Wednesday, November 23, 2011


Henry Lawson, one of Australia's greatest poets and a voice of the 'common man', wrote a poem about snobbery which seems very relevant to my recent posts.
Coincidentally he grew up in the Gulgong area, on a 'selection' owned by his parents at a place now called Eurunderee, 8km north of Mudgee.
He left the district in 1882 when he was 15.
This was the same year Ethel Governor (nee Page) was born at Gloucester near Kempsey on the north coast of New South Wales.
If you fancy that your people came of better stock than mine
by Henry Lawson
If you fancy that your people came of better stock than mine,
If you hint of higher breeding by a word or by a sign,
If you're proud because of fortune or the clever things you do --
Then I'll play no second fiddle: I'm a prouder man than you!

If you think that your profession has the more gentility,
And that you are condescending to be seen along with me;
If you notice that I'm shabby while your clothes are spruce and new --
You have only got to hint it: I'm a prouder man than you!

If you have a swell companion when you see me on the street,
And you think that I'm too common for your toney friend to meet,
So that I, in passing closely, fail to come within your view --
Then be blind to me for ever: I'm a prouder man than you!

If your character be blameless, if your outward past be clean,
While 'tis known my antecedents are not what they should have been,
Do not risk contamination, save your name whate'er you do --
`Birds o' feather fly together': I'm a prouder bird than you!

Keep your patronage for others! Gold and station cannot hide
Friendship that can laugh at fortune, friendship that can conquer pride!
Offer this as to an equal -- let me see that you are true,
And my wall of pride is shattered: I am not so proud as you!