Brother, You’ll Take My Hand

A poem by Henry Lawson

Not to the sober and staid,
Leading a quiet life,
But to men whose paths are laid
Ever through storm and strife,
Here is a song from me,
Sent to the tragic West,
Message of sympathy
To the hearts that can never rest.
This is the song I send
Out to the Western land,
Sinner, and martyr, and friend,
Brother! you’ll take my hand.

To you who have loved and lost;
To you whose souls have died
Cursing a fair false face
And the red warm lips that lied;
Loved with a boyish love,
With a love that was pure and true,
That set one woman above
The world that was known to you;
Eating your heart out now
Alone on a waste of sand,
I have been played with too.
Brother! you’ll take my hand.

To you who were loved too well,
And who cast that love aside
When your vanity was replete
And your passion was satisfied,
Haunted now day and night;
Haunted in every place
By the eyes of a suicide,
Set in a dead girl’s face.
Crouched in your misery
Out where the stars are grand,
O I am haunted too!
Brother! you’ll take my hand.

To you who had wealth or name,
Friends, love, and a future fair,
And who sacrificed all for drink
And the nights of Leicester Square:
In by the drunken town,
Out on the barren tramp,
Pacing it up and down
Alone by the listening camp;
Crouched in your agony,
Hiding your eyes with your hand,
I had the ball at my feet,
Brother! I understand.

There is a light for all;
Hold up your head and live!
Forgive the woman who wronged,
And the dead girl will forgive.
Brood not, but work for good;
Work in the world of men,
Strong is the man who fell
And rose from the depths again.
There shall be peace for you,
Sinners, who win the land.
I would fight upward too,
Brother! you’ll take my hand.

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