The Man from Snowy River, by A. B. Paterson

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.

http://ebooks.adelaide.edu.au/p/paterson/ab/man_from_snowy_river/chapter17.html

Last updated Thursday, March 6, 2014 at 16:24