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North where the bergs careen,
The spray of seas unseen
The footless, floating weed
I that was clean to run
My race against the sun
Whipped forth by night to meet
My sister's careless feet,
Man made me, and my will
Is to my maker still
Lifting in hope to spy
Trailed smoke along the sky; Falling afraid lest any keel come near!
THE SONG OF THE BANJO.
You couldn't pack a Broadwood half a mile
You mustn't leave a fiddle in the dampYou couldn't raft an organ up the Nile,
And play it in an Equatorial swamp. I travel with the cooking-pots and pails— I'm sandwiched 'tween the coffee and the
pork— And when the dusty column checks and tails, You should hear me spur the rearguard to a
With my “ Pilly-willy-winky-winky popp!”
In the silence of the camp before the fight,
You can hear my strumpty-tumpty overnight
Explaining ten to one was always fair. I'm the prophet of the Utterly Absurd,
Of the Patently Impossible and VainAnd when the thing that Couldn't has occurred,
Give me time to change my leg and go again.
With my “ Tumpa - tumpa - tumpa- tum - pa
tump!” In the desert where the dung-fed camp
smoke curled There was never voice before us till I led
our lonely chorus, Ithe war-drum of the White Man round
By the bitter road the Younger Son must tread,
Ere he win to hearth and saddle of his own,'Mid the riot of the shearers at the shed,
In the silence of the herder's hut aloneIn the twilight, on a bucket upside down, Hear me babble what the weakest won't con
fess— I am Memory and Torment-I am Town!
I am all that ever went with evening dress!
With my“ Tunk-a tunka-tunka-tunka
tunk !” [So the lights—the London lights-grow
near and plain!] So I rowel 'em afresh towards the Devil and
Till I bring my broken rankers home again. In desire of many marvels over sea, Where the new-raised tropic city sweats and
roars, I have sailed with Young Ulysses from the quay Till the anchor rumbled down on stranger
shores. He is blooded to the open and the sky,
He is taken in a snare that shall not fail, He shall hear me singing strongly, till he die,
Like the shouting of a backstay in a gale.
With my “Hya! Heeya! Heeya! Hullah!
Haul !" [O the green that thunders aft along the
deck!] Are you sick o' towns and men ? You
must sign and sail again, For it's “Johnny Bowlegs, pack your kit
Through the gorge that gives the stars at noon
day clearUp the pass that packs the scud beneath our
wheelRound the bluff that sinks her thousand fathom
sheerDown the valley with our guttering brakes
asqueal: Where the trestle groans and quivers in the
snow, Where the many-shedded levels loop and
twine, So I lead my reckless children from below
Till we sing the Song of Roland to the pine.
With my “ Tinka-tinka-tinka-tinka-tink !”. [And the axe has cleared the mountain,
croup and crest!] So we ride the iron stallions down to drink, Through the cañons to the waters of the
And the tunes that mean so much to you
alone Common tunes that make you choke and
blow your nose,