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Poem by James Gates Percival

The Deserted Wife

HE comes not--I have watch'd the moon go down,
But yet he comes not--Once it was not so.
He thinks not how these bitter tears do flow,
The while he holds his riot in that town.
Yet he will come, and chide, and I shall weep;
And he will wake my infant from its sleep,
To blend its feeble wailing with my tears.
O! how I love a mother's watch to keep,
Over those sleeping eyes, that smile, which cheers
My heart, though sunk in sorrow, fix'd and deep.
I had a husband once, who loved me--now
He ever wears a frown upon his brow,
And feeds his passion on a wanton's lip,
As bees, from laurel flowers, a poison sip;
But yet I cannot hate--O! there were hours,
When I could hang for ever on his eye,
And time who stole with silent swiftness by,
Strew'd, as he hurried on, his path with flowers.
I loved him then--he loved me too--My heart
Still finds its fondness kindle, if he smile;
The memory of our loves will ne'er depart;
And though he often sting me with a dart,
Venom'd and barb'd, and waste upon the vile,
Caresses which his babe and mine should share;
Though he should spurn me, I will calmly bear
His madness--and should sickness come, and lay
Its paralyzing hand upon him, then
I would, with kindness, all my wrongs repay,
Until the penitent should weep, and say
How injured, and how faithful I had been.

James Gates Percival

James Gates Percival's other poems:
  1. Perry's Victory on Lake Erie
  2. The Coral Grove
  3. To Seneca Lake
  4. May
  5. Spring

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