Verses Popular and Humorous

Saint Peter

Henry Lawson

NOW, I think there is a likeness
    ’Twixt St. Peter’s life and mine,
For he did a lot of trampin’
    Long ago in Palestine.
He was ‘union’ when the workers
    First began to organise,
And—I’m glad that old St. Peter
    Keeps the gate of Paradise.

When the ancient agitator
    And his brothers carried swags,
I’ve no doubt he very often
    Tramped with empty tucker-bags;
And I’m glad he’s Heaven’s picket,
    For I hate explainin’ things,
And he’ll think a union ticket
    Just as good as Whitely King’s.

He denied the Saviour’s union,
    Which was weak of him, no doubt;
But perhaps his feet was blistered
    And his boots had given out.
And the bitter storm was rushin’
    On the bark and on the slabs,
And a cheerful fire was blazin’,
    And the hut was full of ‘scabs.’

.     .     .     .     .

When I reach the great head-station—
    Which is somewhere ‘off the track’—
I won’t want to talk with angels
    Who have never been out back;
They might bother me with offers
    Of a banjo—meanin’ well—
And a pair of wings to fly with,
    When I only want a spell.

I’ll just ask for old St. Peter,
    And I think, when he appears,
I will only have to tell him
    That I carried swag for years.
‘I’ve been on the track,’ I’ll tell him,
    ‘An’ I done the best I could,’
And he’ll understand me better
    Than the other angels would.

He won’t try to get a chorus
    Out of lungs that’s worn to rags,
Or to graft the wings on shoulders
    That is stiff with humpin’ swags.
But I’ll rest about the station
    Where the work-bell never rings,
Till they blow the final trumpet
    And the Great Judge sees to things.

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