The Men We Might Have Been [poem by Henry Lawson]

[Editor: This poem by Henry Lawson was published in Verses Popular and Humorous, 1900.]

The Men We Might Have Been

When God’s wrath-cloud is o’er me,
Affrighting heart and mind ;
When days seem dark before me,
And days seem black behind ;
Those friends who think they know me —
Who deem their insight keen —
They ne’er forget to show me
The man I might have been.

He’s rich and independent,
Or rising fast to fame ;
His bright star is ascendant,
The country knows his name ;
His houses and his gardens
Are splendid to be seen ;
His fault the wise world pardons —
The man I might have been.

His fame and fortune haunt me ;
His virtues wave me back ;
His name and prestige daunt me
When I would take the track ;
But you, my friend true-hearted —
God keep our friendship green ! —
You know how I was parted
From all I might have been.

But what avails the ache of
Remorse or weak regret ?
We’ll battle for the sake of
The men we might be yet !
We’ll strive to keep in sight of
The brave, the true, and clean,
And triumph yet in spite of
The men we might have been.



Source:
Henry Lawson. Verses Popular and Humorous, Angus and Robertson, Sydney, 1900, pages 101-102

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