Back of my back, they talk of me,
Gabble and honk and hiss;
Let them batten, and let them be-
Me, I can sing them this:
“Better to shiver beneath the stars,
Head on a faithless breast,
Than peer at the night through rusted bars,
And share an irksome rest.
“Better to see the dawn come up,
Along of a trifling one,
Than set a steady man’s cloth and cup
And pray the day be done.
“Better be left by twenty dears
Than lie in a loveless bed;
Better a loaf that’s wet with tears
Than cold, unsalted bread.”
Back of my back, they wag their chins,
Whinny and bleat and sigh;
But better a heart a-bloom with sins
Than hearts gone yellow and dry!