Shearer's Dream, The

DESCRIPTION: "Oh, I dreamt I shore in a shearin'-shed, and it was a dream of joy, For every one of the rouseabouts was a girl dressed up as a boy." He dreams of clean sheep, of a cool, comfortable shed, of happy dances with the girls... and wakes to find it a dream
AUTHOR: attributed to Henry Lawson (1867-1922)
EARLIEST DATE: 1902 (Lawson's _Children of the Bush_)
KEYWORDS: dream work sheep Australia
FOUND IN: Australia
REFERENCES (6 citations):
Meredith/Anderson-FolkSongsOfAustralia, pp. 116-117, "The Shearer's Dream" (1 text, 1 tune)
Anderson-StoryOfAustralianFolksong, pp. 235-236, "The Shearer's Dream" (1 text, 1 tune)
Manifold-PenguinAustralianSongbook, pp. 164-165, "The Shearer's Dream" (1 text, 1 tune)
Paterson/Fahey/Seal-OldBushSongs-CentenaryEdition, pp. 202-204, "The Shearer's Dream" (1 text)
Stewart/Keesing-FavoriteAustralianBallads, pp. 155-156, "The Shearer's Dream" (1 text)
ADDITIONAL: A. K. MacDougall, _An Anthology of Classic Australian Lore_ (earlier published as _The Big Treasury of Australian Foiklore_), The Five Mile Press, 1990, 2002, p. 289, "The Shearer's Dream" (1 text)

NOTES [242 words]: Henry Lawson published this, but it is not clear from the extant records whether he actually wrote it or just touched it up. Paterson/Fahey/Seal-OldBushSongs-CentenaryEdition mention an informant who claim to have learned it in 1884. It is worth noting that two different tunes are known.
John S. Manifold, Who Wrote the Ballads? Notes on Australian Folksong, Australasian Book Society, 1964, p. 138, has this to say of the matter: "'The Shearer's Dream' has grown two tunes also: one in the major mode, one in the minor. Once more we find a certain confusion about Lawson's degree of authorship. He quotes the words in the course of a story in Send Round The Hat, as a song sung by travelers camped in a creek-bed outside Bourke, while 'Mitchell and I listened.' The same words, slightly cut down, occur again in the McKee Wright edition of Lawson's Poetrical Works. In the first case there is an attempt to 'describe' the tune; in the seond no tune is mentioned. Is the poem really just something that Lawson heard and polished up. Stewart and Keesing seem to believe that this is what he did with 'The Bunk in the Humpy.' I am inclined to think 'The Shearer's Dream' is all Lawson, and that he was trying to show in the first instnce that he too could write a 'genuine' bush song.
"If that is so, then we may congratulate him on having succeeded. 'The Shearer's Dream' goes over with bush audiences as 'Freedom on the Wallaby' does not." - RBW
Last updated in version 5.2
File: MA116

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