Henry Lawson

The Australian Marseillaise

Sing the strong, proud song of Labour, Toss the ringing music high; Liberty’s a nearer neighbour Than she was in days gone by. Workmen’s weary wives and daughters Sing the songs of liberty; Men hail men across the waters, Men reply across the sea. We are marching on and onward To the silver-streak of dawn, To the dynasty of mankind We are marching on. Long the rich have been protected By the walls that can’t endure; By the walls that they erected To divide them from the poor. Crumbling now, they should not trust them, For their end is drawing near; Walls of Cant and walls of Custom, Walls of Ignorance and Fear. Tyrants, grip your weapons firmer, Grip them firmly by the helves; For the poor begin to murmur Loudly now among themselves. Hear us dare to say that Heaven Gave us equal rights with you, Dare to say the world was given Unto all and not the few. Tell us that the law has risen, Make us bend beneath its sway, Throw our leaders into prison, Wrong us in the light of day. Drive us to our dens, forgetting All our woe as greed forgets, While our weapons we are whetting On your levelled bayonets. Treat us like the beasts you’d make us, Pen us close in wretched sties. ’Til our patience shall forsake us, And like wolves we will arise. Louder still for this shall rattle Rifle shots, and sword blades ring On the blood-wet fields of battle In the days of reckoning. We shall rise to prove us human, Worthy of a human life, When our starved and maddened women Lead our armies on to strife. When our war hymns wake the valleys, And the rushing missiles shriek From your barricaded alleys, ’Til your cannon cease to speak. Then when Mammon Castle crashes To the earth and trampled lies, Then from out the blood and ashes True Republics shall arise. Then the world shall rest a season (First since first the world began) In the reign of right and reason And the dynasty of man.

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