From the Far West

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'Tis a song of the Never Never land--Set to the tune of a scorching gale On the sandhills red, When the grasses deadLoudly rustle, and bow the headTo the breath of its dusty hail:

Where the cattle trample a dusty padAcross the never-ending plain, And come and go With muttering lowIn the time when the rivers cease to flow,And the Drought King holds his reign;

When the fiercest piker who ever turnedWith lowered head in defiance proud, Grown gaunt and weak, Release doth seekIn vain from the depths of the slimy creek--His sepulchre and his shroud;

His requiem sung by an insect host,Born of the pestilential air, That seethe and swarm In hideous formWhere the stagnant waters lie thick and warm,And Fever lurks in his lair:

Where a placid, thirst-provoking lakeClear in the flashing sunlight lies-- But the stockman knows No water flowsWhere the shifting mirage comes and goesLike a spectral paradise;

And, crouched in the saltbush' sickly shade,Murmurs to Heaven a piteous prayer: "O God! must I Prepare to die?"And, gazing up at the brazen sky,Reads his death-warrant there.

Gaunt, slinking dingoes snap and snarl,Watching his slowly-ebbing breath; Crows are flying, Hoarsely cryingBurial service o'er the dying--Foul harbingers of Death.

Full many a man has perished there,Whose bones gleam white from the waste of sand-- Who left no name On the scroll of Fame,Yet died in his tracks, as well becameA son of that desert land.

© Barcroft Henry Thomas Boake