Verse > Anthologies > Andrew Macphail, ed. > The Book of Sorrow
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Andrew Macphail, comp.  The Book of Sorrow.  1916.
 
X. The Pity of It
From ‘Tommy ’s dead’
By Sydney Dobell (1824–1874)
 
[See full text.]

YOU may give over plough, boys,
You may take the gear to the stead,
All the sweat o’ your brow, boys,
Will never get beer and bread.
The seed’s waste, I know, boys,        5
There ’s not a blade will grow, boys,
’Tis cropp’d out, I trow, boys,
And Tommy ’s dead….
 
Move my chair on the floor, boys,
Let me turn my head:        10
She ’s standing there in the door, boys,
Your sister Winifred!
Take her away from me, boys,
Your sister Winifred!
Move me round in my place, boys,        15
Let me turn my head,
Take her away from me, boys,
As she lay on her death-bed,
The bones of her thin face, boys,
As she lay on her death-bed!        20
I don’t know how it be, boys,
When all ’s done and said,
But I see her looking at me, boys,
Wherever I turn my head;
Out of the big oak-tree, boys,        25
Out of the garden-bed,
And the lily as pale as she, boys,
And the rose that used to be red….
 
What am I staying for, boys?
You ’re all born and bred,        30
’Tis fifty years and more, boys,
Since wife and I were wed,
And she ’s gone before, boys,
And Tommy ’s dead….
 
I’m not us’d to kiss, boys,        35
You may shake my hand instead.
All things go amiss, boys,
You may lay me where she is, boys,
And I’ll rest my old head:
’Tis a poor world, this, boys,        40
And Tommy ’s dead.
 
 
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