By permission of the great Esquire Hall
Being assembled here this day
Unanimously bleating all
For Him that's far away.
Our noble sires in the rich vales
Of Germany long sported
But we alas to New South Wales
By the Company were imported.
We were bourne across the Main
From Holland and from Russia
Some from Saxony, more from Spain
France, Switzerland and Prussia.
We, the prime of the Company's stock
Fat wethers, rams and ewes
None excepted, all the flock
Peel for the Poet's woes.
Oft he has charmed with his notes
The Plains of fair Killala
To him we owe our fleecy coats
Our flesh, our hides, our tallow.
He ever proved our constant friend
'Tis plain from our contrition
In his behalf therefore we send
The following petition.
For years on the Poet's lawn we've grazed
And leaped o'er many a hurdle
To you our voices all are raised
Most noble Ebsworth of Burrell.
To honour thee we never cease
With reverence most profound
How much more Sire, when you release
The Poet from underground.
Each morning when the watchful cock
Announced the approach of day
At the folds he was seen with his flock
Before Sol's glittering ray.
The lofty wood crowned hills adorned
Were seen on the Plains
The truant like negligence he scorned
Of all the neighbouring swains.
By the fair Peel's evergreen side
We feasted every day
Our wants there amply were supplied
Whilst our Bard's merry lay
Joined with the notes of the sweet thrush
With melody filled the air
Birds to him flocked from every bush
So sweet his carols were.
Our tender lambs with him would play
And in his bosom lie
To Hawks they's often fall a prey
But for his watchful eye.
He reared them with a father's care
And fed the sickly ewes
Whilst other shepherds gambling were
On cards and dominoes.
Our wily foes, the native dogs
He chased for many a mile
Saint Patrick never drove the frogs
So swift from the Western Isle.
The King of Thessaly's numerous flocks
Once Telemacus kept
And from coverts and caverns in the rocks
Bears, lions and tigers crept.
To hear the music of his lute
But our Bard's plaintive songs
Not only charmed the senseless brute
But gathered the birds in throngs.
Far from the Peel's evergreen plains
In some wild lone retreat
In bitter and heartrending strains
We'll mourn our patron's fate.
Our cries from the hills shall resound
To the extremes of the Poles
If our friend goes underground
At Newcastle to wheel coals.
Why should the poet be sent down
To toil in a coal pit
Such service best suits a clown
But not a man of wit.
We yet shall hear his merry songs
On fair Killala's plain
Kind Heaven shall avenge the wrongs
Of our much injured swain.
Meredith and Whalan
From the Trimingham/Cameron MSS in the Mitchell Library.
Internal evidence suggests that this verse-petition was written between March 1838 and April 1839, when James Ebsworth was acting commissioner of the A. A. Co. following on the death of Col. Dumaresq.
Esquire Hall refers to Charles Hall, stock superintendant of the company from 1830, and who resided at the peel River Estate from 1834.
Killala spelled as such is a town in Ireland, but here is intended to refer to Calala Cottage, Hall's residence at the Peel River.
Ebsworth of Burrell is the above-mentioned James Ebsworth. Booral was the name given to his residence at Stroud.