Verses Popular and Humorous

The Christ of the ‘Never’

Henry Lawson

WITH eyes that seem shrunken to pierce
    To the awful horizons of land,
Through the haze of hot days, and the fierce
    White heat-waves that flow on the sand;
Through the Never Land westward and nor’ward,
    Bronzed, bearded and gaunt on the track,
Quiet-voiced and hard-knuckled, rides forward
    The Christ of the Outer Out-back.

For the cause that will ne’er be relinquished
    Spite of all the great cynics on earth—
In the ranks of the bush undistinguished
    By manner or dress—if by birth—
God’s preacher, of churches unheeded—
    God’s vineyard, though barren the sod—
Plain spokesman where spokesman is needed—
    Rough link ’twixt the bushman and God.

He works where the hearts of all nations
    Are withered in flame from the sky,
Where the sinners work out their salvations
    In a hell-upon-earth ere they die.
In the camp or the lonely hut lying
    In a waste that seems out of God’s sight,
He’s the doctor—the mate of the dying
    Through the smothering heat of the night.

By his work in the hells of the shearers,
    Where the drinking is ghastly and grim,
Where the roughest and worst of his hearers
    Have listened bareheaded to him.
By his paths through the parched desolation
    Hot rides and the terrible tramps;
By the hunger, the thirst, the privation
    Of his work in the furthermost camps

By his worth in the light that shall search men
    And prove—ay! and justify each—
I place him in front of all churchmen
    Who feel not, who know not—but preach!

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