Henry Lawson ( )

The Good Samaritan

He comes from out the ages dim
    The good Samaritan;
I somehow never pictured him
    A fat and jolly man;
But one whod little joy to glean,
    And little coin to give
A sad-faced man, and lank and lean,
    Who found it hard to live.

His eyes were haggard in the drought,
    His hair was iron-grey
His dusty gown was patched, no doubt,
    Where we patch pants to-day.
His faded turban, too, was torn
    But darned and folded neat,
And leagues of desert sand had worn
    The sandals on his feet.

Hes been a fool, perhaps, and would
    Have prospered had he tried,
But he was one who never could
    Pass by the other side.
An honest man whom men called soft,
    While laughing in their sleeves
No doubt in business ways he oft
    Had fallen amongst thieves.

And, I suppose, by track and tent,
    And other ancient ways,
He drank, and fought, and loved, and went
    The pace in his young days.
And he had known the bitter year
    When love and friendship fail
I wouldnt be surprised to hear
    That he had been in jail.

A silent man, whose passions slept,
    Who had no friends or foes
A quiet man, who always kept
    His hopes and sorrows close.
A man who very seldom smiled,
    And one who could not weep
Be it for death of wife or child
    Or sorrow still more deep.

But sometimes when a man would rave
    Of wrong, as sinners do,
Hed say to cheer and make him brave
    Ive had my troubles too.
(They might be twittered by the birds,
    And breathed high Heaven through,
Theres beauty in those world-old words:
    Ive had my sorrows too.)

And if he was a married man,
    As many are that roam,
I guess that good Samaritan
    Was rather glum at home,
Impatient when a child would fret,
    And strict at times and grim
A man whose kinsmen never yet
    Appreciated him.

Howbeitin a study brown
    He had for all we know,
His own thoughts as he journeyed down
    The road to Jericho,
And pondered, as we puzzle yet,
    On tragedies of life
And maybe he was deep in debt
    And parted from his wife.

(And so by chance there came that way,
    It reads not like romance
The truest friends on earth to-day,
    They mostly come by chance.)
He saw a stranger left by thieves
    Sore hurt and like to die
He also saw (my heart believes)
    The others pass him by.

(Perhaps that good Samaritan
    Knew Levite well, and priest)
He lifted up the wounded man
    And sat him on his beast,
And took him on towards the inn
    All Christ-like unawares
Still pondering, perhaps, on sin
    And virtueand his cares.

He bore him in and fixed him right
    (Helped by the local drunk),
And wined and oiled him well all night,
    And thought beside his bunk.
And on the morrow ere he went
    He left a quid and spoke
Unto the host in terms which meant
    Look after that poor bloke.

He must have known them at the inn,
    They must have known him too
Perhaps on that same track hed seen
    Some other sick mate through;
For Whatsoeer thou spendest more
    (The parable is plain)
I will repay, he told the host,
    When I return again.

He seemed to be a good sort, too,
    The boss of that old pub
(As even now there are a few
    At shanties in the scru .
The good Samaritan jogged on
    Through Canaans dust and heat,
And pondered over various schemes
    And ways to make ends meet.

He was no Christian, understand,
    For Christ had not been born
He journeyed later through the land
    To hold the priests to scorn;
And tell the world of certain men
    Like that Samaritan,
And preach the simple creed again
    Mans duty! Man to man!

Once on a time there lived a man,
    But he has lived alway,
And that gaunt, good Samaritan
    Is with us here to-day;
He passes through the city streets
    Unnoticed and unknown,
He helps the sinner that he meets
    His sorrows are his own.
He shares his tucker on the track
    When things are at their worst
(And often shouts in bars outback
    For souls that are athirst).
To-day I see him staggering down
    The blazing water-course,
And making for the distant town
    With a sick man on his horse.

Hell live while nations find their graves
    And mortals suffer pain
When colour rules and whites are slaves
    And savages again.
And, after all is past and done,
    Hell rise up, the Last Man,
From tending to the last but one
    The good Samaritan.

Henry Lawson's other poems:
  1. To an Old Mate
  2. Jack Dunn of Nevertire
  3. The Heart of Australia
  4. The Bush Girl
  5. Past Carin

Poems of other poets with the same name ( ):

  • John Newton ( ) The Good Samaritan ("How kind the good Samaritan")

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