The Dying Wife by Mabel Forrest

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I did not want that you should tire of me,
   That I should each day see the shadow grow,
   That all I used to be I still might know,
Feeling I was not as of yore to thee.

I did not want to see your eyes meet mine
   And then pass quickly, caring not to rest
   One moment on me, just to catch the best
Of Love's replying, that would answer thine.

I did not want to live to sea you fall
   Into indifference of my smile or frown;
   I did not want pale Pity bending down
In place of Love, that once was over all.

'Twere not enough of comfort, knowing this,
   No other was before me in your heart,
   No other life could thrust our lives apart,
No other lips would quiver to your kiss.

And because all you strove for is your own,
   The worth must leave the prize for which you strove,
   "'Tis only foolishness"; what once was Love,   
It was not worth the winning, now 'tis won,

Yet unwise I to blame, unwise to cry
   To-day a secret that the world has known.
   Forgive me, dear; when you are left alone
Think not of what I said -- not bitterly.

But ah! prophetic heart! and so I die,
   Not much regretting, while you are unchanged;  
   'Twere harder to have lived with Love estranged,
To feel that custom held you, and not I.

And I shall go while yet your eager hand
   Is stretched to hold me, longs to keep me there,
   Loves still to smooth with trembling touch my hair,
And all my feebleness can understand.

Ah! weep not ! Do you think that I could bear
   Never to hear one note of unasked praise,
   Never to feel, as in the dear dead days,
That I was something greater by your care?

No, let me go. Man-like, you cannot see
   Beyond, as I can see, the passion pale;
   See how I strive to tell, and how you fail
To understand, what once was life to thee!

What profit then to think "I had my day;
   He lay there gladly, even at my feet"?
   The bitter in that knowledge kills the sweet,
Feeling how very much has passed away.

How long abides the truth of heart to heart?
   Good-bye, dear. This is not the hardest thing;
   Fresh hope to you unfettered years will bring,
And you will love me, now, until we part!

First published in The Queenslander, 17 October 1896

Author reference sites: Austlit, Australian Dictionary of Biography

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This page contains a single entry by Perry Middlemiss published on October 17, 2011 7:06 AM.

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