Henry Lawson

Here you will find the Long Poem The Roaring Days of poet Henry Lawson

The Roaring Days

The night too quickly passes
 And we are growing old,
So let us fill our glasses
 And toast the Days of Gold;
When finds of wondrous treasure
 Set all the South ablaze,
And you and I were faithful mates
 All through the roaring days!

Then stately ships came sailing
 From every harbour's mouth,
And sought the land of promise
 That beaconed in the South;
Then southward streamed their streamers
 And swelled their canvas full
To speed the wildest dreamers
 E'er borne in vessel's hull.

Their shining Eldorado,
 Beneath the southern skies,
Was day and night for ever
 Before their eager eyes.
The brooding bush, awakened,
 Was stirred in wild unrest,
And all the year a human stream
 Went pouring to the West.

The rough bush roads re-echoed
 The bar-room's noisy din,
When troops of stalwart horsemen
 Dismounted at the inn.
And oft the hearty greetings
 And hearty clasp of hands
Would tell of sudden meetings
 Of friends from other lands;
When, puzzled long, the new-chum
 Would recognise at last,
Behind a bronzed and bearded skin,
 A comrade of the past.

And when the cheery camp-fire
 Explored the bush with gleams,
The camping-grounds were crowded
 With caravans of teams;
Then home the jests were driven,
 And good old songs were sung,
And choruses were given
 The strength of heart and lung.
Oh, they were lion-hearted
 Who gave our country birth!
Oh, they were of the stoutest sons
 From all the lands on earth!

Oft when the camps were dreaming,
 And fires began to pale,
Through rugged ranges gleaming
 Would come the Royal Mail.
Behind six foaming horses,
 And lit by flashing lamps,
Old `Cobb and Co.'s', in royal state,
 Went dashing past the camps.

Oh, who would paint a goldfield,
 And limn the picture right,
As we have often seen it
 In early morning's light;
The yellow mounds of mullock
 With spots of red and white,
The scattered quartz that glistened
 Like diamonds in light;
The azure line of ridges,
 The bush of darkest green,
The little homes of calico
 That dotted all the scene.

I hear the fall of timber
 From distant flats and fells,
The pealing of the anvils
 As clear as little bells,
The rattle of the cradle,
 The clack of windlass-boles,
The flutter of the crimson flags
 Above the golden holes.

 . . . . .

Ah, then our hearts were bolder,
 And if Dame Fortune frowned
Our swags we'd lightly shoulder
 And tramp to other ground.
But golden days are vanished,
 And altered is the scene;
The diggings are deserted,
 The camping-grounds are green;
The flaunting flag of progress
 Is in the West unfurled,
The mighty bush with iron rails
 Is tethered to the world.