Henry Lawson

Here you will find the Long Poem The Ballad Of The Drover of poet Henry Lawson

The Ballad Of The Drover

Across the stony ridges,
 Across the rolling plain,
Young Harry Dale, the drover,
 Comes riding home again.
And well his stock-horse bears him,
 And light of heart is he,
And stoutly his old pack-horse
 Is trotting by his knee.

Up Queensland way with cattle
 He travelled regions vast;
And many months have vanished
 Since home-folk saw him last.
He hums a song of someone
 He hopes to marry soon;
And hobble-chains and camp-ware
 Keep jingling to the tune.

Beyond the hazy dado
 Against the lower skies
And yon blue line of ranges
 The homestead station lies.
And thitherward the drover
 Jogs through the lazy noon,
While hobble-chains and camp-ware
 Are jingling to a tune.

An hour has filled the heavens
 With storm-clouds inky black;
At times the lightning trickles
 Around the drover's track;
But Harry pushes onward,
 His horses' strength he tries,
In hope to reach the river
 Before the flood shall rise.

The thunder from above him
 Goes rolling o'er the plain;
And down on thirsty pastures
 In torrents falls the rain.
And every creek and gully
 Sends forth its little flood,
Till the river runs a banker,
 All stained with yellow mud.

Now Harry speaks to Rover,
 The best dog on the plains,
And to his hardy horses,
 And strokes their shaggy manes;
`We've breasted bigger rivers
 When floods were at their height
Nor shall this gutter stop us
 From getting home to-night!'

The thunder growls a warning,
 The ghastly lightnings gleam,
As the drover turns his horses
 To swim the fatal stream.
But, oh! the flood runs stronger
 Than e'er it ran before;
The saddle-horse is failing,
 And only half-way o'er!

When flashes next the lightning,
 The flood's grey breast is blank,
And a cattle dog and pack-horse
 Are struggling up the bank.
But in the lonely homestead
 The girl will wait in vain --
He'll never pass the stations
 In charge of stock again.

The faithful dog a moment
 Sits panting on the bank,
And then swims through the current
 To where his master sank.
And round and round in circles
 He fights with failing strength,
Till, borne down by the waters,
 The old dog sinks at length.

Across the flooded lowlands
 And slopes of sodden loam
The pack-horse struggles onward,
 To take dumb tidings home.
And mud-stained, wet, and weary,
 Through ranges dark goes he;
While hobble-chains and tinware
 Are sounding eerily.

 . . . . .

The floods are in the ocean,
 The stream is clear again,
And now a verdant carpet
 Is stretched across the plain.
But someone's eyes are saddened,
 And someone's heart still bleeds
In sorrow for the drover
 Who sleeps among the reeds.