When you’re suffering hard for your sins, old man,
by Henry Lawson
When you wake to trouble and sleep ill—
Oh, this is the clack of the middle class,
‘Win back the respect of the people!’
You are weak, you’re a fool, or a drunken brute
When you’re deep in trouble and sorrow;
But walk down the street in a decent suit,
And their hats will be off to-morrow! Old Chap—
And their hats will be off to-morrow!
They cant and they cackle—‘Redeem the Past!’
Who never had past worth redeeming:
Your soul seems dead, but you’ll find at last
That somewhere your soul lay dreaming.
You may stagger down-hill in a beer-stained coat,
You may loaf, you may cadge and borrow—
But walk down the street with a ten-pound note
And their hats will be off to-morrow! Old Man—
Yes, their hats will be off to-morrow!
But stick to it, man! for your old self’s sake,
Though to brood on the past is human;
Hold up for the sake of the mate who was true,
And the sake of the Other Woman.
And as for the rest, you may take off your hat
And banish all signs of sorrow;
You may take their hands, but in spite of that,
Can they win your respect to-morrow? Old Man—
Can they win your respect to-morrow?