Why is his spirit never glad?
What sins upon his shoulders lie,
To pinch his cheeck and dim his eye?
Why do his moods to sorrow run?
What has he done?
Long years I've known the solemn men
Who sit about and push a pen,
And ever were they men of gloom,
Dyspetic, pallid blokes to whom
One soure of brightness only came --
The spirit flame.
Is't that mankind was never meant
To cower, copiously bent,
And earn its bread by massing words
In dreary, segregated herds,
Or bear the burden and the rage
Of all the AGE?
Upon their shoulders have been hurled
The heavy troubles of the WORLD;
Yet might they not presume to smile,
And cheery be once in a while,
Though staggering 'neath the weary strife
And stress of LIFE?
First published in The Bulletin, 14 June 1917