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Bob Bolton BS: A very strange lesson learned. (26) RE: BS: A very strange lesson learned. 08 Apr 14


Just an Australian WW I oddity ... a poem Henry Lawson ... admittedly not one from the wealthy / pro "English" side of the fence ... wrote in his notebook in 1916 ... This is straight from Colin Roderick's 3rd volume of Henry's verse ... but it never saw light in 1916!


"It's O to be a slave,
Along with the barbarous turk,
Where woman has never had a soul to save
If this be christian work."
                        — Tom HOOD

BEYOND the iron Dardenells there's little left to save;
yet he must fight lest grinning dogs defile his father's grave.
On burning sands or freezing heights, amongst the bones picked clean,
He fights in hunger and in rage, and keeps his rifle clean—
Lest dogs defile.

He fights and loses all the time. If you ask why or how,
He simply says "We always fought and we are fighting now."
He eats his salt at Islam's board for but a little while
But he must fight and he must slave, and die-lest dogs defile.

He fought and froze at Plevna once for all that he held true
And only dropped his rifle when the Sultan told him to.
But we may find, when Abdul's gone, that half the bloody work
Was Christian hands on Christian throats! and not done by the Turk.—
Lest dogs defile.

His simple soldiers keep unspoiled the graves of our brave dead,
While thousands live to shame their names by farm and shearing shed;
And while they fight and while they die, with never sign of fear,
The sullen, bestial spirit spreads round racing stables here.

He'd played the game had Abdul – the bravest of the brave;
He'd nothing in the future, and little left to save,
But fought and died lest dogs defile his father's father's grave!)


M.S., M.L., 184/7

HENRY LAWSON, COLLECTED VERSE, volume Three: 1910-1922.
Page 368, Unpublished Verse
No notes, manuscript in Mitchell Library.

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