Old Tunes

A poem by Henry Lawson

When friends are listening round me, Jack, to hear my dying breath,
And I am lying in a sleep they say will end in death,
Don’t notice what the doctor says, and let the nurse complain,
I’ll tell you how to rouse me if I’ll ever wake again.

Just you bring in your fiddle, Jack, and set your heart in tune,
And strike up “Annie Laurie”, or “The Rising of the Moon”;
And if you see no token of a rising in my throat,
You’ll need to brace your mouth, old man—I’m booked by Charon’s boat.

And if you are not satisfied that I am off the scene,
Strike up “The Marseillaise”, or else “The Wearing of the Green”;
And should my fingers tremble not, then I have crossed the line,
But keep your fingers steady, Jack, and strike up “Auld Lang Syne”.

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