The Meddler

... But what does the country care for singing ? Not much, more's the pity. There is far too little singing in the bush, and it is in the bush where the original, the national, song should be born. And it may be answered it has been born, and has died for lack of any natural nursing mother of music. There were some quaint old songs born in the old time, and they linger still, but their value is chiefly in their quaintness, their utter contrast to the life we know. How strange does it seem to one bred near a city to hear some spiderlegged youth of a station, pipe out the old legend of "Bold Jack O'Donoghue," or Frank Macnamara's blasphemous legend of the "Prisoner's Tour to Hell." The youth has no understanding of the absurdity of himself, or his song ; but to the ordinary man he is as strange as a ghost of some sergeant of Lachlan Macquarie s little army stepping out in his old uniform, and presenting his old flint-lock musket. The past lives in him, at least the paltry immortality of the past, or it is hard proven fact that the songs of the time are its immortal essence. How then shall we live 100 years hence? Heaven send us a strong historian, for we have neither a singer nor a song !