[identity profile] duathir.livejournal.com
To Roumania

Rifles of the Rear Guard,
Rattling through the rain,
Falling back and falling back
To make a stand again –
Rifles of the Rear Guard,
Shall you die in vain?

Rifles of the Rear Guard.
In the cold and wet;
Rifles of the Rear Guard,
We’re coming – do not fret!
The rifles of the Rear Guard
Shall be the Vanguard yet.

By Henry Lawson
[identity profile] duathir.livejournal.com
Fighting Hard

"The Australians are fighting hard in Gallipoli."—Cable.

Rolling out to fight for England, singing songs across the sea;
Rolling North to fight for England, and to fight for you and me;
Fighting hard for France and England, where the storms of Death are hurled;
Fighting hard for Australasia and the honour of the World!
Fighting hard.

Fighting hard for Sunny Queensland—fighting for Bananaland,
Fighting hard for West Australia, and the mulga and the sand;
Fighting hard for Plain and Wool-Track, and the haze of western heat—
Fighting hard for South Australia and the bronze of Farrar's Wheat!
Fighting hard!

Fighting hard for fair Victoria, and the mountain and the glen;
(And the Memory of Eureka—there were other tyrants then),
For the glorious Gippsland forests and the World's great Singing Star—
For the irrigation channels where the cabbage gardens are—
Fighting hard!

Fighting hard for gale and earthquake, and the wind-swept ports between;
For the wild flax and manuka and the terraced hills of green.
Fighting hard for wooden homesteads, where the mighty kauris stand—
Fighting hard for fern and tussock!—Fighting hard for Maoriland!
Fighting hard!

Fighting hard for little Tassy, where the apple orchards grow
(And the Northern Territory, just to give the place a show),
Fighting hard for Home and Empire, while the Commonwealth prevails
And, in spite of all her blunders, dying hard for New South Wales.
Dying hard.

Fighting for the Pride of Old Folk, and the people that you know;
And the girl you left behind you—(ah! the time is passing slow).
For the proud tears of a sister! come you back, or never come!
And the weary Elder Brother, looking after things at home—
Fighting hard! You Lucky Devils!
Fighting hard.

By Henry Lawson
[identity profile] duathir.livejournal.com
Scots of the Riverina

The boy cleared out to the city from his home at harvest time —
They were Scots of the Riverina, and to run from home was a crime.
The old man burned his letters, the first and last he burned,
And he scratched his name from the Bible when the old wife's back was turned.

A year went past and another. There were calls from the firing-line;
They heard the boy had enlisted, but the old man made no sign.
His name must never be mentioned on the farm by Gundagai —
They were Scots of the Riverina with ever the kirk hard by.

The boy came home on his "final", and the township's bonfire burned.
His mother's arms were about him; but the old man's back was turned.
The daughters begged for pardon till the old man raised his hand —
A Scot of the Riverina who was hard to understand.

The boy was killed in Flanders, where the best and bravest die.
There were tears at the Grahame homestead and grief in Gundagai;
But the old man ploughed at daybreak and the old man ploughed till the mirk —
There were furrows of pain in the orchard while his housefolk went to the kirk.

The hurricane lamp in the rafters dimly and dimly burned;
And the old man died at the table when the old wife's back was turned.
Face down on his bare arms folded he sank with his wild grey hair
Outspread o'er the open Bible and a name re-written there.

by Henry Lawson

[identity profile] duathir.livejournal.com
The Drums of Battersea

They can’t hear in West o’ London, where the worst dine with the best—
Deaf to all save lies and laughter, they can’t hear in London West—
Tailored brutes and splendid harlots, and the parasites that be—
They can’t hear the warning thunder of the Drums of Battersea.
More drums! War drums!
Drums of Misery—
Beating from the hearts of men—the Drums of Battersea.

Where the hearses hurry ever, and where man lives like a beast,
They can feel the war-drums beating—men of Hell! and London East.
And the far-off foreign farmers, fighting fiercely to be free,
Found new courage in the echo of the Drums of Battersea.
More drums! War drums!
Beating for the free—
Beating on the hearts of men—the Drums of Battersea.

And the drummers! Ah! the drummers!—stern and haggard men are those
Standing grimly at their meetings; and their washed and mended clothes
Speak of worn-out wives behind them and of grinding poverty—
But the English of the English beat the Drums of Battersea!
More drums! War drums!
Drums of agony—
The big bruised heart of England’s in the Drums of Battersea.

Where in fields slave Englishwomen, Oh! the sound of drums is there:
I have heard it in the laughter of the nights of Leicester Square—
Sailing southward with the summer, London but a dream to me,
Still I feel the distant thunder of the Drums of Battersea!
More drums! War drums!
Drums of Liberty—
Rolling round the English world—the Drums of Battersea.

Oh! I heard them in the Queen’s Hall—aye! and London heard that night—
While we formed up round the leaders while they struck one blow for right!
And the old strength, that old fire, that I thought was dead in me,
Blazed up fiercely at the beating of the Drums of Battersea!
More drums! War drums!
They beat for victory—
When above the roar of Jingoes rolled the Drums of Battersea.

And where’er my feet may wander, and howe’er I lay my head,
I shall hear them while I’m dreaming—I shall hear them when I’m dead!
For they beat for men and women, beat for Christ, and you and me:
There is hope and there is terror in the Drums of Battersea!
More drums! War drums!
Drums of destiny—
There’s hope!—there’s hope for England in the Drums of Battersea.

By Henry Lawson

10th Battersea Battalian raised June 3, 1915

The 'Pals' battalions of Wandsworth and Battersea in World War I
[identity profile] duathir.livejournal.com
A Fantasy of War

From Australia:

Oh, tell me, God of Battles! Oh, say what is to come!
The King is in his trenches, the millionaire at home;
The Kaiser with his toiling troops, the Czar is at the front.
Oh! Tell me, God of Battles! Who bears the battle’s brunt?
The Queen knits socks for soldiers, the Empress does the same,
And know no more than peasant girls which nation is to blame.
The wounded live to fight again, or live to slave for bread;
The Slain have graves above the Slain—the Dead are with the Dead.
The widowed young shall wed or not, the widowed old remain—
And all the nations of the world prepare for war again!
But ere that time shall be, O God, say what shall here befall!
Ten millions at the battle fronts, and we’re five millions all!
The world You made was wide, O God, the world we made is small.
We toiled not as our fathers toiled, for Sport was all our boast;
And so we built our cities, Lord, like warts, upon the coast.


From Europe:

The seer stood on the mountain side, the witch was in her cave;
The gipsy with his caravan, the sailor on the wave;
The sophist in his easy chair, with ne’er a soul to save,
The factory slaves went forth to slave, the peasant to the field;
The women worked in winter there for one-tenth of the yield;
The village Granny nursed their babes to give them time to slave;
The child was in the cradle, and the grandsire in his grave.
The rich man slumbered in his chair, full fed with wine and meat;
The lady in her carriage sat, the harlot walked the street
With paint upon her cheek and neck, through winter’s snow and sleet.
We saw the pride of Wealth go mad, and Misery increase—
And still the God of Gods was dumb and all the world was Peace!

The wizard on the mountain side, he drew a rasping breath,
For he was old and near to life, as he was near to death;
And he looked out and saw the star they saw at Nazareth.
“Two thousand years have passed,” he said. “A thousand years,” he said.
“A hundred years have passed,” he said, “and, lo! the star is red!
The time has come at last,” he said, and bowed his hoary head.
He laid him on the mountain-side—and so the seer was dead.
And so the Eastern Star was red, and it was red indeed—
We saw the Red Star in the South, but we took little heed.
(The Prophet in his garret starved or drank himself to death.)

The witch was mumbling in her hole before the dawn was grey;
The witch she took a crooked stick and prodded in the clay;
She doddered round and mumbled round as is the beldame’s way.
“Four children shall be born,” she said, “four children at a birth;
Four children of a peasant brood—and what shall come on earth?
Four of the poorest peasantry that Europe knows,” she said,
“And all the nations of the world shall count their gory dead!”
The babes are born in Italy—and all the world is red!


The Ship:

The world You gave was wide, O Lord, and wars were far away!
The goal was just as near, O Lord, to-morrow or to-day!
The tree You grew was stout and sound to carve the plank and keel.
(And when the darkness hid the sky Your hand was on the wheel.)
The pine You grew was straight and tall to fashion spar and mast.
Our sails and gear from flax and hemp were stout and firm and fast.
You gave the metal from the mine and taught the carpenter
To fasten plank and rib and beam, and sheath and iron her.
The world You made was wide, O Lord, with signs on sea and sky;
And all the stars were true, O Lord, you gave to steer her by.
More graceful than the albatross upon the morning breeze.
Ah me! she was the fairest thing that ever sailed the seas;
And when the madness of mankind burns out at last in war,
The world may yet behold the day she’ll sail the seas once more.
We were not satisfied, O Lord, we were not satisfied;
We stole Your electricity to fortify our pride!
You gave the horse to draw our loads, You gave the horse to ride;
But we must fly above the Alps and race beneath the tide.
We searched in sacred places for the things we did not need;
Your anger shook our cities down—and yet we took no heed.
We robbed the water and the air to give us “energy,”
As we’d exhaust Thy secret store of electricity.
The day may come—and such a day!—when we shall need all three.


And lest Thou shouldst not understand our various ways and whys,
We cut Thy trees for paper, Lord, where-on to print our lies.
We sent the grand Titanic forth, for pleasure, gold and show;
And all her skeletons of wealth and jewels lie below.
For fame or curiosity, for pride, and greed, or trade,
We sought to know all things and make all things that Thou hast made!
From Pole to Pole we sought to speak, and Heaven’s powers employ—
Our cruisers feverishly seek such language to destroy.
We shaped all things for war, and now the Sister Nations wade
Knee-deep in white man’s blood to wreck all things that we have made!
For in the rottenness of Peace—worse than this bitter strife!—
We murdered the Humanity and Poetry of Life.


The Bells and the Child:

The gongs are in the temple—the bells are in the tower;
The “tom-tom” in the jungle and the town clock tells the hour;
And all Thy feathered kind at morn have testified Thy power.

Did ever statesman save a land or science save a soul?—
Did ever Tower of Babel stand or war-drums cease to roll?—
Or wedding-bells to ring, O Lord—or requiems to toll?

Did ever child in cradle laid—born of a healthy race—
Cease for an hour, all unafraid, to testify Thy grace?
That shook its rattle from its bed in its proud father’s face?

Cathedral bells must cease awhile, because of Pride and Sin,
That never failed a wedding-morn that hailed a king and queen,
Or failed to peal for victory that brave men died to win.
(Or failed to ring the Old Year out and ring the New Year in.)

The world You made was wide, O God!—O God, ’tis narrow now—
And all its ways must run with blood, for we knew more than Thou!
And millions perish at the guns or rot beside the plough,
For we knew more than Thou.

By Henry Lawson
[identity profile] duathir.livejournal.com
Scots of the Riverina

The boy cleared out to the city from his home at harvest time —
They were Scots of the Riverina, and to run from home was a crime.
The old man burned his letters, the first and last he burned,
And he scratched his name from the Bible when the old wife's back was turned.

A year went past and another. There were calls from the firing-line;
They heard the boy had enlisted, but the old man made no sign.
His name must never be mentioned on the farm by Gundagai —
They were Scots of the Riverina with ever the kirk hard by.

The boy came home on his "final", and the township's bonfire burned.
His mother's arms were about him; but the old man's back was turned.
The daughters begged for pardon till the old man raised his hand —
A Scot of the Riverina who was hard to understand.

The boy was killed in Flanders, where the best and bravest die.
There were tears at the Grahame homestead and grief in Gundagai;
But the old man ploughed at daybreak and the old man ploughed till the mirk —
There were furrows of pain in the orchard while his housefolk went to the kirk.

The hurricane lamp in the rafters dimly and dimly burned;
And the old man died at the table when the old wife's back was turned.
Face down on his bare arms folded he sank with his wild grey hair
Outspread o'er the open Bible and a name re-written there.

by Henry Lawson

http://youtu.be/yCV-J6HGFa8

[identity profile] duathir.livejournal.com
'Fall In, My Men, Fall In'

The short hour's halt is ended,
The red gone from the west,
The broken wheel is mended,
And the dead men laid to rest.
Three days have we retreated
The brave old Curse-and-Grin –
Outnumbered and defeated –
Fall in, my men, fall in.

Poor weary, hungry sinners,
Past caring and past fear,
The camp-fires of the winners
Are gleaming in the rear.
Each day their front advances,
Each day the same old din,
But freedom holds the chances –
Fall in, my men, fall in.

Despair's cold fingers searches
The sky is black ahead,
We leave in barns and churches
Our wounded and our dead.
Through cold and rain and darkness
And mire that clogs like sin,
In failure in its starkness –
Fall in, my men, fall in.

We go and know not whither,
Nor see the tracks we go –
A horseman gaunt shall tell us,
A rain-veiled light shall show.
By wood and swamp and mountain,
The long dark hours begin –
Before our fresh wounds stiffen –
Fall in, my men, fall in.

With old wounds dully aching –
Fall in, my men, fall in –
See yonder starlight breaking
Through rifts where storm clouds thin!
See yonder clear sky arching
The distant range upon?
I'll plan while we are marching –
Move on, my men - march on!

by Henry Lawson

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