Henry Lawson ( )

Corny Bill

His old clay pipe stuck in his mouth, 
His hat pushed from his brow, 
His dress best fitted for the South -- 
I think I see him now; 
And when the city streets are still, 
And sleep upon me comes, 
I often dream that me an Bill 
Are humpin of our drums. 

I mind the time when first I came 
A stranger to the land; 
And I was stumped, an sick, an lame 
When Bill took me in hand. 
Old Bill was what a chap would call 
A friend in poverty, 
And he was very kind to all, 
And very good to me. 

Wed camp beneath the lonely trees 
And sit beside the blaze, 
A-nursin of our wearied knees, 
A-smokin of our clays. 
Or when wed journeyed damp an far, 
An clouds were in the skies, 
Wed camp in some old shanty bar, 
And sit a-tellin lies. 

Though time had writ upon his brow 
And rubbed away his curls, 
He always was -- an may be now -- 
A favourite with the girls; 
Ive heard bush-wimmin scream an squall -- 
Ive seed em laugh until 
They could not do their work at all, 
Because of Corny Bill. 

He was the jolliest old pup 
As ever you did see, 
And often at some bush kick-up 
Theyd make old Bill M.C. 
Hed make them dance and sing all night, 
Hed make the music hum, 
But hed be gone at mornin light 
A-humpin of his drum. 

Though joys of which the poet rhymes 
Was not for Bill an me, 
I think we had some good old times 
Out on the wallaby. 
I took a wife and left off rum, 
An camped beneath a roof; 
But Bill preferred to hump his drum 
A-paddin of the hoof. 

The lazy, idle loafers what 
In toney houses camp 
Would call old Bill a drunken sot, 
A loafer, or a tramp; 
But if the dead should ever dance -- 
As poets say they will -- 
I think Id rather take my chance 
Along of Corny Bill. 

His long lifes-day is nearly oer, 
Its shades begin to fall; 
He soon must mount his bluey for 
The last long tramp of all; 
I trust that when, in bush an town, 
Hes lived and learnt his fill, 
Theyll let the golden slip-rails down 
For poor old Corny Bill.

Henry Lawson's other poems:
  1. The Heart of Australia
  2. Mount Bukaroo
  3. The Fire at Rosss Farm
  4. To an Old Mate
  5. Camerons Heart

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