Title: Henry Lawson Among Maoris

Author: William H. Pearson

Publication details: Reed Publishing (NZ) Ltd, 1968, Wellington

Digital publication kindly authorised by: Paul Millar

Part of: New Zealand Texts Collection

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Henry Lawson Among Maoris

The Writer's Dream

The Writer's Dream

[A] writer wrote of the hearts of men, and he followed their tracks afar;
For his was a spirit that forced his pen to write of the things that are.
His heart grew tired of the truths he told, for his life was hard and grim;
His land seemed barren, it's people cold;—yet the world was dear to him;—
So he sailed away from the Streets of Strife, he travelled by land and sea,
In search of a people who lived a life as life in the world should be

The Writer's Nightmare DMW

1 [A] MS. torn

3 for his life written twice and once cancelled

page 145

And he reached a spot where the scene was fair with field and forest and wood,
And all things came with the seasons there, and each in its turn was good;
There were mountain-rivers and peaks of snow, there were lights of green and gold,
And echoing caves in the cliffs below, where a world-wide ocean rolled.
The lives of men from the wear of Change, and the strife of the world were free—
For Steam was barred by the mountain range and the rocks of the open sea.

7 field and forest] forest and field Ed., B., VPH

8 in its turn] of its kind b, B., VPH

12 and the strife] from the strife b

And the last that were born of a noble race—when the page of the South was fair—
The sons of the conquered dwelt in peace with the sons of the victors there.
And he saw their hearts with the author's eyes who had written their ancient lore,
And he saw their lives as he'd dreamed of such—Ah! many a year before.
And "I'll write a book of these simple folk, ere I to the world return,
"And the cold who read shall be kind for these and the wise who read shall learn."

14 sons (twice)] last b, B., VPH

15 And he] He b, B., VPH who had written] who'd recorded DMW

"Never again in a song of mine shall a jarring note be heard,
"Never again shall a page or line be marred by a bitter word—
"But love and laughter and kindly fun will the book I'll write recall,
"With chast'ning tears for the loss of one, and sighs for their sorrows all.
"Old eyes will light with a kindly smile and the young eyes dance with glee—
page 146 "And the heart of the cynic will rest awhile for my simple folk and me."

21 fun] hours Ed., B., VPH; in MS. hours written after [kindl]iness also in editor's hand and cancelled will the book] shall the book DMW I'll write] I write DMW

23 the young] young DMW

24 will] shall DMW for my] with my DMW

The lines ran on as he dipped his pen—ran true to his heart and ear—
Like the brighter pages of memory when every line is clear.
The pictures came and the pictures passed, like days of love and light—
He saw his chapters from first to last and he felt it grand to write!
And the writer kissed his girlish wife, and he kissed her twice for pride:
"Tis a book of love, though a book of life!—and a book you'll read!" he cried

25 his heart and ear] the writer's ear b

28 felt] thought B., VPH felt it grand to write] thrilled at the goodly sight Ed.

29 the writer kissed] he kissed for joy Ed.

30 You'll] you will Ed., B.

He was blind at first to each senseless slight—for shabby and poor he came—
From Local "Fashion" and mortgaged pride that scarce could sign it's name
What dreamer would dream of such paltry pride in a scene so fresh and fair?
But the Local spirit, intensified, with its pitiful shams was there
There were cliques where-ever two houses stood. (no rest for a family ghost!)—
They hated each other as women could—but they hated strangers most.

33 fresh and fair?] young fair? cancelled by author

34 with its] and its b was b, B., VPH] were a

35 no] No B.

36 could] would b strangers] the stranger Ed., B., VPH

page 147

He wrote by day and he wrote by night and he wrote, in the face of Fate:—
"I'll cleave to my dream of life in spite of the cynical ghosts that wait.
"'Tis the shyness born of their simple lives." he said of the paltry pride—
(The homely tongues of the simple wives never erred on the generous side)
"They'll prove me true and they'll prove me kind, ere the year of grace be past—"
But the ignorant whisper of "axe to grind!" went home to his heart at last.

37 He wrote by day and he wrote by night] The writer wrote by day and night b, B., VPH and he wrote] and he cried b, B., VPH

39 of the paltry pride] to the paltry pride VPH

40 never erred] erred not b ne'er erred c, B., VPH

The writer sat by his drift-wood fire three nights of the South-east gale—
His pen lay idle on pages vain, for his book was fairy tale.
The world-wise lines of an older age were plain on his youthful brow,
And he sadly thought of each brighter page that would never be written now.
"I'll write no morel" But he bowed his head, for his heart was in Dream-land yet;—
"The pages written I'll burn," he said "and the chapters thought forget."

43 the South-east gale] a South-east gale DMW

44 was fairy tale] was a fairy tale Ed., B., VPH

45 older] elder b, B., VPH youthful] aching b, B., VPH

48 pages] chapters b chapters] pages b, B., VPH

But he heard the hymn of the Open Sea, and the old fierce anger burned,
And he wrenched his heart from its dreamland free as the fire of his youth returned:—
"The anarchist's madness, the strong man's scorn—the rebellious hate of youth—
From a deeper love of the world are born!—And the cynical ghost is Truth!"
page 148 And the writer rose with a strength anew where Doubt could have no part,
"I'll write my book and it shall be true—the truth of a writer's heart."

51 anarchist's] weak man's b, B., VPH

52 are born b, B., VPH] is born a

53 rose with a strength] turned to his work b anew] fire-new DMW where] wherein Ed., B., VPH could have no part] would never have part b [would never] take [part] c had no part DMW

54 shall] shall Ed., B., VPH

"Aye! Cover the truth with a fairy tale, who never knew Want nor Care
"A bright green scum on a filthy pool that will reek the longer there.
"You may starve the writer and buy the pen—you m[a]y drive with want and fear—
"But the lines run false to the hearts of men and false to the writer's ear.
"The bard's a rebel and strife his part, and he'll burst from his bonds anew.
"Till all pens write from a single heart! And so may the dream come true.

55 Aye] Ay Ed., B., VPH truth] false b wrong c, B., VPH who] you who DMW Want, Care] want, care B., VPH

56 filthy pool] pool of filth 6 stagnant pool Ed., B., VPH will reek] [will] rot b festers c that will reek the longer there] [that] poisons earth and air d

57 writer] pen cancelled by author you m[a]y drive] [you my drive] it b

58 false to the hearts] [false] in [the hearts] b writer's] writers MS.

"Tis ever the same in the ways of men where money and dress are all—
"The crawler will bully whenever he can and the bully who can't will crawl.
"And this is the creed in the local hole, where ignorant "cheek" can rule:
"Borrow and cheat while the stranger's "green"—and sneer at the poor soft fool.
"Spit your spite at the man whom fate has placed in the head-race first
page 149 "And hate till death, with a senseless hate, the man you have injured worst!

61 ways] tracks b paths c, B., VPH

62 whenever] [when] e'er b cancelled by author [when] e'er c with a query against the two alternatives whene'er B., VPH

63 And this] This b ignorant "cheek" can rule] the souls of the selfish [rule] Ed., B. VPH

64 and sneer] then sneer b, VPH and then sneer B. poor, soft] simple Ed., B., VPH

65 Spit] Spit out DMW man] men b, B., VPH the head-race] [the] glorious [head-race] Ed.

"There are generous hearts in the grinding street, but the Hearts of the World go west.
"For the men who toil in the dust and heat of the barren lands are best!
"The stranger's hand to the stranger set—for a roving folk are mine—
"The stranger's store for the stranger set—and the camp fire-glow the sign!
"The generous hearts of the world, we find, thrive best on the barren sod—
"And the selfish thrive where Nature's kind—(they'd bully or crawl to God!)

67 but the Hearts of the World] but ever the best b

68 set] yet cancelled MS.

69–70 MS. directs but queries the transference of these lines to follow line 72.

71 generous] open b hearts] hearts cancelled and open overwritten, open cancelled and hearts underwritten MS. we find added above caret MS.

"I was born to write of the things that are! and the strength was given to me
"I was born to strike at the things that mar the world as the world should be!
"By the dumb heart hunger, and dreams of youth—by the hungry tracks I've trod—
"I'll fight as a man for the sake of truth—nor pose as a martyred god:—
"By the heart of "Bill" and the heart of "Jim" and the men that their hearts deem "white"
page 150 "By the hand-grips fierce, and the hard eyes dim with forbidden tears!—I'll write!"

73 strength] power cancelled MS.

75 and] the b

77 that their hearts deem] whom the Bush deems b [that their hearts] call c their hearts deem DMW their] their Ed, B., VPH

I'll write untroubled by cultured fools, or the few that fume and fret—
For against the wisdom of all their schools I would stake mine instinct yet!
And I'll write as I think in the knowledge strong that thousands think the same.—
For the cynical strain in the writer's song is the world, not he to blame.
And the men who fight in the Dry Country grim battles by day, by night
Will stand by me and be true to me, and say to the world:— "He's right!"

Henry Lawson

M.L. Sept 97

79 fools] fops Ed few] dense b, B. VPH dull c fools Ed. that] who DMW

81 knowledge] knowledleg MS.

82 MS. directs but queries the transference of this line to follow line 80

83 Dry Country] dry Outback DMW

84 Will stand by me and be true to me] Will believe in me, and will stand by me b, B., VPH They'll trust in me and they'll [stand by me] c They will [trust in me and they'll, etc.] d and say] and will say Ed., B., VPH