[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.]
New England Cocky
’Twas a New England Cocky, as of late I’ve been told,
Who died, so ’tis said, on account of the cold.
When dying he called to his children “Come here!
“As I’m dying, I want my fortune to share.
“Dear children, you know I’ve toiled early and late,
“I’ve struggled with Nature, and wrestled with Fate.
“Then all do your best to my fortune repair;
“And to my son John I leave a dear native bear.
“To Mary I give my pet kangaroo,
“May it prove to turn out a great blessing, too;
“To Michael I leave the old cockatoo,
“And to Bridget I’ll give the piebald emu.
“To the others whatever is left I will leave —
“Don’t quarrel, or else my poor spirit will grieve;
“There’s the fish in the stream, and the fowl on the lake,
“Let each have as much as any may take
“And now, my dear children, no more can I do,
“My fortune I’ve fairly divided with you,”
And these were the last words his children did hear —
“Don’t forget that I reared you on pumpkin and bear.”
A. B. Paterson (editor), Old Bush Songs: Composed and Sung in the Bushranging, Digging, and Overlanding Days (8th edition), Sydney: Angus & Robertson, 1932, pp. 51-52
cocky = (also spelt “cockie”) a farmer (the term was used to refer to poor bush farmers, from having land so poor that they were jokingly said to only be able to farm cockies, i.e. cockatoos, a type of bird; however, it was later used to refer to farmers in general)
native bear = koala, also known as a “koala bear”
New England = a region in the north of New South Wales
piebald = an animal (especially a horse) which has irregular patches of two colours, typically coloured with large patches of black and white
repair = go; retire; retreat; return (usually followed by “to”, e.g. “he repaired to his country abode”); can also mean: to fix, mend, or restore something (which is broken, damaged, faulty, not working properly, or worn) to a better condition or good condition
’tis = (archaic) a contraction of “it is”
’twas = (archaic) a contraction of “it was”