To Show What A Man Can Do

A poem by Henry Lawson

There has been many a grander deed since man had life to give,
And thousands have gone to certain death, eyes open, that men might live;
And many have gone for their country’s sake, when their numbers were all too few,
And bravely died that their mates may die, to show what a man can do.

Now this is the song of La Bella wreck at the harbour of Warnambool,
And this is the song of a brave, brave man of the grand old simple school:
We all know the forces of circumstance, and we blame not the lifeboat crew,
But this is the song of a fisherman who showed what a man can do.

With a single scull in his strong young hands, and his brave young eyes aglow,
He shot his skill o’er the raging hell, where the lifeboat dared not go!
It was twice and thrice that he went again, and the lives they were only two,
But this is the song of The Man Who Knows, and can show what a man can do.

And we need such deeds in this world of ours, lest the hearts of men might fail,
Oh we need such deeds in this world of ours, and a man to tell the tale!
When the eloquent gestures come from the wreck, and never a word comes through,
Oh, we need such deeds in our land to-day to show what a man can do!

And this is the moral of all that is,
And it’s only known to two
Put out in your dinghy with confidence,
To show what a man can do.

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