[Editor: This poem by George Essex Evans was published in The Bulletin Reciter, 1901.]
Mick Dooley’s Pants.
They brought a boy from Tallaran to run Mick Dooley’s tracks ;
They yarded him the fastest blood among the station cracks ;
With moles and shirt and sloucher hat and pipe with broken stem,
He slung into the saddle straight and waved his hand to them.
The Sub. was lately out from “’Ome,” the troopers both were green,
The tracking of an outlaw was a game they had not seen ;
This chippy little nigger and the antics that he played —
They were rolling off their saddles at the funny sight he made !
The tracker had a roving eye, he laughed a saucy laugh ;
He grinned as they were grinning, and he gave them chaff for chaff ;
The troopers both were solid men whose brains had run to beef,
But when the boy got moving all their mirth was turned to grief.
He was cautious ’mong the melon-holes, but where the plain was sound
He led ’em at a gallop with his eyes upon the ground ;
And as odds are on a thoroughbred against a trooper’s hacks
They were somewhat disconcerted at this mode of running tracks.
He took ’em down the Flinders where the spear grass lined the brink,
Then crossed a stage of forty miles — without a drop to drink,
And down the beds of dried-up creeks they wandered all day long
Till life seemed, in a trooper’s view, one endless billabong.
Then turned he sharply to the west — the blue M’Kinlay Range,
And gave them joys of spinifex, in case they wished a change ;
And up and down the stony hills they tracked the guilty Mick,
Except when they required a rest to be a little sick.
They hauled their horses after them when hills were tough and high,
And still the Sub. remarked “Bai Jove!” — his eyeglass in his eye ;
And still the blackboy pointed to the tracks which he had seen,
Until they fairly bottomed — they had struck a blind ravine !
Then one sharp-eyed suffering trooper gave a grunt of savage joy,
And called aloud unto the Sub. and pointed to the boy :
“The name upon them trousers ! Sure as God made little ants —
Look, sir, this imp of Satan wears a pair of Dooley’s pants !”
Like thought the tracker wheeled his mount and vanished from their sight,
But as he thundered down the gorge he yelled with all his might :
“Mick Dooley’s crossed the Border now — no run dat feller in —
Next time you want um tracker, boss — don’t get Mick Dooley’s gin !”
G. Essex Evans.
A.G. Stephens (editor). The Bulletin Reciter: A Collection of Verses for Recitation from “The Bulletin” [1880-1901], The Bulletin Newspaper Company, Sydney, 1902 [first published 1901], pages 91-93
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