> Martyn Wyndham-Read > Songs > New Life, New Love

New Life, New Love

[Henry Lawson]

Martyn Wyndham-Read sang New Life, New Love on his and Danny Spooner’s 1989 Sandstock album All Around Down Under, Gael Shannon commented in the album’s liner notes:

Henry Lawson wrote the poem in 1903 and Martyn put the tune to it.

Australia’s best known balladist for 20 years, in middle age, Lawson was drinking heavily and living a hand-to-mouth existence. He had a love and a marriage behind him at this stage when he was taken in hand by Mrs Isobel Byers and penned this in a tone of promise.

Martyn Wyndham-Read also sang New Life, New Love on his 1995 Fellside album Sunlit Plains. This track was also included in 1996 on his compilation Undiscovered Australia. He noted:

[New Life, New Love and Never-Never Land] are both adapted from Henry Lawson’s poems and I would like to express my thanks to Chris Kempster for bringing them to my attention, along with 105 others in his definitive book The Songs of Henry Lawson. Chris was the first to recognise the potential of Henry Lawson’s poems as songs.

Never-Never Land is another song in praise of the ‘Mystic Realm’ of the outback and its never-ending plains. New Life, New Love is fairly self-explanatory.


Martyn Wyndham-Read sings New Life, New Love

The breezes blow on the river below,
the fleecy clouds float by.
And I mark how the dark green gum trees match
The bright blue dome of the sky.
The grass is green where rains have been
And the earth is bare and brown,
I see the things that I used to see
In the days ere my heart was down.

I’ve seen the light in the long dark night,
Brighter than stars or moon.
I’ve lost the fear of the winter drear,
the sadness of afternoon.
Here let us stand while I hold your hand
With the light on your golden hair,
And I feel the things that I used to feel
In the days ere my heart was dead.

The storms are by and my lips are dry,
The old wrong rankles yet.
Sweetheart or wife, I must take new life
From your red lips warm and wet.
So let it be, you may cling to me,
There is nothing on earth to dread,
For I’ll be the man that I used to be
In the days ere my heart was dead.


Transcribed by Garry Gillard