The Song Of The Waste-Paper Basket

A poem by Henry Lawson

O bard of fortune, you deem me nought
But a mark for your careless scorn.
For I am the echo-less grave of thought
That is strangled before it’s born.
You think perchance that I am a doom
Which only a dunce should dread,
Nor dream I’ve been the dishonoured tomb
Of the noblest and brightest dead.

The brightest fancies that e’er can fly
From the labouring minds of men
Are often written in lines awry,
And marred by a blundering pen;
And thus it comes that I gain a part
Of what to the world is loss,
Of genius lost for the want of art,
Of pearls that are set in dross.

And though I am of a lowly birth
My fame has been cheaply bought,
A power am I, for I rob the earth
Of the brightest gems of thought;
The Press gains much of my lawful share,
I am wronged without redress,
But I have revenge, for I think it fair
That I should plunder the Press.

You’d pause in wonder to read behind
The lines of some songs I see;
The soul of the singer I often find
In songs that are thrown to me.
But the song of the singer I bury deep
With the scrawl of the dunce and clown,
And both from the eyes of the world I keep,
And the hopes of both I drown.

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