The Ballad of Millie Hall

 

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1. Inside a hut of mud brick, nailed onto a wall.

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    there’s on old picture calendar that belonged to Millie Hall.

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    And the circle drawn around the month is now a faded blue,

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    it marks that black November in eighteen sixty-two.

 

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2. Millie Hall was just a girl, she was nineteen years, but old,

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    the lines on her face gave lies for age, she’d hardened to her world.

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    But sometimes with a tenderness she’d show a woman’s care,

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and show that love could not be crushed in a cruel and barren world.

 

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3. Her husband’s name was Nathan, her baby’s name was Rose,

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    they left their home in Bendigo when the mining company closed.

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    They came in search of fortune as many folk would do,

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    and settled by the Arrow in eighteen sixty-two.

 

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4. And then one clear November morn, after they were dressed,

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    Millie Hall fixed breakfast, with the child at her breast.

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    And Nathan roped his pick and spade and tied his gunny sack,

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    he kissed his family both goodbye, and said, I’ll soon be back.

 

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5. And they gathered by the Arrow, fifteen men so young,

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    you could hear their billy’s rattlin’ as laughter songs were sung.

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    And as their voices disappeared, a silence filled the air,

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    somewhere in the northern sky the wind began to stir.

 

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6. The baby lay down sleeping in the quiet of the afternoon

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    and Millie Hall was thinking the men would be back soon.

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    The storm clouds left their hiding place and rolled across the sky,

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    and raindrops beat the iron roof, she heard her baby cry.

 

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7. And the Arrow river lay asleep in the stillness and the peace,

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    but the rain that came a crashing down, awoke the dreadful beast.

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    And rising from it’s gravel bed, it gave a mighty yell,

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    and lashed it’s tongue of fury through the rocky jaws of hell.

 

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8. And branches snapped like kindling, and rode the monster’s back,

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    and down came rocks and shovels, a billy and a gunnysack.

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    Fifteen men had perished, fifteen men so young,

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    Millie Hall reached to her throat where a silver cross was hung.

 

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9. Now fifteen boxes lowered to fifteen open graves,

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    and the Reverend told the silent crowd of how Lord Jesus saves.

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    And they looked away from Millie with her babe wrapped in her shawl,

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    as she cursed the murderous river and cried for Nathan - - - Hall.

 

(From the Musical ”Rush”)