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!"