I knew some lovely women in my youth (when I was free),
And sev’ral were especially dear to me, dear to me;
And I was dear to some of them (I don’t think I imagined it).
I dwelt within their company whenever I could manage it.
One companion comes to mind (a blessing to recall!),
A friend that I loved dearly (but dear me! I loved them all!).
O she was friend to me, and true—she never was beguiling;
A great delight it was to me whenever she was smiling.
I think she had a smile just for me, just for me,
Unique among the many smiles others got to see.
O this was motivational for me to go a-visiting,
To spend my time conversing some, or even only listening.
But both of us, our youth was but a time, and that has gone,
And each of us have taken separate ways, and each moved on.
Now each of us is married to a different individual,
And I’ve no way to reckon what affection’s still residual.
Now recently my wife and I did visit her (and him);
My wife spent quite the day with her, and so did I—with him.
I didn’t know the man before, so this was quite astonishing
That yet I sought the day with him and needing no admonishing.
But once or twice I caught myself expecting—would I see?
O might she send a smile o’er to me, just for me?
But though she gave my wife her love (and oh, but how they carried on!),
The smile that I looked for was reserved for just her married one.
How sweetly did she smile! (not for me, not for me)
What glory shone upon me (if I’d see, if I’d see);
And an aromatic fragrance filled the air for holy cherishing
(Which stank within the nostrils of the part of me that’s perishing).
Her fidelity’s a beauty, and what blessing I attain!
While part of me still counts this change a loss, and it complains.
But women all are not mine own—and I am glad to see it!
The world does not belong to me, but Someone Else—so be it!