Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, THE WIFE'S TREASURE, by SABINE BARING-GOULD

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Classic and Contemporary Poetry

THE WIFE'S TREASURE, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: At sidon lived a husband with his wife
Last Line: "now thou art mine, and I will treasure thee!"
Subject(s): Jews; Love - Marital; Man-woman Relationships; Judaism; Wedded Love; Marriage - Love; Male-female Relations

AT Sidon lived a husband with his wife
For ten long years, leading a tranquil life,
With but a single grief—they had no child,
And, to his barren lot unreconciled,
The man upon it brooded. Then he bent
His steps to Rabbi Simeon, with intent
To be divorced; and to the woman's tears
He steeled his heart, and said: "Ten happy years
In peacefulness with thee, true heart, I spent;
Staunch wert thou ever, nor a word to smart
Escaped thy lips. And now, before we part,
I will accord the treasure thou dost find
In thy old home best suited to thy mind.
Take it; whate'er it be, it shall be thine,
To solace thee when thou no more art mine."
Then said the Rabbi Simeon: "O ye pair!
Before ye separate, a feast prepare,
And pledge each other in the ruddy wine;
Then the feast ended, woman, unto thine
Own father's house do thou repair."
That very night the supper board was spread,
According to the law; one seated at the head,
The other at the bottom. To the brim
The woman filled the bowl and passed it to him,
And then he pledged her, and she filled again,
And he the goblet to his wife did drain
Once more, with many wishes good and fair,
But she the generous liquor did not spare,
Until he fell into a drunken sleep,
With head upon the table, heavy and deep.
And thus concluded the farewell carouse.
So then, she took him up with gentle care
Upon her shoulder, and her husband bare,
Nodding and drowsing, to her father's house,
And laid him on the bed.
At peep of day
He started up and said: "Woman! I pray,
Tell me, where am I?"
She to him replied:
"You promised me that nought should be denied
To me of what I valued. I could find,
In all thy house, thee only to my mind,
And I have borne thee hither; now I trow
That thou art mine; I will not let thee go.
When I was thine, thou wouldst be quit of me;
Now thou art mine, and I will treasure thee!"

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