The Passing of Scotty


Henry Lawson

WE THROW us down on the dusty plain
    When the gold has gone from the west,
But we rise and tramp on the track again,
    For we’re tired—too tired to rest.
Darker and denser the shadows fall
    That are cramping each aching brow—
Scotty the Wrinkler! you’ve solved it all,
    Give us a wrinkle now.

But no one lieth so still in death
    As the rover who never could rest;
And he’s free of thought as he’s free of breath—
    And his hands are crossed on his breast.
You have earned your rest—you brave old tramp—
    As I hope in the end we will.
Ah me! ’Twas a long, long way to camp
    Since the days when they called you “Phil’.

What have they done with your quaint old soul
    Now they have passed you through?
But we can’t but think, as our swags we roll,
    That it’s right, old man, with you;
You learned some truth in the storm and strife
    Of the outcast battler’s ways;
And you left some light in the vagabond’s life
    Ere you vanished beyond the haze.

One by one in the far ahead,
    In the smothering haze of drought—
Where hearts are loyal and hopes are dead—
    The forms of our mates fade out.
’Tis a distant goal and a weary load,
    But we follow the Wrinkler home,
As, staggering into the short, straight road,
    From the blind branch tracks we come.

We leave our mark and we play our part
    In the nation’s pregnant days,
And we find a place in the Bushman’s heart
    Ere we vanish beyond the haze.

Back    |    Words Home    |    Lawson Home    |    Site Info.    |    Feedback