Whose Wife

A poem by Edward Dyson

‘Harry! what, that yourself, back to old Vic., man,
Down from the Never Land? Now, what’s your game?
Ugly as ever. Not dropped the old trick, man?
Say, what’ll you take with me? Give it a name.

‘Here long? Well, rather, lad; five years and over,
Settled for good, and supporting a wife.
Slipped from the saddle, and living in clover,
Swore off a heap, and I’ve slung the old life.

‘What’s come of Taffy, and Brum, and the rest of them?
Long since you broke with the Poverty push?’
‘Bill, you’re on top, you’ve the best of the best of them.
Poor Brum’s a dummy, Taff died in the bush;

‘Bob’s cook for Chows on an absentee’s station,
Sam’s tout for spielers, Pete’s lumbered for life;
I’m on a tramp through the whole of creation,
Tracking a woman, my runaway wife.

Left me six years ago—sloped! I was shearing
Up on the Thomson. She left not a word;
Last year was seen by a Barcoo man, steering
Round about here, and that’s all that I’ve heard.

Heard of her, know her, Bill?—tallish and clever,
Blue eyes, dark hair, and she’s branded here, so;
Not one to liquor, or go on the never,
But skittish and queer in her tantrums, you know.

This is her picture, Bill; just have a look at her.
Like any female you chance to have seen?
Hallo! here, hold up! Say, man, what’s the matter?
Your Wife! By the Lord, Morton, what do you mean?’

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