Verse > Anthologies > The World’s Best Poetry > Vol. II. Love
Bliss Carman, et al., eds.  The World’s Best Poetry.
Volume II. Love.  1904.
V. Cautions and Complaints
The Faithful Lovers
I ’D been away from her three years,—about that,
  And I returned to find my Mary true;
And though I ’d question her, I did not doubt that
  It was unnecessary so to do.
’T was by the chimney-corner we were sitting:        5
  “Mary,” said I, “have you been always true?”
“Frankly,” says she, just pausing in her knitting,
  “I don’t think I ’ve unfaithful been to you:
But for the three years past I ’ll tell you what
I ’ve done; then say if I ’ve been true or not.        10
“When first you left my grief was uncontrollable;
  Alone I mourned my miserable lot;
And all who saw me thought me inconsolable,
  Till Captain Clifford came from Aldershot.
To flirt with him amused me while ’t was new:        15
I don’t count that unfaithfulness—do you?
“The next—oh! let me see—was Frankie Phipps;
  I met him at my uncle’s, Christmas-tide,
And ’neath the mistletoe, where lips meet lips,
  He gave me his first kiss—” And here she sighed.        20
“We stayed six weeks at uncle’s—how time flew!
I don’t count that unfaithfulness—do you?
“Lord Cecil Fossmore—only twenty-one—
  Lent me his horse. O, how we rode and raced!
We scoured the downs—we rode to hounds—such fun!        25
  And often was his arm about my waist,—
That was to lift me up and down. But who
Would call just that unfaithfulness? Would you?
“Do you know Reggy Vere? Ah, how he sings!
  We met,—’t was at a picnic. O such weather!        30
He gave me, look, the first of these two rings
  When we were lost in Cliefden woods together.
Ah, what a happy time we spent,—we two!
I don’t count that unfaithfulness to you.
“I ’ve yet another ring from him; d’ye see        35
  The plain gold circlet that is shining here?”
I took her hand: “O Mary! can it be
  That you—” Quoth she, “that I am Mrs. Vere.
I don’t call that unfaithfulness—do you?”
“No,” I replied, “for I am married too.”        40

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