The Passing of Scotty
Henry Lawson, 1903
We throw us down on the dusty plain
When the gold has gone from the west,
But we rise and tramp on the track again,
For we're tired, too tired to rest.
Darker and denser the shadows fall
That are cramping each aching brow,
Scotty the Wrinkler! you've solved it all,
Give us a wrinkle now.
But no one lieth so still in death
As the rover who never could rest;
And he's free of thought as he's free of breath,
And his hands are crossed on his breast.
You have earned your rest, you brave old tramp,
As I hope in the end we will.
Ah me! 'Twas a long, long way to camp
Since the days when they called you "Phil'.
What have they done with your quaint old soul
Now they have passed you through?
But we can't but think, as our swags we roll,
That it's right, old man, with you;
You learned some truth in the storm and strife
Of the outcast battler's ways;
And you left some light in the vagabond's life
Ere you vanished beyond the haze.
One by one in the far ahead,
In the smothering haze of drought,
Where hearts are loyal and hopes are dead,
The forms of our mates fade out.
'Tis a distant goal and a weary load,
But we follow the Wrinkler home,
As, staggering into the short, straight road,
From the blind branch tracks we come.
We leave our mark and we play our part
In the nation's pregnant days,
And we find a place in the Bushman's heart
Ere we vanish beyond the haze.