From the Strand to the Never
Henry Lawson, 1899
Last glass of the last of our revels!
Last song to be sung without ruth!
Let us give what is due to our devils
Ere the curtain comes down on our youth!
In the old lands we're vagabonds ever,
In the new such as we bear the brunt,
And the path from the "Strand to the Never"
Why ashamed of it? lights up in front!
Then here's to the cross-bearer silent,
To the lips that are grim to the end,
To the pledge that was broken for friendship,
And the lie that was sworn for a friend;
To the lie for the lie that was noble
To the heart that would perjure the soul
For the sake of a woman in trouble,
For the sake of a mate "in a hole".
We drifted and saw not the dangers
Of wearing the heart on the sleeve;
We saw the fresh kindness of strangers
And deemed it was best to believe.
If we borrow'd and passed when we needed,
If we loved for a while and were gone
In the end 'twill be surely conceded
That we gave all we had and passed on!
On the stage set for good or for evil
In the Youth-play we're leaving behind
Were the prompter man angel or devil,
For the most part the promptings were kind!
And whatever the future before us,
And whatever the heart-burn it brings,
Here's a glass to the spirit that bore us!
And the "rag" is waved down from the wings.