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Henry Lawson (Генри Лоусон)

The Paroo

It was a week from Christmas-time, 
As near as I remember, 
And half a year since, in the rear, 
We’d left the Darling timber. 
The track was hot and more than drear; 
The day dragged out for ever; 
But now we knew that we were near 
Our camp - the Paroo River. 
With blighted eyes and blistered feet, 
With stomachs out of order, 
Half-mad with flies and dust and heat 
We’d crossed the Queensland border. 
I longed to hear a stream go by 
And see the circles quiver; 
I longed to lay me down and die 
That night on Paroo River. 

The ”nose-bags” heavy on each chest 
(God bless one kindly squatter!), 
With grateful weight our hearts they pressed - 
We only wanted water. 
The sun was setting in a spray 
Of colour like a liver - 
We’d fondly hoped to camp and stay 
That night by Paroo River. 
A cloud was on my mate’s broad brow, 
And once I heard him mutter: 
’What price the good old Darling now? - 
God bless that grand old gutter!” 
And then he stopped and slowly said 
In tones that made me shiver: 
”It cannot well be on ahead - 
I think we’ve crossed the river.” 
But soon we saw a strip of ground 
Beside the track we followed, 
No damper than the surface round, 
But just a little hollowed. 
His brow assumed a thoughtful frown - 
This speech did he deliver: 
”I wonder if we’d best go down 
Or up the blessed river?” 

”But where,” said I, ” ’s the blooming stream?’ 
And he replied, ’we’re at it!” 
I stood awhile, as in a dream, 
”Great Scott!” I cried, ”is that it? 
Why, that is some old bridle-track!” 
He chuckled, ”Well, I never! 
It’s plain you’ve never been Out Back - 
This is the Paroo River!”

Henry Lawson's other poems:
  1. To an Old Mate
  2. Queen Hilda of Virland
  3. Jack Dunn of Nevertire
  4. The Heart of Australia
  5. The Bush Girl

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