Without the Heart Behind It
Henry Lawson, 1908
The world is won by Action-Men,
And told by Clever Writers:
'Tis mimicked by the tongue and pen
And mocked by glib reciters;
But, work or rest or take or give
Or rush to death self-blinded
I tell you nought will ever live
Without the heart behind it.
A cause seems lost on fields of blood
Against the rich World-Spanners,
When thousands drag through slush and mud
Beneath their beaten banners:
The wise will smile, and fools will jeer;
Let faint hearts never mind it:
No cause was ever lost a year
That had the hearts behind it.
And you may overawe the town
And triumph for the present
Ay! you may shoot the people down
And flog and hang the peasant,
And you may take young Liberty
And bind her, yet you'll find her
With flame and steel on land and sea,
And all her hearts behind her.
Some, bound to some old "masters" faint,
Or fearing owlish strictures,
Will "study" all their lives to paint
Their unconvincing pictures.
While one will paint with methods crude
And not for fame but win it;
And win the wide world's gratitude,
Because his heart was in it.
And some will ply the brilliant pen
Or make their grand orations,
And never touch the hearts of men
While one shall wake the Nations!
For he shall write a simple song.
To rouse men's hearts and cheer them,
And thousands roar the words along!
And kingdoms quake to hear them.
However faint and frail the form.
The strong heart has succeeded.
(No ship alone can live the storm.)
Nor gold nor "gifts" are needed.
No sorrow bringeth Truth to nought
No leaders' cares can bind them:
The grandest battles have been fought
With broken hearts behind them.
Poverty Bay Herald, 1 August 1908, page 3