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Maria and Bessie Gray and The Stockman's Last Bed (1846)

Dr GRAEME SKINNER (University of Sydney)


THIS PAGE IS ALWAYS UNDER CONSTRUCTION


To cite this:

Graeme Skinner (University of Sydney), "Maria and Bessie Gray and The Stockman's Last Bed (1846)", Australharmony (an online resource toward the history of music and musicians in colonial and early Federation Australia): http://sydney.edu.au/paradisec/australharmony/gray-maria-and-bessie-and-the-stockmans-last-bed.php; accessed 25 March 2017




GRAY, Elizabeth Anne

(Bessie GRAY; Mrs. Robert GRAHAM; Elizabeth Anne GRAHAM)

Songwriter, amateur vocalist

GRAY, Maria Catherine

(Maria GRAY; Mrs. James LEITH HAY; Maria Catherine LEITH HAY; LEITH-HAY)

Songwriter, amateur vocalist

Born UK, ? c. 1827 (? 1830)
Arrived Sydney, NSW, 1837
Married Ipswich, QLD, 19 September 1854
Died Ipswich, QLD, 7 June 1875


Maria Catherine Leith Hay (Gray) c.1860 (SL-QLD)

Maria Catherine Leith Hay, c.1860; SL-QLD

http://hdl.handle.net/10462/deriv/70629 

http://trove.nla.gov.au/version/47936626 


Documentation (Gray sisters)

"MARRIED", The Sydney Morning Herald (8 June 1846), 3

http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article28649838


"MARRIED", The Moreton Bay Courier (23 September 1854), 2

http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article3708745


"Deaths", The Queenslander (12 June 1875), 4

http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article18336503


"Early Settlers: THE LEITH-HAYS AND RANNES STATION", The Central Queensland Herald (14 July 1949), 3

http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article76218691


The Stockman's Last Bed (arr. Marsh, 1865)

"The Stockman's Last Bed, arranged by Stephen Marsh", The Illustrated Melbourne Post (25 August 1865), 128

http://nla.gov.au/nla.obj-179658234 (DIGITISED)


Stockman's last bed, MS, SL-NSW

"Undated manuscrript], The stockman's last bed ... SL-NSW

http://archival-classic.sl.nsw.gov.au/album/albumView.aspx?acmsID=940897&itemID=1025618 (DIGITISED)


Documentation and bibliography (The stockman's last bed)

[Undated manuscript, ? Annabella Boswell] "The stockman's last bed": a parody on the popular song, Last Whistle written by the two daughters of Colonel Grey, 1846; MS, SL-NSW, MLDOC 2714

http://archival-classic.sl.nsw.gov.au/item/itemDetailPaged.aspx?itemID=940897 

http://archival-classic.sl.nsw.gov.au/album/albumView.aspx?acmsID=940897&itemID=1025618 (DIGITISED)


"BUSH LYRICS. THE STOCKMAN'S GRAVE", Bell's Life in Victoria (24 January 1857), 4

Be ye bushman or not, to my story give ear,
Poor Jack's breathed at last, and no more shall ye hear,
The crack of his stock whip, his steed's lively trot,
His clear "go-a-head," or his jingling quart pot.
He sleeps where the wattles their sweet perfumes shed,
And the tall gum-trees shadow the stockman's last bed.

Whilst yarding one day, he was horned by a cow;
"Alas", cried poor Jack, "It's all up with me now,
"No more to the saddle shall I vault again,
"Nor bound like a wallaby over the plain.
"I shall sleep where the wattles their sweet perfume shed,
"And the tall gum-trees shadow the stockman's last bed.

"My whip will be silent, his dog now may mourn,
"My steed look in vain for his master's return.
"Unknown and uncared-for, unpitied I die,
"Save Australia's dark sons, none will pass where I lie.
"I'll sleep where the wattles their sweet perfume shed,
"And the tall gum-trees shadow the stockman's last bed."

But, stranger if ever at some future day,
In search of wild cattle you may happen to stray,
To where lone and forgotten poor Jack's bones are laid,
Far, far from the land where in childhood he played.
Tread light where the wattles, their sweet perfume spread,
And the tall gum-trees shadow the stockman's last bed.


"THE STOCKMAN'S LAST BED. Arranged by S. H. Marsh", The Illustrated Melbourne Post (25 August 1865), 128

http://nla.gov.au/nla.obj-179658234 (DIGITISED)

Be ye stockman ...


"CRICKET MATCH. THE DINNER", Border Watch (18 March 1868), 2

http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article77164633 

... The Vice-President proposed the toast of "the President." Song - Mr. Singleton, "The Stockman's last bed."


"THE STOCKMAN'S GRAVE", The Capricornian (22 December 1883), 11s

http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article67859608 

Ye bushman or not to my story give ear ...


"THE STOCKMAN'S LAST BED", Once a Month: An Illustrated Australasian Magazine (1885), 373

Be ye stockman ...


"The Stockman's Last Bed", Evening News (17 October 1885), 7

http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article111339270 

Be ye stockman ...


"THE STOCKMAN'S LAST BED", Kerang Times and Swan Hill Gazette (2 March 1886), 4

http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article65605058 

Be ye stockman ...


Sladen 1888c, 543

https://archive.org/stream/centuryofaustral00slad#page/543/mode/2up 

BUSH SONGS. By the kindness of The Hon. Mrs. W. E. Cavendish [Elizabeth Janet Baillie (c.1865-1935), daughter of the former squatter-pastoralist Thomas Baillie (1823-1889)], herself an Australian, the editor has been enabled to lay before English readers the three Australian songs most sung in the Bush - all of them thoroughly racy of the soil.

THE STOCKMAN'S LAST BED.

I. Whether stockman or not,
For a moment give ear
Poor Jack, he is dead,
And no more shall we hear
The crack of his whip,
Or his steed's lively trot,
His clear "go ahead,"
Or his jingling quart pot.
For he sleeps where the wattles
Their sweet fragrance shed,
And tall gum-trees shadow
The Stockman's last bed!

[544] II. One day, while out yarding,
He was gored by a steer.
"Alas ! " cried poor Jack,
'"Tis all up with me here;"
And never shall I
The saddle regain,
Or bound like a wallaby
Over the plain.
So they've laid him where wattles
Their sweet fragrance shed, &c.

III. His whip at his side,
His dogs they all mourn,
His horse stands awaiting
His master's return;
While he lies neglected, -
Unheeded he dies;
Save Australia's dark children,
None knows where he lies;
For he sleeps, &c.

IV. Then, Stockman, if ever,
On some future day.
While following a mob,
You should happen to stray -
Oh ! pause by the spot:
Where poor Jack's bones are laid.
Far, far from the home
Where in childhood he strayed.
[545] And tread softly where wattles
Their sweet fragrance shed,
And tall gum-trees shadow
The Stockman's last bed.

THE BUSHMAN'S LULLABY.

I. Lift me down to the creek-bank, Jack;
It must be cooler outside:
The long hot day is well-nigh done,
It's a chance if I see another one.
I should like to look on the setting sun,
And the waters cool and wide ... (9 stanzas)

[547] CARELESS JEM.

I. His other name ? 'Well, there Em stumped
He was tall, sir, dark and slim,
And we - that is, my mates and I -
Just called him " Careless Jim,"
That was all we knew - to his other name
No thought we ever gave,
Until one day, at the foot of the mount,
When we laid him in his grave ... (7 stanzas)


"THE DYING STOCKMAN", The Bulletin (23 June 1888), 6

Whether stockman ...


"THE DYING STOCKMAN", Kerang Times and Swan Hill Gazette (6 July 1888), 1

http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article65612868 

Whether stockman ...


Bartley 1892, 133

https://archive.org/stream/opalsandagateso00bartgoog#page/n160/mode/2up 

[? 1856-57] ... Our conversation, as we rode eastward in the rain, was of the folly of mere money-grubbing, and Campbell sung us the " Stockman's Grave," a plaintive bush ditty ...


"Country Notes", Australian Town and Country Journal (14 October 1893), 17

http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article71190331 

The shearers at Paika held a little concert the other day in the woolshed, and among the songs were "The Stockman's Lone Grave" and "The Used Up Stokman". Australian poets seem to have selected the stockman and boundary riders as objects at which to pelt all sorts of pathetic situations. The stockman of the songs is generally experiencing something depressing, and enough songs and poems have been written about lonely graves to smother all the lonely graves in Australia. There ought to be more "Clancys of the Overflow".


"The Stockman's Last Bed", Australian Town and Country Journal (2 December 1903), 42

http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article71489001 

Be ye stockman ...


"The Stockman's Grave", The Newsletter: an Australian Paper for Australian People (20 February 1904), 22

http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article119437596 

(A once famous Australian song, seldom heard now.) Be ye stockman ...


Boswell 1911 (? Boswell 1908), 107-108

http://nla.gov.au/nla.obj-43745972/view?partId=nla.obj-43756682#page/n107/mode/1up

In 1846 our friend, Mr. William Mackenzie, went to China, and his partner, Mr. Robert Graham, married Miss Grey [Gray], and took his bride to the Cape, where they settled permanently, but before that Colonel Grey had brought both his daughters to stay with is. I shall never forget Maria's first visit. She was then about 16, and the prettiest little creature imaginable ... We all succumbed at once to her many charms ...

After dinner the sisters sang to us sweetly. Maria sang a perfect second, though she did not know a note of music. Both the girls were good French scholars and well read, as Colonel Grey possessed a good library. Their education had been carried on under his direction, assisted by an accomplished and eccentric gentleman, who for some time employed himself as tutor to their brothers. Bessy [108] wrote some pretty poems, not without merit, and together they composed a parody on what was then a very favourite song, "The Last Whistle" - which they called "The Stockman's Last Bed." I here give a copy of it.

THE STOCKMAN'S LASY BED.

TUNE - THE LAST WHISTLE

Whether stockman or not, for a moment give ear,
Poor Jack's breathed his last, and no more shall we hear,
The crack of his whip or his steed's lively trot,
His clear go a-head and his jingling quart pot.
He rests where the wattles their sweet fragrance shed,
And the tall gum trees shadow the stock man's last bed.

Whilst drafting one day he was horned by a cow.
Alas, cried poor Jack, it's all up with me now,
I'll no more return to my saddle again,
Or bound like a wallaby over the plain.
I'll rest where the wattles their sweet fragrance shed,
And the tall gum trees shadow the stock man's last bed.

My whip must be silent, his steed he will mourn,
My dogs look in vain for his master's return.
Unknown and forgotten, unheeded I die,
Save Australia's dark sons none will know where I lie.
I'll rest where the wattles their sweet fragrance shed,
And the tall gum trees shadow the stock man's last bed.

Oh! stranger if ever on some future day,
When after a herd you may happen to stray,
Where lone and forgotten poor Jack's bones are laid
Far, far from the land where in childhood he played.
Tread lightly where wattles, there [their] sweet fragrance spread,
And the tall gum trees shadow the stock man's last bed.

But it was as a "Siffleuse" that Maria most distinguished herself and astonished us. In these days she might have rivalled the lady of American fame, but when we were girls, no lady was supposed ever to do such a manly thing as to whistle, so perhaps having to listen to her with closed doors or in the open air when none of our elders were near, added a charm. Her brother Charlie was equally accomplished, and when they whistled a duet together it was inexpressively charming, unlike any music I ever heard, so thrillingly clear and effective.


"THE POETS' CORNER AT DINGLEY DELL", The Argus (26 May 1934), 9

http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article10940826

THE SICK STOCKRIDER. By J. B. COOPER ... In a letter he wrote to his friend, John Riddock, under date October 10, 1868, Gordon said: "I am going to send you the new 'Colonial Monthly.' It is a very good magazine. Marcus Clarke, the editor, is a very nice young fellow." Clarke at the time was 22 years of age, and Gordon was 35, and they were great friends; but their schooling in life had been different. Clarke was "a man about town," a literary Autolycus, and a clubbable companion, a man Dr. Johnson would have liked. Gordon was a man from the bush, a son of fantasy; a child of melancholy. The poem "The Sick Stockrider" first appeared under Clarke's editorship in the "Colonial Monthly" in January, 1870, and it was written at Yallum (S.A.), in January, 1869. Douglas B. W. Sladen, a hero worshipper of Gordon, and who was educated at the same school as Gordon, Cheltenham College, was for a time resident in Melbourne, Sladen wrote, in collaboration with Miss Humphris in England, a book called "Adam Lindsay Gordon and His Friends," published by Constable and Company in 1912. In this book, alluding to "The Sick Stockrider," Sladen says, "This poem is the euthanasia of Adam Lindsay Gordon." Marcus Clarke was fond of quoting the second last verse of "The Sick Stockrider," beginning with the lines, "I've had my share of pastime, and I've done my share of toil." The poem "The Sick Stockrider" is regarded as the peak of Gordon's genius. Douglas Sladen states: "There are three songs very much sung in the bush, but I think without reason, attributed to Gordon. They are 'The Stockman's Last Bed,' 'The Bushman's Lullaby,' and 'Careless Jim.'. I have been told that 'The Stockman's Last Bed' was written by the beautiful Miss Hunter, who afterward became Mrs. Charles Rome, but I think there is better ground for supposing that it was written by her sister-in-law, Mrs. James Hunter. Mr. C. D. Mackellar, who stayed at Kalangdoo Station when it belonged to the Hunters, believes that Gordon wrote it himself and gave it to one of the Hunters." I found by chance, in the newspaper, "Bell's Life in Victoria," afterwards incorporated in "The Australasian," some verses called "The Stockman's Grave." They were published on January 24, 1857, and were unsigned, and the verses are the same as those quoted by Sladen under the caption "The Stockman's Last Bed." Gordon was a constant contributor to "Bell's Life," and he probably saw the verses and committed them to memory. He had the gift, in an exceptional degree, of remembering anything he had read. To me it seems that Gordon partly owed the finished poem of "The Sick Stockrider" to the crude ideas expressed in "The Stockman's Grave," and also that Gordon was indebted to "The Bushman's Lullaby," "The Stockman's Grave" has a varying refrain. One is:

He sleeps where the wattles their sweet perfume shed,
And the tall gum trees shadow the stockman's last bed.

And also "Tread light where the wattle their sweet perfume shed." In Gordon's last verse in "The Sick Stockrider" the "tall gum trees" become the "tall green trees," and the sick stockrider asks to be allowed to "slumber in the hollow where the wattle blossoms wave." Over the stockman's grave the visitor is asked to "tread light," Gordon, essentially a poet of movement, wants his "sick stockrider" to "hear the sturdy station children ... romping overhead."

Some time alter finding the verses of "The Stockman's Grave" in "Bell's Life," Mrs. Florence A. Gibson informed me that "The Stockman's Grave" was written by her mother, Mrs. J. Leith-Hay, nee Maria Gray, daughter of Colonel Gray, an old Waterloo officer. This information rather tends to discount Mr. Douglas Sladen's suppositions.


Resources

http://www.austlit.edu.au/austlit/page/C40186 


http://www.austlit.edu.au/austlit/page/C152821 


https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lake_Innes_Ruins,_Port_Macquarie,_New_South_Wales 


The Last Whistle (Shield, c.1807)

The Last Whistle. A Favourite Song Composed by W. Shield. Sung by Mr. Steward

(Baltimore: Carrs, [n.d.])

http://levysheetmusic.mse.jhu.edu/catalog/levy:038.109 (DIGITISED)


The stockman's last bed (arr. Lavater, 1938)
Modern editions (words and music)

"The stockman's last bed. Music [arranged] by Louis Lavater", in Swagman's treasure five camp-fire ditties; words from "Old bush songs" collected by A. B. Paterson

(Melbourne: Allan & Co., 1938)

http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/183126 (DIGITISED)

The stockman's last bed (arr. Jones, 1953)

"The stockman's last bed. Collected and arranged by Dr. Percy Jones", in Burl Ives' folio of Australian folk songs

(Sydney: Southern Music, 1953)

http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/182366 


The stockman's last bed an Australian song [arranged by] Stephen Hale Marsh; arr. & orch. Richard Divall, MS, NLA

http://trove.nla.gov.au/version/30159067 (DIGITISED)


Music concordances (original words and tune)

[Words] "An EPITAPH, to the Memory of an honest Sailor", The London Magazine (1771), 655

https://books.google.com.au/books?id=zFwDAAAAMAAJ&pg=PA655 


[Words] "Epitaph on an Honest Sailor", Extracts, elegant, instructive, & entertaining ... Books third, fourth and fifth

(London: Printed for Messrs. Rivingtons, Lomgman et al., 1791), book 5, 323

https://books.google.com.au/books?id=G_kSAAAAIAAJ&pg=RA1-PA323 


[Words and music; minor key original] The Last Whistle. A favorite song sung ... by Mr. Incledon, in his new entertainment, called "A Voyage to India"

(London: by Goulding & Co., and Dublin [1807])


[Words and music; minor key original]:The Last Whistle. A Favourite Song Composed by W. Shield. Sung by Mr. Steward

(Baltimore: Carrs, [n.d.])

http://levysheetmusic.mse.jhu.edu/catalog/levy:038.109 


[Words] "THE LAST WHISTLE. A POPULAR NAUTICAL BALLAD. Composed by Mr. Shield, and sung by Mr. Incledon, with universal applause", in Fairburn's Naval Songster, or Jack Tar's Chest of Conviviality for 1812

(London: J. Fairburn, 1812)

https://books.google.com.au/books?id=DTBYAAAAcAAJ&pg=PA27 


[Words]: "The Sailor's Epitaph", The Musical Miscellany: Being Chiefly a Collection of Popular Comic Songs

(Ramsgate: Langley & Company, [n.d.]), 216

https://books.google.com.au/books?id=ZqhXAAAAcAAJ&pg=PA216 


Commentary:

-


References:

Kassler, Music entries at Stationers' Hall, 1710-1818 (2013), 598



© Graeme Skinner 2014 - 2017