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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