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Trooper Campbell Analysis

Author: Poetry of Henry Lawson Type: Poetry Views: 73

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One day old Trooper Campbell

Rode out to Blackman's Run,

His cap-peak and his sabre

Were glancing in the sun.

'Twas New Year's Eve, and slowly

Across the ridges low

The sad Old Year was drifting

To where the old years go.

The trooper's mind was reading

The love-page of his life --

His love for Mary Wylie

Ere she was Blackman's wife;

He sorrowed for the sorrows

Of the heart a rival won,

For he knew that there was trouble

Out there on Blackman's Run.

The sapling shades had lengthened,

The summer day was late,

When Blackman met the trooper

Beyond the homestead gate.

And if the hand of trouble

Can leave a lasting trace,

The lines of care had come to stay

On poor old Blackman's face.

`Not good day, Trooper Campbell,

It's a bad, bad day for me --

You are of all the men on earth

The one I wished to see.

The great black clouds of trouble

Above our homestead hang;

That wild and reckless boy of mine

Has joined M'Durmer's gang.

`Oh! save him, save him, Campbell!

I beg in friendship's name!

For if they take and hang him,

The wife would die of shame.

Could Mary or her sisters

Hold up their heads again,

And face a woman's malice

Or claim the love of men?

`And if he does a murder

'Twere better we were dead.

Don't take him, Trooper Campbell,

If a price be on his head;

But shoot him! shoot him, Campbell,

When you meet him face to face,

And save him from the gallows,

And us from that disgrace.'

`Now, Tom,' cried Trooper Campbell,

`You know your words are wild.

Though he is wild and reckless,

Yet still he is your child;

So bear up in your trouble,

And meet it like a man,

And tell the wife and daughters

I'll save him if I can.'


The sad Australian sunset

Had faded from the west;

But night brings darker shadows

To hearts that cannot rest;

And Blackman's wife sat rocking

And moaning in her chair.

`I cannot bear disgrace,' she moaned;

`Disgrace I cannot bear.

`In hardship and in trouble

I struggled year by year

To make my children better

Than other children here.

And if my son's a felon

How can I show my face?

I cannot bear disgrace; my God,

I cannot bear disgrace!

`Ah, God in Heaven pardon!

I'm selfish in my woe --

My boy is better-hearted

Than many that I know.

And I will face the world's disgrace,

And, till his mother's dead,

My foolish child shall find a place

To lay his outlawed head.'


With a sad heart Trooper Campbell

Rode back from Blackman's Run,

Nor noticed aught about him

Till thirteen miles were done;

When, close beside a cutting,

He heard the click of locks,

And saw the rifle muzzles

Were on him from the rocks.

But suddenly a youth rode out,

And, close by Campbell's side:

`Don't fire! don't fire, in heaven's name!

It's Campbell, boys!' he cried.

Then one by one in silence

The levelled rifles fell,

For who'd shoot Trooper Campbell

Of those who knew him well?

Oh, bravely sat old Campbell,

No sign of fear showed he.

He slowly drew his carbine;

It rested by his knee.

The outlaws' guns were lifted,

But none the silence broke,

Till steadfastly and firmly

Old Trooper Campbell spoke.

`That boy that you would ruin

Goes home with me, my men;

Or some of us shall never

Ride through the Gap again.

You know old Trooper Campbell,

And have you ever heard

That bluff or lead could turn him,

That e'er he broke his word?

`That reckless lad is playing

A heartless villain's part;

He knows that he is breaking

His poor old mother's heart.

He'll bring a curse upon himself;

But 'tis not that alone,

He'll bring dishonour to a name

That I'D be proud to own.

`I speak to you, M'Durmer, --

If your heart's not hardened quite,

And if you'd seen the trouble

At Blackman's home this night,

You'd help me now, M'Durmer --

I speak as man to man --

I swore to save that foolish lad,

And I'll save him if I can.'

`Oh, take him!' said M'Durmer,

`He's got a horse to ride.'

The youngster thought a moment,

Then rode to Campbell's side --

`Good-bye!' the outlaws shouted,

As up the range they sped.

`A Merry New Year, Campbell,'

Was all M'Durmer said.


Then fast along the ridges

Two bushmen rode a race,

And the moonlight lent a glory

To Trooper Campbell's face.

And ere the new year's dawning

They reached the home at last;

And this is but a story

Of trouble that is past!


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