Henry Lawson

The Old Mile-Tree

Ols coach-road West by Nor’-ward Old mile-tree by the track: A dead branch pointing forward, And a dead branch pointing back. And still in clear-cut romans On his hard heart he tells The miles that were to fortune, The miles from Bowenfels. Old chief of Western timber! A famous gum you’ve been. Old mile-tree, I remember When all your boughs were green. There came three boyish lovers When golden days begun; There rode three boyish rovers Towards the setting sun. And Fortune smiled her fairest And Fate to these was kind The truest, best and rarest, The girls they’d left behind. By the camp-fire’s dying ember They dreamed of love and gold; Old mile-tree, I remember When all our hearts were bold. And when the wrecks of those days Were sadly drifting back, There came a lonely swagman Along the dusty track; And save for limbs that trembled For weak and ill was he Old mile-tree, he resembled The youngest of the three. Beneath you, dark and lonely, A wronged and broken man He crouched, and sobbed as only The strong heart broken can. The darkness wrapped the timber, The stars seemed dark o’erhead Old mile-tree, I remember When all green leaves seemed dead.

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