To Jack

Henry Lawson, 1905

      So, I've battled it through on my own, Jack,
      I have done with all dreaming and doubt.
      Though "stoney" to-night and alone, Jack,
      I am watching the Old Year out.
      I have finished with brooding and fears,
      Jack, And the spirit is rising in me,
      For the sake of the old New Years, Jack,
      And the bright New Years to be.

      I have fallen in worldly disgrace, Jack,
      And I know very well that you heard;
      They have blackened my name in this place, Jack,
      And I answered them never a word.
      But why should I bluster or grieve,
      Jack? So narrow and paltry they be —
      I knew you would never believe, Jack,
      The lies that were said against me.

      That is done which shall never be undone,
      And I blame not, I blame not my land,
      But I'm hearing the Calling of London,
      And I long for the roar of the Strand.
      It was always the same with our race,
      Jack; You know how a vagabond feels —
      We can fight a straight man face to face, Jack.
      But we can't keep the curs from our heels.

      You know I loved women and drink, Jack,
      And that's how the trouble began;
      But you know that I never would shrink,
      Jack, From a deed that was worthy a man!
      I never was paltry or mean, Jack.
      And cruel I never could be,
      I will give you a hand which is clean,
      Jack, When we meet again over the sea.

      I will bring a few wrinkles of care,
      Jack; I have altered a lot, I am told;
      The steel-filings show in my hair, Jack;
      But my heart is as young as of old.
      I have faith still in women, and men, Jack,
      Though selfish and blind they may be.
      I still have my soul and my pen, Jack,
      And my country seems dearer to me.

      I will sail when your summer sets in, Jack,
      And good-bye to my own native land;
      Oh, I long for a glimpse of your grin, Jack,
      And I long for the grip of your hand.
      We both suffered sorrow and pain, Jack,
      And sinned in the days that are done;
      But we'll fight the old battle again, Jack,
      Where the battle is worth being won.