Australian Bards and Bush Reviewers
Henry Lawson, 1894
While you use your best endeavour to immortalise in verse
The gambling and the drink which are your country's greatest curse,
While you glorify the bully and take the spieler's part
You're a clever southern writer, scarce inferior to Bret Harte.
If you sing of waving grasses when the plains are dry as bricks,
And discover shining rivers where there's only mud and sticks;
If you picture 'mighty forests' where the mulga spoils the view
You're superior to Kendall, and ahead of Gordon too.
If you swear there's not a country like the land that gave you birth,
And its sons are just the noblest and most glorious chaps on earth;
If in every girl a Venus your poetic eye discerns,
You are gracefully referred to as the 'young Australian Burns'.
But if you should find that bushmen spite of all the poets say
Are just common brother-sinners, and you're quite as good as they
You're a drunkard, and a liar, and a cynic, and a sneak,
Your grammar's simply awful and your intellect is weak.
The Bulletin, 18 August 1894