They Can Only Drag You Down

Henry Lawson, 1903

      Leader, poet, singer, artist, who have struggled long and won,
      Though the climbing is behind you, now the battle has begun,
      Shut your ears unto the empty parrot phrases of the town,
      Shun the hand-grips of your rivals, they can only drag you down.

      See the bush or quiet chamber, work — for you have work to do,
      Though the city shall be lighted and the table spread for you —
      Work through ease and pleasure call you, work when you have care to drown,
      Shun the wine-cup like a serpent, it can only drag you down.

      And the star eyes and the red lips, luring ever to a wreck,
      And the beauty of the white arms clinging closely round your neck!
      Golden head thrown back and white arms clinging closer when you frown,
      Tear them from your neck if need be — they can only drag you down.