["My Pretty Young Gent"]

Henry Lawson, 1906

      Editor's note: This is some poetry contained within a story by Henry Lawson, "Triangles of Life" (Part II: Chawlton).


      My pretty young gent, you may laugh your last.
      And laugh till your laugh is through.
      But I'll tell you the tale of your dead, dead past.
      And I'll tell you all too true.

      "Oh, I've heard that before," I said; "tell me something new, granny?"
      "The old before the new," she said; "the old before the new."

      You have come, by bush and town.
      From where blue-eyed men are brown.
      Drought and rain and sun and shade —
      Gipsies born and gipsies made.
      Follow still the gipsy trade.
      Children pray in Sunday school
      For princes who shall never rule.
      Folk do many foolish things
      For the kings who are not kings;
      Men and women bow and crawl
      Where no tyrant reigns at all.
      And the worst of all things be.
      In the light of Liberty.

      You have come in strife and pain.
      You shall go but come again.
      One that's sane shall drive you mad.
      One that's mad shall drive you sane.
      He whose wealth you helped to make.
      Make you rich for your own sake.
      You shall sink but rise again.
      With the strength of ten times ten.
      And shall be a king of men.
      Those whose names you write and call
      Make you famous over all.
      One who's deaf shall make you hear.
      One who's blind shall make you see.
      Absent ones be ever near.
      Nearer still in pain and fear;
      One who never dreamed a dream
      Shall reveal the mystery —
      Raise your eyes and you shall see.
      [I saw hypnotic visions and illusions here.]
      Yesternight in Land o' Scorn.
      Was a gipsy baby born.

      In the Country of the Blind
      Was a sighted stranger kind.
      Go you calm, or go you wild.
      You have helped a gipsy child;
      He shall grow with courage grim.
      Strength of sight and strength of limb —
      All you lack shall be in him.
      Go you far or go you near.
      Take no guards, and take no fear.
      Where you walk, there he shall run.
      In the snow or in the sun.
      Shield your daughter and your son.
      Lined your face and grey your hair.
      Under home or strangest skies.
      Sunk in seeming dark despair.
      Death or madness everywhere.
      Be your friends however fair.
      Let your enemies beware
      Of dark eyes and of dark hair.