Henry Lawson, 1908
Swing round the motor cars to where
The tall Australia stands
The female bronzes light you there
To take the ladies' hands
And from your silver sovereign case
Slip out the careless gold
The gay world, for a little space,
Is yours to have and hold.
Our home, it is a bonny place,
The hills and bush are near,
And picnic parties camp along
The water frontage here.
Our guardian is a kindly man,
To comfort and forgive
For three of us are doomed to die,
And one is doomed to live.
There's one of us our hope and joy
Who'd thirty years of strife;
He thinks he is a "naughty boy",
And plays the part to life.
There's one who cannot read or write,
Yet studied ancient bards
He seeks his fortune all day long
From endless rows of cards.
So "grind" to win your high degrees
While runs the new world round,
And win the Chair! You'll not be sunk
In wisdom more profound
Than some of us. We're from all schools
One's an M.D. Alas!
We bachelors, but not of Arts,
And widowers of Dried Grass.
We've fought the merry fight where gaps
In firing lines grow wide
(And one of us is doomed to live
To tell how others died).
And one of us is doomed to grow
In gruesome terror old
One, breathing, died two years ago,
And so the tale is told.
So prattle through your four o 'clocks
And Thursday afternoons,
And never read the thing that shocks,
But toy with silver spoons,
And show your arms, so fair and white,
And coo and smile to please:
But I could write of things to-night
Would give you little ease.
We four can jest at little things,
We worry not at all;
We're mortals whom the mills of God
Have ground exceeding small.
There's one who'd, with his latest breath,
Keep black Depression out,
And he is doomed to die the death
We dare not write about.
There's one who never lifts his eyes
And ne'er a word has said
Our living dead lies still in bed
Till he is changed and fed.
There's one of whom the Fear is set
The jail presentiment;
Undrugged, he's never rested yet,
And he is innocent.
So lie abed, ye gentlemen,
And rest, ye ladies too,
While servants trained in voice and step
Bring breakfast in to you.
Then seek the Stock Exchange or Course,
The ball, or grand hotel
There's space for many and many a bed
In wards where we folk dwell.
The trained attendants glide about
To tend the "paying guests";
They drug the night with sleeping draughts,
We pass the day with jests
Or brood or rave or mouth and grin
Or think and ply the pen
For some of us are First, and some
Third Generation men.
Some pray all day who never prayed
And rise to no command
(Ah! this, my children, is a song
That doctors understand).
We are the scapegoats of the world,
The wrongs the world shall rue;
We're Freethinkers and Atheists
Who found the Bible true.
So speed your flying cars and build
Your mansions strong and tall
Be sure the mills of God will find
And grind exceeding small.
Though Man or Nation or the World
May dream and rave and doubt
Ah, God! the words are true.
Be sure Thy sins shall find thee out.