William Henry Ogilvie

Here you will find the Long Poem From the Gulf of poet William Henry Ogilvie

From the Gulf

Store cattle from Nelanjie! The mob goes feeding past, 
With half-a-mile of sandhill 'twixt the leaders and the last; 
The nags that move behind them are the good old Queensland stamp- 
Short backs and perfect shoulders that are priceless on a camp; 
And these are men that ride them, broad-cheated, tanned, and tall, 
The bravest hearts amongst us and the lightest hands of all: 
Oh, let them wade in Wonga grass and taste the Wonga dew, 
And let them spread, those thousand head-for we've been droving tool 

Store cattle from Nelanjie! By half-a-hundred towns, 
By northern ranges rough and red, by rolling open downs 
By stock-routes brown and burnt and bare, by floodwrapped river-bends, 
They've hunted them from gate to gate-the drover has no friends! 
But idly they may ride to-day beneath the scorching sun 
And let the hungry bullocks try the grass on Wonga run; 
No overseer will dog them here to "see the cattle through," 
But they may spread their thousand head-for we've been droving too! 

Store cattle from Nelanjie! They've a naked track to steer; 
The stockyards at Wodonga are a long way down from here; 
The creeks won't run till God knows when, and half the holes are dry; 
The tanks are few and far between and water's dear to buy: 
There's plenty at the Brolga bore for all his stock and mine- 
We'll pass him with a brave God-speed across the Border Line; 
And if he goes a five-mile stage and loiters slowly through, 
We'll only think the more of him-for we've been droving too I 

Store cattle from Nelanjie! They're mute as milkers now; 
But yonder grizzled drover, with the care-lines on his brow, 
Could tell of merry musters on the big Nelanjie plains, 
With blood upon the chestnut's flanks and foam upon the reins; 
Could tell of nights upon the road when those same mild-eyed steers 
Went ringing round the river bend and through the scrub like spears; 
And if his words are rude and rough, we know his words are true, 
We know what wild Nelanjies are-and we've been droving too ! 

Store cattle from Nelanjie! Around the fire at night 
They've watched the pine-tree shadows lift before the dancing light; 
They've lain awake to listen when the weird bushvoices speak, 
And heard the lilting bells go by along the empty creek; 
They've spun the yarns of hut and camp, the tales of play and work, 
The wondrous tales that gild the road from Normanton to Bourke; 
They've told of fortunes foul and fair, of women false and true, 
And well we know the songs they've sung-for we've been droving too! 

Store cattle from Nelanjie! Their breath is on the breeze; 
You hear them tread, a thousand head, in blue-grass to the knees; 
The lead is on the netting-fence, the wings are spreading wide, 
The lame and laggard scarcely move so slow the drovers ride! 
But let them stay and feed to-day for sake of Auld Lang Syne; 
They'll never get a chance like this below the Border Iodine; 
And if they tread our frontage down, what's that to me or you? 
What's ours to fare, by God they'll shared for we've been droving tool