For Australia

To Jack

Henry Lawson

SO, I’ve battled it through on my own, Jack,
    I have done with all dreaming and doubt.
Though “stoney” to-night and alone, Jack,
    I am watching the Old Year out.
I have finished with brooding and fears,
    Jack, And the spirit is rising in me,
For the sake of the old New Years, Jack,
    And the bright New Years to be.

I have fallen in worldly disgrace, Jack,
    And I know very well that you heard;
They have blackened my name in this place, Jack,
    And I answered them never a word.
But why should I bluster or grieve,
    Jack? So narrow and paltry they be—
I knew you would never believe, Jack,
    The lies that were said against me.

That is done which shall never be undone,
    And I blame not, I blame not my land,
But I’m hearing the Calling of London,
    And I long for the roar of the Strand.
It was always the same with our race,
    Jack; You know how a vagabond feels—
We can fight a straight man face to face, Jack.
    But we can’t keep the curs from our heels.

You know I loved women and drink, Jack,
    And that’s how the trouble began;
But you know that I never would shrink,
    Jack, From a deed that was worthy a man!
I never was paltry or mean, Jack.
    And cruel I never could be,
I will give you a hand which is clean,
    Jack, When we meet again over the sea.

I will bring a few wrinkles of care,
    Jack; I have altered a lot, I am told;
The steel-filings show in my hair, Jack;
    But my heart is as young as of old.
I have faith still in women, and men, Jack,
    Though selfish and blind they may be.
I still have my soul and my pen, Jack,
    And my country seems dearer to me.

I will sail when your summer sets in, Jack,
    And good-bye to my own native land;
Oh, I long for a glimpse of your grin, Jack,
    And I long for the grip of your hand.
We both suffered sorrow and pain, Jack,
    And sinned in the days that are done;
But we’ll fight the old battle again, Jack,
    Where the battle is worth being won.

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