Henry Lawson

Written Afterwards

So the days of my tramping are over, And the days of my riding are done I’m about as content as a rover Will ever be under the sun; I write, after reading your letter My pipe with old memories rife And I feel in a mood that had better Not meet the true eyes of the wife. You must never admit a suggestion That old things are good to recall; You must never consider the question: ‘Was I happier then, after all?’ You must banish the old hope and sorrow That make the sad pleasures of life, You must live for To-day and To-morrow If you want to be just to the wife. I have changed since the first day I kissed her. Which is due Heaven bless her! to her; I’m respected and trusted I’m ‘Mister,’ Addressed by the children as ‘Sir.’ And I feel the respect without feigning But you’d laugh the great laugh of your life If you only saw me entertaining An old lady friend of the wife. By-the-way, when you’re writing, remember That you never went drinking with me, And forget our last night of December, Lest our sev’ral accounts disagree. And, for my sake, old man, you had better Avoid the old language of strife, For the technical terms of your letter May be misunderstood by the wife. Never hint of the girls appertaining To the past (when you’re writing again), For they take such a lot of explaining, And you know how I hate to explain. There are some things, we know to our sorrow, That cut to the heart like a knife, And your past is To-day and To-morrow If you want to be true to the wife. I believe that the creed we were chums in Was grand, but too abstract and bold, And the knowledge of life only comes in When you’re married and fathered and old. And it’s well. You may travel as few men, You may stick to a mistress for life; But the world, as it is, born of woman Must be seen through the eyes of the wife. No doubt you are dreaming as I did And going the careless old pace, While my future grows dull and decided, And the world narrows down to the Place. Let it be. If my ‘treason’s’ resented, You may do worse, old man, in your life; Let me dream, too, that I am contented For the sake of a true little wife.

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