Henry Lawson

To Jack

So, I’ve battled it through on my own, Jack, I have done with all dreaming and doubt. Though stoney to-night and alone, Jack, I am watching the Old Year out. I have finished with brooding and fears, Jack, And the spirit is rising in me, For the sake of the old New Years, Jack, And the bright New Years to be. I have fallen in worldly disgrace, Jack, And I know very well that you heard; They have blackened my name in this place, Jack, And I answered them never a word. But why should I bluster or grieve, Jack? So narrow and paltry they be I knew you would never believe, Jack, The lies that were said against me. That is done which shall never be undone, And I blame not, I blame not my land, But I’m hearing the Calling of London, And I long for the roar of the Strand. It was always the same with our race, Jack; You know how a vagabond feels We can fight a straight man face to face, Jack. But we can’t keep the curs from our heels. You know I loved women and drink, Jack, And that’s how the trouble began; But you know that I never would shrink, Jack, From a deed that was worthy a man! I never was paltry or mean, Jack. And cruel I never could be, I will give you a hand which is clean, Jack, When we meet again over the sea. I will bring a few wrinkles of care, Jack; I have altered a lot, I am told; The steel-filings show in my hair, Jack; But my heart is as young as of old. I have faith still in women, and men, Jack, Though selfish and blind they may be. I still have my soul and my pen, Jack, And my country seems dearer to me. I will sail when your summer sets in, Jack, And good-bye to my own native land; Oh, I long for a glimpse of your grin, Jack, And I long for the grip of your hand. We both suffered sorrow and pain, Jack, And sinned in the days that are done; But we’ll fight the old battle again, Jack, Where the battle is worth being won.

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