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measures, and coins in France) are expressed
by numerals derived from the Greek; thus,
a kilom├Ętre is a thousand m├Ętres."

AN ENGLISH WIFE

WHILST the ship goes swiftly rushing
   Through the foaming sheets of spray,
I will answer you that question
   You propounded yesterday.

"Wherefore is it"—thus you ask'd me
   " That when all on board are glad
To approach our merry England,
   You alone look pale and sad?"

Whilst the foaming waves are anger'd
   By the tempest's boisterous wail,
Sit you here, old man, beside me
   Sit, and listen to my tale.

It was the time of summer roses,
   In the morning of my life,
That with loving heart and trustful,
   I, alas, became a wife.

Stately was he, handsome, winning,
   Highly born; for he could trace,
Back beyond the Norman Conquest,
   Gallant soldiers of his race.

Glad I was, o'erjoy'd and happy;
   Never girl affection felt
Truer, stronger, or more tender
   Than within my bosom dwelt.

How I loved him! It was sinful
   Thus a mortal to adore;
Thus within an earthly casket
   Every hope and wish to store.

In awhile we cross'd the ocean;
   For broad lands there were of mine
In that isle whence we have parted,
   Where the blue skies cloudless shine.

But its sunlight soon look'd gloomy,
   And its green hills dull to me,
For my soul felt sick and fainting
   With a dread anxiety:

To and fro, a spectral shadow
   Horrible, without a name,
Frighting from my heart the life-blood
   Ever and anon there came.

Then the gorgeous flowers look'd faded,
   And the palm no beauty wore,
And the stars that shone upon me
   Were not radiant as before.

Then, that dark and shadowy spectre
   Near and palpable became;
While in hollow tones it whisper'd,
   " Him thou lov'st is not the same.

" Mark," it said, " the golden idol
   Thou so worshippest, is dross;
And the love that thou hast lavish'd
   Shall become through life thy cross."

To such words I would not listen;
   Yet their cold breath made me quail;
My dancing step grew slow and heavy,
   And my cheeks grew wan and pale.

Then he left me. He, my husband;
   And my infant yet unborn.
Though his words were kind at parting,
   Need I say I felt forlorn?

O those months! Sick, and in sorrow,
   Sadly, heavily they past;
Till to my bosom, aching, yearning,
   A lovely babe I prest at last.

Then came a letter; kind and loving
   Calling me to him again:
So the hideous spectre vanish'd:
   Joyful, I recross'd the main.

Well, he met us. O that meeting!
   Its remembrance brings a groan:
Though between me and that anguish
   Twenty summers' suns have flown.

Then I knew what I had dreaded;
   Knew that I alone must meet
Life upon the hill of battle.
   With scarr'd breast and bleeding feet.

And I lived? They say, old soldier,
   That in Spain one vintage morn,
Thou, straight through a fiery hail-storm,
   Leddest on the hope forlorn;

And they tell, with head cleft open,
   And with shatter'd limbs you lay
Where the bullets down had struck you:
   Yet thou hast survived that day.

So I lived; and, for a season,
   Bow'd my head and bore my part;
Hiding like the youthful Spartan,
   The fierce wolf which gnaw'd my heart.

For awhile then colder, harder,
   Pierced the iron in my soul;
Outraged, scorn'd, my infant hated
   The pent waters mock'd control.

Who the human heart can fathom,
   Who hath traced its secret path?
I erewhile the meekest, gentlest,
   Rose a lioness in wrath:—

Far away in Western India,
   When the burning wind has past
Scorching every tree and flower
   With its fiery furnace-blast;

When the strong plants all lie wither'd,
   Blasted every blade of green;
Shining midst the desolation,
   Is a pure white lily seen: *
* The Mahabuleshwur Lily: literally, the Power of the
Great God.

Thus, amid the blacken'd ruin
   Which alone remain'd for me,
Like that bud of Western India,
   My most precious child was she.

Yet, for another left, abandon'd,
   Penniless. In my distress,
I, in England's laws sought refuge;
   Only to be scorn'd redress.

Then his rage became demoniac,
   And he took an oath that day,
That my only consolation
   Should from me be torn away:

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