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Henry Lawson

(17 June 1867 – 2 September 1922 / Grenfell, New South Wales)

A New John Bull


A tall, slight, English gentleman,
With an eyeglass to his eye;
He mostly says “Good-Bai” to you,
When he means to say “Good-bye”;
He shakes hands like a ladies’ man,
For all the world to see—
But they know, in Corners of the World.
No ladies’ man is he.
A tall, slight English gentleman,
Who hates to soil his hands;
He takes his mother’s drawing-room
To the most outlandish lands;
And when, through Hells we dream not of,
His battery prevails,
He cleans the grime of gunpowder
And blue blood from his nails.

He’s what our blokes in Egypt call
“A decent kinder cove.”
And if the Pyramids should fall?
He’d merely say “Bai Jove!”
And if the stones should block his path
For a twelve-month, or a day,
He’d call on Sergeant Whatsisname
To clear those things away!

A quiet English gentleman,
Who dots the Empire’s rim,
Where sweating sons of ebony
Would go to Hell for him.
And if he chances to get “winged,”
Or smashed up rather worse,
He’s quite apologetic to
The doctor and the nurse.

A silent English gentleman—
Though sometimes he says “Haw.”
But if a baboon in its cage
Appealed to British Law
And Justice, to be understood,
He’d listen all polite,
And do his very best to set
The monkey grievance right.

A thoroughbred whose ancestry
Goes back to ages dim;
Yet no one on his wide estates
Need fear to speak to him.
Although he never showed a sign
Of aught save sympathy,
He was the only gentleman
That shamed the cad in me.

Submitted: Friday, March 26, 2010

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