Peter Clarke On Walden's range at early dawn The sun shone brightly down; It shone across the winding Page Near Murrurundi town. It glittered o'er the burning mount Where murky shadows fell, Across a path to travelers known, To some, alas, too well. There stands a simply block of stone Erected as a mark To show the spot where he fought and died, The gallant Peter Clarke. And if you will but listen a while, To you I will relate What happened there to Peter Clarke And Jimmy Clarke, his mate. They camped one night close by the range; In songs the hours flew past, And little did poor Peter think That night would be his last. At dawn they toiled the steep ascent, They had scarcely reached the top When a voice in accents stern and bold Commanded them to stop. "Hand up your money, watch, and chain," The robber sternly cried. "Who takes my money takes my life," The angry Clarke replies. Then laughed the robber loud in scorn As he his pistol drew. Said he, "My hand is firm and strong, My aim is ever true. "And he who would my word gainsay, Though he be earl or knight, I swear by all I sacred hold, He'll ne'er see morning light. "So give up your money now, my lad, And do not idly rave; Resist, and by the God above, This night you'll fill the grave." "These are but words, and idle words," The daring Clarke replied, And with one rapid bound he strode Close by the robber's side. And now commenced the struggle For life between them both; One hand of Clarke's the pistol grasped And the other grasped his throat. Now haste you, haste you, Jimmy Clarke, And seek for help in need. Your comrade's welfare, nay, his life Depends on your good speed. But hark to that loud pistol shot In a second rends the skies; A human being on the sod In his death struggle lies. But still in his last dying gasp Poor Peter seemed to say, "Revenge, revenge for Peter Clarke," And so he passed away. But the robber frightened by his deed In terror now did lie; For the hand of Clarke upon his throat Grows tighter as he died. And so indeed was Clarke avenged, For God has set it so, "Who takes a life must yield a life," And the murderer met his doom. tune From John Greenway's Folkways album of Australian songs (Folkways 8718) The Australians tell me it's the same tune as "Look Out Below." AJS apr97
Thanks to Mudcat for the Digital Tradition!