The Gang Gang
When the wattle curls are drooping,
Where the sun-shy gullies dream,
O’er the hill-tops come we trooping,
Echoes waking to our scream.
When the mint-bush bloom is falling
By the flame-tipped messmate spar.
Where the little creeks go brawling,
You may hear our raucous calling:
Ever vocal, ever busy,
Ere the summer day be done
Swooping from some tree-top dizzy,
We make hay while shines the sun
Thro’ the blue gums swiftly winging,
Where the ripening seed pods are,
To the topmost branches clinging,
What have we to do with singing?
Beauty for the eye we bring you —
Scarlet head and soft grey coat —
Recompense for that we sing you
Such an unmelodious note.
You may mark us flashing by you.
Seek our haunts and, from afar,
Thro’ the unlaced boughs we spy you
And from further heights defy you:
C. J. Dennis, The Singing Garden, Sydney: Angus & Robertson, 1935, pages 91-92
ere = before (from the Middle English “er”, itself from the Old English “aer”, meaning early or soon)
o’er = over (pronounced the same as “oar”, “or”, and “ore”)