Too Late

William Hepworth was an orphan and well provided for,
And under the tender guardianship of a near neighbour,
And an intimate friend of Florence Dalton’s father,
And in the hearts of the young people love commenced to gather.

And for Florence Dalton William Hepworth had great affection,
And to his union with Florence Dalton there could be no objection.
Her father was the manager of a wealthy banking firm in London,
And could very well provide for his godson.

William Hepworth had chosen the army as his profession,
A post he preferred and admired to his own confession.
So the marriage was agreed on, the time it was set
At the expiry of three years, which caused Florence to fret.

Because Willie’s regiment was ordered to India without delay,
And but for the separation Florence would have been quite gay,
Because she wouldn’t see Willie again for three long years,
And with the thought of parting she shed many tears.

And on the last evening there was a chill at Willie’s heart,
As though from a dying friend he was about to depart,
But he said, Florence the sun shines on me to the last,
And when he looked upon her white face he stood aghast.

Oh, darling! Don’t look like that, Willie did cry,
Than Florence said, Dear Willie, I’ll try, I’ll try!
And throwing herself upon his manly breast,
But alas! poor Florence could find no rest.

Dear Willie! I can’t let you go away, my heart will break.
No it won’t, Florence, it will be strong for my sake,
So be cheerful, dear Floy, and courage don’t lack,
And give me a loving welcome when I come back.

But three long years, Willie, three long years!
For while you are away I will live in doubts and fears;
And my heart will feel sad and full of pain,
In dread you will never return home again.

They wont be long to look back upon, my dear Floy!
While we have life before us, my soul’s joy!
Besides, we can write to each other by every mail,
So keep up your courage and never say fail.

There’s one thing you haven’t given me yet, Floy!
What’s that, dear Willie? my only greatest joy!
Just one of those golden curls, my lovely dear!
Which as a talisman next to my heart I shall wear.

Next to my heart always, in remembrance of you,
And to you, dearest Floy! I will ever prove true,
Whatever happens to me until the day I die,
Believe me, my soul’s joy! there it shall lie.

Come, Floy, we must part, the time’s wearing on,
I’ve only half-an-hour and then I’m gone,
And from the Beeches Willie was fain to tear himself away,
Because there with Florence he had spent many a happy day.

And in far-off India Willie pursued his career,
Upright and respected, counting the days of the year,
As they lessened and seemed to fly by,
And as he gazed on Floy’s golden hair he heaved a sigh.

Florence Dalton’s heart one night was seized with sudden dread,
And she soon learned that her father was dead,
How he had shot himself, alas! at home,
Which caused poor Florence to sigh and moan.

And she soon discovered that her father had become insolvent,
And had shot himself because he felt so discontent,
Because he knew hundreds of trusting women and men
Would call him thief, liar, and forger and would him condemn.

So Florence Dalton and her mother were reduced to beggary,
All through Mr Dalton’s unfortunate insolvency,
And they were forced to remove to a miserable garret,
Which caused Florence Dalton and her mother deep regret.

And in a few days Florence grew very unwell,
And their jewelry for food they had to sell,
While Willie Hepworth was coming home with plenty of gold,
And perhaps before he arrived Florence might be dead and cold.

One night, when Florence was trying to sell Willie’s locket for bread,
She saw a brown sunburnt man who filled her heart with dread,
And he was making frantic inquiries for Mrs Dalton,
But no one could tell him and he looked woebegone.

But he found out Florence the next day,
In a most miserable garret where she lay;
A sight he never forgot till his dying day,
Poor Florence looking like a corpse, which smote him with dismay.

Then he said, Mrs Dalton, don’t you remember me,
But Florence extended her arms and cried, My own Willie!
Yes, Willie! cried Mrs Dalton, you have come to see her die.
Yes! saved from wreck and fire, cried Willie with a sigh.

Then bitter tears from the two fell on her head,
And Willie felt stunned and helpless because Florence was dead;
And Mrs Dalton often mourns o’er her sad fate,
And wails into Willie’s ear that he has come Too Late! Too Late!

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