Good-bye -- yes, I am going.
Sudden? Well, you are right;
But a startling truth came home to me
With sudden force last night.
What is it? Shall I tell you--
Nay, that is why I go;
I am running away from the battle-field,
Turning my back on the foe.

Riddles? You think me cruel!
Have you not been most kind?
Why, when you question me like that
What answer can I find?
You fear you failed to amuse me,
Your husband's friend and guest,
Whom he bade you entertain and please?
Well, you have done your best.

Then why am I going? Listen:
A friend of mine abroad,
Whose theories I have been acting upon,
Has proven himself a fraud.
You have heard me quote from Plato
A thousand times, no doubt;
Well, I have discovered he did not know
What he was talking about.

You think I am speaking strangely?
You cannot understand?
Well, let me look down into your eyes,
And let me hold your hand.
I am running away from danger--
I am flying before I fall;
I am going because with heart and soul
I love you--that is all.
There, now, you are white with anger;
I knew it would be so.
You should not question a man too close
When he tells you he must go.

How Salvator won & other recitations. by Ella Wheeler Wilcox
New York City: N.Y.: E.S. Werner, 1891.

Back to Poem Index