My Mate Bill [poem by G.H. Gibson]

[Editor: This poem by G.H. Gibson was published in The Bulletin Reciter, 1901; it was also published (with minor variations) in The Old Bush Songs, edited by Banjo Paterson, 1905.]

My Mate Bill.

Jimmy the hut-keeper speaks:

That ’s his saddle across the tie-beam, an’ them ’s his spurs up there
On the wall-plate over yonder : you kin see ’s they ain’t a pair.
The daddy of all the stockmen as ever come must’rin’ here —
Killed in the flamin’ mallee, yardin’ a scrub-bred steer !

They say as he ’s gone to Heaven, an’ shook off his worldly cares,
But I can’t sight Bill in a halo sot up on three blinded hairs.
In Heaven ! What next, I wonder, for, strike me pink an’ blue
If I savey what in thunder they ’ll find for Bill to do !

He ’d never make one o’ them angels with faces as white as chalk,
All wool to the toes, like hoggets, an’ wings like a eagle ’awk :
He could n’t ’arp for apples — his voice ’ad tones as jarred.
An’ he’d no more ear than a bald-faced bull, or calves in a brandin’-yard.

He could sit on a buckin’ brumby like a nob in an easy-cheer.
An’ chop his name with a green-hide fall on the flank of a flyin’ steer ;
He could show the saints in glory the way that a fall should drop,
But, sit on a throne ! — not William — unless they could make it prop.

If the Heav’nly hosts get boxed now, as mobs most always will.
Why, who’d cut ’em out like William, or draft on the camp like Bill ?
An ’orseman’d find it awkward, at first, with a push that flew ;
But blame my cats if I knows what else they ’ll find for Bill to do !

He mightn’t freeze to the seraphs, or chum with the cherubim,
But if ever them seraph-johnnies get pokin’ it, like, at him, —
Well, if there ’s hide in Heaven, an’ silk for to make a lash.
He’ll yard the lot in the Jasper Lake in a blinded lightnin’-flash !

It ’s hard if there ain’t no cattle, but p’r’aps they ’ll let him sleep,
An’ wake him up at the Judgment for to draft them goats an’ sheep :
It ’s playin’ it low on William, but p’r’aps he ’ll buckle-to,
Just to show them high-toned seraphs what a mallee-man can do.

If they saddles a big-boned angel — with a turn o’ speed, of course —
As can spiel like a four-year brumby, an’ prop like an old camp-horse, —
If they puts Bill up with a snaffle, an’ a four or five-inch spur,
An’ eighteen foot o’ green-hide for to chop the blinded fur,
He ’ll draft them blamed Angoras in a way, it ’s safe to swear,
As ’ll make them toney seraphs sit back on their thrones an’ stare !

G. H. Gibson.

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 120-123

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