Life is mostly froth and bubble
“Life is mostly froth and bubble,
Two things stand like stone,
Kindness in another’s trouble,
Courage in your own.”
Adam Lindsay Gordon, Australian poet.
I heard this quote last Sunday on the Australia wide radio programme, “Australia All Over.” Someone ringing in to the programme read out the whole poem which was quite beautiful. I have quoted only the last four lines.
These words are not only beautiful, they are heavily ironic when you realise the tragedy of the poet’s life. Adam Lindsay Gordon’s life was mostly “froth and bubble” as he dissipated a large inheritance from his mother on frivolous living. His first love was horses, both in breaking them and in riding them, interests that are strongly represented in his poetry.
As a horseman he received much recognition throughout the fledgling Australian colonies. Coupled with this was a growing reputation as a poet with several volumes to his credit at the time of his death. His interests were broader than this, and he even served a term in parliament.
He evidently had many trusted and supportive friends but even their kindness could not prevent the tragedies of his life. Financial mismanagement, personal loss such as the death of his only child and a reckless approach to many physical activities took their toll. His volume of poetry Bush Ballads and Galloping Rhymes was published on 23rd June 1870. The next morning he took his own life, age 37.
Sadly, the courage he wrote of in the poem I quoted above had deserted him.