OPEN the old cigar-box, get me a Cuba stout,
For things are running crossways, and Maggie and I are out.
We quarrelled about Havanas—we fought o’er a good cheroot,
Open the old cigar-box—let me consider a space;
Maggie is pretty to look at—Maggie’s a loving lass,
There’s peace in a Larranaga, there’s calm in a Henry Clay;
Thrown away for another as perfect and ripe and brown—
Maggie, my wife at fifty—grey and dour and old—
And the light of Days that have Been the dark of the Days that Are,
The butt of a dead cigar you are bound to keep in your pocket—
Open the old cigar-box—let me consider a while.
Which is the better portion—bondage bought with a ring,
Counsellors cunning and silent—comforters true and tried,
Thought in the early morning, solace in time of woes,
This will the fifty give me, asking nought in return,
This will the fifty give me. When they are spent and dead,
The furrows of far-off Java, the isles of the Spanish Main,
I will take no heed to their raiment, nor food for their mouths withal,
I will scent ’em with best vanilla, with tea will I temper their hides,
For Maggie has written a letter to give me my choice between
And I have been servant of Love for barely a twelvemonth clear,
And the gloom of my bachelor days is flecked with the cheery light
And I turn my eyes to the future that Maggie and I must prove,
Will it see me safe through my journey or leave me bogged in the mire?
Open the old cigar-box—let me consider anew—
A million surplus Maggies are willing to bear the yoke;
Light me another Cuba—I hold to my first-sworn vows.