Works in the Herald 1931
They said: "He is an honest man, J.A." 
And I believed; knowing full well that they
   Had evidence of unpretentious worth
   That proved him, past all doubting, salt of earth --
An honorable foe, a trusty friend,
Who cleaved to duty to the bitter end.
Yet, seeing him, I marked a subtle change,
Made patent by a mannerism strange --
   A swift, sharp glance across the shoulder thrown,
   As if he greatly feared to walk alone.
And, ever as he went, his gaze turned back,
Seeming alert for treacherous attack.
They said: "He is a humble man, J.A.,
A simple man who treads the simple way."
   And I believed them; for I'd seen him throw
   Preferment, power, place aside and go
Into retirement quietly, there to make
A greater name, who served for honor's sake.
Again I marked that glance of nervous fear,
That wary, watchful mien, and deemed it queer
   That be, who many a fierce attack had burked,
   Should seem to fear that secret menace lurked
Even within the ranks of goodly friends,
Who might, thro' friendship, scheme for devious ends.
They said: 'He is a strong man. this J.A."
And I believed them; for I'd known the day
   When he had stood four-square and unafraid --
   Yet knowing fealty oft ill-repaid --
Deaf to the sophists' clamorous appeals,
While the pack yelped and snarled about his heels.
Yet this new fear in him? I asked them then
How it had come to this most brave of men.
   "Indeed," they answered, "one must watch for tricks
   Who dabbles in the trade of politics.
And doubly has he cause for fear, alack;
For, lately, he'd a knife thrust in his back."

Herald, 20 February 1931, p6
Advertiser and Register, 28 February 1931, p14

This is number 5 in Dennis's Political Personalities series.
The Mr Lyons referred to above is Joe Lyons, who was Premier of Tasmania from October 1923 to May 1928, and Prime Minister of Australia from January 1932 until his death in April 1939.

Copyright © Perry Middlemiss 2002-11