Henry Lawson

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

The Gathering Of The Brown-Eyed

The brown eyes came from Asia, where all mystery is true,
Ere the masters of Soul Secrets dreamed of hazel, grey, and blue;
And the Brown Eyes came to Egypt, which is called the gypsies’ home,
And the Brown Eyes went from Egypt and Jerusalem to Rome.

There was strife amongst the Brown Eyes for the false things and the true;
There was war amongst the Brown Eyes for the old gods and the new;
But the old gods live for ever, and their goddesses are bright
In the temples of Old Passions with the Brown Eyes of the White.

The Brown Eyes east, by Africa, they saw and conquered Spain,
And the Brown Eyes marched as Christians till a Brown Eye met a Dane,
The Dane had Brown-Eyed children who in blue eyes took delight—
And a son of blue-eyed sailors, brown-eyed, reads the stars to-night.

Oh, Knowledge from Old Deserts, where the great stars rocked the world!
Oh, courage from grim seaboards, where the Viking ships were hurled!
The clear skin of the Norseman, and the desert strength and sight,
The power to fathom mankind, and the glorious gift to write!

We can look in souls of women, aye! and let them know we do;
We can fix the false eyes earthward; we can meet and match the true;
We can startle Voice from Silence, and from Darkness flash the Light—
And the eyes to fathom Asia are the Brown Eyes of the White.

There’s a legend in the nations that all Brown Eyes once were true,
But were taught in love and warfare by the sinful shades of blue;
There’s a story amongst sinners that all Brown Eyes once were kind,
Till the Steel-Blue struck the Red-Fire in a hatred that was blind.

But the Brown Eyes are the saddest at the death of Love and Truth.
And the Brown Eyes are the grandest and the dreamiest of Youth.
They have risen in rebellion unto leadership sublime—
And the grey-eyed queens of women loved, and love them for all time!

Brown Eyes never married Brown Eyes but unhappiness held sway,
For the real mates of the Brown Eyes have for ever been the grey.
But though Brown Eyes quarrel hotly, though their very souls be wrenched,
Never Blue-Eye wronged a Brown-Eye but the Brown-Eye was avenged!

Through the breadth of wide Australia, waiting desert-like and vast,
We have sent our Brown-Eyed children, who are multiplying fast.
Patriots, picture-writers, sages, fill the Brown-Eyed rolls to-night—
’Tis the gathering from all ages of the Brown-Eyed of the White.
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