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The Man Who Was Away

by A. B. "Banjo" Paterson


The widow sought the lawyer's room with children three in tow,

She told the lawyer man her tale in tones of deepest woe.

She said, "My husband took to drink for pains in his inside,

And never drew a sober breath from then until he died.

"He never drew a sober breath, he died without a will,

And I must sell the bit of land the childer's mouth to fill.

There's some is grown and gone away, but some is childer yet,

And times is very bad indeed -- a livin's hard to get.


"There's Min and Sis and little Chris, they stops at home with me,

And Sal has married Greenhide Bill that breaks for Bidgeree.

And Fred is drovin' Conroy's sheep along the Castlereagh

And Charley's shearin' down the Bland, and Peter is away."


The lawyer wrote the details down in ink of legal blue --

"There's Minnie, Susan, Christopher, they stop at home with you;

There's Sarah, Frederick and Charles, I'll write to them today,

But what about the other son -- the one who is away?


"You'll have to furnish his consent to sell the bit of land."

The widow shuffled in her seat, "Oh, don't you understand?

I thought a lawyer ought to know -- I don't know what to say --

You'll have to do without him, boss, for Peter is away."


But here the little boy spoke up -- said he, "We thought you knew;

He's done six months in Goulburn gaol -- he's got six more to do."

Thus in one comprehensive flash he made it clear as day,

The mystery of Peter's life -- the man who was away.

Banjo Patterson Australian Poet

A. B. (Banjo) Patterson 6

Home | A. B. (Banjo) Patterson | A. B. (Banjo) Patterson 1 | A. B. (Banjo) Patterson 2 | A. B. (Banjo) Patterson 3 | A. B. (Banjo) Patterson 4 | A. B. (Banjo) Patterson 5 | A. B. (Banjo) Patterson 6 | A. B. (Banjo) Patterson 7

The Man from Goondawindi, Q

The Man from Snowy River

The Maori Pig Market

The Matrimonial Stakes

The Mylora Elopement

The Old Tin Hat

The Pannikin Poet

The Pearl Diver

The Protest

The Reveille

The Rhyme of the O'Sullivan

The Road to Hogan

The Sausage Candidate (A Tale of Elections)

The Man from Ironbark

The Man Who was Away

The Maori's Wool

The Mountain Squatter

The Old Timer's Steeple Chase

The Open Steeplechase

The Passing of Gundagai

The Premier and the Socialist

The Quest Eternal

The Reverend Mullineux

The Road to Gundagai

the Road to Old Man

The Scapegoat