Skyline Riders and Other Verses

I’d Back Agen the World

Henry Lawson


“Please God, we’ll make a scholar of the poor marchioness yet; an’ she shall go in silk attire, an’ siller hae to spare, or may I never rise from this bed!”
—Dick Swiveller.

SHE’S not like an empress,
    And crowned with raven hair,
She is not “pert an’ bonny,”
    Nor “winsome, wee, an’ fair.”
But when a man’s in trouble,
    And darkest shadows fall,
She’s just a little woman
    I’d back against them all.

    I’d back against them all,
        When friends on rocks are hurled—
    Oh, she’s the little woman
        I’d back against the world.

She has her little temper
    (As all the world can know)
When things are running smoothly,
    She sometimes lets it go;
But when the sea is stormy,
    And clouds are like a pall,
Oh, she’s the little woman
    I’d back against them all.

    I’d back against the world,
        When darkest shadows fall—
    Oh, she’s the little woman
        I’d back against them all.

She’s had to stand at business
    Till she was fit to drop;
She has to count the pennies
    When she goes to the shop.
She has no land or terrace,
    Nor money in the bank,
And, save what’s in her ownself,
    No influence nor rank.

    No influence nor rank
        While darker shadows fall—
    Oh, she’s a little woman
        I’d back against them all.

It will not last for ever,
    As old time goes his rounds,
Where now she counts the pennies
    She yet shall count the pounds.
And those who laugh to see her,
    Or pass her unawares,
Shall stand beside her motor car,
    And bow her up the stairs.

    And bow her up the stairs,
        When foes on rocks are hurled—
    For she’s the little woman
        I’ll back against the world.

Or may I slave in prisons,
    In mental misery,
And no one write a letter,
    And no one visit me!
And may I rot with paupers,
    A ditch without a stone,
My work be never quoted,
    And my grave be never known.

    My work be never quoted,
        When friends on rocks are hurled—
    Ah! she’s a little woman
        I’d back against the world.


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