My Wife’s Second Husband

A poem by 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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