They scorned her for her sinning,
   Spoke harshly of her fall,
Nor lent the hand of mercy
   To break her hated thrall.

The dews of meek repentance
   Stood in her downcast eye:
Would no one heed her anguish?
   All pass her coldly by?

From the cold, averted glances
   Of each reproachful eye,
She turned aside, heart-broken,
   And laid her down to die.

And where was he, who sullied
   Her once unspotted name;
Who lured her from life’s brightness
   To agony and shame?

Who left her on life’s billows,
   A wrecked and ruined thing;
Who brought the winter of despair
   Upon Hope’s blooming spring?

Through the halls of wealth and fashion
   In gaiety and pride,
He was leading to the altar
   A fair and lovely bride!

None scorned him for his sinning,
   Few saw it through his gold;
His crimes were only foibles,
   And those were gently told.

*            *            *            *            *            *

Before him rose a vision,
   A maid of beauty rare;
Then a pale, heart-broken woman,
   The image of despair.

Next came a sad procession,
   With many a sob and tear;
A widow’d, childless mother
   Totter’d by an humble bier.

The vision quickly faded,
   The sad, unwelcome sight;
But his lip forgot its laughter,
   And his eye its careless light.

A moment, and the flood-gates 
   Of memory opened wide;
And remorseful recollection
   Flowed like a lava tide.

That widow’s wail of anguish
   Seemed strangely blending there,
And mid the soft lights floated
   That image of despair.

*            *            *            *            *            *

Poems on miscellaneous subjects (Merrihew & Thompson, 1857). This poem is in the public domain.