The Individualist

Henry Lawson, 1905

      "Be a man! ... Win back the respect of the Public. Redeem the past, etc., etc., etc."
      —Letters from virtuous friends.

      'Tis a song for myself and my country, and for all who were never to blame;
      'Tis a song of my soul and for thousands of souls who have suffered the same.

      "Win back the respect of the 'Public'!" Say! did you pause to reflect?
      Have I ever grown fat on Its worship or starved through Its lack of respect?
      "Win back the respect of your people. Redeem now the past; be a man!" —
      I have this thing to say to my people: Win back my respect if you can!

      'Tis the cant of the Calico Jimmy, of the Fatman with front as of brass,
      Of the parson, the boodler and lawyer, and the hopelessly dull middle class,
      Of Australians who are not Australian, but who loaf in the towns by the seas,
      And the clerks from North Sydney and Mosman who whoop for the Japanese!