For Australia

My Wife’s Second Husband

Henry Lawson

THE WORLD goes round, old fellow,
    And still I’m in the swim,
While my wife’s second husband
    Is growing old and grim.
I meet him in the city—
    It all seems very tame—
He glances at me sometimes
    As if I were to blame.

Oh, my wife’s second husband
    Was handsome, young and true;
He had his boyish visions
    (I had my visions too).
He made a model lover—
    The greenest in the game—
They say, when I was married
    That I was just the same.

Though I am ten years older
    My hair is dark to-day,
While my wife’s second husband
    Is quickly growing grey.
I drank when first he knew me,
    And he drank not at all;
I see that he, through drinking,
    Is going to the wall.

A sweet ill-treated woman,
    A drunken brute (Good Lord!)—
Ah, well, she got her freedom,
    And he got his reward.
He’ll fight it out a season,
    For Fate will not be forced,
But my wife’s second husband
    Shall surely be divorced.

I sympathize, and wonder
    What mutual friends would think
If my wife’s second husband
    And I should have a drink.
And I a mere bystander—
    It almost seems absurd—
Might lay prophetically
    My hand on my wife’s third.

But my wife’s second husband
His sorrows shall forget,
We’ll clasp warm hands in friendship
And clink our glasses yet.
We’ll smoke cigars together,
In pure philosophy,
While calmly contemplating
The fate of number three.

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