The Faithful Lovers by F. C. Burnand

I'd been away from her three years—about that—
And I returned to find my Mary true,
And though I'd question her, I did not doubt that
It was unnecessary so to do.
'Twas by the chimney corner we were sitting,
"Mary," said I, "have you been always true?"
"Frankly," says she, just pausing in her knitting,
"I don't think I've unfaithful been to you;
But for the three years past I'll tell you what
I've done; then say if I've been true or not.
"When first you left, my grief was uncontrollable,
Alone I mourned my miserable lot,
And all who saw me thought me inconsolable,
Till Captain Clifford came from Aldershot;
To flirt with him amused me while 'twas new,
I don't count that unfaithfulness. Do you?
"The next—oh! let me see—was Frankie Phipps,
I met him at my uncle's Christmas-tide;
And 'neath the mistletoe, where lips met lips,
He gave me his first kiss"—and here she sighed;
"We stayed six weeks at uncle's—how time flew!
I don't count that unfaithfulness. Do you?
"Lord Cecil Fossmote, only twenty-one,
Lent me his horse. Oh, how we rode and raced!
We scoured the downs—we rode to hounds—such fun!
And often was his arm around my waist—
That was to lift me up or down. But who
Would count that as unfaithfulness? Do you?
"Do you know Reggy Vere? Ah, how he sings!
We met—'twas at a picnic. Ah, such weather!
He gave me, look, the first of these two rings,
When we were lost in Cliefden Woods together.
Ah, what a happy time we spent, we two!
I don't count that unfaithfulness to you.
"I've yet another ring from him. D'you see
The plain gold circlet that is shining here?"
I took her hand: "Oh, Mary! Can it be
That you"—Quoth she, "that I am Mrs. Vere.
I don't count that unfaithfulness. Do you?"
"No," I replied, "for I am married, too."