The Swagman [song, 1905]

[Editor: This was published in The Old Bush Songs, edited by Banjo Paterson, 1905.]

The Swagman

Kind friends, pray give attention
To this, my little song.
Some rum things I will mention,
And I’ll not detain you long.
Up and down this country
I travel, don’t you see;
I’m a swagman on the wallaby,
Oh! don’t you pity me.
I’m a swagman on the wallaby,
Oh ! don’t you pity me.

At first I started shearing,
And I bought a pair of shears.
On my first sheep appearing,
Why, I cut off both its ears.
Then I nearly skinned the brute,
As clean as clean could be.
So I was kicked out of the shed,
Oh! don’t you pity me, &c.

I started station loafing,
Short stages, and took my ease;
So all day long till sundown
I’d camp beneath the trees.
Then I’d walk up to the station,
The manager to see.
“Boss, I’m hard up and I want a job,
Oh! don’t you pity me,” &c.

Says the overseer: “Go to the hut.
In the morning I’ll tell you
If I’ve any work about
I can find for you to do.”
But at breakfast I cuts off enough
For dinner, don’t you see,
And then my name is Walker.
Oh! don’t you pity me.
I’m a swagman, &c.

And now, my friends, I’ll say good-bye,
For I must go and camp.
For if the Sergeant sees me
He may take me for a tramp;
But if there’s any covey here
What’s got a cheque, d’ye see,
I’ll stop and help him smash it.
Oh ! don’t you pity me.
I’m a swagman on the wallaby,
Oh ! don’t you pity me.



“A swagman on the wallaby.” — A nomad following the track of the wallaby, i.e., loafing aimlessly.



Source:
A. B. Paterson (editor). The Old Bush Songs, Angus and Robertson, Sydney, 1905, pages 95-96

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