My Brother Ben and ...
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My Brother Ben and I

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(@pamela fox)
Posts: 13
Active Member
Topic starter

Hi to my fellow poets,

I have  had a request from a bloke looking for the words of the poem "My Brother Ben and I"

He was unable to give any further information.  Can anyone help with the words?


Posted : 06/08/2008 8:54 pm
(@Frank Daniel)
Posts: 18
Active Member

(My Brother Ben and I). Anonymous.

The campfire was burning brightly, the coals were glowing red,
The crackling sparks flew upwards as they vanished overhead.
The stockman’s evening meal was o’er, the damper stowed away -
To rest our weary limbs - around the fire we lay.

Put on another log my boys, a good large one; that’s right!
And make us a bully fire for I fear it will be cold tonight.
Before you light that pipe of yours look here in my valise
You’ll find a flask of good three star, there’s just a nip apiece.

Come mate pass up your pannikin, there’s plenty here you see.
No thank you sir, I’d rather not. No brandy sir for me.
How is it ned you never drink I’ve seen you tempted oft
But when you’ve a chance to take a drink it’s always something soft.

I once was wild the stockman cried as any man could be
And many a hard earned cheque I’ve knocked down in a drunken spree.
But times have changed and now on drink I look with dread and fear,
Were I my story to relate ’twould move you all to hear.

To tell the story of his life on him we did prevail -
And gathered closely round the fire to hear the stockman’s tale.
The hardy stockman heaved a sigh his face was sad and wan -
He knocked the ashes from his pipe and thus the tale begun.

“Three years ago, or nearly so - how fast the time rolls by.
We were droving on those western plains my brother Ben and I.
It is of my brother Ben I wish to speak the most
A gay and manly lad was he - as the country round could boast.

But for all his manly virtues he one great failing had -
And that was drink. Through cursed drink I’ve seen him raving mad.
But soon as he had sober grown a steady chap was he,
He earned his cheque and sent it home not knocked it down like me

We were in charge of a mob of cattle with other stockmen three.
And droving through those summer months right merry times had we.
One night we camped the cattle mob upon some rising ground
And when they steadied for the night we built the fires round.

And then to have a merry time I for the grog did call -
And soon I was myself , the merriest of them all.
My brother Ben joined in the fun and many a song we sung -
We made those flying curlews scream and the woods with echoes rung.

But Ben, he would not touch a drop although we pressed him hard,
To all our soft entreating he paid not the least regard.
Come Ben don’t be so mean to stand the odd man out
You know I’ve seen you drink your share when the liquors been about.

‘But Ned! I have not touched a drop these three long years’ he said
‘And you know how crazed I go when the stuff goes to my head’.
Nonsense man the night is cold you need only have one glass
‘One, one only one’ the chorus chimed, as around the grog they passed.

He yielded to that fatal glass which makes me sad to think
That I’m the only man in this world could make my brother drink.
Hour on hour, glass on glass we brothers sat and drank
Till weary in the nights caress into a drunken sleep I sank.

How long I slept I do not know I woke to sleep no more -
The distant thunder broke my rest a storm was gathering o’er.
I rose to stir the dying fire and tried to rouse the men -
When looking round with beating heart I missed my brother Ben

Just then a vivid lightning flash lit up the gloomy plain
I saw Ben riding madly by then all was dark again.
I cried aloud hold hard awhile his voice came hoarse and hollow,
“Ha-har!” he cried, “to death I ride come on! you dare not follow.”

I snatched my whip from off the ground my horse was standing near
And as I to the saddle sprang my heart stood still with fear.
He headed for the timberland with dark and gloom ahead
And as I spurred with rapid stride his maddened stock-horse fled.

I tried to grasp Ben’s bridle rein, his horse veered from the track
And went plunging through the midnight with a madman on his back.
His horse not being used to this tried hard his head to free
And rearing back he struck poor Ben against a leaning tree.

Dismounting I was on the ground and raised his drooping head -
And as I looked in to his eyes I could not think him dead.
But what a sight to me alas the coming dawn revealed
His blue eyes were forever closed his lips with blood were sealed.

Hah! Who will take the message home and tell his poor aged mother
The loss of her beloved son - my one, my only brother.
And to think that I the murderer was, from the ghastly thought I shrank,
Killed by lack of intellect through the cursed demon drink.

On yonder sloping mountainside a lonely grave you’ll see
All covered in with grass and moss beneath a cedar tree.
No marbled cross or monument this lonely grave doth mark
But we rudely carved my brother’s name deep in the growing bark.

And now my boys take warning all before it is too late -
Think of the stockman’s awful tale and his poor young brothers fate.
Save with a will I will not drink nor you with others tempt
I’ll pass it by as I’ve always done with silent cool contempt.
'Only half the lies I tell are the truth . . . !'

Posted : 12/09/2008 4:00 pm
Posts: 2489
Noble Member


I have some additional information from Glenny Palmer that, the lady who performed this at North Pine in 2007 was Maxine Ireland. (Who is a local of that area?) If they wanted her contact then perhaps the North Pine secretary may pass their address to her.

Posted : 12/09/2008 4:24 pm