Henry Lawson, 1893
They are stoning Arthur Desmond, and, of course, it's understood
By the people of New Zealand that he isn't any good.
He's a plagiarist they tell us, and a scamp but after all,
He is fighting pretty plucky with his back against the wall.
When I see a follow sinner face about and stand his ground,
All alone and undefended, while the crowd is howling round
And his nearest friends forsake him, just because his case is slim
Why, I think it's time that someone said a word or two for him!
They are damning Arthur Desmond for the battle that he fought
For his awful crime in saying what so many people thought.
He was driven from the country but I like to see fair play
And to slander absent brothers why it ain't New Zealand's way.
Once I met with Arthur Desmond "and I took him by the hand,"
But I scarcely think the action spoilt my chance for Promised Land;
And I think of Arthur gazing, with his earnest, thoughtful eyes,
Out beyond the brighter ages that we cannot realise.
He'll be shot or gaoled they tell us (so were others in the van)
Be it prison cell or bullet, he will meet it like a man.
And 'twere best to have been neutral when his stormy path is trod,
And we all are brought together level at the bar of God.
An Australian Exile.
[We are not an admirer of Desmond, nor do we agree with the arguments (if they may be called such) that he advances. In publishing the above we are actuated by an appreciation of of the sentiment conveyed and the literary merit of the verse. Ed. Fair Play.]
Fair Play (Wellington, New Zealand), 30 December 1893, page 9.