Here you will find the Long Poem Dan, The Wreck of poet Henry Lawson
Tall, and stout, and solid-looking, Yet a wreck; None would think Death's finger's hooking Him from deck. Cause of half the fun that's started -- `Hard-case' Dan -- Isn't like a broken-hearted, Ruined man. Walking-coat from tail to throat is Frayed and greened -- Like a man whose other coat is Being cleaned; Gone for ever round the edging Past repair -- Waistcoat pockets frayed with dredging After `sprats' no longer there. Wearing summer boots in June, or Slippers worn and old -- Like a man whose other shoon are Getting soled. Pants? They're far from being recent -- But, perhaps, I'd better not -- Says they are the only decent Pair he's got. And his hat, I am afraid, is Troubling him -- Past all lifting to the ladies By the brim. But, although he'd hardly strike a Girl, would Dan, Yet he wears his wreckage like a Gentleman! Once -- no matter how the rest dressed -- Up or down -- Once, they say, he was the best-dressed Man in town. Must have been before I knew him -- Now you'd scarcely care to meet And be noticed talking to him In the street. Drink the cause, and dissipation, That is clear -- Maybe friend or kind relation Cause of beer. And the talking fool, who never Reads or thinks, Says, from hearsay: `Yes, he's clever; But, you know, he drinks.' Been an actor and a writer -- Doesn't whine -- Reckoned now the best reciter In his line. Takes the stage at times, and fills it -- `Princess May' or `Waterloo'. Raise a sneer! -- his first line kills it, `Brings 'em', too. Where he lives, or how, or wherefore No one knows; Lost his real friends, and therefore Lost his foes. Had, no doubt, his own romances -- Met his fate; Tortured, doubtless, by the chances And the luck that comes too late. Now and then his boots are polished, Collar clean, And the worst grease stains abolished By ammonia or benzine: Hints of some attempt to shove him From the taps, Or of someone left to love him -- Sister, p'r'aps. After all, he is a grafter, Earns his cheer -- Keeps the room in roars of laughter When he gets outside a beer. Yarns that would fall flat from others He can tell; How he spent his `stuff', my brothers, You know well. Manner puts a man in mind of Old club balls and evening dress, Ugly with a handsome kind of Ugliness. . . . . . One of those we say of often, While hearts swell, Standing sadly by the coffin: `He looks well.' . . . . . We may be -- so goes a rumour -- Bad as Dan; But we may not have the humour Of the man; Nor the sight -- well, deem it blindness, As the general public do -- And the love of human kindness, Or the GRIT to see it through!