Henry Lawson

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

The Distant Drum

Republicans! the time is coming!
Listen to the distant drumming!
Hearken to the whispers humming
In the troubled atmosphere.

Ye are born to do the toiling;
On and on—and no recoiling!
To the fighting, to the foiling
Of the wrongs that wrong us here.

Let the Loyal laugh and jeer you;
Let them in derision cheer you.
Still the cowards show they fear you
By their deeds and all they say.

Let Britannia rule for ever
O’er the wave; but never, never!
Rule a land great oceans sever
Fifteen thousand miles away.

Stained by persecution’s fires
Thinned of homes and thick with spires,
They love the land that bred their sires,
Ye the Land that breeds your sons.

And your sons shall have the reaping,
And your sons shall have the keeping
Of your honour while you’re sleeping,
Freedom’s vanguard, in your graves.
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