Nay--do not bring the jewels--
   Away with that robe of white,
I am sick of the ball room, sister--
   I would rather stay here, to-night.
"The grandest ball of the season!"
   "The upper-ten thousands' show!"
Yes, yes, I know it, my darling,
   But I do not care to go.

Last night I was thinking deeply,
   Something I seldom do.
You know I came home at midnight,
   Well, I lay awake till two.
I was thinking of my girlhood,
   Just how I had spent its years,
And I blushed for shame, my darling,
   And my pillow was wet with tears.

I have lived in a whirl of fashion,
   I have kept right up to the "style,"
I have learned how to dance the "German,"
   How to bow, and flirt and smile.
I have worn most beautiful dresses,
   Been the belle of many a ball.
I have won the envy of women,
   And the praise of fops--that's all.

Does any one really respect me?--
   Could a single thing be said
That would give the mourners pleasure
   To-morrow, if I were dead?
"She wore such beautiful dresses,"
   "She's a dozen strings to her bow,"
"She could waltz like a perfect fairy"--
   Would you like me remembered so?

Well, there's nothing else to remember--
   What thing have I ever done
That has made a soul the better
   Or cheered a hapless one?
I have spent my time and money--
   The best of my fortune and days--
In gaining the envy of women
   And making the poor fops gaze.

I am going to be a woman,
   And live for others awhile--
Forgetting myself for a season,
   Though I know it isn't the "style."
I am in no mood for a revel--
   Away with that robe of white!
And I will stay here, my darling,
   And talk with my heart to-night.

Poems of reflection by Ella Wheeler Wilcox
Chicago : M. A. Donohue & Company, 1905.

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