Henry Lawson 1867 (Grenfell) – 1922 (Sydney)

While they struggle on exhausted,
While they plough through bog and flood,
While they drag their sick and wounded
Where the tracks are drenched with blood;
While the Fates seemed joined to crush her
And her bravest hearts lie low,
I might sing one song for Russia,
Even though she be our foe.
Still be generous to foemen,
And have charity for all—
Right or wrong, fill up the wine cup;
‘Skaal!’ unto all brave men—‘Skaal!’

While they suffer, cold and hungry,
All the heart-break of defeat,
And the twice heroic rearguard
Grimly holds the grim retreat;
While they fight the last alive on
Fields where countless corpses are,
We might drop one tear for Ivan,
Dead for Russia and the Czar!

Sullen grief of boorish brother,
Sister’s scalding tears that flow,
Choking grief of grey-haired mother,
Father’s stony face bent low:
Hopeless stare of wife or daughter,
And the sweetheart dumb and white,
And the far-off fields of slaughter
Where their Ivan lies to-night.

Even England feared disaster,
With all Europe in despair,
In the days when Europe’s master
Baited Bruin in his lair.
Greater nations made submission,
And a tyrant’s yoke they earned;
But The Man with curbed ambition
Staggered back while Moscow burned,—

Burned to save the world from ruin
That dark winter long ago;
Ah! the gaunt and hunted Bruin
Hugged the tyrant in the snow!
We can cry the crimes of Russia,
Who know naught of Russia’s work—
We who died to conquer freemen,
We who fought to save the Turk.

Ah! we well may cant and cackle,
In the streets and in the clubs,
While the Russia that we know not
Licks her wounds and feeds her cubs.
But the Fates for ever beckon—
Every nation has its debt,
And her foes may have to reckon,
Reckon with ‘der Russland’ yet.

Through long ages slept the Dragon,
We have roused the ugly beast—
Russia still may stand the vanguard
Of the West against the East.
And though Ivan sees no farther
Than to-night through lurid gloom
Every hour he holds Port Arthur
May postpone the White Man’s doom.

Right or wrong—whate’er in future
May this blundering world befall,
Human kindness will survive it—
Brothers! ‘Skaal!’ to brave men, ‘Skaal!’

Font size:
Collection  PDF     

Submitted on May 13, 2011

Modified on March 05, 2023

1:54 min read

Quick analysis:

Closest metre Iambic tetrameter
Characters 2,138
Words 382
Stanzas 8
Stanza Lengths 12, 8, 8, 8, 8, 8, 8, 4

Henry Lawson

Henry Lawson 17 June 1867 - 2 September 1922 was an Australian writer and poet Along with his contemporary Banjo Paterson Lawson is among the best-known Australian poets and fiction writers of the colonial period more…

All Henry Lawson poems | Henry Lawson Books

3 fans

Discuss the poem Skaal with the community...



    Find a translation for this poem in other languages:

    Select another language:

    • - Select -
    • 简体中文 (Chinese - Simplified)
    • 繁體中文 (Chinese - Traditional)
    • Español (Spanish)
    • Esperanto (Esperanto)
    • 日本語 (Japanese)
    • Português (Portuguese)
    • Deutsch (German)
    • العربية (Arabic)
    • Français (French)
    • Русский (Russian)
    • ಕನ್ನಡ (Kannada)
    • 한국어 (Korean)
    • עברית (Hebrew)
    • Gaeilge (Irish)
    • Українська (Ukrainian)
    • اردو (Urdu)
    • Magyar (Hungarian)
    • मानक हिन्दी (Hindi)
    • Indonesia (Indonesian)
    • Italiano (Italian)
    • தமிழ் (Tamil)
    • Türkçe (Turkish)
    • తెలుగు (Telugu)
    • ภาษาไทย (Thai)
    • Tiếng Việt (Vietnamese)
    • Čeština (Czech)
    • Polski (Polish)
    • Bahasa Indonesia (Indonesian)
    • Românește (Romanian)
    • Nederlands (Dutch)
    • Ελληνικά (Greek)
    • Latinum (Latin)
    • Svenska (Swedish)
    • Dansk (Danish)
    • Suomi (Finnish)
    • فارسی (Persian)
    • ייִדיש (Yiddish)
    • հայերեն (Armenian)
    • Norsk (Norwegian)
    • English (English)


    Use the citation below to add this poem to your bibliography:


    "Skaal" STANDS4 LLC, 2024. Web. 27 May 2024. <>.

    Become a member!

    Join our community of poets and poetry lovers to share your work and offer feedback and encouragement to writers all over the world!

    May 2024

    Poetry Contest

    Join our monthly contest for an opportunity to win cash prizes and attain global acclaim for your talent.

    Special Program

    Earn Rewards!

    Unlock exciting rewards such as a free mug and free contest pass by commenting on fellow members' poems today!



    Are you a poetry master?

    Who wrote the poem "Fire And Ice"?
    A Gerard Manley Hopkins
    B Edgar Allan Poe
    C Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
    D Robert Frost