Harry Graham: Mrs. Christopher Columbus
The bride grows pale beneath her veil,The matron, for the nonce, is dumb,Who listens to the tragic taleOf Mrs. Christopher Columb:Who lived and died (so says report)A widow of the herbal sort.
Her husband upon canvas wingsWould brave the Ocean, tempest-tost;He had a cult for finding thingsWhich nobody had ever lost,And Mrs. C. grew almost franticWhen he discovered the Atlantic.
But nothing she could do or sayWould keep her Christopher at home;Without delay he sailed awayAcross what poets call »the foam,«While neighbors murmured, »What a shame!«And wished their husbands did the same.
He ventured on the highest C’sThat reared their heads above the bar,Knowing the compass and the quaysLike any operatic star;And funny friends who watched him do soWould call him »Robinson Caruso.«
But Mrs. C. remained indoors,And poked the fire and wound the clocks,Amused the children, scrubbed the floors,Or darned her absent husband’s socks.(For she was far too sweet and wiseTo darn the great explorer’s eyes.)
And when she chanced to look aroundAt all the couples she had known,And realized how few had foundA home as peaceful as her own,She saw how pleasant it may beTo wed a chronic absentee.
Her husband’s absence she enjoyed,Nor ever asked him where he went,Thinking him harmlessly employedDiscovering some Continent.Had he been always in, no doubt,Some day she would have found him out.
And so he daily left her sideTo travel o’er the ocean far,And she who, like the bard, had triedTo »hitch her wagon to a star,«Though she was harnessed to a comet,Got lots of satisfaction from it.
To him returning from the WestShe proved a perfect anti-dote,Who loosed his Armour (beef compress’d)And sprayed his »automobile throat«;His health she kept a jealous eye on,And played PerUna to his lion!
And when she got him home again,And so could wear the jewels rareWhich Isabella, Queen of Spain,Entrusted to her husband’s care,Her monetary wealth was »farBeyond the dreams of caviar!«
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A melancholy thing it isHow few have known or understoodThe manifold advantagesOf such herbaceous widowhood!(What is it ruins married livesBut husbands... not to mention wives?)
O wedded couples of to-day,Pray take these principles to heart,And copy the Columbian wayOf living happily apart.And so, to you, at any rate,Shall marriage be a »blessèd state.«