‘Because of her Father’s Blood’, The Bulletin, 25 June 1908

Because of Her Father's Blood (25 June, 1908), p. 43.jpg

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‘Because of her Father’s Blood’, The Bulletin, 25 June 1908


‘As It Is in the Days of Now,’ ‘The Old Squire,’ ancestry, bravery, courage, Dame Ruth, forebears, Henry Lawson (1867-1922), knight, loyalty, outlaws, poem, Sir William series, war.


Henry Lawson produced several interrelated medieval poems c. 1908 which The Bulletin published. ‘Because of her Father’s Blood’ is the third poem of the Sir William series. While the knight is away crusading his aunt, Dame Ruth, is left to keep things in good order at home. This is a poignantly nostalgic poem of courage arising from dire and severe need, wherein an elderly lady and a handful of domestic servants keep a large and rapacious band of outlaws at bay ‘against all the odds.’ There is something to be said, it seems, for resolute and purposeful determination under duress. That is the core message here, where ordinary men and women - domestics, scullions and grooms, none of them martial or overly brave - combine together under the considerable will and fierce determination of Dame Ruth, and heroic deeds are enacted as a result. Looking to her illustrious forebears provides the catalyst for Dame Ruth’s heroism and bravery: “For a fearsome mistress she was to serve, / Because of her father’s blood.” And, extending and applying this ‘medievalist’ performative metaphor to the national cause, loyalty and bravery are strongly emblematic of Australia’s attitude towards and defence of the British Empire in its foreign wars.


Henry Lawson


The Bulletin


The Bulletin


25 June 1908, p.43


Public Domain


Journal Article