Henry Lawson

And What Have You To Say?

I mind the days when ladies fair Helped on my overcoat, And tucked the silken handkerchief About my precious throat; They used to see the poet’s soul In every song I wrote. They pleaded hard, but I had work To do, and could not stay I used to work the whole night through, And what have you to say? ’Twas clever, handsome woman then, And I their rising star; I could not see they worshipped me, Because I saw too far. (’Tis well for one or two, I think, That things are as they are.) (I used to write for writing’s sake, I used to write till day, I loved my prose and poetry, And what have you to say?) I guess if one should meet me now That she would gasp to think, She ever knew a thing like me, As down the street I slink, And trembling cadge from some old pal The tray-bit for a drink. I used to drink with gentlemen To pass an hour away: I drink long beers in common bars, And what have you to say? But often, in the darkest night (And ’tis a wondrous thing) When others see the devils dance, I hear the angels sing, And round the drunkard’s lonely bed Heaven’s nurses whispering. I wrote for Truth and Right alone, I wrote from night till day; I’ll find a drunken pauper grave, And what have you to say? Good night! Good day! My noble friends, And what have you to say?

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