I pawned my sick wife’s wedding ring,
To drink and make myself a beast.
I got the most that it would bring,
Of golden coins the very least.
With stealth into her room I crept
And stole it from her as she slept.
I do not think that she will know,
As in its place I left a band
Of brass that has a brighter glow
And gleamed upon her withered hand.
I do not think that she can tell
The change – she does not see too well.
Pray God, she doesn’t find me out.
I’d rather far I would be dead.
Yet yesterday she seemed to doubt,
And looking at me long she said:
“My finger must have shrunk, because
My ring seems bigger than it was.”
She gazed at it so wistfully,
And one big tear rolled down her cheek.
Said she: “You’ll bury it with me . . .”
I was so moved I could not speak.
Oh wretched me! How whisky can
Bring out the devil in a man!”
And yet I know she loves me still,
As on the morn that we were wed;
And darkly guess I also will
Be doomed the day that she is dead.
And yet I swear, before she’s gone,
I will retrieve her ring from pawn.
I’ll get it though I have to steal,
Then when to ease her bitter pain
They give her sleep oh I will feel
Her hand and slip it on again;
Through tears her wasted face I’ll see,
And pray to God: “Oh pity me!”