Source: Pittsburg Press
Source type: newspaper
Document type: poem
Document title: “And His Wife?”
Author(s): Alexander, Grif
City of publication: Pittsburg, Pennsylvania
Date of publication: 15 September 1901
Volume number: 18
Issue number: 256
|Alexander, Grif. “And His Wife?” Pittsburg Press 15 Sept. 1901 v18n256: sect. 1, p. 6.|
|William McKinley (mourning: poetry); Ida McKinley (poetry); Ida McKinley (grieving: poetry); William McKinley (death: poetry); William McKinley (poetry); Leon Czolgosz (poetry).|
|Charon; Leon Czolgosz; Judas.|
|The poem is reproduced below as it originally appeared in the newspaper, with stanza 1 lacking a closing parenthesis (line 8) and stanza 4 lacking an opening parenthesis (line 6?).|
And His Wife?
All the flags half mast are flying,
And deep down our hearts are crying;
(God keep the wife who sorrows at his bier!)
For the public pulse that’s throbbing
Checks its beats with silent sobbing.
(Each woman’s heart is mother to a tear.—
For the depth of woman’s woe
Is a thing no man may know.
Smiling lips was Judas wearing,
But his heart was hard, unsparing.
(He shot at HER—the miscreant!—nor missed.)
With the ruddy blood that clotted
There went out a life unspotted.
(She lives to think of him she once had kissed.—
Thus much harder is her part.
Dead in life now beats her heart.)
In the days that followed after
Gone were thoughts of joy and laughter.
(“I must be brave,” the little woman said.)
Once he from Death’s gate retreated,
Then bravely he old Charon greeted.
(In vain she tried to hold him. He was dead.—
Knowing Death had victory won
She echoed his “Thy will be done!”)
Life is but a short probation,
Yet his death grieved all the nation.
(Her heart is dead—what room is there for grief?)
When he from Death’s portals drifted
Briefly were our hearts uplifted.
’Twas gall to tincture hopeful unbelief.—
Some day they’ll meet—We have the Word!
So; maybe, ’tis but Hope deferred.)
He was patriot and true man,
Loved of every man and woman.
(He was knightly, he was courteous and kind.)
He was soldier, statesman, scholar;
Optimistic, foe to dolor.
(His words of cheer she tries to bring to mind.—
Why was she spared her feeble breath?
Mayhap to comfort him in death!)
“Vengeance!” cries an angry people,
Reverberate from spire and steeple.
(She sorrowing cries, “Will vengeance give him life?”)
“Give to fiends anarchistic
Death with trimmings most artistic.”
(She, apathetic, says, “I was his wife.—
“Will vengeance give to me the love
“I lost when soared his soul above?”)
Most infamously Czolgosz acted.
Can he pay the debt contracted
With the paltry little life he calls his own?
Killed, for fancied fault detected,
Man by million men elected.
Such conceit as this of his is seldom known.
Soon, Czolgosz, too, will be no more,
And God will even up the score.
Now and ever does the nation
Give its deep commiseration
To the wife who lives and suffers all alone.
God give her strength to bear it.
(She knows the people share it.)
And for our faults God help us to atone.
God help us to do right and then,
“Thy will be done, O Lord. Amen.”