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.