Verses Popular and Humorous

The Old Jimmy Woodser

Henry Lawson

THE OLD Jimmy Woodser comes into the bar,
    Unwelcomed, unnoticed, unknown,
Too old and too odd to be drunk with, by far;
And he glides to the end where the lunch baskets are
    And they say that he tipples alone.

His frock-coat is green and the nap is no more,
    And the style of his hat is at rest.
He wears the peaked collar our grandfathers wore,
The black-ribboned tie that was legal of yore,
    And the coat buttoned over his breast.

When first he came in, for a moment I thought
    That my vision or wits were astray;
For a picture and page out of Dickens he brought,
’Twas an old file dropped in from the Chancery Court
    To a wine-vault just over the way.

But I dreamed as he tasted his bitters to-night,
    And the lights in the bar-room grew dim,
That the shades of the friends of that other day’s light,
And of girls that were bright in our grandfathers’ sight,
    Lifted shadowy glasses to him.

And I opened the door as the old man passed out,
    With his short, shuffling step and bowed head;
And I sighed, for I felt as I turned me about,
An odd sense of respect—born of whisky no doubt—
    For the life that was fifty years dead.

And I thought—there are times when our memory trends
    Through the future, as ’twere, on its own—
That I, out of date ere my pilgrimage ends,
In a new fashioned bar to dead loves and dead friends
Might drink like the old man alone:
    While they whisper, ‘He boozes alone.’

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