The Song of the Waste-Paper Basket

Henry Lawson, 1889

      O bard of fortune, you deem me nought
      But a mark for your careless scorn.
      For I am the echo-less grave of thought
      That is strangled before it's born.
      You think perchance that I am a doom
      Which only a dunce should dread,
      Nor dream I've been the dishonoured tomb
      Of the noblest and brightest dead.

      The brightest fancies that e'er can fly
      From the labouring minds of men
      Are often written in lines awry,
      And marred by a blundering pen;
      And thus it comes that I gain a part
      Of what to the world is loss,
      Of genius lost for the want of art,
      Of pearls that are set in dross.

      And though I am of a lowly birth
      My fame has been cheaply bought,
      A power am I, for I rob the earth
      Of the brightest gems of thought;
      The Press gains much of my lawful share,
      I am wronged without redress,
      But I have revenge, for I think it fair
      That I should plunder the Press.

      You'd pause in wonder to read behind
      The lines of some songs I see;
      The soul of the singer I often find
      In songs that are thrown to me.
      But the song of the singer I bury deep
      With the scrawl of the dunce and clown,
      And both from the eyes of the world I keep,
      And the hopes of both I drown.