The Great Calamity

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The Great Calamity  (1893) 
by Banjo Paterson

MacFierce'un came to Whiskeyhurst
When summer days were hot,
And bided there wi' Jock MacThirst,
A brawny brother Scot.
Good faith! They made the whisky fly
Like Highland chieftains true,
And when they'd drunk the beaker dry
They sang, "We are nae fou!
There's nae folk like oor ain folk,
Sae gallant and sae true."
They sang the only Scottish joke
Which is, "We are nae fou".
Said bold MacThirst, "Let Saxons jaw
Aboot their great concerns,
But Bonnie Scotland beats them a',
The Land o' Cakes and Burns,
The land of pairtridge, deer, and grouse;
Fill up your glass, I beg,
There's muckle whiskey i' the house,
Forbye what's in the keg."
And here a hearty laugh he laughed,
"Just come wi' me, I beg."
MacFierce'un saw with pleasure daft
A fifty-gallon keg.

"Losh, man, that's graund," MacFierce'un cried,
"Saw ever man the like,
Moo, wi' the daylicht, I maun ride
To meet a Southron tyke,
But I'll be back ere summer's gone,
So bide for me, I beg;
We'll mak' a graund assault upon
Yon deevil of a keg."

      * * * * * *

MacFierce'un rode to Whiskeyhurst
When summer days were gone,
And there he met with Jock MacThirst
Was greetin' all alone.
"MacThirst, what gars ye look sae blank?
Hae all your wuts gane daft?
Has that accursed Southron bank
Called up your overdraft?
Is all your grass burnt up wi' drouth?
Is wool and hides gane flat?"
MacThirst replied, "Guid friend, in truth,
'Tis muckle waur than that."

"Has sair misfortune cursed your life
That you should weep sae free?
Is harm upon your bonnie wife,
The children at your knee?
Is scaith upon your house and hame?"
MacThirst upraised his head:
"My bairns hae done the deed of shame --
'Twere better they were dead.
To think my bonnie infant son
Should do the deed o' guilt --
He let the whuskey spigot run,
And a' the whuskey's spilt!"

      * * * * * *

Upon them both these words did bring
A solemn silence deep;
Good faith, it is a fearsome thing
To see two strong men weep.

This work is is in the public domain because it was created in Australia and the term of copyright has expired.

See Australian Copyright Council - Duration of Copyright (February 2012).