« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »
She isn't half so handsome as when twenty years agone,
Her fingers then were taper, and her skin as white as milk,
She had but meager schooling; her little notes to me,
She blundered in her writing and she blundered when she spoke,
I was but little better. True, I'd longer been at school;
All's changed; the light of seventeen's no longer in her eyes,
She knows but very little, and in little are we one;
The beauty rare, that more than hid that great defect is gone. My parvenu relations now deride my homely wife,
And pity me that I am tied to such a clod for life.
I know there is a difference; at reception and levee,
The brightest, wittiest, and most famed of women smile on me;
And everywhere I hold my place among the greatest men; And sometimes sigh with Whittier's judge, "Alas! it might have been."
When they all crowd around me, stately dames and brilliant belles,
And yield to me the homage that all great success compels,
I can't forget that from these streams my wife has never quaffed, Has never with Ophelia wept, nor with Jack Falstaff laughed; Of authors, actors, artists-why, she hardly knows the names; She slept while I was speaking on the Alabama claims.
I can't forget-just at this point another form appears-
She had four hundred dollars left her from the old estate;
At last I was admitted, then I had my legal lore,
An office with a stove and desk, of books perhaps a score;
Ah! how she cried for joy when my first legal fight was won
I well remember, when my coat (the only one I had)
Was seedy grown and threadbare, and, in fact, most "shocking bad,"
The tailor's stern remark when I a modest order made;
Her winter cloak was in his shop by noon that very day,
She wrought on hickory shirts at night that tailor's skill to pay; I got a coat and wore it; but, alas! poor Hannah Jane
Ne'er went to church or lecture, till warm weather came again.
Our second season she refused a cloak of any sort,
No negro ever worked so hard; a servant's pay to save
What wonder that the beauty fled that I once so adored!
I was her altar, and her love the sacrificial flame;
Ah! with what pure devotion she to that altar came,
And, tearful, flung thereon-alas! I did not know it then
All that she was, and more than that, all that she might have been!
At last I won success. Ah! then our lives were wider parted. I was far up the rising road; she, poor girl, where we started.
I had tried my speed and mettle, and gained strength in every
I was far up the heights of life-she drudging at the base.
She made me take each fall the stump; she said t'was my career; The wild applause of list'ning crowds was music to my ear. What stimulus had she to cheer her dreary solitude?
For me she lived on gladly, in unnatural widowhood.
She couldn't read my speech, but when the papers all agreed
And with a gush of pride thereat, which I had never felt,
At twenty-eight the Statehouse; on the bench at thirty-three;
At forty every gate in life was opened wide to me.
I nursed my powers and grew, and made my point in life, but she
Bearing such pack-horse weary loads, what could a woman be?
What could she be! Oh, shame! I blush to think what she has
The most unselfish of all wives to the selfishest of men.
Well, I suppose that I might do as other men have done-
For having borne with "such a wife" so uncomplainingly.
And shall I? No! The contract 'twixt Hannah, God and me,
No matter what the world may think; I know down in my heart
There's another world beyond this; and, on the final day,
AN ELEGY ON THE DEATH OF A MAD DOG.
Good people all of every sort,
Give ear unto my song;
And if you find it wondrous short,
It can not hold you long.
In Islington there lived a man,
Of whom the world might say,
That still a goodly race he ran
A kind and gentle heart he had,
And in that town a dog was found,
As many dogs there be,
Both mongrel, puppy, whelp, and hound,
And curs of low degree.
This dog and man at first were friends;
But when a pique began,
The dog, to gain his private ends,
Around from all the neighboring streets
To bite so good a man.
The wound it seemed both sore and sad
To every Christian eye;
And while they swore the dog was mad,
But soon a wonder came to light,
The man recovered of the bite,
The dog it was that died.
OLIVER GO OSMITA