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Henry Lawson

(17 June 1867 – 2 September 1922 / Grenfell, New South Wales)


I only woke this morning
To find the world is fair—
I’m going on for forty,
With scarcely one grey hair;
I’m going on for forty,
Where man’s strong life begins,
With scarce a sign of crows’ feet,
In spite of all my sins.

Then here’s the living Forties!
The Forties! The Forties!
Then here’s the living Forties!
We’re good for ten years more.

The teens were black and bitter,
A smothered boyhood’s grave—
A farm-drudge in the drought-time,
A weary workshop slave.
But twenty years have laid them,
And all the world is fair—
We’ll find time in the Forties,
To have some boyhood there.

Then here’s the wide, free Forties—
The Forties! The Forties!
Then here’s the wide, free Forties!
We’re good for ten years more!

The twenties they were noble,
The bravest years, I think;
’Twas man to man in trouble,
In working and in drink;
’Twas man to man in fighting,
For money or for praise.
And we’ll find in the Forties
Some more Bohemian days.

Then here’s the wiser Forties!
The Forties! The Forties!
Then here’s the wiser Forties!
We’re good for ten years more.

The thirties were the fate years;
I fought behind the scenes.
The thirties were more cruel
And blacker than the teens;
I held them not but bore them—
They were no years of mine;
But they are going from me,
For I am thirty-nine.

So here’s the stronger Forties!
The Forties! The Forties!
And here’s the good old Forties!
We’re good for ten years more.

Submitted: Monday, March 29, 2010

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