For of all sad words of tongue or pen, The saddest are these 'It might have been
by Andrew Barton Paterson
It lies beyond the Western Pines
Towards the sinking sun,
And not a survey mark defines
The bounds of "Brumby's Run".
On odds and ends of mountain land,
On tracks of range and rock
Where no one else can make a stand,
Old Brumby rears his stock.
A wild, unhandled lot they are
Of every shape and breed.
They venture out 'neath moon and star
Along the flats to feed;
But when the dawn makes pink the sky
And steals along the plain,
The Brumby horses turn and fly
Towards the hills again.
The traveller by the mountain-track
May hear their hoof-beats pass,
And catch a glimpse of brown and black
Dim shadows on the grass.
The eager stockhorse pricks his ears
And lifts his head on high
In wild excitement when he hears
The Brumby mob go by.
Old Brumby asks no price or fee
O'er all his wide domains:
The man who yards his stock is free
To keep them for his pains.
So, off to scour the mountain-side
With eager eyes aglow,
To strongholds where the wild mobs hide
The gully-rakers go.
A rush of horses through the trees,
A red shirt making play;
A sound of stockwhips on the breeze,
They vanish far away!
Ah, me! before our day is done
We long with bitter pain
To ride once more on Brumby's Run
And yard his mob again.