And What Have You to Say?

Henry Lawson, 1905

      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?