Keeping His First Wife Now

A poem by Henry Lawson

It's oh! for a rivet in marriage bonds,
And a splice in the knot untied,
The sanctity of the marriage tie
Is growing more sanctified!
They’re getting mixed up in society,
There’s an awful family row,
For Reginald Jones of “The Fernery”
Is “keeping” his first wife now!

Oh! she belonged to the smart, smart set
(Where reasons are far to seek),
And the wedding and “crush” are remembered yet
As the “smart” things of the week.
Never an atom of love had she,
But they had a child somehow,
And Reginald Jones of “The Fernery”
Has the love of his first wife now.

Mad for “notice” and “talk” was she,
A butterfly blind as a bat,
She would flaunt for a season a divorcee,
Or divorce him, failing that.
He played his part and she held his heart
As light as her marriage vow,
But Reginald Jones of “The Fernery”
Has a hold on his first wife now.

She swore in Court what the world knew false,
With never a thought of shame,
She was free to flaunt to her heart’s content,
But she found it mighty tame:
The talk of the “town” for a week or two,
The gush, the smirk and the bow,
But Reginald Jones of “The Fernery”
Is the God of his first wife now!

Her soul grew sick of the smart, smart set,
Or her conscience drove her wild,
Or she craved for “notice” and “talk” once more,
Or perhaps because of the child;
But they met at last and they met again,
No matter the where or how,
And Reginald Jones of “The Fernery”
Is in love with his first wife now.

’Tis a “terrible life” for the second young wife,
But she married him too for “place”;
And she mustn’t forget that a smarting set
Belongs to the human race.
They say it’s fixed up in camera,
And, if that is the case, I’ll vow,
That Reginald Jones of “The Fernery”
Will marry his first wife now.

And there is a song of the English world
And a song for the English race:
The second husband and second wife
Must ever take second place.
So cherish the best that you find in the first,
And a margin of width allow:
The future looks after itself too well!
Look after the first ones now.

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