Over The Range
Little bush maiden, wondering-eyed,
Playing alone in the creek-bed dry,
In the small green flat on every side
Walled in by the Moonbi ranges high;
Tell me the tale of your lonely life
’Mid the great grey forests that know no change.
‘I never have left my home,’ she said,
‘I have never been over the Moonbi Range.
‘Father and mother are long since dead,
‘And I live with granny in yon wee place.’
‘Where are your father and mother?’ we said.
She puzzled awhile with thoughtful face,
Then a light came into the shy brown face,
And she smiled, for she thought the question strange
On a thing so certain — ‘When people die
They go to the country over the range.’
‘And what is this country like, my lass?’
‘There are blossoming trees and pretty flowers
‘And shining creeks where the golden grass
‘Is fresh and sweet from the summer showers.
‘They never need work, nor want, nor weep;
‘No troubles can come their hearts to estrange.
‘Some summer night I shall fall asleep,
‘And wake in the country over the range.’
Child, you are wise in your simple trust,
For the wisest man knows no more than you.
Ashes to ashes, and dust to dust:
Our views by a range are bounded too;
But we know that God hath this gift in store,
That, when we come to the final change,
We shall meet with our loved ones gone before
To the beautiful country over the range.
Andrew Barton Paterson. The Man from Snowy River and Other Verses, Angus & Robertson, Sydney, 1896 [January 1896 reprinting of the October 1895 edition], pages 100-101
Previously published in: The Sydney Mail, 26 February 1887
[Editor: Correction made by placing quotation mark at start of line “And wake in the country”, in line with other punctuation used in the poem.]