The Poetry Corner

Billy Barlow In Australia

By Banjo Paterson (Andrew Barton)

When I was at home I was down on my luck, And I earned a poor living by drawing a truck; But old aunt died, and left me a thousandOh, oh, Ill start on my travels, said Billy Barlow. Oh dear, lackaday, oh, So off to Australia came Billy Barlow. When to Sydney I got, there a merchant I met, Who said he would teach me a fortune to get; Hed cattle and sheep past the colonys bounds, Which he sold with the station for my thousand pounds. Oh dear, lackaday, oh, He gammond the cash out of Billy Barlow. When the bargain was struck, and the money was paid, He said, My dear fellow, your fortune is made; I can furnish supplies for the station, you know, And your bill is sufficient, good Mr. Barlow. Oh dear, lackaday, oh, A gentleman settler was Billy Barlow. So I got my supplies, and I gave him my bill, And for New England started, my pockets to fill; But by bushrangers met, with my traps they made free, Took my horse and left Billy bailed to a tree. Oh dear, lackaday, oh, I shall die of starvation, thought Billy Barlow. At last I got loose, and I walked on my way; A constable came up, and to me did say, Are you free? Says I, Yes, to be sure; dont you know? And I handed my card, Mr. William Barlow. Oh dear, lackaday, oh, He said, Thats all gammon, to Billy Barlow. Then he put on the handcuffs, and brought me away Right back down to Maitland, before Mr. Day. When I said I was free, why the J.P. replied, I must send you down to be identified. Oh dear, lackaday, oh, So to Sydney once more went poor Billy Barlow. They at last let me go, and I then did repair For my station once more, and at length I got there; But a few days before, the blacks, you must know, Had speard all the cattle of Billy Barlow. Oh dear, lackaday, oh, Its a beautiful country, said Billy Barlow. And for nine months before no rain there had been, So the devil a blade of grass could be seen; And one-third of my wethers the scab they had got, And the other two-thirds had just died of the rot. Oh dear, lackaday, oh, I shall soon be a settler, said Billy Barlow. And the matter to mend, now my bill was near due, So I wrote to my friend, and just asked to renew; He replied he was sorry he couldnt, because The bill had passed into a usurers claws. Oh dear, lackaday, oh, But perhaps hell renew it, said Billy Barlow. I applied; to renew he was quite content, If secured, and allowed just three hundred per cent.; But as I couldnt do, Barr, Rodgers, and Co. Soon sent up a summons for Billy Barlow. Oh dear, lackaday, oh, They soon settled the business of Billy Barlow. For a month or six weeks I stewed over my loss, And a tall man rode up one day on a black horse; He asked, Dont you know me? I answered him No. Why, said he, my names Kinsmill; how are you, Barlow? Oh dear, lackaday, oh, Hed got a fi. fa. for poor Billy Barlow. What Id left of my sheep and my traps he did seize, And he said, They wont pay all the costs and my fees; Then he sold off the lot, and Im sure twas a sin, At sixpence a head, and the station givn in. Oh dear, lackaday, oh, Ill go back to England, said Billy Barlow. My sheep being sold, and my money all gone, Oh, I wandered about then quite sad and forlorn; How I managed to live it would shock you to know, And as thin as a lath got poor Billy Barlow. Oh dear, lackaday, oh, Quite down on his luck was poor Billy Barlow. And in a few weeks more, the sheriff, you see, Sent the tall man on horseback once more unto me; Having got all he could by the writ of fi. fa., By way of a change hed brought up a ca. sa. Oh dear, lackaday, oh, He seized on the body of Billy Barlow. He took me to Sydney, and there they did lock Poor unfortunate Billy fast under the clock; And to get myself out I was forced, you must know The schedule to file of poor Billy Barlow. Oh dear, lackaday, oh, In the list of insolvents was Billy Barlow. Then once more I got free, but in povertys toil; Ive no cattle for salting, no sheep for to boil; I cant get a jobthough to any Id stoop, If it was only the making of portable soup. Oh dear, lackaday, oh, Pray give some employment to Billy Barlow.