 
Instead of making more, he lost 
The money that he had; 
And how hell manage, heaven knows 
(My eyes are getting dim), 
He says -- he says -- he dont -- suppose 
Ill want -- to -- marry -- him. 

As if I wouldnt take his hand 
Without a golden glove -- 
Oh! Jack, you men wont understand 
How much a girl can love. 
I long to see his face once more -- 
Jacks dog! thank God, its Jack! -- 
(I never thought Id faint before) 
Hes coming -- up -- the track.

Henry Lawson's other poems:
  1. Wide Lies Australia
  2. To an Old Mate
  3. The League of Nations
  4. Camerons Heart
  5. The Song of the Darling River

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