Oh yes! one grave and solemn prayer;
Let them for him three hundred masses sing!
But in my pockets, I have nothing there.
No trinket! no love-token did he send!
What every journeyman safe in his pouch will hoard
There for remembrance fondly stored,
And rather hungers, rather begs than spend!
Madam, in truth, it grieves me sore,
But he his gold not lavishly hath spent.
His failings too he deeply did repent,
Ay! and his evil plight bewail’d still more.
Alas! That men should thus be doomed to woe!
I for his soul will many a requiem pray.
A husband you deserve this very day;
A child so worthy to be loved.
That time hath not yet come for me.
If not a spouse, a gallant let it be.
Among heaven’s choicest gifts, I place,
So sweet a darling to embrace.
Our land doth no such usage know.
Usage or not, it happens so.
Go on, I pray!
I stood by his bedside.
Something less foul it was than dung;
’Twas straw half rotten; yet, he as a Christian died.
And sorely hath remorse his conscience wrung.
“Wretch that I was,” quoth he, with parting breath,
“So to forsake my business and my wife!
Ah! the remembrance is my death.
Could I but have her pardon in this life!”—
Dear soul! I’ve long forgiven him, indeed!
“Though she, God knows, was more to blame than I.”
He lied! What, on the brink of death to lie!
If I am skill’d the countenance to read,
He doubtless fabled as he parted hence.—
“No time had I to gape, or take my ease,” he said,
“First to get children, and then get them bread;
And bread, too, in the very widest sense;
Nor could I eat in peace even my proper share.”
What, all my truth, my love forgotten quite?
My weary drudgery by day and night!