Immigration

A poem by Andrew Barton Paterson

[Mr. Jordan was sent to England by the Queensland Government in 1858, 1859, and 1860 to lecture on the advantages of immigration, and told the most extraordinary tales about the place.]

(Air: “Four and twenty blackbirds baked in a pie.”)

Now Jordan’s land of promise is the burden of my song.
Perhaps you’ve heard him lecture, and blow about it strong;
To hear him talk you’d think it was a heaven upon earth,
But listen and I’ll tell you now the plain unvarnished truth.

Here mutton, beef, and damper are all you’ll get to eat,
From Monday morn till Sunday night, all through the blessed week.
And should the flour bag run short, then mutton, beef, and tea
Will be your lot, and whether or not, ’twill have to do, you’ll see.

Here snakes and all vile reptiles crawl around you as you walk,
But these you never hear about in Mr. Jordan’s talk;
Mosquitoes, too, and sandflies, they will tease you all the night,
And until you get quite colonised you’ll be a pretty sight.

Here are boundless plains where it seldom rains, and you’ll maybe die of thirst;
But should you so dispose your bones, you’ll scarcely be the first,
For there’s many a strong and stalwart man come out to make his pile,
Who never leaves the fatal shore of this thrice accursed isle.

To sum it up in few short words, the place is only fit
For those who were sent out here, for from this they cannot flit.
But any other men who come a living here to try,
Will vegetate a little while and then lie down and die.

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