Henry Lawson; ‘The Sliprails and the Spur’ at Pahiatua?


When Henry Lawson wrote 'The Sliprails and the Spur' in 1899 he could draw on partings in his own life for inspiration. Yet one of the more poignant experiences underlying the poem has gone unrecorded; that of which Lawson wrote in 'The Vagabond' in 1895:

And I had a love--'twas a love to prize
But I never went back again
I have seen the light in her kind brown eye
In many a face since then.

I believe that there had indeed been a brown-eyed girl in Lawson's life, and that the place to which he never went back was Pahiatua, New Zealand.

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Published 1 May 1970 in Volume 4 No. 3. Subjects: Henry Lawson.

Cite as: Arnold, Rollo D.. ‘Henry Lawson; ‘The Sliprails and the Spur’ at Pahiatua?.’ Australian Literary Studies, vol. 4, no. 3, 1970, doi: 10.20314/als.5e413a531f.