Exit

Henry Lawson, 1903

      Seven years ago, my friend,
      Upon the old sea sand
      You stood as I am standing now
      With a pistol in your hand.
      'Twas woman's madness, woman's lies,
      As a thousand years ago —
      And your sad eyes were sunset-wise —
      And your right hand firm, I know.

      They said it was a madman's act,
      They called you cur and fool,
      They say it is a weak man's crime,
      The men who cant and rule.
      They said it was a coward's deed,
      The men who never knew —
      Ah me! it was a coward's deed
      That a strong man had to do!

      They took me to the morgue, my friend,
      Those seven summers back,
      And in the wound they'd left the probe
      To show the bullet's track.
      Half consciously I marked the spot
      Upon your forehead white —
      And — God forgive my soul! I trust
      I shoot as well tonight.

      'Tis not for guilt nor shame, my friend,
      Nor failure nor defeat —
      For fortune called and fame, my friend,
      And the ball was at my feet.
      I fear the jibe or blame of none
      I fear not wrath above —
      I die to save the name of one
      That hundreds learned to love.

      My last short day is near its end,
      The light is fading fast;
      The tide I caught so oft, my friend,
      Is ebbing out at last.
      I go to join the old dead love —
      The dead that knows me true —
      Ah God! it is a weak man's deed
      That a strong man has to do.