Broken Vows [poem, 22 December 1874]

[Editor: A poem published in the Portland Guardian and Normanby General Advertiser, 22 December 1874.]

Broken Vows.

He sought their place of meeting,
And breathed her vows of love,
That sounded in her spellbound ears,
Like angels’ songs above;
And when before the white-robed priest,
His vows he did renew,
By youth and love interpreted,
His words seemed fair and true.

He vowed that on life’s rugged road,
He’d walk with manly tread;
That love should be sufficient good,
To win her honest bread;
He vowed no meaner baser love,
Should ever share his heart,
But that he’d kind and faithful prove,
Till death them twain should part.

* * * * *
* * * * *

A weary home, a dreary home,
And tears that fall in showers,
And weary watchings sad and lone,
Through the long starlit hours;
And ragged children, too, are there,
With famine in their eyes.
Ah! well they knew his promises,
Were only polished lies.

Where now the rosy dreams of youth?
The dreams of youth and love,
And vows that sounded so like truth
And music from above?
Where now the home of sweet content?
A foe has entered there!
And turned the radiance love had lent,
To darkness and despair.

O, life! it is a weary thing
When hope and joy have fled;
’Twere better far to share a home,
Amongst the silent dead;
The loving heart, the willing arm,
He said should be her prize,
The drink fiend stole long, long ago!
His promises were lies.

Nay, bring no flowers to bind amongst
The tresses of her hair;
Their bright gay hues would only make
A mock of her despair!
The bridal wreath did well beseem
The beauty of her youth;
But then she thought the world was fair,
And life was love and truth!

She knew not that a lurking fiend
Would follow on her tread,
To blanch the roses in her cheeks,
And steal her children’s bread;
To quench love’s light in blackest night,
And fill her home with strife;
To make her name a thing of shame,
A wretched drunkard’s wife!

We’ll gently raise our weary load,
And bear it hence away;
The stricken soul has sought its God,
What’s left but lifeless clay?
She’ll list no more to honied vow,
No more will oaths affright,
Nor griefs, nor wrongs, disturb her now:
Her sad day’s closed in night!

And leave her to her long long sleep
Beneath the fresh turned sod;
And let her children sadly weep,
And tell their wrongs to God.
But raise your voices fellow men!
And teach the world to think,
How false and base a man is made
By drink, accursed drink!

T. H. Davis.

Portland Guardian and Normanby General Advertiser (Portland, Vic.), 22 December 1874, p. 4

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