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'The Wattle' by Henry Lawson


Henry Lawson 17 June 1867 – 2 September 1922
Photo taken 1948 in Canberra
Courtesy of the National Archives of Australia

The Wattle 

I saw it in the days gone by, 
When the dead girl lay at rest, 
And the wattle and the native rose 
We placed upon her breast.

I saw it in the long ago 
(And I've seen strong men die), 
And who, to wear the wattle, 
Hath better right than I?

I've fought it through the world since then, 
And seen the best and worst, 
But always in the lands of men 
I held Australia first.

I wrote for her, I fought for her, 
And when at last I lie, 
Then who, to wear the wattle, has 
A better right than I?

Henry Lawson