Once a Week (magazine)/Series 1/Volume 2/A wife

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Woman bending over an open book hiding her face in her hands.

The wife sat thoughtfully turning over
A book inscribed with the school-girl’s name;
A tear—one tear—fell hot on the cover
She quickly closed when her husband came.

He came, and he went away—it was nothing—
With cold calm words upon either side;
But, just at the sound of the room-door shutting,
A dreadful door in her soul stood wide.

Love, she had read of in sweet romances,—
Love that could sorrow, but never fail,
Built her own palace of noble fancies,
All the wide world a fairy tale.

Bleak and bitter, and utterly doleful,
Spreads to this woman her map of life;
Hour after hour she looks in her soul, full
Of deep dismay and turbulent strife.

Face in both hands, she knelt on the carpet;
The black cloud loosen’d, the storm-rain fell:
Oh! life has so much to wilder and warp it,—
One poor heart’s day what poet could tell?