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