The Gallant Peter Clarke

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On Walden's Range at morning time
The sun shone brightly down;
It shone across the winding Page
Near Murrurundi town.

It glittered o'er the Burning Mount,
Where murky shadows fell
Across the path to travellers known
To some, alas, too well.

There stands a simple block of stone,
Erected as a mark
To show the spot where he fought and died,
That gallant Peter Clarke.

And if you will but list awhile,
To you I will relate
What happened there to Peter Clarke
And Jimmy Clarke, his mate.

They camped one night close by the range,
In songs the hours flew past,
And little did poor Peter think
That night would be his last.

At dawn they toiled the steep ascent;
They had scarcely reached the top
When a voice in accents stern and cold
Commanded them to stop.

'Hand up your money, watch and chain,'
The robber sternly cried,
'Who takes my money takes my life!'
The angry Clarke replied.

Then laughed the robber loud in scorn
As he his pistol drew.
Said he 'My hand is firm and strong,
And my aim is ever true.

'And he who will my word gainsay,
Though he be earl or knight,
I swear by all I sacred hold
He ne'er shall see morning light.

'So give up your money now, my lad,
And do not idly rave.
Resist and, by the God above,
This night you'll fill the grave.'

'Those are but words and idle words,'
The daring Clarke replied,
And with one rapid bound he strode
Close by the robber's side.

And now commenced the struggle
For life between them both,
One hand of Clarke's the pistol grasped
And the other grasped his throat.

Now haste you, haste you, Jimmy Clarke,
And seek for help in need -
Your comrade's welfare, nay, his life
Depends on your good speed.

But hark to that loud pistol shot,
In a second rends the skies.
A human being on the sod
In his death struggle lies.

But in his dying gasp
Poor Peter seemed to say,
'Revenge, revenge you, Peter Clarke!
And so he passed away.

But the robber, frightened by his deed,
In terror now did lie,
For the hand of Clarke upon his throat
Is tighter as he died.

And so indeed he was avenged,
For God has said it so -
'Who takes a life must yield a life!'
And the murderer met his doom.

© Anonymous