Henry Lawson

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

A Word from the Bards


IT IS New Year’s Day and I rise to state that here on the Sydney side
The Bards have commenced to fill out of late and they’re showing their binjies with pride
They’re patting their binjies with pride, old man, and I want you to understand,
That a binjied bard is a bard indeed when he sings in the Southern Land,
Old chaps,
When he sings in the Southern Land.

For the Southern Land is the Poet’s Home, and over the world’s wide roam,
There was never till now a binjied bard that lived in a poet’s home, old man;
For the poet’s home was a hell on earth, and I want you to understand,
That it isn’t exactly a paradise down here in the Southern Land,
Old chap,
Down here in the Southern Land.

The Beer and the Bailiff were gone last night and the “temple” doorstep clean,
And our heads are clear and our hearts are light with wine from the Riverine—
With wine from the Riverine, old man, and I want you to understand
That Bard, Beer and Bailiff too long were kin down here in the Southern Land,
Old man,
Down here in the Southern Land.

It is not because of a larger fee, nor yet that the bards are free,
For the bards I know and the bards I see are married enough for three;
Are married enough for three, old man, and I want you to understand,
They’ve a right to be married enough for four, down here in the Southern Land,
My girl,
Down here in the Southern Land.

But I think it’s because a bird went round and twittered in ears of men
That bards have care and the world seems bare as seen from the rhyming den,
And twittered in ears of men, old chaps, and got folks to understand
That a poet is something more than a joke down here in the Southern Land,
Old man,
Down here in the Southern Land.

Submitted: Friday, March 26, 2010

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