As I pondered very weary o’er a volume long and dreary -
For the plot was void of interest – t’was that Postal Guide, in fact,
There I learnt the true location, distance, size, and population
Of each township, town, and village in the radius of the Act….
But my languid mood forsook me, when I found a name that took me,
Quite by chance I came across it – ‘Come-by-Chance’ was what I read;
No location was assigned it, not a thing to help one find it,
Just an ‘N’ which stood for northward, and the rest was all unsaid.
I shall leave my home, and forthward wander stoutly to the northward
Till I come by chance across it, and I’ll straightway settle down,
For there can’t be any hurry, nor the slightest cause for worry
Where the telegraph don’t reach you nor the railways run to town.
And one’s letters and exchanges come by chance across the ranges,
Where a wiry young Australian leads a pack horse once a week,
And the good news grows by keeping, and you’re spared the pain of weeping
Over bad news when the mailman drops the letters in the creek.
But I fear, and more’s the pity, that there’s really no such city,
For there’s not a man can find it of the shrewdest folk I know,
‘Come-by-Chance’, be sure it never means a land of fierce endeavor,
It is just the careless country where the dreamers only go…
All the happy times entrancing, days of sport and nights of dancing,
Moonlit rides and stolen kisses, pouting lips and loving glance:
When you think of these be certain you have looked behind the curtain,
You have had the luck to linger just a while in ‘Come-by-Chance’.
Banjo Patterson, Australian poet (1864-1941)