To a Dead Mate [poem by C. J. Dennis, 5 September 1922]

[Editor: This poem by C. J. Dennis was published in The Herald, 5 September 1922, in the column “The Mooch of Life” (“Conducted by C. J. Dennis”). It was written about the death of Henry Lawson on 2 September 1922.]

To a Dead Mate

Henry Lawson died in Sydney on Saturday.

There’s many a man who rides today
In the lonely, far out-back;
There’s many a man who makes his way
On a dusty bushland track;
There’s many a man in bush and town
Who mourns for a good mate gone;
There are eyes grown sad and heads cast down
Since Henry has passed on.

A mate he was, and a mate to love,
For mateship was his creed;
With a strong, true heart and a soul above
This sad world’s sordid greed.
He lived as a mate, and wrote as a mate
Of the things which he believed.
Now many a good man mourns his fate,
And he leaves a nation grieved.

True champion he of the lame and halt:
True knight of the poor was he,
Who could e’er excuse a brother’s fault
With a ready sympathy.
He suffered much, and much he toiled,
With his hand e’er for the right;
And he dreamed and planned while
the billy boiled
In the bushland camp at night.

Joe Wilson and his mates are sad,
And the tears of bushwives fall,
For the kindly heart that Henry had
Had made him loved of all.
There’s many a man who rides today,
Cast down and sore oppressed;
And thro’ the land I hear them say:
“Pass, Henry, to your rest.”

The Herald (Melbourne, Vic.), 5 September 1922, p. 4

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