The Spring of eighteen sixty-eight
Found Jim and me decided
To go up North – Jim was my mate,
And always went where I did.
So taking leave of all the chums
We stowed a final booze in,
Of whiskies, beers, and sundry rums,
Then started off a-cruisin’
We strapped our swags upon our backs –
The blankets and such trifles –
And for the kangaroos and blacks
A brace of trusty rifles.
We met with naught to bar our way,
But tracked it gaily for’ard,
Until we struck the bush one day,
Eight hundred miles up nor-ard.
Then, on a spot that met our gaze,
Not low, nor yet too hilly,
We pitched our tent, I lit a blaze –
Jim went to fill the billy.
I got the tea and tucker out,
And rubbed our plate and steel up –
But there! You know when camping out
How bushmen fix a meal up.
Now Jim’d been gone a longish spell,
I’d smoked two pipes or more out,
And drunk a rum or two as well,
So felt a kind of wore out.
I sat and thought, “Perhaps some blacks
Have roasted Jim down yonder,
And chopped his carcass into snacks –
Good heavens! I shouldn’t wonder.”
And as I lay beside the blaze,
I thought I saw some figgers,
And, looking-up, before my gaze
Stood fifty grinning niggers.
They shouted, roared, they yelled and danced,
They poised their spears and flung ‘em;
But not a shirt or pair of pants
The demons had between ‘em.
Around a captive close they pressed,
Of colour rather creamy;
And by the tattoos on his chest
I recognised poor Jimmy.
My mate was minus all his togs,
He hadn’t even a mat on;
And stood before the blazing logs
With nothing but a hat on.
They carved up Jim, and served him quick;
Some made him into hashes,
Some roasted him on bits of sick,
Some broiled him on the ashes.
They ate him up, midst jests and groans
And yellings quite terrific;
Their piccaninnies picked his bones
In manner scientific.
Just then the chief came where I lay
And, squatting by me quietly,
In manner easy, free, and gay,
Addressed me thus politely:
“Good evening, sar, how do you do?
Your chum ate to perfection;
We’re thinking now of trying you –
I hope you’ve no objection.”
“Get out!” I cried; “don’t come so near,
you black and ugly nigger;
I’ve got a loaded rifle. Clear!
Or else I’ll pull the trigger.”
And then I jumped upon the ground
To ‘scape the wicked sinner;
But all his pals came flocking round
To seize me for their dinner.
Then some one shook me rather rough,
And said, “Now give it over;
You’ve slept and snored there long enough,
You lazy, drunken loafer.
“I’ve shot an old man kangaroo
while you sat there a-boozin’,
and made the tea and damper, too,
as you lay fast a-snoozing.”
There’s niggers north, I have no doubt,
Who sometimes chaw up white men;
But lots of those we read about
Are but the dreams of tight men.