The Hour Before The Duel
by Frances Sargent Locke Osgood
Too late -- too late -- ye steal before me,
Fond thoughts of home, of love and joy!
The wings of fate close darkening o'er me --
Oh God! my wife! my boy!
My own sweet wife! I see thy face --
Thy pure, young face upraised to mine,
Thy glossy ringlets' waving grace,
Thy blush, thy smile divine!
Thy pleading eyes, that droop'd like flowers
Beneath a cloud, when I was cold --
Oh! to win back the wasted hours,
My brief life's lavish'd gold!
My child! my heart's own hope and pride,
My dark-eyed, blooming, glorious boy!
Thou comest -- Heaven! in mercy hide
That gaze of thoughtless joy!
Yes, Honor! 'gainst thine idle name,
A bubble that a breath may break,
To 'scape the knave's or fool's false blame,
THEIR happiness I stake.
I yield to thee my hope, my love,
HER life that yet in joy has smiled,
My peace on earth -- my bliss above --
Oh God! my wife and child!
I'll dream no more! I'll nerve my soul --
Hurrah! the wild -- the magic wine!
Fill up -- fill high -- the glorious bowl!
Drown care in draughts divine!
The past -- the future! hence, away!
Fears, dreams, and doubts -- my spirit's strife --
I dare not think, or feel, or pray --
Oh God! my boy -- my wife!