The Lay of the Diprotodon.

                                     June, 1885. ROBERT N. GUNN.

I DWELL in a black gully deep;

My bones they are scattered around,

Diprotodon = double toothed 
Diprotodon

And are daily trod over by sheep -

Into dust they will soon all be ground.

My mates are the wily gigantic

And carnivorous marsupial too.

Who, if living, would nearly bend frantic

And frighten the shepherds a few;

But still for all that I'm not vain.

For although it is sad it's the truth

That the poor old Diprotodon's brain

Was never a patch on his tooth.

 

Ere land bills were thought of we fed on

The reeds that were succulent, large;

Our tails they were not safe to tread on

In case it would lead us to charge;

Our teeth they were splendid, you bet!

The finest of white ivory,

The envy of many, and yet

The thought it comes painful to me,

And I cannot help saying again

That although it is sad it's the truth

That the poor old Diprotodon's brain

Was never a patch on his tooth.

 

The bold Russian baron Maclay

He dug up full many a bone;

His heart might have filled with dismay

At our teeth as compared with his own.

Our size would strike many with terror,

And cause the selectors to fly;

Besides, it would clear up all error

If a live one men only could spy.

But still we can never be vain,

For though it is sad it's the truth

That the poor old Diprotodon's brain

Was never a patch on his tooth.

 

Long years ere the thistles were planted

That now spread all over the plain,

And long before M'Elhone ranted

Or Dalley sent troops o'er the main,

We lived and rejoiced in our glory.

Now nothing is left to be shown,

And tell to mankind of our story,

Except a few fragments of bone;

Enough, though, to make it quite plain

That although it is sad it's the truth

That the poor old Diprotodon's brain

Was never a patch on his tooth.

 

In our times no ways were invented

Of dividing the land by a fence.

I guess that we soon would have sent it

To grass, and considered immense

The wheat that's now grown by selectors

On many an old feeding ground.

They 'd needed the courage of Hectors

To keep us from prowling around.

And yet, though to say it gives pain,

In spite of all that, it's the truth  

That the poor old Diprotodon's brain

Was never a patch on his tooth.

 

Yes, ages ago — how time passes! —

Were all of us slain by a drought;

We perished along with the grasses,

In fact were completely wiped out —

Were all of us slain by dry weather,

With also the huge kangaroo;

We all kicked the bucket together,

And, though it was sad, it was true

That the reason of death was quite plain

Alike to the aged and the youth —

That the poor old Diprotodon's brain

Was never a patch on his tooth.

 

Unlike that great pride of creation

The biped that weareth a hat.  

We knew nothing about irrigation,

Or di'mond drills, dams, and all that:

We thought not to day of to-morrow;

We recked not of what was to come;

But lived on in joy and in sorrow,

Nor dreamt we of dangers to shun.

But still for all that we're not vain.

For although it is sad it's the truth

That the poor old Diprotodon's brain

Was never a patch on his tooth.

                                     The Queenslander, 27 June 1885

 

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