Mudcat Café message #4069102 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #168402   Message #4069102
Posted By: Stewie
21-Aug-20 - 09:42 PM
Thread Name: Rise Up Mudcat Songbook - Australia
Subject: RE: Rise Up Mudcat Songbook - Australia
I first heard a lovely setting of another Lawson classic on a home-recorded cd of Brian Mooney given to me by his fellow Tasmanian, Mike Manhire.

(Henry Lawson)

The colours of the setting sun
Withdrew across the Western land -
He raised the sliprails, one by one,
And shot them home with trembling hand;
Her brown hands clung - her face grew pale -
Ah! quivering chin and eyes that brim! -
One quick, fierce kiss across the rail,
And, "Good-bye, Mary!" "Good-bye, Jim!"

Oh, he rides hard to race the pain
Who rides from love, who rides from home;
But he rides slowly home again,
Whose heart has learnt to love and roam.
A hand upon the horse's mane,
And one foot in the stirrup set,
And, stooping back to kiss again,
With "Good-bye, Mary! don't you fret!

When I come back" - he laughed for her -
"We do not know how soon 'twill be;
I'll whistle as I round the spur -
You let the sliprails down for me."
She gasped for sudden loss of hope,
As, with a backward wave to her,
He cantered down the grassy slope
And swiftly round the darkening spur.

Black-pencilled panels standing high,
And darkness fading into stars,
And, blurring fast against the sky,
A faint white form beside the bars.
And often at the set of sun,
In winter bleak and summer brown,
She'd steal across the little run,
And shyly let the sliprails down,

And listen there when darkness shut
The nearer spur in silence deep,
And when they called her from the hut
Steal home and cry herself to sleep.
And he rides hard to dull the pain
Who rides from one that loves him best...
And he rides slowly back again,
Whose restless heart must rove for rest.

Unfortunately, Mooney's rendition is not available on the Net. However, Garnet Rogers recorded a version on his 'Speaking softly in the dark' album. He is faithful to Lawson's text for the first few stanzas but reshuffles and rewrites the latter part of the poem. You can listen to it on Bandcamp here:


There's a trio of renditions available on Youtube, including one by a choir, but none of them sparks my clod.

Youtube clips