Between the gum pot and the shears

Between the gum pot and the shears 
  The weapons of my grimy trade, 
In divers moods and various years
  These forty foolish yarns were made.

And some were writ to fill a page
  And some—but these are not so many— 
To soothe a finely moral rage
  And all to turn an honest penny.

And some I gathered from my friends 
  And some I looted from my foes,
And some—All's fish that Heaven sends­
  Are histories of private woes.

And some are Truth, and some are Lie, 
  And some exactly half and half,
I've heard some made a woman cry—
  I know some made a woman laugh.

I do not view them with delight
  And, since I know that you may read 'em, 
I'd like to thoroughly rewrite,
  Remould, rebuild, retouch, reword 'em.

Would they were worthier. That's too late— 
  Cracked pictures stand no further stippling.
Forgive the faults.
                                        March '88
 
 To Mrs Hill
                                        From Rudyard Kipling.