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Satires Of Circumstances In Fifteen Glimpses
by [?]


“I stood at the back of the shop, my dear,
But you did not perceive me.
Well, when they deliver what you were shown
I shall know nothing of it, believe me!”

And he coughed and coughed as she paled and said,
“O, I didn’t see you come in there –
Why couldn’t you speak?”–“Well, I didn’t. I left
That you should not notice I’d been there.

“You were viewing some lovely things. ‘Soon required
For a widow, of latest fashion’;
And I knew ‘twould upset you to meet the man
Who had to be cold and ashen

“And screwed in a box before they could dress you
‘In the last new note in mourning,’
As they defined it. So, not to distress you,
I left you to your adorning.”


“I’ll tell–being past all praying for –
Then promptly die . . . He was out at the war,
And got some scent of the intimacy
That was under way between her and me;
And he stole back home, and appeared like a ghost
One night, at the very time almost
That I reached her house. Well, I shot him dead,
And secretly buried him. Nothing was said.

“The news of the battle came next day;
He was scheduled missing. I hurried away,
Got out there, visited the field,
And sent home word that a search revealed
He was one of the slain; though, lying alone
And stript, his body had not been known.

“But she suspected. I lost her love,
Yea, my hope of earth, and of Heaven above;
And my time’s now come, and I’ll pay the score,
Though it be burning for evermore.”


They stand confronting, the coffin between,
His wife of old, and his wife of late,
And the dead man whose they both had been
Seems listening aloof, as to things past date.
–“I have called,” says the first. “Do you marvel or not?”
“In truth,” says the second, “I do–somewhat.”

“Well, there was a word to be said by me! . . .
I divorced that man because of you –
It seemed I must do it, boundenly;
But now I am older, and tell you true,
For life is little, and dead lies he;
I would I had let alone you two!
And both of us, scorning parochial ways,
Had lived like the wives in the patriarchs’ days.”


“O lonely workman, standing there
In a dream, why do you stare and stare
At her grave, as no other grave there were?

“If your great gaunt eyes so importune
Her soul by the shine of this corpse-cold moon,
Maybe you’ll raise her phantom soon!”

“Why, fool, it is what I would rather see
Than all the living folk there be;
But alas, there is no such joy for me!”

“Ah–she was one you loved, no doubt,
Through good and evil, through rain and drought,
And when she passed, all your sun went out?”

“Nay: she was the woman I did not love,
Whom all the others were ranked above,
Whom during her life I thought nothing of.”