Skyline Riders and Other Verses

The Foreign Drunk

Henry Lawson

WHEN YOU get tight in foreign lands
    You never need go slinking,
No female neighbours lift their hands
    And say “The brute!—he’s drinking!”
No mischief-maker runs with smiles
    To give your wife a notion,
For she may be ten thousand miles
    Across the bounding ocean.

Oh! I’ve been Scottish “fu” all night,
    (O’er ills o’ life victorious),
And I’ve been Dutch and German tight,
    And French and Dago glorious.
We saw no boa-constrictors then,
    In every lady’s boa,
Though we got drunk with Antwerp men,
    And woke up in Genoa!

When you get tight in foreign lands,
    All foreigners are brothers—
You drink their drink and grasp their hands
    And never wish for others.
Their foreign ways and foreign songs—
    And girls—you take delight in:
The war-whoop that you raise belongs
    To the country you get tight in.

When you get tight in a foreign port—
    (Or rather bacchanalian),
You need no tongue for love or sport
    Save your own good Australian.
(A girl in Naples kept me square—
    Or helped me to recover—
For mortal knoweth everywhere
    The language of the lover).

When you get tight in foreign parts,
    With tongue and legs unstable,
They do their best, with all their hearts
    And help you all they’re able.
Ah me! It was a happy year,
    Though all the rest were “blanky,”
When I got drunk on lager beer,
    And sobered up on “Swankey.”

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