A whispered word from a woman's lips,
As a slimy snake through a fair field slips;
A shrug, or a glance, like a poison dart
Aimed from behind at a creature's heart.

The snake glides stealthily on its way,
And a laughing child is killed at play;
The whispered word gains force, and lo!
A fame is black that was white as snow.

Dead in her track falls the bounding hind,
Slain by the arrow shot from behind.
The shrug and the glance have gained apace,
And the light goes out of a fair young face.

Pull out the dart!  Does the hind awake?
Does it bring back life, though you kill the snake?
Prove the tale false! yet the heart is wrung.
Oh, the curse of God on a slanderous tongue.

Maurine by Ella Wheeler
Milwaukee: Cramer, Aikens & Cramer, 1876.

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