A Question of Marriage

" I yield you my whole heart, Countess," said he;
" Come, Dear, and be queen of my studio."
" No, sculptor. You're merely my friend," said she:
" We dine our artists; but marry them — no."

" Be it thus," he replied. And his love, so strong,
He subdued as a stoic should. Anon
He wived some damsel who'd loved him long,
Of lineage noteless; and chiselled on.

And a score years passed. As a master-mind
The world made much of his marching fame,
And his wife's little charms, with his own entwined,
Won day after day increased acclaim.

The countess-widow had closed with a mate
In rank and wealth of her own degree,
And they moved among the obscurely great
Of an order that had no novelty.

And oldening — neither with blame nor praise —
Their stately lives begot no stir,
And she saw that when death should efface her days
All men would abandon thought of her;

And said to herself full gloomily:
" Far better for me had it been to shine
The wench of a genius such as he
Than rust as the wife of a spouse like mine!"
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