The Swagman [poem, 25 July 1868]

[Editor: A poem published in The Mining Record and Grenfell General Advertiser, 25 July 1868.]

The Swagman.

Trudging on wearily, heavily, drearily,
Parching with thirst on a hot dusty road;
No one to speak a kind word to him cheerily,
No one to love him, no place of abode.
No change or variety, nought but anxiety
Hangs like a cloud o’er the wanderer’s track;
Still he’s a link in the chain of society,
Tho’ all he possesses is strapped to his back.

Looking forth fearfully, thinking back tearfully
On bright sunny days in his own native land,
When leaving a home, he had manfully, cheerfully,
Started away for a southerly strand;
Hope fondly smiling, and sweetly beguiling
With soft fairy visions his path o’er the sea,
As the waves bore him on to the land he was styling
The labourer’s refuge, the home of the free.

Mark him arriving, and uselessly striving
With all his contriving, fair work to obtain;
And often himself of a dinner depriving,
To hang on, in hopes that he his end might gain.
His money has vanished, all hoping is banished
From his mind, which now carries a harassing load;
Sad, dejected, and lonely, dishearten’d, and famished,
He packs up his swag, and is off on the road.

Treat him not slightfully, haughty, or spitefully,
Tho’ he is ragged and weary with toil:
The day may yet brighten when honestly, rightfully,
He’ll stand as an owner and lord of the soil;
Stout heart and arm linking, will keep you from sinking —
Stand firm to the blast, ’tis but cowards who kneel.
There are many roads open to fortune, I’m thinking,
If a shoulder is manfully put to the wheel.

Trudging on wearily, heavily, drearily,
Parching with thirst on a hot, dusty road;
Pass him not jeeringly, chat with him cheeringly —
A word kindly spoken will lighten his load.
If you have piety, calm his anxiety,
Soothing his feelings, so long on the rack;
For he’s still a link in the chain of society,
Tho’ all he possesses is strapped to his back.

C.W.L.

— Southern Argus.



Source:
The Mining Record and Grenfell General Advertiser (Grenfell, NSW), 25 July 1868, p. 4

Editor’s notes:
o’er = over (pronounced the same as “oar”, “or”, and “ore”)

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