Martin Farrell

Henry Lawson, 1894

      Just before the last elections, and the chaps were fighting well
      Round about the Paroo River, on the borderland of hell —
      But the story of the struggle doesn't matter anyhow,
      For a Parliament of angels couldn't save the country now.

      But a poor old fellow struggled to a hut one broiling day,
      And his ragged swag fell off him in a hopeless kind of way.
      He was sick and very shaky, and his eyes were blurr'd and dim —
      It was plain to all the fellows that 'twas nearly up with him.

      He was stiff and out of tucker (all the fellows understood);
      He wanted medicine and rest before he wanted food.
      He was making for the border, underneath the blazing sun —
      Old, and weak, and ill, he tottered, and but half his journey done.

      "If I could put the time in up at Hungerford," he said,
      "Until after the election — I'd be ready to be dead.
      I wouldn't care so much," he sighed, "my time is nearly past —
      But I've got a vote for Hughie, and I s'pose 'twill be my last."

      And the rough and noisy bushmen gathered round. Their manner grew
      In a moment soft and gentle, for their hearts, of course, were true;
      And they said, "What's up, old fellow?" and "What can we do for you?"

      Then he raised his head a moment, and the tired answer came:
      "There is nothing you can do, lads, but I thank you, all the same;
      I am pretty cronk and shaky — too far gone for hell or heaven,
      An' the chances are I'm goin' — that I'm goin' to 'do the seven'.

      "But it isn't that that gripes me, an' I'll tell you what it is —
      Life ain't over bright an' rosy, battlin' round in times like this;
      For many a year I've knocked round here, where livin' is a crime,
      An' couldn't get a vote — not once, tho' I tried it every time.

      But I got in on 'em this time, an' when I did, said I,
      This belongs to Hughie Langwell, an' I'll vote before I die.
      An' I can't reach Yantabulla — that's the thing that makes me fret.
      Chaps, I've got a vote for Hughie — but it ain't no monte yet."

      And it wasn't, chaps; he knew it. That same night he "did his seven",
      But no doubt the swagman's name is safe upon the list in heaven.

      The Worker (Sydney), 18 August 1894.