On Kiley's Run
 

The roving breezes come and go
                        On Kiley's Run,
The sleepy river murmurs low,
And far away one dimly sees
Beyond the stretch of forest trees --
Beyond the foothills dusk and dun --
The ranges sleeping in the sun
                        On Kiley's Run.

'Tis many years since first I came
                        To Kiley's Run,
More years than I would care to name
Since I, a stripling, used to ride
For miles and miles at Kiley's side,
The while in stirring tones he told
The stories of the days of old
                        On Kiley's Run.

I see the old bush homestead now
                        On Kiley's Run,
Just nestled down beneath the brow
Of one small ridge above the sweep
Of river-flat, where willows weep
And jasmine flowers and roses bloom,
The air was laden with perfume
                        On Kiley's Run.

We lived the good old station life
                        On Kiley's Run,
With little thought of care or strife.
Old Kiley seldom used to roam,
He liked to make the Run his home,
The swagman never turned away
With empty hand at close of day
                        From Kiley's Run.

We kept a racehorse now and then
                        On Kiley's Run,
And neighb'ring stations brought their men
To meetings where the sport was free,
And dainty ladies came to see
Their champions ride; with laugh and song
The old house rang the whole night long
                        On Kiley's Run.

The station hands were friends I wot
                        On Kiley's Run,
A reckless, merry-hearted lot --
All splendid riders, and they knew
The `boss' was kindness through and through.
Old Kiley always stood their friend,
And so they served him to the end
                        On Kiley's Run.

But droughts and losses came apace
                        To Kiley's Run,
Till ruin stared him in the face;
He toiled and toiled while lived the light,
He dreamed of overdrafts at night:
At length, because he could not pay,
His bankers took the stock away
                        From Kiley's Run.

Old Kiley stood and saw them go
                        From Kiley's Run.
The well-bred cattle marching slow;
His stockmen, mates for many a day,
They wrung his hand and went away.
Too old to make another start,
Old Kiley died -- of broken heart,
                        On Kiley's Run.

     .    .    .    .    .

The owner lives in England now
                        Of Kiley's Run.
He knows a racehorse from a cow;
But that is all he knows of stock:
His chiefest care is how to dock
Expenses, and he sends from town
To cut the shearers' wages down
                        On Kiley's Run.

There are no neighbours anywhere
                        Near Kiley's Run.
The hospitable homes are bare,
The gardens gone; for no pretence
Must hinder cutting down expense:
The homestead that we held so dear
Contains a half-paid overseer
                        On Kiley's Run.

All life and sport and hope have died
                        On Kiley's Run.
No longer there the stockmen ride;
For sour-faced boundary riders creep
On mongrel horses after sheep,
Through ranges where, at racing speed,
Old Kiley used to `wheel the lead'
                        On Kiley's Run.

There runs a lane for thirty miles
                        Through Kiley's Run.
On either side the herbage smiles,
But wretched trav'lling sheep must pass
Without a drink or blade of grass
Thro' that long lane of death and shame:
The weary drovers curse the name
                        Of Kiley's Run.

The name itself is changed of late
                        Of Kiley's Run.
They call it `Chandos Park Estate'.
The lonely swagman through the dark
Must hump his swag past Chandos Park.
The name is English, don't you see,
The old name sweeter sounds to me
                        Of `Kiley's Run'.

I cannot guess what fate will bring
                        To Kiley's Run --
For chances come and changes ring --
I scarcely think 'twill always be
Locked up to suit an absentee;
And if he lets it out in farms
His tenants soon will carry arms
                        On Kiley's Run.