Mary Lemaine

A poem by Henry Lawson

Jim Duff was a ‘native,’as wild as could be;
A stealer and duffer of cattle was he,
But back in his youth he had stolen a pearl
Or a diamond rather the heart of a girl;
She served with a squatter who lived on the plain,
And the name of the girl it was Mary Lemaine.

’Twas a drear, rainy day and the twilight was done,
When four mounted troopers rode up to the run.
They spoke to the squatter he asked them all in.
The homestead was small and the walls they were thin;
And in the next room, with a cold in her head,
Our Mary was sewing on buttons in bed.

She heard a few words, but those words were enough
The troopers were all on the track of Jim Duff.
The super, his rival, was planning a trap
To capture the scamp in Maginnis’s Gap.
‘I’ve warned him before, and I’ll do it again;
I’ll save him to-night,’ whispered Mary Lemaine.

No petticoat job there was no time to waste,
The suit she was mending she slipped on in haste,
And five minutes later they gathered in force,
But Mary was off, on the squatter’s best horse;
With your hand on your heart, just to deaden the pain,
Ride hard to the ranges, brave Mary Lemaine!

She rode by the ridges all sullen and strange,
And far up long gullies that ran through the range,
Till the rain cleared away, and the tears in her eyes
Caught the beams of the moon from Maginnis’s Rise.
A fire in the depths of the gums she espied,
‘Who’s there?’ shouted Jim. ‘It is Mary!’she cried.

Next morning the sun rose in splendour again,
And two loving sinners rode out on the plain.
And baffled, and angry, and hungry and damp,
The four mounted troopers rode back to the camp.
But they hushed up the business the reason is plain,
They all had been ‘soft’ on fair Mary Lemaine.

The squatter got back all he lost from his mob,
And old Sergeant Kennedy winked at the job.
Jim Duff keeps a shanty far out in the west,
And the sundowners call it the ‘Bushranger’s Rest.’
But the bushranger lives a respectable life,
And the law never troubles Jim Duff or his wife,

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