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Scene XXII - Night. Street in front of Gretchens door.
Valentine, soldier, Gretchens brother, alone.
When I have sat at some carouse,
Where each to each his brag allows,
And many a comrade praised me
His pink of girls right lustily,
With brimming glass that spilled the toast,
And elbows planted as in boast:
I sat in unconcerned repose,
And heard the swagger as it rose.
And stroking then my beard, I'd say,
Smiling, the bumper in my hand:
"Each well enough in her own way,
But is there one in all the land
Like sister Margaret, good as gold,--
One that to her can a candle hold?"
Cling! clang! "Here's to her!" went around
The board: "He speaks the truth!" cried some;
"In her the flower o' the sex is found!"
And all the swaggerers were dumb.
And now!--I could tear my hair with vexation,
And dash out my brains in desperation!
With turned-up nose each scamp may face me,
And, like a bankrupt debtor sitting,
A chance-dropped word may set me sweating!
Yet, though I thresh them all together,
I cannot call them liars.