Henry Lawson

17 June 1867 – 2 September 1922 / Grenfell, New South Wales

Because My Father's One

It was the King of Virland –
0 he was angry then –
That rode to crush rebellion
With twenty thousand men.
His enemies he scattered
And hanged on every side,
Because their creed was rapine,
Their cause was greed and pride.

They searched for Outlaw Eric,
They hunted everywhere –
(Most honest of the rebels
If aught was honest there).
King Hertzberg swore to hang him,
But, when the day was done,
They had not found the Outlaw,
But found his little son.

He had not seen his father,
Nor knew where he had gone;
And someone asked him, thoughtless,
Which side himself was on,
And straightway he made answer –
They found he answered true –
'My father is a rebel,
And I'm a rebel too.'

King Hertzberg, he dismounted,
And kindly bent his head:
'Now, why are you a rebel,
My little man?' he said.
The boy nor paused nor faltered,
But stood like Eric's son,
And answered Hertzberg simply –
'Because my father's one.'

And then they promised all things,
Dear to his heart, I ween –
They promised they would make him
The first page to the queen,
With princesses for playmates –
But, nay, it would not do –
'My father is a rebel,
And I'm a rebel too!'

King Hertzberg sank beside him
And rested on one knee.
'I would my royal children
As loyal were!' said he.
'Go, seek and tell your father
That he and his go free,
And if his wrongs be real
Then let him come to me.

'And let him come with plain words,
With plain words in daylight,
And ride not with armed rebels
And outlaws in the night.
And let him not misjudge me –
For to all that is untrue,
And wherever Wrong's the ruler,
I am a rebel too.
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