Henry Lawson

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

The Foreign Drunk

When you get tight in foreign lands
You never need go slinking,
No female neighbours lift their hands
And say “The brute!—he’s drinking!”
No mischief-maker runs with smiles
To give your wife a notion,
For she may be ten thousand miles
Across the bounding ocean.

Oh! I’ve been Scottish “fu” all night,
(O’er ills o’ life victorious),
And I’ve been Dutch and German tight,
And French and Dago glorious.
We saw no boa-constrictors then,
In every lady’s boa,
Though we got drunk with Antwerp men,
And woke up in Genoa!

When you get tight in foreign lands,
All foreigners are brothers—
You drink their drink and grasp their hands
And never wish for others.
Their foreign ways and foreign songs—
And girls—you take delight in:
The war-whoop that you raise belongs
To the country you get tight in.

When you get tight in a foreign port—
(Or rather bacchanalian),
You need no tongue for love or sport
Save your own good Australian.
(A girl in Naples kept me square—
Or helped me to recover—
For mortal knoweth everywhere
The language of the lover).

When you get tight in foreign parts,
With tongue and legs unstable,
They do their best, with all their hearts
And help you all they’re able.
Ah me! It was a happy year,
Though all the rest were “blanky,”
When I got drunk on lager beer,
And sobered up on “Swankey.”
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