Laugh and the world laughs with you, Weep and you weep alone For the sad old earth must borrow its mirth, But has trouble enough of its own
by Henry Lawson
It was a week from Christmas-time,
As near as I remember,
And half a year since, in the rear,
We'd left the Darling timber.
The track was hot and more than drear;
The day dragged out for ever;
But now we knew that we were near
Our camp; the Paroo River.
With blighted eyes and blistered feet,
With stomachs out of order,
Half-mad with flies and dust and heat
We'd crossed the Queensland border.
I longed to hear a stream go by
And see the circles quiver;
I longed to lay me down and die
That night on Paroo River.
The "nose-bags" heavy on each chest
(God bless one kindly squatter!),
With grateful weight our hearts they pressed;
We only wanted water.
The sun was setting in a spray
Of colour like a liver;
We'd fondly hoped to camp and stay
That night by Paroo River.
A cloud was on my mate's broad brow,
And once I heard him mutter:
'What price the good old Darling now?;
God bless that grand old gutter!"
And then he stopped and slowly said
In tones that made me shiver:
"It cannot well be on ahead;
I think we've crossed the river."
But soon we saw a strip of ground
Beside the track we followed,
No damper than the surface round,
But just a little hollowed.
His brow assumed a thoughtful frown;
This speech did he deliver:
"I wonder if we'd best go down
Or up the blessed river?"
"But where," said I, " 's the blooming stream?'
And he replied, 'we're at it!"
I stood awhile, as in a dream,
"Great Scott!" I cried, "is that it?
Why, that is some old bridle-track!"
He chuckled, "Well, I never!
It's plain you've never been Out Back;
This is the Paroo River!"