For He Was A Jolly Good Fellow


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THEY CHEERED him from the wharf—it was a glorious day:
His hand went to his scarf—his thoughts were far away.
Oh, he was “Jolly Good”, they sang it long and loud—
The money lender stood unknown amongst the crowd.
He’d taken him aside, while trembling fit to fall,
No friendly eye espied the last farewell of all!

He held a peevish kid—another at his knee;
The wife whom he could bid farewell—eternally
Stood nagging at his side in tones that none could hear,
And deared him, tender eyed, when passengers came near
(The cabin waits below the row and children’s squall,
And not a soul to know the bitter farce of all).

Their hearts were good as gold, each pocket spared a “tray”,
They pooled them as of old to drink him on his way.
His pile of luggage rose, as bravely as the best—
He had two suits of clothes, his wife and kids the rest.
He’d “stood ’em up” a sov., for fear of seeming small,
And he was thinking of that worst farewell of all.

They cheered from cargo ways and ballast heap and pile,
To last him all his days—they sent him off in style.
(He only took his book.) He only turned his head
In one last hopeless look towards a cargo shed
Where one stood brimming eyed in silence by the wall—
No jealous eyes espied that last farewell of all.

The ship is out of sight and out of memory clean,
He’s rolling through the Bight on board the All Serene.
His heart’s like half a brick, the voice of hope is dumb,
He’s handicapped and sick with fear of what’s to come.
They’re passing Cape Leuwin, the half-brick starts to fall,
But with a fiendish grin, he curses land and all.
by Henry Lawson