The Poetical Works of Elizabeth Margaret Chandler/The Wife's Lament
The Wife's LamentEdit
Loud howls the wintry blast, the rain descends,
And patters heavy on the ice-glazed roof;
But yet he comes not. 'T is a dreary night—
Long since, the midnight bell hath toll'd the hour.
And long, long since, my womanish fears had framed
Some reason dread, for absence thus prolong'd,
But that so oft 't is thus. Oh! had I once
But even thought that thus thy love might change,
I should have shudder'd at the bare surmise,
And chid myself in anger for the thought.
But now, I feel it true, and yet I live,
I live to feel thy heart, thyself estranged,
From all that once it loved—to sit alone,
And number out the weary midnight hours
That waste with thee in revelry and mirth,
And weep in sadness at thy long delay.
Oh, Henry! once—but I will not look back,
Nor think of present, past, or future scenes,
Or thought would madden me. But hark! again
The watch proclaims the second morning hour,
And still he lingers. Sure, some dire mischance
Delays his coming—but it is not so—
How often I have wept in terror wild,
And almost wish'd 't were rather guilt, than harm,
That kept him from my arms—and he has come,
And I have half forgotten all my woe,
In joy at his approach, till his cold frown
Has chill'd my heart to stone! And yet this night,
While all the elements seem bent on war,
He surely could not, would not, leave me thus,
And join the laugh of riot. Oh, Henry, Henry,
Changed, cruel, as thou art, I love thee still!
My peace, my life, are woven in thy fate,
And freely would I give that life for thine.
And thou—thou couldst not change, so wholly change
From all I knew thee once—thou lov'st me yet;
It is some secret anguish breaks thy peace,
And thence thine alter'd looks—But, hark! he comes,
Thank heaven, he is safe! Be dry, my tears!
My face must wear a smile at his approach;
I will not greet him save with looks of joy,
Although my aching heart in anguish bleeds,
And mourns his early alienated love!