Nonfiction > Lionel Strachey, et al., eds. > The World’s Wit and Humor > Russian, Scandinavian, etc.
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The World’s Wit and Humor: An Encyclopedia in 15 Volumes.  1906.
Vol. XIV: Russian—Scandinavian—Miscellaneous
 
The Dream-Wife
By Tomasz Kajetan Wegierski (1756–1787)
 
STRANGELY ’wildered must I seem;
I was married—in a dream.
Oh, the ecstasy of bliss!
Brother, what a joy is this!
Think about it, and confess        5
’Tis a storm of happiness,
And the memory is to me
Sunbeams. But fifteen was she:
Cheeks of roses red and white;
Mouth like Davia’s; eyes of light,        10
Fiery, round, of raven hue,
Swimming, but coquettish too;
Ivory teeth; lips fresh as dew;
Bosom beauteous; hand of down;
Fairy foot. She stood alone        15
In her graces. She was mine,
And I drank her charms divine.
*        *        *        *        *
Yet, in early years our schemes
Are, alas! but shadowy dreams.
For a season they deceive,        20
Then our souls in darkness leave.
Oft the bowl the water bears,
But ’tis useless soon with years;
First it cracks, and then it leaks,
And at last—at last it breaks.        25
All things with beginning tend
To their melancholy end:
So her beauty fled.
*        *        *        *        *
Then did anger, care, and malice
Mingle up their bitter chalice.        30
Riches like the whirlwind flew,
Honors, gifts, and friendships too;
And my lovely wife, so mild,
Fortune’s frail and flattered child,
Spent our wealth, as if the day        35
Ne’er would dim or pass away;
And—oh, monstrous thought!—the fair
Scratched my eyes and tore my hair.
Naught but misery was our guest.
Then I sought the parish priest:        40
“Father, grant me a divorce.
Nay, you’ll grant it me, of course;
Reasons many can be given—
Reasons both of earth and heaven.”
“I know all you wish to say.        45
Have you wherewithal to pay?
Money is a thing, of course—
Money may obtain divorce.”
“Reverend father, hear me, please ye—
’Tis not an affair so easy.”        50
“Silence, child! Where money’s needed,
Eloquence is superseded.”
Then I talked of morals, but
The good father’s ears were shut.
With a fierce and frowning look        55
Off he drove me— And I woke.
 
 
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