Henry Lawson

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

And the Bairns Will Come


So you’ve seen at last what we have seen so long through scalding tears:
You have found what we—the People—we have known for twenty years:
And Australia’s hymn is swelling till the furthest fence-wires hum—
Save your country, Legislators—and the bairns will come.
You would put the blame upon us—we are women, we are men;
And our fathers and our mothers gave the country nine and ten.
They had honest work and wages, and the ways to win a home—
Give us half the chances they had—and the bairns will come.

Try the ranks of wealth and fashion, ask the rich and well-to-do,
With their nurseries and their nurses and their children one and two,
Will they help us bear the burden?—but their purse-proud lips are dumb.
Let us earn a decent living—and the bairns will come.

Young men, helpless in the city’s wheel of greed that never stops,
Tramp the streets for work while sweethearts slave in factories and shops.
Shall they marry and bear children to their parents’ martyrdom?
Make the city what it should be—and the bairns will come.

Shall we give you sons and daughters to a life of never-rest,
Sacrificing all for nothing in the desert of the West,
To be driven to the city’s squalid suburb and the slum?
Make the city what it should be—and the bairns will come.

Don’t you hear Australia calling for her children unconceived?
Don’t you hear them calling to her while her heart is very grieved?
Give the best land to the farmers, make the barren West a home,
Save the rainfall, lock the rivers—and the bairns will come.

Submitted: Friday, March 26, 2010

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