Henry Lawson

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

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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