Poems by Henry Lawson

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He has notions of Australia from the tales that he’s been told,
Now, Yankee inventors can beat a retreat,
I only woke this morning
It is well when you’ve lived in clover,
She's milking in the rain and dark,
I wish I’d never gone to board
’Twas in the felon’s dock he stood, his eyes were black and blue;
From Australia.
’Tis a yarn I heard of a new-chum ‘trap’
We learnt the creed at Hungerford,
’Tis a wonderful time when these hours begin,
Lo! the Boar’s tail is salted, and the Kangaroo’s exalted,
A tall, slight, English gentleman,
If you fancy that your people came of better stock than mine,
Oh, do you hear the argument, far up above the skies?
Sing the strong, proud song of Labour,
Man, is the Sea your master? Sea, and is man your slave?,
Man, is the Sea your master? Sea, and is man your slave?,
Sons of the South, awake! arise!
Sons of the South, awake! arise!
He was bare we don’t want to be rude
On western plain and eastern hill
It is New Year’s Day and I rise to state that here on the Sydney side
Texas Jack, you are amusin’. By Lord Harry, how I laughed
A blanket low and leaden,
There are scenes in the distance where beauty is not,
’Tis glorious morning everywhere
The brooding ghosts of Australian night have gone from the bush and town;
I.
I.
So you’ve seen at last what we have seen so long through scalding tears:
I mind the days when ladies fair
Our Andy's gone to battle now
With pannikins all rusty,
Over there, above the jetty, stands the mansion of the Vardens,
Do you think, you slaves of a thousand years to poverty, wealth and pride,
Oh, this is a song of the old lights, that came to my heart like a hymn;
By right of birth in southern land I send my warning forth.
As it was in the beginning, so we’ll find it in the end,
Fear ye not the stormy future, for the Battle Hymn is strong,
’Twas in a tug-of-war where I, the guvnor’s hope and pride,
We must suffer, husband and father, we must suffer, daughter and son,
While you use your best endeavour to immortalise in verse
Ah, well! but the case seems hopeless, and the pen might write in vain;
Across the stony ridges,
Wide solemn eyes that question me,
Beaten back in sad dejection,
Blacksoil plains were grey soil, grey soil in the drought.
Ben Boyd's Tower is watching,
Jack Denver died on Talbragar when Christmas Eve began,
Bill and Jim are mates no longer, they would scorn the name of mate,
Queensland,” he heads his letters, that’s all:
Long Bill, the captain of the push, was tired of his estate,
A day of seeming innocence,
Grown tired of mourning for my sins,
It surely cannot be too soon, and never is too late,
They were “ratty” they were hooted by the meanest and the least,
Opening salvo in "The Bush Controversy".
“Where are you going with your horse and bike,
I’ve followed all my tracks and ways,from old bark school to Leicester Square,
You love me, you say, and I think you do,
At a point where the old road crosses
On the Track of Grand Endeavour, on the long track out to Bourke,
Not to the sober and staid,
The stamp of Scotland is on his face,
But what’s the use of writing ‘bush’,
By hut, homestead and shearing shed,
The diggings were just in their glory when Alister Cameron came,
Of his beauty, or stature, or colour of hair I hadn’t the slightest hint,
The rafters are open to sun, moon, and star,
A lonely child, with toil o’ertaxed,
When you see a man come walking down through George Street loose and free,
Most unpleasantly adjacent to the haunts of lower orders
There's a pretty little story with a touch of moonlit glory
His old clay pipe stuck in his mouth,
They took dead Cromwell from his grave,
The nearer camp fires lighted,
They say he was thrown and run over,
Tall, and stout, and solid-looking,
Comes the British bulldog first, solid as a log,
The breezes waved the silver grass,
Two couples are drifting the self-same way
They say that I never have written of love,
I’ve done with joys an’ misery,
Roll up, Eureka's heroes, on that grand Old Rush afar,
There are scenes in the distance where beauty is not,
So I sit and write and ponder, while the house is deaf and dumb,
“Nobody's enemy save his own”,
They lie, the men who tell us in a loud decisive tone
The short hour's halt is ended,
Rolling out to fight for England, singing songs across the sea;
Sons of Australia, be loyal and true to her,
The cross-cut and the crowbar cross, and hang them on the wall,
Now, with the wars of the world begun, they'll listen to you and me,
They cheered him from the wharf, it was a glorious day:
It is stuffy in the steerage where the second-classers sleep,
You may roam the wide seas over, follow, meet, and cross the sun,
Australia's a big country
Our fathers toiled for bitter bread
The Channel fog has lifted,
The crescent moon and clock tower are fair above the wall
A long farewell to Genoa
If they missed my face in Farmers’ Arms
To my fellow sinners all, who, in hope and doubt,
No one lives in Golden Gully, for its golden days are o’er,
I hate the pen, the foolscap fair,
The Russian march is soft and slow,
They lifted her out of a story
Tell a simple little story of a settler in the West,
INTRODUCTION
Heed not the cock-sure tourist,
There's many a schoolboy's bat and ball that are gathering dust at home,
Old Time is tramping close to-day, you hear his bluchers fall,
He's gone to England for a wife
The future was dark and the past was dead
By the bodies and minds and souls that rot in a common sty
She's not like an empress,
I'll tell you what you wanderers, who drift from town to town;
Part of "The Bush Controversy".
In Possum Land the nights are fair,
Listen! The end draws nearer,
The world is narrow and ways are short, and our lives are dull and slow,
So at last a toll they’ll levy
By our place in the midst of the furthest seas we were fated to stand alone,
Where the needle-woman toils
Oh! this is a joyful dirge, my friends, and this is a hymn of praise;
There's the same old coaching stable that was used by Cobb and Co.,
Whenever I’m moving my furniture in
Oh! this is a joyful dirge, my friends, and this is a hymn of praise;
There's the same old coaching stable that was used by Cobb and Co.,
Whenever I’m moving my furniture in
While tyrants rule the land,
When you’ve managed with the tailor for a rig-out of a sort
I met with Jack Cornstalk in London to-day,
It chanced upon the very day we'd got the shearing done,
How oft in public meetings past,
John Cornstalk lives in the Southern Land,
I’d been right round by overlands to see the world and life,
CHAPTER I
It's oh! for a rivet in marriage bonds,
I'm lyin' on the barren ground that's baked and cracked with drought,
Weary old wife, with the bucket and cow,
Region of damper and junk and tea,
The sand was heavy on our feet,
What though the world does me ill turns
We, three men of commerce,
I scorn the man, a fool at most,
MaCleay Street looks to Mosman,
You almost heard the surface bake, and saw the gum-leaves turn,
They'd parted but a year before, she never thought he’d come,
Jim Duff was a ‘native,’as wild as could be;
Tall and freckled and sandy,
I. Peter Michaelov
Only one old post is standing,
My Army, O, my army! The time I dreamed of comes!
My father-in-law is a careworn man,
They have eaten their fill at your tables spread,
Once I wrote a little poem which I thought was very fine,
The world goes round, old fellow,
It is night-time when the saddest and the darkest memories haunt,
By hut, homestead and shearing shed,
The breezes blow on the river below,
There's a light out there in the nearer east
Arming down along the stream,
James Patrick O'Hara the Justice of Peace,
They're shifting old North Sydney,
The rising moon on the peaks was blending
When friends are listening round me, Jack, to hear my dying breath,
So the time seems come at last,
Have you seen the bush by moonlight, from the train, go running by?
On the summit of Mount Clarence rotting slowly in the air
Now the tent poles are rotting, the camp fires are dead,
With the frame of a man, and the face of a boy, and a manner strangely wild,
“ONE-MAN-ONE-VOTE!” You hear the people shouting.
It's only a sod, but ’twill break me ould heart
We set no right above hers,
Sing us a song in this cynical age,
The old year went, and the new returned, in the withering weeks of drought,
I want to be lighting my pipe on deck,
Let others sing praise of their sea-girted isles,
Now up and down the siding brown
When at first in foreign parts
He had offices in Sydney, not so many years ago,
A dusty clearing in the scrubs
So yer trav’lin’ for yer pleasure while yer writin’ for the press?
I hate this grinding poverty,
I
The Valley's full of misty cloud,
Ten miles down Reedy River
She says she’s very sorry, as she sees you to the gate;
We're marching along, we're gath'ring strong'
Dust and smoke against the sunrise out where grim disaster lurks
Rise Ye! rise ye! noble toilers! claim your rights with fire and steel!
Grown tired of mourning for my sins,
All is well, in a prison, to-night, and the warders are crying ‘All’s Well!’
Oh, the wild black swans fly westward still,
Said Grenfell to my spirit, "You’ve been writing very free
“Now tell me what can England do?”
Now, I think there is a likeness 'twixt St Peter's life and mine
Now this is a rhyme that might well be carried
The boy cleared out to the city from his home at harvest time,
Emblems of storm and danger,
At suburban railway stations, you may see them as you pass,
Now this is the creed from the Book of the Bush,
When the heavy sand is yielding backward from your blistered feet,
"Like clouds o'er the South are the nations who reign
No church-bell rings them from the Track,
Why are the sheoaks forever sighing?
Fools can parrot-cry the prophet when the proof is close at hand,
I met Jack Ellis in town to-day,
While they struggle on exhausted,
Here's never a bough to be tossed in the breeze,
He's somewhere up in Queensland,
The Wireless tells and the cable tells
The wireless tells and the cable tells
Far back in the days when the blacks used to ramble
Far back in the days when the blacks used to ramble
On the moonlighted decks there are children at play,
Did you see that man riding past,
It was somewhere in September, and the sun was going down,
She sits beside the tinted tide,
Let us sing a song as not a
Where's the steward?, Bar-room steward? Berth? Oh, any berth will do,
When you’ve got no chance at all,
They stood by the door of the Inn on the Rise;
He never drew a sword to fight a dozen foes alone,
Where shall we go for prophecy? Where shall we go for proof?
Macquarie the shearer had met with an accident. To tell the truth, he had been in a drunken row at a wayside shanty, from which he had escaped with three fractured ribs, a cracked head, and various minor abrasions. His dog, Tally, had been a sober bu
I mind the river from Mount Frome
Oh, for the fire that used to glow
I was welcome in a palace when the ball was at my feet,
I listened through the music and the sounds of revelry,
Sing the strong, proud song of Labour,
Some carry their swags in the Great North-West,
Two little girls aged six and nine, the daughters of a lengthsman on the railway at Walloon, near Ipswich, Queensland, were sent on an errand by their parents and it is supposed they were attracted by some water-lilies in a pool near their home. They
Ye children of the Land of Gold,
Across the stony ridges,
A son of elder sons I am,
A Rouseabout of rouseabouts, from any land, or none,
He longed to be a Back-Blocks Bard,
The camp of high-class spielers,
So, sit you down in a straight-backed chair, with your pipe and your wife content,
A fresh sweet-scented beauty
He shall live to the end of this mad old world, he has lived since the world began,
An’ SO ’e’s dead in London,
There was a tracker in the force
Above the ashes straight and tall,
The lovely Port of Sydney
When he’s over a rough and unpopular shed,
The Shearers squint along the pens, they squint along the ‘shoots;’
'Tis a legend of the bushmen from the days of Cunningham,
You wonder why so many would be buried in the sea,
I was drifting in the drizzle past the Cecil in the Strand,
The shipping-office clerks are ‘short,’ the manager is gruff,
From Crow’s Nest here by Sydney town
Ah, better the thud of the deadly gun, and the crash of the bursting shell,
So you rode from the range where your brothers “select,”
The crescent moon and clock tower are fair above the wall
So you're writing for a paper? Well, it's nothing very new
As the night was falling slowly down on city, town and bush,
The Captains sailed from all the World, from all the world and Spain;
At a point where the old road crosses
The Plains lay bare on the homeward route,
With eyes that are narrowed to pierce
It was pleasant up the country, Mr. Banjo, where you went,
They sing of the grandeur of cliffs inland,
From Woolwich and Brentford and Stamford Hill, from Richmond into the Strand,
Once more I write a line to you,
They sunk a post into the ground
There's such a lot of work to do, for such a troubled head!
The breezes waved the silver grass,
Republicans! the time is coming!
The Eagle screams at the beck of trade, so Spain, as the world goes round,
An hour before the sun goes down
Shrivelled leather, rusty buckles, and the rot is in our knuckles,
They can’t hear in West o’ London, where the worst dine with the best,
They can’t hear in West o’ London, where the worst dine with the best,
A public parlour in the slums,
There are three lank bards in a borrowed room,
Oh! the folly, the waste, and the pity! Oh, the time that is flung behind!
"Was I at Eureka?" His figure was drawn to a youthful height,
The squatter saw his pastures wide
They are creeping on through the cornfields yet, and they clamber amongst the rocks,
By Lawson's Hill, near Mudgee,
When you get tight in foreign lands
I met her on the Lachlan Side,
The battlefield behind us,
The brown eyes came from Asia, where all mystery is true,
The gentlemen of Dickens
Down the street as I was drifting with the city's human tide,
You'd call the man a senseless fool,
Three bushmen one morning rode up to an inn,
PAT M‘DURMER brought the tidings to the town of God-Forgotten :
’Twas merry when the hut was full
He comes from out the ages dim,
Out West, where the stars are brightest,
Call this hot? I beg your pardon. Hot!, you don’t know what it means.
'Twixt the coastline and the border lay the town of Grog-an'-Grumble
When the wars of the world seemed ended, and silent the distant drum,
Oh, the track through the scrub groweth ever more dreary,
It was old Jerry Brown,
By the bodies and minds and souls that rot in a common stye
The Blue Sky arches o’er mountain and valley,
In these days of peace and money, free to all the Commonweal,
If I ever be worthy or famous,
Among the sons of Englishmen
Oh, Scotty, have you visited the Picture Gallery,
He is coming! He is coming! without heralds, without cheers.
Let the liar call me liar,
The Lady of the Motor-car she stareth straight ahead;
Turn the light down, nurse, and leave me, while I hold my last review,
Because he had sinned and suffered, because he loved the land,
Light on the towns and cities, and peace for evermore!
The night came down thro’ Deadman’s Gap,
In the days that will be olden after many years are gone,
Out there by the rocks, at the end of the bank,
Fire lighted; on the table a meal for sleepy men;
I Looked upon the lilies
’Tis sunrise over Watson,
Oh, Great White Czar of Russia, who hid your face and ran,
There is a lasting little flower,
I’m glad that the Bushmen can’t see me now
I long for the streets but the Lord knoweth best,
It was the Man from Waterloo,
They were hanging men in Buckland who would not cheer King George,
Are you coming, Ivan, coming?, Ah, the ways are long and slow,
I would never waste the hours
When God's wrath-cloud is o'er me,
There's a class of men (and women) who are always on their guard,
I have sinned, like others, blindly, without thought and without fear,
There'll be royal times in Sydney for the Cuff and Collar Push,
'Tis the song of many husbands, and you all must understand
The men who camp with Danger
They were men of many nations, they were men of many stations,
The motor car is sullen, like a thing that should not be;
He works in the glen where the waratah grows,
The rooster is a brainless dude, although he sports a crest,
By homestead, hut, and shearing-shed,
Let bushmen think as bushmen will,
It was built of bark and poles, and the floor was full of holes
The old Jimmy Woodser comes into the bar
Old coach-road West by Nor’-ward,
Wrap me up in me stockwhip and blanket,
They proved we could not think nor see,
They proved we could not think nor see,
There were ten of us there on the moonlit quay,
It was a week from Christmas-time,
We throw us down on the dusty plain
Behold! the biased foes of Right
From over the leagues of ice and snow, and the miles of scorching sand;
When first I came to town, resolved
It has a “point” of neither sex
Last salvo in "The Bush Controversy".
Our hull is seldom painted,
Down here where the ships loom large in
It knows it all, it knows it all,
Oh, the strength of the toil of those twenty years, with father, and master, and men!
When you’ve knocked about the country, been away from home for years;
He'd been for years in Sydney "a-acting of the goat",
The night too quickly passes
We love the land when the world goes round,
Did you hear the children singing, O my brothers?
Some born of homely parents
You're off away to London now,
Of home, name and wealth and ambition bereft,
Black Scots and red Scots,
’Tis no tale of heroism, ’tis no tale of storm and strife,
The Separated Women
We knew too little of the world,
Set me back for twenty summers,
When you've come to make a fortune and you haven't made your salt,
When the caravans of wool-teams climbed the ranges from the West,
No church-bell rings them from the Track,
O I dreamt I shore in a shearing shed and it was a dream of joy
'The ladies are coming,' the super says
We hear a great commotion
Against the light of a dawning white
“Call that a yarn!” said old Tom Pugh,
The colours of the setting sun
The creek went down with a broken song,
Now this is the song of a prison, a song of a gaol or jug,
The centuries found me to nations unknown,
When I was up the country in the rough and early days,
The skies are brass and the plains are bare,
O bard of fortune, you deem me nought
When I tell a tale of virtue and of injured innocence,
I have written, long years I have written,
There's a wind that blows out of the South in the drought,
We come with peace and reason,
The spirits of our fathers rise not from every wave,
(A Dirge of Sin and Sorrow, Sung by Joe Swallow)
Out in the west, where runs are wide,
We boast no more of our bloodless flag, that rose from a nation's slime;
Pride, selfishness in every line,
’Twas the glowing log of a picnic fire where a red light should not be,
The strangest things and the maddest things, that a man can do or say,
There's the whitebox and pine on the ridges afar,
From north to south throughout the year
A cloud of dust on the long white road,
The fields are fair in autumn yet, and the sun's still shining there,
The fields are fair in autumn yet, and the sun’s still shining there,
Trio East is dead and the West is done, and again our course lies thus
We, three men of commerce,
There is a quiet gentleman a-motoring in France
Now this is not a dismal song, like some I’ve sung of late,
Oh, I never felt so wretched, and things never looked so blue
Lo, the gods of Vice and Mammon from their pinnacles are hurled
A tramp was trampin’ on the road,
Fight through ignorance, want, and care,
The President to Kingdoms,
White handkerchiefs wave from the short black pier
While the crippled cruisers stagger where the blind horizon dips,
They say, in all kindness, I’m out of the hunt,
“Did she care as much as I did
The other night I got the blues and tried to smile in vain.
And they heard the tent-poles clatter,
It watched me in the cradle laid, and from my boyhood’s home
Night-Lights are falling;
Let others make the songs of love
A lonely young wife
I saw it in the days gone by,
When fairer faces turn from me,
It is up from out the alleys, from the alleys dark and vile,
The World is full of kindness,
Day of ending for beginnings!
A writer wrote of the hearts of men, and he followed their tracks afar;
They towed the Seabolt down the stream,
Old Ivan McIvanovitch, with knitted brow of care,
By blacksoil plains burned grey with drought
Old acquaintance unforgotten,
Old Mate! In the gusty old weather,
You ask me to be gay and glad
Spirit girl to whom 'twas given
So, I’ve battled it through on my own, Jack,
I gaze upon my son once more,
These are songs of the Friends I neglected,
There has been many a grander deed since man had life to give,
Farewell! The gold we send shall be a token
O had you tracked where Kendall trod
I thought that silence would be best,
Though doctors may your name discard
When you’re suffering hard for your sins, old man,
One day old Trooper Campbell
You lazy boy, you’re here at last,
Oh, never let on to your own true love
Oh, the wild black swans fly westward still,
I am back from up the country, very sorry that I went,
And his death came in December,
The schools marched in procession in happiness and pride,
Though poor and in trouble I wander alone,
A bushman got lost in a scrub in the North,
What have we all forgotten, at the break of the seventh year?
When hopes ran high the world was young,
The second time I lived on earth
Oh, the scene is wide an’ dreary an’ the sun is settin’ red,
On a lonely selection far out in the West
Let us sing in tear-choked numbers how the Duke of Clarence went,
‘The ladies are coming,’ the super says
When the kindly hours of darkness, save for light of moon and star,
When you wear a cloudy collar and a shirt that isn't white,
When you fear the barber’s mirror when you go to get a crop,
I remarked that man is saddest, and his heart is filled with woe,
Who’ll wear the beaten colours, and cheer the beaten men?
O my prow vas plack mit curses,
There was a tracker in the force
Wide lies Australia! The seas that surround her
When my last long-beer has vanished and the truth is left unsaid;
In the parlour of the shanty where the lives have all gone wrong,
’Tis William Street, the link street,
In Windsor Terrace, number four,
Clerk, corresponding,
So the days of my tramping are over,
Sing the song of the reckless, who care not what they do;
The Big rough boys from the runs out back were first where the balls flew free,
The Young King fights in the trenches and the Old King fights in the rear,

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