Mustering Song

A poem by Andrew Barton Paterson

(Air: “So Early in the Morning.”)


The boss last night in the hut did say—
“We start to muster at break of day;
So be up first thing, and don’t be slow;
Saddle your horses and off you go.”

Chorus

So early in the morning, so early in the morning,
So early in the morning, before the break of day.

Such a night in the yard there never was seen
(The horses were fat and the grass was green);
Bursting of girths and slipping of packs
As the stockmen saddled the fastest hacks.

Chorus: So early in the morning, &c.

Across the plain we jog along
Over gully, swamp, and billabong;
We drop on a mob pretty lively, too
We round ’em up and give ’em a slue.

Chorus: So early in the morning, &c.

Now the scrub grows thick and the cattle are wild,
A regular caution to this ’ere child—
A new chum man on an old chum horse,
Who sails through the scrub as a matter of course.

Chorus: So early in the morning, &c.

I was close up stuck in a rotten bog;
I got a buster jumping a log;
I found this scouting rather hot,
So I joined the niggers with the lot we’d got.

Chorus: So early in the morning, &c.

A long-haired shepherd we chanced to meet
With a water bag, billy, and dog complete;
He came too close to a knocked up steer,
Who up a sapling made him clear.

Chorus: So early in the morning, &c.

Now on every side we faintly hear
The crack of the stockwhip drawing near;
To the camp the cattle soon converge,
As from the thick scrub they emerge.

Chorus: So early in the morning, &c.

We hastily comfort the inner man
With the warm contents of the billy can;
The beef and damper are passed about
Before we tackle the cutting out.

Chorus: So early in the morning, &c.

We’re at it now—that bally calf
Would surely make a sick man laugh;
The silly fool can’t take a joke;
I hope some day in the drought he’ll croak.

Chorus: So early in the morning, &c.

We’ve ’em now—the cows and calves
(Things here are never done by halves);
Strangers, workers, and milkers, too,
Of scrubbers also not a few.

Chorus: So early in the morning, &c.

It’s getting late, we’d better push;
’Tis a good long way across the bush,
And the mob to drive are middling hard;
I do not think we’ll reach the yard.

Chorus: So early in the morning, &c.

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