Me an’ Bates [poem by C.J. Dennis]

[Editor: This poem by C.J. Dennis was published in Backblock Ballads and Other Verses (1913). Most of the poetry of C.J. Dennis is written in the style of the Australian vernacular. See the Glossary for explanations of words and phrases.]

Me an’ Bates.

Schoolmates — me an’ Billy Bates,
Sixty year ago;
Though our schoolin’ was but foolin’ —
Short an’ sweet, ye know.
Workin’ when we was but ten
(Folks was poor, ye see).
Drivin’ ploughs an’ mindin’ cows —
Billy Bates an’ me.

Shipmates — me an’ Billy Bates,
Forty year ago;
Came out ’ere in the “Golden Year,”
Straight to Bendigo.
Made our pile in a little while —
Struck it rich did we;
Knocked it down when we got to town —
Billy Bates an’ me.

Shed-mates — me an’ Billy Bates,
Thirty year ago;
Shearin’ sheep an’ livin’ cheap,
Up on Wareko.
Ne’er a row we ’ad, no-how,
Even in a spree;
Friends we’d bin through thick an’ thin —
Billy Bates an’ me.

Billy Bates an’ me wus mates,
Twenty year ago;
Then old Billy acted silly,
Got a girl in tow.
Men thet’s wed’s as good as dead,
Lodgers don’t agree;
Saw ’em started, then we parted —
Billy Bates an’ me.

Room-mates — me an’ Billy Bates —
Come ’ere yesterday.
Wife is dead. The life ’e led
With ’er was crool, they say.
Cut up rough, an’ spent ’is stuff,
Acted like a brute.
So Billy Bates an’ me is mates —
In the “Destichoot.”

C.J. Dennis. Backblock Ballads and Other Verses, E. W. Cole, Melbourne, [1913], pages 64-65

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