The Shanty on the Rise

Original Text: 
Henry Lawson, In the Days when the World was Wide and Other Verses (Sydney: Angus and Robertson, 1912): 79-84. x.908/13059 British Library. shel 0660 Fisher Rare Book Library
2On a spur among the mountains stood `The Bullock-drivers' Rest;'
3It was built of bark and saplings, and was rather rough inside,
5Just a quiet little shanty kept by `Something-in-Disguise,'
6As the bushmen called the landlord of the Shanty on the Rise.
9For the patrons of the Shanty had the principles of men,
11You could smoke and drink in quiet, yarn, or else soliloquise,
12With a decent lot of fellows in the Shanty on the Rise.
13'Twas the bullock-driver's haven when his team was on the road,
14And the waggon-wheels were groaning as they ploughed beneath the load;
15And I mind how weary teamsters struggled on while it was light,
17And I think the very bullocks raised their heads and fixed their eyes
18On the candle in the window of the Shanty on the Rise.
19And the bullock-bells were clanking from the marshes on the flats
20As we hurried to the Shanty, where we hung our dripping hats;
21And we took a drop of something that was brought at our desire,
22As we stood with steaming moleskins in the kitchen by the fire.
23Oh! it roared upon a fireplace of the good, old-fashioned size,
24When the rain came down the chimney of the Shanty on the Rise.
25They got up a Christmas party in the Shanty long ago,
26While I camped with Jimmy Nowlett on the riverbank below;
27Poor old Jim was in his glory -- they'd elected him M.C.,
28For there wasn't such another raving lunatic as he.
29`Mr Nowlett, Mr Swaller!' shouted Something-in-Disguise,
30As we walked into the parlour of the Shanty on the Rise.
31There is little real pleasure in the city where I am --
33But a fellow can be happy when around the room he whirls
34In a party up the country with the jolly country girls.
35Why, at times I almost fancied I was dancing on the skies,
36When I danced with Mary Carey in the Shanty on the Rise.
37Jimmy came to me and whispered, and I muttered, `Go along!'
38But he shouted, `Mr. Swaller will oblige us with a song!'
39And at first I said I wouldn't, and I shammed a little too,
41So I sang a song of something 'bout the love that never dies,
42And the chorus shook the rafters of the Shanty on the Rise.
43Jimmy burst his concertina, and the bullock-drivers went
44For the corpse of Joe the Fiddler, who was sleeping in his tent;
45Joe was tired and had lumbago, and he wouldn't come, he said,
46But the case was very urgent, so they pulled him out of bed;
47And they fetched him, for the bushmen knew that Something-in-Disguise
48Had a cure for Joe's lumbago in the Shanty on the Rise.
49Jim and I were rather quiet while escorting Mary home,
51And we walked so very silent -- being lost in reverie --
52That we heard the settlers'-matches softly rustle on the tree;
53And I wondered who would win her when she said her sweet good-byes --
54But she died at one-and-twenty, and was buried on the Rise.
55I suppose the Shanty vanished from the ranges long ago,
56And the girls are mostly married to the chaps I used to know;
57My old chums are in the distance -- some have crossed the border-line,
58But in fancy still their glasses chink against the rim of mine.
59And, upon the very centre of the greenest spot that lies
60In my fondest recollection, stands the Shanty on the Rise.

Notes

1] The shanty is Robert Newton's inn, Mary Carey is Bertha Buchholtz's sister Mary, and Joe the fiddler is Johnny Mears, "a teamster and carrier who rented a little farm near Eurunderee Creek" (Collected Verse, ed. Colin Roderick [Sydney: Angus and Robertson, 1967]: I, 438). Back to Line
4] bushman: man from the outback. Back to Line
7] swells: well-dressed, respectable persons. Back to Line
8] toney: with "tone," pretentious, that is, welcoming to only certain types of people. Back to Line
10] spieler: a professional gambler or card-sharp. Back to Line
16] cooey: the aboriginal's signal to others, a cry that says "I'm over here." Back to Line
32] swarry: French "soirée": a fancy restaurant. Back to Line
40] "Joe Swallow" was Lawson's pseudonym when writing for the Boomerang (Brisbane). Back to Line
50] dome: the firmament (the sky's concave vault). Back to Line
Publication Start Year: 
1891
Publication Notes: 
Bulletin; See Stone, 6
RPO poem Editors: 
Ian Lancashire
RPO Edition: 
RPO 2001.
Rhyme: