Henry Lawson

Beaten Back

Beaten back in sad dejection, After years of weary toil On that burning hot selection Where the drought has gorged his spoil. All in vain ’gainst him, the vulture, I have battled without rest In the van of agriculture, Marching out into the West. Now the eagle-hawks are feeding On my perished stock that reek Where the water-holes receding Long had left the burning creek. I must labour without pity I the pick and spade must wield In the streetways of the city Or upon another’s field! Can it be my reason’s rocking, For I feel a burning hate For the God who, only mocking, Sent the prayed-for rain too late? Pour, ye mocking rains, and rattle On the bare, brown, grassless plain, On the shrivelled hides of cattle That shall ne’er want grass again! Rush, ye yellow floods, to Murray, Over thirsty creek-banks foam; And o’er all, ye black clouds, hurry; Ye can bring not back my home!

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