Vonda Stanley's collection of early Australian bush poems

 

Australian Bards and Bush Reviewers

While you use your best endeavour to immortalise in verse

The gambling and the drinking which are your country’s greatest curse,

While you glorify the bully and take the spieler’s part –

You’re a clever southern writer, scarce inferior to Brett Harte.

 

If you sing of waving grasses when the plains are dry as bricks,

And discover shining rivers where there’s only mud and sticks;

If you picture ‘mighty forests’ where the mulga spoils the view –

You’re superior to Kendall, and ahead of Gordon too.

 

If you swear there’s not a country like the land that gave you birth,

And it’s sons are just the noblest and most glorious chaps on earth;

If in every girl a Venus your poetic eye discerns,

You are gracefully referred to as the ‘young Australian Burns’

 

But if you should find the bushmen – spite of all the poets say –

Are just common brother-sinners, and you’re quite as good as they –

You’re a drunkard, and a liar, and a cynic, and a sneak,

Your grammer’s simply awful and your intellect is weak.

© Henry Lawson

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