Verses Popular and Humorous [by Henry Lawson, 1900]

[Editor: This collection of poems, written by Henry Lawson was first published in 1900. The book was also published in two separate parts, entitled Popular Verses and Humorous Verses.]


Henry Lawson, Verses Popular and Humorous B1111h (title page)

Popular and Humorous


Henry Lawson

Author of “When the World Was Wide and Other Verses,” “While the Billy Boils,” and “On the Track and Over the Sliprails”



The Ports of the Open Sea
Down here where the ships loom large in

The Three Kings
The East is dead and the West is done, and again our course lies thus :—

The Outside Track
There were ten of us there on the moonlit quay,

Where’s the steward? — Bar-room steward? Berth? Oh, any berth will do —

The Rovers
Some born of homely parents

Foreign Lands
You may roam the wide seas over, follow, meet, and cross the sun,

Mary Lemaine
Jim Duff was a ‘native,’ as wild as could be;

The Shakedown on the Floor
Set me back for twenty summers —

Reedy River
Ten miles down Reedy River

Old Stone Chimney
The rising moon on the peaks was blending

Song of the Old Bullock-Driver
Far Back in the days when the blacks used to ramble

The Lights of Cobb and Co.
Fire lighted, on the table a meal for sleepy men,

How the Land Was Won
The future was dark and the past was dead

The Boss over the Board
When he’s over a rough and unpopular shed,

When the Ladies Come to the Shearing Shed
‘The ladies are coming,’ the super says

The Ballad of the Rouseabout
A rouseabout of rouseabouts, from any land — or none —

Years After the War in Australia
The big rough boys from the runs out back were first where the balls flew free,

The Old Jimmy Woodser
The old Jimmy Woodser comes into the bar,

The Christ of the ‘Never’
With eyes that seem shrunken to pierce

The Cattle-Dog’s Death
The plains lay bare on the homeward route,

The Song of the Darling River
The skies are brass and the plains are bare,

Rain in the Mountains
The valley’s full of misty cloud,

A May Night on the Mountains
’Tis a wonderful time when these hours begin,

The New Chum Jackaroo
Let bushmen think as bushmen will,

The Dons of Spain
The Eagle screams at the beck of trade, so Spain, as the world goes round,

The Bursting of the Boom
The shipping office clerks are ‘short,’ the manager is gruff —

Antony Villa
Over there, above the jetty, stands the mansion of the Vardens,

Second Class Wait Here
On suburban railway stations you may see them as you pass

The Ships That Won’t Go Down
We hear a great commotion

The Men We Might Have Been
When God’s wrath-cloud is o’er me

The Way of the World
When fairer faces turn from me,

The Battling Days
So, sit you down in a straight-backed chair, with your pipe and your wife content,

Written Afterwards
So the days of my tramping are over,

The Uncultured Rhymer to His Cultured Critics
Fight through ignorance, want, and care —

The Writer’s Dream
A writer wrote of the hearts of men, and he followed their tracks afar;

The Jolly Dead March
If I ever be worthy or famous —

My Literary Friend
Once I wrote a little poem which I thought was very fine,

Mary Called Him ‘Mister’
They’d parted but a year before — she never thought he’d come,

She says she’s very sorry, as she sees you to the gate;

O’Hara, J.P.
James Patrick O’Hara, the Justice of Peace,

Bill and Jim Fall Out
Bill and Jim are mates no longer — they would scorn the name of mate —

The Paroo
It was a week from Christmas-time,

The Green-Hand Rouseabout
Call this hot? I beg your pardon. Hot! — you don’t know what it means

The Man from Waterloo
It was the Man from Waterloo,

Saint Peter
Now, I think there is a likeness

The Stranger’s Friend
The strangest things, and the maddest things, that a man can do or say,

The God-Forgotten Election
Pat M’Durmer brought the tidings to the town of God-Forgotten:

The Boss’s Boots
The shearers squint along the pens, they squint along the ‘shoots;’

The Captain of the Push
As the night was falling slowly down on city, town and bush,

Billy’s ‘Square Affair’
Long Bill, the captain of the push, was tired of his estate,

A Derry on a Cove
’Twas in the felon’s dock he stood, his eyes were black and blue;

Rise Ye! Rise Ye!
Rise ye! rise ye! noble toilers! Claim your rights with fire and steel!

The Ballad of Mabel Clare
Ye children of the Land of Gold,

Constable M‘Carthy’s Investigations
Most unpleasantly adjacent to the haunts of lower orders

At the Tug-Of-War
’Twas in a tug-of-war where I — the guvnor’s hope and pride —

Here’s Luck!
Old Time is tramping close to-day you hear his bluchers fall,

The Men Who Come Behind
There’s a class of men (and women) who are always on their guard —

The Days When We Went Swimming
The breezes waved the silver grass,

The Old Bark School
It was built of bark and poles, and the floor was full of holes

Trouble on the Selection
You lazy boy, you’re here at last,

The Professional Wanderer
When you’ve knocked about the country — been away from home for years;

A Little Mistake
’Tis a yarn I heard of a new-chum ‘trap’

A Study in the “Nood”
He was bare — we don’t want to be rude —

A Word to Texas Jack
Texas Jack, you are amusin’. By Lord Harry, how I laughed

The Grog-an’-Grumble Steeplechase
’Twixt the coastline and the border lay the town of Grog-an’-Grumble

But What’s the Use
But what’s the use of writing ‘bush’ —


Vignettes by Frank P. Mahony

Portrait of the Author . . . facing title page

The Lights of Cobb and Co. . . . . title page

My Literary Friend . . . . . page xvi.

Angus and Robertson
London: The Australian Book Company
38 West Smithfield, E.C.

Sydney :
Weesdale, Shoosmith and Co., Printers,
117 Clarence Street.

Henry Lawson. Verses Popular and Humorous, Angus and Robertson, Sydney, 1900


  1. Shelley says:

    I have an original edition dated 1900 given to my grandmother in 1917 by her father Frank Molloy who was a friend of Henry Lawson. I’m not sure as to its value.

    • A first edition of “Verses Popular and Humorous” can fetch between $40 to $150.
      If it was signed by Henry Lawson, it would be worth a lot more than that.
      However, your best bet would be to have it valued by an antiquarian bookseller.

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