From the Strand to the Never


Henry Lawson

LAST glass of the last of our revels!
    Last song to be sung without ruth!
Let us give what is due to our devils
    Ere the curtain comes down on our youth!
In the old lands we’re vagabonds ever,
    In the new such as we bear the brunt,
And the path from the “Strand to the Never”—
    Why ashamed of it?—lights up in front!

Then here’s to the cross-bearer silent,
    To the lips that are grim to the end.
To the pledge that was broken for friendship,
    And the lie that was sworn for a friend;
To the lie for the lie that was noble—
    To the heart that would perjure the soul
For the sake of a woman in trouble,
    For the sake of a mate “in a hole”.

We drifted and saw not the dangers
    Of wearing the heart on the sleeve;
We saw the fresh kindness of strangers
    And deemed it was best to believe.
If we borrowed and passed when we needed,
    If we loved for a while and were gone—
In the end ’twill be surely conceded
    That we gave all we had—and passed on!

On the stage set for good or for evil—
    In the Youth-play we’re leaving behind—
Were the prompter man angel or devil.
    For the most part the promptings were kind!
And wharever the future before us.
    And whatever the heart-burn it brings,
Here‘s a glass to the spirit that bore us!
    And—the “rag” is waved down from the wings.

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