Henry Lawson

Cypher Seven

The nearer camp fires lighted, The distant beacons bright The horsemen on the skyline Are closing in to-night! My brothers, Oh my brothers! Lie down and rest at last The Years of Reparation Have rushed upon us fast. Oh, ride and ride, you riders, Who rode ere I was born, While blink-and-blink the star-dust That blinks before the morn. And glow and glow you camp fires, And flash, you beacons bright! They’re riding round the wronged ones And riding round the right! My brothers, Oh my brothers! With dried and haggard eyes, In gaol for just blows stricken In gaol for women’s lies! Lie down and pace no longer But bathe your eyes in tears For Years of Retribution That shall be seven years! Their lovers and believers! Their sweethearts, sisters, wives, Their daughters, sons and mothers, The true friends of their lives! Hold up your heads and firmly Look down the Crooked Seers For Years of Justifying That shall be seven years. Inventors, artists, poets Exiled or driven mad, Sweated, sneered at, slandered, And driven to the bad Take up the tools of genius, Freed from all paltry fears, For Seasons of Repayment That shall be seven years. Oh, ride and ride, you riders, That rode when I was born Against a ghastly skyline Beneath a storm-cloud torn! I watched you through my childhood, I saw the whip and spur, No spy’s glass could detect you But I knew what you were! Oh, ride and ride, my riders, And flash my birth star bright! The youth I never dreamed of Is with me here to-night! The hearing, strength and vision, The will to do and dare, The love I ever longed for Is round me everywhere. Dead Friendship ah! Dead Friendship, Rise up and breathe again I ride my rounds re-honoured Along the ranks of men. My old mates, Oh! my old mates, Who fought the cur and brute My horsemen from the skyline Are drawn up to salute! My Dead Love, Oh! my Dead Love, Who died for love of me Who sleeps amongst the poets Since five years sobbed the sea. Since five years blackened honour And cramped and warped the pen There’s glory to your spirit The laurel leafs again. My enemies, the causeless Of vicious mysteries, Or mad with jealous madness Or for the crawler’s fees Fear ye my Cypher Seven! For seven years to run The number set by Heaven When Heaven’s will is done. So ride and ride, my riders, And ride for men and me, Ride close round madness yonder And blackest treachery! Oh! ride round little children That sleep through all and smile! At daybreak I will lead you Now I must rest awhile.

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