Henry Lawson

Here you will find the Long Poem Josephs Dreams and Reuben's Brethren [A Recital in Six Chapters] of poet Henry Lawson

Josephs Dreams and Reuben's Brethren [A Recital in Six Chapters]


I cannot blame old Israel yet,
For I am not a sage?
I shall not know until I get
The son of my old age.
The mysteries of this Vale of Tears
We will perchance explain
When we have lived a thousand years
And died and come again.

No doubt old Jacob acted mean
Towards his father?s son;
But other hands were none too clean,
When all is said and done.
There were some things that had to be
In those old days, ?tis true?
But with old Jacob?s history
This tale has nought to do.

(They had to keep the birth-rate up,
And populate the land?
They did it, too, by simple means
That we can?t understand.
The Patriarchs? way of fixing things
Would make an awful row,
And Sarah?s plain, straightforward plan
Would never answer now.)
his is a tale of simple men
And one precocious boy?
A spoilt kid, and, as usual,
His father?s hope and joy
(It mostly is the way in which
The younger sons behave
That brings the old man?s grey hairs down
In sorrow to the grave.)

Old Jacob loved the whelp, and made,
While meaning to be kind,
A coat of many colours that
Would strike a nigger blind!
It struck the brethren green, ?twas said?
I?d take a pinch of salt
Their coats had coloured patches too?
But that was not their fault.

Young Joseph had a soft thing on,
And, humbugged from his birth,
You may depend he worked the thing
For all that it was worth.
And that he grafted not but crowed,
You don?t need to be told,
And he was mighty cocky, with
His ?Lo!? and his ?Behold!?

He took in all his brothers said,
And went and told his Dad,
And then, when someone split on him,
No wonder they were mad.
But still he wasn?t satisfied,
And it would almost seem
He itched to rile his brethren, for
He went and dreamed a dream,

And told it to his brothers straight
(So Genesis believes):?
?Lo! we were working in the field,
And we were binding sheaves,
And my sheaf rose and stood upright,
And, straightway, for a sign,
Your sheaves came round about and made
Obeisance to mine!?

The brethren stared and made comment
In words that were not mild,
And when the meaning dawned on them
You bet that they were wild!
And Joseph left those angry men
To boil and blow off steam,
And ambled, chuckling, home agen
To dream another dream.

?Behold! I?ve dreamed a dream once more!?
He told ?em, frank and free?
?The sun, moon, and eleven stars
Have likewise bowed to me!?
(Perhaps Astronomy has changed
Since Joseph saw the light,
But I have wondered what the sun
Was doing out at night.)

And when they dropped!?you never heard,
In sheds or shanty bars,
Such awful language as escaped
From those eleven stars.
You know how Jacob-Israel loved
His hopeful youngest pup;
But, when he heard the latest dream,
It shook the old man up.

But Joseph talked his father round,
Who humoured every whim
(Perhaps old Jacob half-believed
They would bow down to him):
But, anyway, as always was,
He backed the youngest son,
And sent the others with the sheep
Out to the Check-?em run.


Now Jacob, with that wondrous tact
That doting parents show,
Or, anxious for his sons out back,
Sent, of all others, Joe!
To see if it was well with them
(And they were not asleep),
With one eye on his brothers? camp,
And one eye on the sheep.

He drew a blank on Check-?em run?
Got bushed, too, you?ll be bound.
A certain cove?there?s always one?
Saw Joseph mooning round.
He asked him how it came to pass,
And what it was about,
And said, ?They?re trav-lin? now for grass
In Doothen?further out.?

He also muttered, ?Strike me blue!?
While staring at the clothes?
He?d never seen a jackaroo
With such a coat as Joe?s.
He set the nameless on the track,
And scratched his head to think,
But gave it best, and, riding back,
Said firmly, ?Strike me pink!?

?Twas blazing hot in Doothen then,
The sweat ran down in streams?
It melted out the memory
Of even Joseph?s dreams!
They?d had some trouble with the sheep,
Some Arabs and a ?shirk??
It was a favourable time
For Joe to get to work.

They saw him coming, ?afar off??
In this case, you might note,
Their eyesight wasn?t wonderful,
Considering the coat.
And what with sheep, and dust, and flies,
And damned shirks in the swim
With sheep stealers, the brethren were
For absenteeing him.

And, add to that, he scared the kine
With his infernal coat?
They trampled on the sheep and swine
And startled every goat.
The brethren had to round up then
As fast as ass could go,
And when they got to camp agen
They?d fixed it up for Joe.

Save poor old Rube?he had the blight,
But, grafting all