As Far As Your Rifles Cover

Do you think, you slaves of a thousand years to poverty, wealth and pride,
You can crush the spirit that has been free in a land that's new and wide?
When you've scattered the last of the farmer bands, and the war for a while is over,
You will hold the land – ay, you'll hold the land – the land that your rifles cover.

Till your gold has levelled each mountain range where a wounded man can hide,
Till your gold has lighted the moonless night on the plains where the rebels ride;
Till the future is proved, and the past is bribed from the son of the land's dead lover –
You may hold the land – you may hold the land just as far as your rifles cover.

by Henry Lawson

Comments (1)

Brilliant stuff. I think it was written in protest to the British Empire's involvement in the Boer War. At that time to be anti-war would have brought a lot of pressure upon him, yet many shared the view the war was wrong. Few remember the Boer War and the lessons learnt that would soon be needed in WW1, but forgotten or ignored. I have trouble with over and cover but would read it as 'ov-ver' with a hard 'ov'. This is a poem I never knew about before this site, thank you for that.