THE GAMBLER'S WIFE.
Recited by Miss Lottie Winnett.
Dark is the night; how dark; no light, no fire;
Cold, on the hearth, the last faint sparks expire;
Shivering, she watches, by the cradle side,
For him, who pledged her love-last year a bride.
Hark! 'tis his footstep! No, 'tis past, 'tis gone!
Tick, tick-how wearily time moves on,
Can he desert me thus? He once was kind,
And I believed 'twould last. How mad! how blind
Rest thee, my babe, rest on; 'tis hunger's cry;
Sleep, for there's no food-the fount is dry,
Famine and cold their wearying work have done,
My heart must break; and then-the clock strikes one.
Hush! 'tis the dice-box! Yes, he's there! he's there!
For this-he leaves me to despair;
Leaves love; leaves truth; his wife, his child. For what?
The wanton's smile, the villain and the sot.
Yet I'll not curse him. No, 'tis all in vain,
'Tis long to wait, but, sure, he'll come again,
And I could starve, and bless him, but for you,
My child-his child! Oh, fiend-the clock strikes two.
Hark! how the sign-board creaks. The blast howls by;
Moan, moan, ye winds, through the cloudy sky.
Ha! 'tis his knock; he comes-he comes once more;
No, 'tis but the lattice-flaps. My hope is o'er.
Can he desert me thus? He knows I stay
Night after night, in loneliness, to pray
For his return-and yet he sees no tear;
No, no, it cannot be; he will be here.
Nestle more closely, dear one, to my heart,
Thou'rt cold; thou'rt freezing; but we will not part.
Husband, I die. Father! it is not he-
Oh, God! protect my child-the clock strikes throe.
They're gone! the glimmering spark hath fled,
The wife and child are number'd with the dead;
On the cold hearth, outstretch'd in solemn rest.
The babe lay, frozen, on its mother's breast.
The gambler came at last, but nil was o'er,
Dread silence reigned around-the clock struck four.