Verses Popular and Humorous

The Ships That Won’t Go Down

Henry Lawson

WE hear a great commotion
    ’Bout the ship that comes to grief,
That founders in mid-ocean,
    Or is driven on a reef;
Because it’s cheap and brittle
    A score of sinners drown.
But we hear but mighty little
    Of the ships that won’t go down.

            Here’s honour to the builders —
                The builders of the past;
            Here’s honour to the builders
                That builded ships to last;
            Here’s honour to the captain,
                And honour to the crew;
            Here’s double-column head-lines
                To the ships that battle through.

They make a great sensation
    About famous men that fail,
That sink a world of chances
    In the city morgue or gaol,
Who drink, or blow their brains out,
    Because of ‘Fortune’s frown.’
But we hear far too little
    Of the men who won’t go down.

            The world is full of trouble,
                And the world is full of wrong,
            But the heart of man is noble,
                And the heart of man is strong!
            They say the sea sings dirges,
                But I would say to you
            That the wild wave’s song’s a paean
                For the men that battle through.

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