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Poem by Ella Wheeler Wilcox


False


False! Good God, I am dreaming!
   No, no, it never can be--
You who are so true in seeming,
   You, false to your vows and me?
My wife and my fair boy's mother
   The star of my life--my queen--
To yield herself to another
   Like some light Magdalene!

Proofs! what are proofs--I defy them!
   They never can shake my trust;
If you look in my face and deny them
   I will trample them into the dust.
For whenever I read of the glory
   Of the realms of Paradise,
I sought for the truth of the story
   And found it in your sweet eyes.

Why, you are the shy young creature
   I wooed in her maiden grace;
There was purity in each feature,
   And my heaven I found in your face.
And, "not only married but mated,"
   I would say in my pride and joy;
And our hopes were all consummated
   When the angels gave us our boy.

Now you could not blot that beginning
   So beautiful, pure and true,
With a record of wicked sinning
   As a common woman might do.
Look up in your old frank fashion,
   With your smile so free from art;
And say that no guilty passion
   Has ever crept into your heart.

How pallid you are, and you tremble!
   You are hiding your face from view!
"Tho' a sinner, you cannot dissemble"--
   My God! then the tale is true?
True and the sun above us
   Shines on in the summer skies?
And men say the angels love us,
   And that God is good and wise.

Yet he lets a wanton thing like you
   Ruin my home and my name!
Get out of my sight ere I strike you
   Dead in your shameless shame!
No, no, I was wild, I was brutal;
   I would not take your life,
For the efforts of death would be futile
   To wipe out the sin of a wife.
Wife--why, that word has seemed sainted,
   I uttered it like a prayer.
And now to think it is tainted--
   Christ! how much we can bear!

"Slay you!" my boy's stained mother--
   Nay, that would not punish, or save;
A soul that has outraged another
   Finds no sudden peace in the grave.
I will leave you here to remember
   The Eden that was your own,
While on toward my life's December
   I walk in the dark alone. 



Ella Wheeler Wilcox


Ella Wheeler Wilcox's other poems:
  1. The Birth of the Opal
  2. At Forty-Eight
  3. Artist and Man
  4. As by Fire
  5. But a Dream


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