Henry Lawson, 1894
Just before the last elections, and the chaps were fighting well
Round about the Paroo River, on the borderland of hell
But the story of the struggle doesn't matter anyhow,
For a Parliament of angels couldn't save the country now.
But a poor old fellow struggled to a hut one broiling day,
And his ragged swag fell off him in a hopeless kind of way.
He was sick and very shaky, and his eyes were blurr'd and dim
It was plain to all the fellows that 'twas nearly up with him.
He was stiff and out of tucker (all the fellows understood);
He wanted medicine and rest before he wanted food.
He was making for the border, underneath the blazing sun
Old, and weak, and ill, he tottered, and but half his journey done.
"If I could put the time in up at Hungerford," he said,
"Until after the election I'd be ready to be dead.
I wouldn't care so much," he sighed, "my time is nearly past
But I've got a vote for Hughie, and I s'pose 'twill be my last."
And the rough and noisy bushmen gathered round. Their manner grew
In a moment soft and gentle, for their hearts, of course, were true;
And they said, "What's up, old fellow?" and "What can we do for you?"
Then he raised his head a moment, and the tired answer came:
"There is nothing you can do, lads, but I thank you, all the same;
I am pretty cronk and shaky too far gone for hell or heaven,
An' the chances are I'm goin' that I'm goin' to 'do the seven'.
"But it isn't that that gripes me, an' I'll tell you what it is
Life ain't over bright an' rosy, battlin' round in times like this;
For many a year I've knocked round here, where livin' is a crime,
An' couldn't get a vote not once, tho' I tried it every time.
But I got in on 'em this time, an' when I did, said I,
This belongs to Hughie Langwell, an' I'll vote before I die.
An' I can't reach Yantabulla that's the thing that makes me fret.
Chaps, I've got a vote for Hughie but it ain't no monte yet."
And it wasn't, chaps; he knew it. That same night he "did his seven",
But no doubt the swagman's name is safe upon the list in heaven.
The Worker (Sydney), 18 August 1894.