A Woman's History
When Mary Price was five years old,
And had a bird that died,
She laid its body under flowers;
And called her friends to pray to God,
And sing sad hymns for hours.
When she, before her fifteenth year,
Was ruined by a man,
The neighbours sought him out, and said -
'You'll come along and marry her,
Or hang till you are dead.'
When they had found the child he wronged,
And playing with her doll,
I'll come along with you.' said she -
'But I'll not marry anyone
Unless my doll's with me.'
With no more love's heat in her than
The wax upon her arm;
With no more love-light in her eyes
Than in the glass eyes of her doll -
Nor wonder, nor surprise.
When Mary Price was thirty-five,
And he was lying dead,
She wept as though her heart would break:
But neighbours winked to see her tears
Fall on a lover's neck.
Now, Mary Price is seventy-five,
And skinning eels alive:
She, active, strong, and full of breath,
Has caught the cat that stole an eel,
And beaten it to death.