Rejected

A poem by Henry Lawson

She says she’s very sorry, as she sees you to the gate;
You calmly say ‘Good-bye’ to her while standing off a yard,
Then you lift your hat and leave her, walking mighty stiff and straight,
But you’re hit, old man, hit hard.

In your brain the words are burning of the answer that she gave,
As you turn the nearest corner and you stagger just a bit;
But you pull yourself together, for a man’s strong heart is brave
When it’s hit, old man, hard hit.

You might try to drown the sorrow, but the drink has no effect;
You cannot stand the barmaid with her coarse and vulgar wit;
And so you seek the street again, and start for home direct,
When you’re hit, old man, hard hit.

You see the face of her you lost, the pity in her smile,
Ah! she is to the barmaid as is snow to chimney grit;
You’re a better man and nobler in your sorrow, for a while,
When you’re hit, old man, hard hit.

And, arriving at your lodgings, with a face of deepest gloom,
You shun the other boarders and your manly brow you knit;
You take a light and go upstairs directly to your room,
But the whole house knows you’re hit.

You clutch the scarf and collar, and you tear them from your throat,
You rip your waistcoat open like a fellow in a fit;
And you fling them in a corner with the made-to-order coat,
When you’re hit, old man, hard hit.

You throw yourself, despairing, on your narrow little bed,
Or pace the room till someone starts with ‘Skit! cat!, skit!’
And then lie blindly staring at the plaster overhead,
You are hit, old man, hard hit.

It’s doubtful whether vanity or love has suffered worst,
So neatly in our nature are those feelings interknit,
Your heart keeps swelling up so bad, you wish that it would burst,
When you’re hit, old man, hard hit.

You think and think, and think, and think, till you go mad almost;
Across your sight the spectres of the bygone seem to flit;
The very girl herself seems dead, and comes back as a ghost,
When you’re hit, like this, hard hit.

You know that it’s all over, you’re an older man by years,
In the future not a twinkle, in your black sky not a split.
Ah! you’ll think it well that women have the privilege of tears,
When you’re hit, old man, hard hit.

You long and hope for nothing but the rest that sleep can bring,
And you find that in the morning things have brightened up a bit;
But you’re dull for many evenings, with a cracked heart in a sling,
When you’re hit, old man, hard hit.

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