When brave Private Johnson came home from the war
His friends were delighted to see him once more
A day or two later I met him and then
He looked the most sad and dejected of men
Said I, 'What's the matter? You seem out of sorts
The rough scenes of war, p'r'aps, are still in your thoughts
Cheer up - drive the Transvaal clean out of your head.'
'Oh no, it's not that,' the old warrior said,

Chorus: 'I only wish I was there again,
Fighting the crafty Boer
Tho' the life out there was hard to bear, and I got wounds galore
Marching and fighting from day to day, ragged and worn in pain
But I did have a rest from my old woman's tongue
Oh, I wish I was there again.'

My old friend Jack Handy's retired from the sea
A regular son of the ocean is he
A yarn he will spin you in true sailor style
Of how he was wrecked on a lone savage isle
'For five years I lived there,' he told me one day
'Before a ship found me and brought me away.'
'Great Scott,' I exclaimed, ''Twould have driven me mad,'
'Maybe,' said old Jack, 'But the fact is, my lad,'

Chorus: 'I only wish I was there again,
Lost on that lonely isle
'Twas a far off place, no white man's face
I saw in all that while
Lived like a savage and wore no clothes
Couldn't buy others, that's plain
But I had sixteen wives and I might have had more
Oh, I wish I was there again.'

Our new servant girl is a regular treat
Her face so nice looking, her figure so neat
One night when the missis was out on her own
I thought of poor Mary downstairs all alone
So downstairs I went - in the kitchen we sat
And spent half an hour in a nice cosy chat
She spoke of her last situation and sighed
Said I, 'Did you like it?' And Mary replied,

Chorus: 'I only wish I was there again,
Small though the wages were
It was rough because the Missis was
A nasty customer
She kept me slaving from morn till night
I tried to please her in vain
But the master was always attentive to me
Oh, I wish I was there again.'

My wife says that marriage is good for a man
She lectures me on it whenever she can
Last night, while in bed, though I wanted to snooze
She would lay awake there expounding her views
'Just look at your own case, for instance,' she said
'You lived in discomfort before you were wed
You slept by yourself in a room near the sky
How wretched you were.' 'Oh, I don't know,' said I

Chorus: 'I only wish I was there again,
Though I must really say
'Twas a lonely life without a wife
To keep the cold away
Though I had no one to cuddle me
Still I can hardly complain
There was no one to put their cold feet on my back
Oh, I wish I was there again.'
Written and composed by George Lashwood & Fred. W. Leigh - 1901
Performed by George Lashwood (1863-1942)
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