Backwoodsman's Rangitikei


In editing the poems, Maisie Earle organised them into 11 sections:

  • Rangitikei and the Maori Legends
  • The Scots and Scotland
  • Loo's People
  • Working Life
  • Women and Love
  • Stages of Life
  • Horses, Horse Racing, Hunting and Other Manly Sports
  • Balls, Hogmanay and Other Events
  • Poets
  • Patriotism, Britain and New Zealand
  • Louis: His Philosophy and Life



    There are also unpublished poems, not included in the book.


    From the "Working Life" section:

    The Immigrant's Welcome

    Written on Mrs Chisholm arriving in Paraekaretu from Scotland
    Air: Why left I my hame


    Oh stranger though ye be here on a foreign shore
    Though between ye and your home the oceans wildly roar
    You will find a welcome here from hearts as warm and kind
    As beat within the breasts of those you've left behind.
    Though our hills are rough and wild and our forests wilder still
    The wind blows soft and warm from every grass-topped hill
    THough your mavis sweetly sang and your lintie carolled too
    We have birds in plenty here that will sing their songs to you.
    For awhile you're sure to pine for your dear old Scottish home
    And I think you'd not have come if this wilderness you'd known
    But the day is sure to come when you'll think such thoughts no more
    But bless the happy day you saw New Zealand's shore.
    Oh your children's with you here your troubles to remove
    And him who years gone bye first gained your girlish love
    And your grandchildren ere long will be playing round your knee
    They will wean your thoughts away from the land far o'er sea
    You will learn to love our land ere long with us you'll be
    Though our rivers can't compare with your dear old winding Dee
    But time will work its part and contentment here you'll learn
    You will be as happy here as you were at old Carsphairn
    Oh may long and happy days in New Zealand be your lot
    May your cup be filled with joys and your troubles be forgot
    May you learn to love our land nor seek to leave it more
    But in sweet contentment rest on New Zealand's woodclad shore.

    The Old Otairi Station

    (The home of the Duncan family, Otairi, Hunterville)

    Yes the shearing time's approaching, the days are getting long
    The sunny showery springtime's on the wane,
    I have spent some happy hours in the summers that have gone
    More than I think I'm likely to again.

    At the shearing on Otairi we were lively everyone
    It was like the round of holidays throughout,
    Each day brought some excitement, each evening brought some fun
    For at shearing time there's lively boys about.

    The Dago's men and women were a merry hearted crew
    Who would dance and sing or take their whack of beer,
    And if we kept the music up, they'd go till all was blue
    Although they knew next day we had to shear.

    The bosses' sons were lively; they would always take their part
    And keep the ball rolling so to speak,
    If they seen the fun was flagging, they'd go in with all their heart
    For they had no empty pride or false conceit.

    But the hand of time is moving bringing other thoughts in mind
    The old games now are not considered sport,
    Though I can scarcely tell the difference they are just as free and kind
    But they go for pleasures of a different sort.

    Ah well it's only natural, the restless hand of time
    That the mind of man's achanging gives the proof
    Maturity and circumstance together does combine
    To strangle the frivolities of youth.

    But I liked the free and easy, rough and ready sort of style
    That prevailed on the old station in the past
    When everybody seemed to wear a careless happy smile
    And everything like care aside was cast.

    But I hope that old Otairi will maintain its prestige still
    For free and easy merriment and fun
    And real hearty jolly fellows the place be there to fill
    Of the absent ones in future days to come.

    I hope its present owners may always hold the reins
    And hold them too in luxury and ease
    For while they do the station hand who of his lot complains
    To say it mild, he's very hard to please.


    From Louis: His Philosphy and Life section:

    Frangas, Non Flectes

    (You may break, you shall not bend)


    The die is cast, my way is ta'en, I'm launched upon the road
    And many a dreary hour is spent beneath life's weary load
    For pleasures that have turned to gall, or follies I should say
    Have lured me from the proper path and led me far astray.

    As I look back o'er misspent years, I scarcely can restrain
    My anguished thoughts from bursting forth so great the mental strain
    My life seems but a sea of clouds no sunshine in between
    How different is the prospect now from boyhood's early dream.

    If e'er in desperation wild I try to snatch some joy
    I always find it intermixed with false and base alloy
    I've run the gauntlet day by day in search of pleasure's goal
    And though the heart is beating yet, I think I've killed the soul.

    My name is spoke with curled lip, that speaks the open sneer
    Such words some few short years ago, would start the ready tear
    But friends that's false and selfish too, their words I little heed
    You're good when you ought to give, but not when you're in need.

    I often think when carping friends speak of my evil ways
    How frail humanity so plain the cloven hoof displays
    If I were rolling now in wealth my sins would be less plain
    And to my faults my friends would give a very different name.

    I've met some few since starting life, unselfish warm of heart
    But they were poor just like myself and played an equal part
    At least although I've called them poor, I do not mean it so
    For they were rich in heart and brain though not in outward show.

    In my short life by what I've seen the man possessed of wealth
    Thinks little of ought in this world's range that centres not in self
    But let him have his golden wealth, I envy not his lot
    As long as God will grant me health and I thank him that I've got.

    So carping friends can harp away and pull dispraising faces
    And shout till hoarse with scathing tongue from their high moral places
    I care not for their brainless scorn or how with names they pelt me
    If starving for the want of bread I'd ask them n ot to help me.

    My heart has been in bygone days with deep emotions torn
    But the fountains dry and now I can return them scorn for scorn
    Most carnal joys have ceased to please, false smiles no pleasure bring
    Now when of pleasure I'm in search, I'll look for it within.