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Short poem

Henry Lawson (1867-1922)

To Hannah

              1Spirit girl to whom 'twas given
              2    To revisit scenes of pain,
              3From the hell I thought was Heaven
              4    You have lifted me again;
              5Through the world that I inherit,
              6    Where I loved her ere she died,
              7I am walking with the spirit
              8    Of a dead girl by my side.

              9Through my old possessions only
            10    For a very little while,
            11And they say that I am lonely,
            12    And they pity, but I smile:
            13For the brighter side has won me
            14    By the calmness that it brings,
            15And the peace that is upon me
            16    Does not come of earthly things.

            17Spirit girl, the good is in me,
            18    But the flesh you know is weak,
            19And with no pure soul to win me
            20    I might miss the path I seek;
            21Lead me by the love you bore me
            22    When you trod the earth with me,
            23Till the light is clear before me
            24    And my spirit too is free.


1] Hannah Thornburn, with whom Henry Lawson fell in love about 1898 and who died June 1, 1902 (Collected Verse, ed. Colin Roderick [Sydney: Angus and Robertson]: II, 369, 376).

Online text copyright © 2003, Ian Lancashire for the Department of English, University of Toronto.
Published by the Web Development Group, Information Technology Services, University of Toronto Libraries.

Original text: Henry Lawson, When I was King and Other Verses (Sydney: Angus and Robertson, 1906): 182-83. x.908/578
First publication date: 1 September 1904
Publication date note: As "Spirit Girl," Bulletin; See Stone, 11
RPO poem editor: Ian Lancashire
RP edition: RPO 2001.
Recent editing: 4:2002/2/23

Composition date note: after June 1, 1902
Rhyme: ababcdcd

Other poems by Henry Lawson