Henry Lawson

At The Tug-0f-War

’Twas in a tug-of-war where I the guvnor’s hope and pride Stepped proudly on the platform as the ringer on my side; Old dad was in his glory there it gave the old man joy To fight a passage through the crowd and barrack for his boy. A friend came up and said to me, ‘Put out your muscles, John, And pull them to eternity your guvnor’s looking on.’ I paused before I grasped the rope, and glanced around the place, And, foremost in the waiting crowd, I saw the old man’s face. My mates were strong and plucky chaps, but very soon I knew That our opponents had the weight and strength to pull them through; The boys were losing surely and defeat was very near, When, high above the mighty roar, I heard the old man cheer! I felt my muscles swelling when the old man cheer’d for me, I felt as though I’d burst my heart, or gain the victory! I shouted, ‘Now! Together!’ and a steady strain replied, And, with a mighty heave, I helped to beat the other side! Oh! how the old man shouted in his wild, excited joy! I thought he’d burst his boiler then, a-cheering for his boy; The chaps, oh! how they cheered me, while the girls all smiled so kind, They praised me, little dreaming, how the old man pulled behind. . . . . . He barracks for his boy no more his grave is old and green, And sons have grown up round me since he vanished from the scene; But, when the cause is worthy where I fight for victory, In fancy still I often hear the old man cheer for me.

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