[Editor: This song was published in Old Bush Songs: Composed and Sung in the Bushranging, Digging, and Overlanding Days (8th edition, 1932), edited by Banjo Paterson.]
Dunn, Gilbert and Ben Hall
Come! all ye lads of loyalty, and listen to my tale;
A story of bushranging days, I will to you unveil,
’Tis of those gallant heroes, God bless them one and all,
And we’ll sit and sing “God save the King, Dunn, Gilbert, and Ben Hall.”
To see the mounted troopers
Scouring the bush,
Like diggers in the olden times,
Hasting to a rush.
But those bushranging heroes
They do deceive them all,
There’s one thousand pounds, alive or dead,
For Dunn, Gilbert, or Ben Hall.
As Ben was riding out one day,
His trade being rather slack,
By private information
The troops got on his track,
Saying, “Hall, you are my prisoner,
Surrender unto me,”
And Ben bolted from his saddle
And climbed up in a tree.
With rage and disappointment
The troopers cursed and swore;
They moped and poked about the bush,
And tracked him o’er and o’er.
They kept the watch till daylight,
And no Ben could be found.
At length they saw his cabbage-tree
A-lying on the ground.
Then away goes eight or ten of them,
Like so many yelping curs,
To capture bold Morgan,
In his shining boots and spurs;
But the horses, they knocked up at last,
He cannot captured be;
They turned back from a fruitless chase,
And Morgan still is free.
The troopers now, in latter days,
They’re only paper men,
Not like the mounted heroes
We had in thirty-nine.
But a man that’s carrying on the road
Is taken from his dray,
With a pair of bracelets on his wrists,
He’s captured — led away.
So now my song is ended,
I think I will resign,
We’ll toast those gallant heroes
In a glass of sparkling wine.
We’ll give them three times three, my boys,
We’ll toast them one and all,
And we’ll sit and sing “Long live the Queen,
Dunn, Gilbert, and Ben Hall.”
A. B. Paterson (editor), Old Bush Songs: Composed and Sung in the Bushranging, Digging, and Overlanding Days (8th edition), Sydney: Angus & Robertson, 1932, pp. 41-43
In the first stanza of this song “God save the King” is used, but in the last stanza “Long live the Queen” is used; this seems to be rather incongruous, unless the writer of the song intended the two stanzas to refer to different periods in history. Some other versions of the song use the phrase “God save the King” in both the first and last stanzas.
bracelets = (in the context of policing, or law and order) handcuffs
cabbage-tree = cabbage-tree hat: a wide-brimmed hat made from the leaves of the Australian cabbage tree; they were commonly worn in colonial Australia
carrying = carrying goods, transporting goods (e.g. goods being carried on a cart or a dray, pulled by a bullock team or by horses)
dray = a large and strong four-wheeled wagon, without sides, built for transporting heavy loads
knocked up = exhausted, very tired (distinct from “knocked up”, referring to a woman who has become pregnant)
Morgan = Daniel (Dan) Morgan (1830-1865), bushranger; also known as “Mad Dan” Morgan
o’er = (archaic) over (pronounced the same as “oar”, “or”, and “ore”)
resign = give up; quit
rush = (in the context of gold) a gold rush; a hurried move by a lot of people to an area where a discovery of gold has been made, where they set up camp and begin mining or looking for gold
three times three = the three-part cheer, “Hip, hip, hooray!”, which is traditionally given three times in a row
’tis = (archaic) a contraction of “it is”
troop = abbreviation of “trooper” (mounted police)
trooper = a mounted policeman, in the Australian colonies (in the modern military, it refers to a rank equivalent to private in an armoured or cavalry unit, or to a member of the Special Air Service)
ye = (archaic) you (however, still in use in some places, e.g. in Cornwall, Ireland, Newfoundland, and Northern England; it can used as either the singular or plural form of “you”, although the plural form is apparently the more common usage)
Leave a Reply