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The Wedding Ring

 I pawned my sick wife's wedding ring,
To drink and make myself a beast.
I got the most that it would bring, Of golden coins the very least.
With stealth into her room I crept And stole it from her as she slept.
I do not think that she will know, As in its place I left a band Of brass that has a brighter glow And gleamed upon her withered hand.
I do not think that she can tell The change - she does not see too well.
Pray God, she doesn't find me out.
I'd rather far I would be dead.
Yet yesterday she seemed to doubt, And looking at me long she said: "My finger must have shrunk, because My ring seems bigger than it was.
" She gazed at it so wistfully, And one big tear rolled down her cheek.
Said she: "You'll bury it with me .
" I was so moved I could not speak.
Oh wretched me! How whisky can Bring out the devil in a man!" And yet I know she loves me still, As on the morn that we were wed; And darkly guess I also will Be doomed the day that she is dead.
And yet I swear, before she's gone, I will retrieve her ring from pawn.
I'll get it though I have to steal, Then when to ease her bitter pain They give her sleep oh I will feel Her hand and slip it on again; Through tears her wasted face I'll see, And pray to God: "Oh pity me!"

by Robert William Service
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