Alone – Ambrose Bierce

In contact, lo! the flint and steel, By sharp and flame, the thought reveal That he the metal, she the stone, Had cherished secretly alone….

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To The Bartholdi Statue By Ambrose Bierce

To The Bartholdi Statue O Liberty, God-gifted– Young and immortal maid– In your high hand uplifted, The torch declares your trade. Its crimson menace, flaming…

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The Confederate Flags By Ambrose Bierce

The Confederate Flags Tut-tut! give back the flags – how can you care, You veterans and heroes? Why should you at a kind intention swear…

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L’audace By Ambrose Bierce

L’Audace Daughter of God! Audacity divine Of clowns the terror and of brains the sign Not thou the inspirer of the rushing fool, Not thine…

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Francine By Ambrose Bierce

Francine Did I believe the angels soon would call You, my beloved, to the other shore, And I should never see you any more, I…

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Convalescent By Ambrose Bierce

Convalescent What! ‘Out of danger?’ Can the slighted Dame Or canting Pharisee no more defame? Will Treachery caress my hand no more, Nor Hatred He…

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Another Way By Ambrose Bierce

Another Way I lay in silence, dead. A woman came And laid a rose upon my breast, and said, ‘May God be merciful.’ She spoke…

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A Vision Of Resurrection By Ambrose Bierce

A Vision Of Resurrection I had a dream. The habitable earth Its continents and islands, all were bare Of cities and of forests. Naught remained…

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A Fair Division By Ambrose Bierce

A Fair Division Another Irish landlord gone to grass, Slain by the bullets of the tenant class! Pray, good agrarians, what wrong requires Such foul…

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The Unfallen Brave By Ambrose Bierce

The Unfallen Brave Not all in sorrow and in tears, To pay of gratitude’s arrears The yearly sum Not prompted, wholly by the pride Of…

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One Judge By Ambrose Bierce

One Judge Wallace, created on a noble plan To show us that a Judge can be a Man; Through moral mire exhaling mortal stench God-guided…

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In Upper San Francisco By Ambrose Bierce

In Upper San Francisco I heard that Heaven was bright and fair, And politicians dwelt not there. ‘Twas said by knowing ones that they Were…

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Famine’s Realm By Ambrose Bierce

Famine’s Realm To him in whom the love of Nature has Imperfectly supplanted the desire And dread necessity of food, your shore, Fair Oakland, is…

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California By Ambrose Bierce

California Why should he not have been allowed To thread with peaceful feet the crowd Which filled that Christian street? The Decalogue he had observed,…

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An Example By Ambrose Bierce

An Example They were two deaf mutes, and they loved and they Resolved to be groom and bride; And they listened to nothing that any…

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A ‘scion Of Nobility’ By Ambrose Bierce

A ‘scion Of Nobility’ Come, sisters, weep!-our Baron dear, Alas! has run away. If always we had kept him here He had not gone astray….

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A Celebrated Case By Ambrose Bierce

A Celebrated Case Way down in the Boom Belt lived Mrs. Roselle; A person named Petrie, he lived there as well; But Mr. Roselle he…

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Two Statesmen By Ambrose Bierce

Two Statesmen In that fair city by the inland sea, Where Blaine unhived his Presidential bee, Frank Pixley’s meeting with George Gorham sing, Celestial muse,…

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The Key Note By Ambrose Bierce

The Key Note I dreamed I was dreaming one morn as I lay In a garden with flowers teeming. On an island I lay in…

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Mendax By Ambrose Bierce

Mendax High Lord of Liars, Pickering, to thee Let meaner mortals bend the subject knee! Thine is mendacity’s imperial crown, Alike by genius, action and…

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Haec Fabula Docet By Ambrose Bierce

Haec Fabula Docet A rat who’d gorged a box of bane And suffered an internal pain, Came from his hole to die (the label Required…

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Discretion By Ambrose Bierce

Discretion SHE: I’m told that men have sometimes got Too confidential, and Have said to one another what They-well, you understand. I hope I don’t…

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Azrael By Ambrose Bierce

Azrael The moon in the field of the keel-plowed main Was watching the growing tide: A luminous peasant was driving his wain, And he offered…

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Ad Moodium By Ambrose Bierce

Ad Moodium Tut! Moody, do not try to show To gentlemen and ladies That if they have not ‘Faith,’ they’ll go Headlong to Hades. Faith…

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A Political Apostate By Ambrose Bierce

A Political Apostate Good friend, it is with deep regret I note The latest, strangest turning of your coat; Though any way you wear that…

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Yorick By Ambrose Bierce

Yorick Hard by an excavated street one sat In solitary session on the sand; And ever and anon he spake and spat And spake again-a…

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The Yearly Lie By Ambrose Bierce

The Yearly Lie A merry Christmas? Prudent, as I live! You wish me something that you need not give. Merry or sad, what does it…

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The Boss’s Choice By Ambrose Bierce

The Boss’s Choice Listen to his wild romances: He advances foolish fancies, Each expounded as his ‘view’ Gu. In his brain’s opacous clot, ah He…

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Justice By Ambrose Bierce

Justice Jack Doe met Dick Roe, whose wife he loved, And said: ‘I will get the best of him.’ So pulling a knife from his…

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Four Of A Kind By Ambrose Bierce

Four Of A Kind ROBERT F. MORROW Dear man! although a stranger and a foe To soft affection’s humanizing glow; Although untaught how manly hearts…

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Convalescent (By Good Men’s Prayers See Grant Restored) By Ambrose Bierce

Convalescent (By Good Men’s Prayers See Grant Restored) ‘By good men’s prayers see Grant restored!’ Shouts Talmage, pious creature! Yes, God, by supplication bored From…

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An Unmerry Christmas By Ambrose Bierce

An Unmerry Christmas Christmas, you tell me, comes but once a year. One place it never comes, and that is here. Here, in these pages…

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A Vision Of Climate By Ambrose Bierce

A Vision Of Climate I dreamed that I was poor and sick and sad, Broken in hope and weary of my life; My ventures all…

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A Demand By Ambrose Bierce

A Demand You promised to paint me a picture, Dear Mat, And I was to pay you in rhyme. Although I am loth to inflict…

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Woman In Politics By Ambrose Bierce

Woman In Politics What, madam, run for School Director? You? And want my vote and influence? Well, well, That beats me! Gad! where _are_ we…

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The Transmigrations Of A Soul By Ambrose Bierce

The Transmigrations Of A Soul What! Pixley, must I hear you call the roll Of all the vices that infest your soul? Was’t not enough…

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One And One Are Two By Ambrose Bierce

One And One Are Two The trumpet sounded and the dead Came forth from earth and ocean, And Pickering arose and sped Aloft with wobbling…

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Invocation By Ambrose Bierce

Invocation Goddess of Liberty! O thou Whose tearless eyes behold the chain, And look unmoved upon the slain, Eternal peace upon thy brow,- Before thy…

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Fame [One Thousand Years I Slept Beneath The Sod] By Ambrose Bierce

Fame [one Thousand Years I Slept Beneath The Sod] One thousand years I slept beneath the sod, My sleep in 1901 beginning, Then, by the…

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Cain By Ambrose Bierce

Cain Lord, shed thy light upon his desert path, And gild his branded brow, that no man spill His forfeit life to balk thy holy…

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An Imposter By Ambrose Bierce

An Imposter Must you, Carnegie, evermore explain Your worth, and all the reasons give again Why black and red are similarly white, And you and…

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A Retort By Ambrose Bierce

A Retort As vicious women think all men are knaves, And shrew-bound gentlemen discourse of slaves; As reeling drunkards judge the world unsteady And idlers…

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A Challenge By Ambrose Bierce

A Challenge A bull imprisoned in a stall Broke boldly the confining wall, And found himself, when out of bounds, Within a washerwoman’s grounds. Where,…

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Two Rogues By Ambrose Bierce

Two Rogues Dim, grim, and silent as a ghost, The sentry occupied his post, To all the stirrings of the night Alert of ear and…

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The Humorist By Ambrose Bierce

The Humorist ‘What is that, mother?’ ‘The funny man, child. His hands are black, but his heart is mild.’ ‘May I touch him, mother?’ ”T…

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Metempsychosis [Once With Christ He Entered Salem] By Ambrose Bierce

Metempsychosis [once With Christ He Entered Salem] Once with Christ he entered Salem, Once in Moab bullied Balaam, Once by Apuleius staged He the pious…

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Geotheos By Ambrose Bierce

Geotheos As sweet as the look of a lover Saluting the eyes of a maid That blossom to blue as the maid Is ablush to…

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‘died Of A Rose’ By Ambrose Bierce

‘Died Of A Rose’ A reporter he was, and he wrote, wrote he: ‘The grave was covered as thick as could be With floral tributes’-which…

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At The ‘national Encampment’ By Ambrose Bierce

At The ‘National Encampment’ You ‘re grayer than one would have thought you: The climate you have over there In the East has apparently brought…

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Ad Cattonum By Ambrose Bierce

Ad Cattonum I know not, Mr. Catton, who you are, Nor very clearly why; but you go far To show that you are many things…

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A Poet’s Father By Ambrose Bierce

A Poet’s Father Welcker, I’m told, can boast a father great And honored in the service of the State. Public Instruction all his mind employs…

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The Woman And The Devil By Ambrose Bierce

The Woman And The Devil When Man and Woman had been made, All but the disposition, The Devil to the workshop strayed, And somehow gained…

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The Birth Of The Rail By Ambrose Bierce

The Birth Of The Rail DRAMATIS PERSONAE LELAND, THE KID _a Road Agent_ COWBOY CHARLEY _Same Line of Business_ HAPPY HUNTY _Ditto in All Respects_…

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Judgment By Ambrose Bierce

Judgment I drew aside the Future’s veil And saw upon his bier The poet Whitman. Loud the wail And damp the falling tear. ‘He’s dead-he…

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France By Ambrose Bierce

France Unhappy State! with horrors still to strive: Thy Hugo dead, thy Boulanger alive; A Prince who’d govern where he dares not dwell, And who…

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Contentment By Ambrose Bierce

Contentment Sleep fell upon my senses and I dreamed Long years had circled since my life had fled. The world was different, and all things…

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Another Plan By Ambrose Bierce

Another Plan Editor Owen, of San Jose, Commonly known as ‘our friend J.J.’ Weary of scribbling for daily bread, Weary of writing what nobody read,…

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A Vision Of Doom By Ambrose Bierce

A Vision Of Doom I stood upon a hill. The setting sun Was crimson with a curse and a portent, And scarce his angry ray…

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A Demagogue By Ambrose Bierce

A Demagogue Yawp, yawp, yawp! Under the moon and sun. It’s aye the rabble, And I to gabble, And hey! for the tale that is…

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Weather By Ambrose Bierce

Weather Once I dipt into the future far as human eye could see, And I saw the Chief Forecaster, dead as any one can be–…

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