Across the Bridge He Goes
Copyright 1888, by Oliver Ditson & Co.
On the bridge, at midnight, stood I in dismay,
Watching weary stragglers passing on their way,
Silently reflecting, dreaming there alone,
All their joys and sorrows seemed to be my own;
See the wretched gambler, looking deathly white,
All his fortune vanished in one single night,
With a look of horror peeps into the stream,
Thinks of wife and children, shattered in his dream.
"Ruined, fleeced and cheated, fool I was to play,
Home, how can I face it? what am I to say?"
Whither will he wander, heaven only knows,
Crushed and broken-hearted, too,
Across the bridge he goes.
Next with steps erratic comes the city clerk,
Button-hole and stick too ready for a lark;
Been to smoking concert, sting his latest song,
"Can't be twelve o'clock vet, works have all gone wrong;
What a beastly nuisance, last omnibus has gone,
Must be in the office at nine to-morrow morn."
Then he'll ask the "Bobby, " "oblige me with a light?
Thank you, all the same, old chap-much obliged, good-night!"
Only got threeha'-pence, this is jolly queer!
Where's the other six-pence? must have gone for beer!
Well, here he goes to walk it; jingo, how it blows!
Lights another cigarette as o'er the bridge hs goes.
Comes the muffled burglar, glancing left and right,
Shuffling like a spectre, shuns the glaring light;
Touches his revolver with a murderous leer,
What's a life to him when sweet liberty is dear?
Next with flying footsteps comes the common thief,
Hunted like a tiger, trembling like a leaf.
Hark! the cry "They've got him " -tries to break away,
Appeals aloud for mercy, hear what he's to say.
Let me off this time, sir, my wife is ill in bed,
It's hard to hear the children crying out for bread,
This is my first offense, sir, it is, God only knows!
Mercy Was not meant for him, as over the bridge he goes.
Hark! a peal of laughter, like a bird in song,
A pretty little actress trips her way along;
Hugging "floral tributes "in her dainty arms,
Whilst her tall admirer reminds her of her charms.
Did not they go frantic when I did my dance?
I told you I should knock them out when I got the chance.
Take a cab-no, thank, you, I have not far to walk,
Leave me at the corner, please, you know how people talk.
This is too bad of you, Flo-don't go on like this,
You know you are so fetching, just one platonic kiss;
There's not a soul about here, hang it, don't say, no!
Hugging, squeezing, teasing, across the bridge they go.
Comes the cunning miser, shriveled, shrunk and old,
Clutching in his bony hands a bag of shining gold;
How he looks about him to see if any one's near
To steal away his treasure, than God to him more dear.
He seeks his wretched hovel, with tottering step, And slow,
And curses pomp and splendor as it passes to and fro;
The wind is blowing fiercely he trembles with the " cold,
And as he creeps along the bridge he whispers to his gold:
O, thou precious burden, that filled the world with ill,
'Tis you that prompts the murderer to draw his knife and kill!
The bane of all good feeling, the origin of woes,
Cursing, clutching at his wealth, across the bridge he goes.
Next a form approaches at a halting pace,
Grief has failed to shatter the beauty of her face;
promises and falsehoods fondly she believed,
Now her dream is ended, forsaken and deceived.
Silently to heaven she offers up a prayer,
Gazes at the river, then shudders in despair,
Clutching some love token in her withered hands,
Like an apparition on the brink she stands.
Why did he forsake me-him I loved so well?
Hark! the bell is tolling, bidding earth farewell;
Frantically her hands high in the air she throws,
A sigh, a leap, a scream, 'tis done,
As o'er the bridge she goes.