The publishers certify that this edition of THE COLLECTED WORKS OF AMBROSE BIERCE consists of two by hundred and ffty author. auto- graphed the and that number of this . numbered the sets.



1911.COPYHIGHT. BY The Neale Publishing Company .

whereby the work will have a growing with the patience to wait." he begs leave to point out that he has done what he could to lessen the force of the objection by dispelling some part of fame as he their obscurity and awarding to bestow. Further to fortify this interest to those apologia. to fame. the volume may be considered as especially addressed. the collection includes few not relating to perpeople of that sons and events more or interesting less familiar to the region to whom. t them such was able If the work meet with acceptance commentators will doubtless be "raised up" to give them an added distinction and make exposition of the circumstances through which they took attention. "unknown a In answer to the familiar criticism that the author has dealt mostly with obscure persons. of the verses in this volume are republished from Natu- newspapers and periodicals of the Pacific Coast. indeed.PREFACE MOST rally. though not with- out a hope that its contents sufficient intrinsic interest to may be found to have commend it to others. I quote from my publishers the following relevant and judicious remarks on a kind of literature that its is somewhat imperfectly un- derstood in this night of neglect: "In all the most famous satires in our language the 435364 .

propensity to continu- ance in sin. The same of Aristophanes. cares is The it en- satire little of whom was written." Regarding the repeated appearance of certain offendand drolleries of this book. I ers in the skits can only say that during the considerable period covered by the author's efforts to reclaim plorable.10 victims PREFACE would now be unknown were 'in it not that they have been preserved lightened lover of amber' by the authors. . but it is much for what critics said. Horace and the other ancient censors of men and manners. it yet the work of these men is is no true read than was in their day. and more for how said. them they manifested a de- and doubtless congenital. Wolcott and the other masters of less English satire. Butler. No one but and commentators troubles himself as to the personality of the always obscure hero of The Dunciad and the nobodies distinguished by the pens of Swift.









thought in the dream that the place I dreamed I dreamed That was all barren of roses I That it only seemed. Was Full many all a seaman had testified How And who sailed near were enchanted. and the billows boomed In the stead of their singing forever. in a mystical bay. The ghost of a scent had From the place where I It filled like it followed me there truly was resting? an anthem the aisles of the air. and the place. For the Sirens were dead. 19 Though man had . discovered them never. I as I lay In a garden with flowers teeming On an island In the dream that dreamed I was dreaming. But the roses bloomed on the graves of the doomed.AVALON I dreamed I was dreaming one morn I lay. landed to search (and in searching died) roses the Sirens For the had planted. the Isle of Bedeviled Noses. deemed. The Yet I presence of roses attesting.

dark. haunted. delusion that mariners cherished the fragrance loading the conscious gale the ghost of a garden long perished. Elysian." And By acting on that decision. on the limbs of a tree. For 'twas truly. in my madness. Mine enemies hanging and reeking! .20 THE COLLECTED WORKS my dream 'twas an idle tale. phosphorescent. joy! divine. I could see. that odor of rose I was led by the nose. sinister force To And a forest. I ran. And all shapes were fringed with a ghostly Dim. blue. "I will fly from this island of woes. still as I threaded ('twas all in the dream That I dreamed I was dreaming) each turning There were many a scream and a sudden gleam Of The eyes all uncannily burning! leaves were all wet with a horrible dew That mirrored the red moon's crescent. resolute seeking. I thought in A That Was I said. to seek out the source directed Of the redolent fiver By some supernatural. But the fragrance Led me on in my Till! ah. wavering. infected. coming strong and free. ah! truly.

baffled hangman flings the cord aside. Thenceforth through all eternity you'll hold No one advantage of the later death. Like the far baying of the Faith! to your ear it is tireless no nightingale.OF AMBROSE BIERCE 21 CAIN Lord. how it cries against you from the ground. granted Ralph another breath Though you had Would he to-day less silent lie and cold? . Already. the brother's blood that marks your trail Hark. What signifies the date upon a stone? to-day. To The The trembling jurors visibly revealed: prison doors obediently yield. lo! the red sign is descried. To-morrow you shall die if not What matter when the Avenger choose to slay? Or soon or late the Devil gets his own. shed Thy light upon his desert path. Powell. that no man spill forfeit life to balk Thy holy will That spares him for the ripening of wrath. hound. And His gild his branded brow.

not love of justice moves my pen To I praise. Earth cares not. curst when you die. sir. or to. therefore. my fellow men. not all useless hand The crown of honor not in all the land One honest man dissenting from the choice. although Our work alike from persecution free. In salutation here and sign I lift A hand as free as yours from lawless thrift. A heart ah. condemn. that mark upon your brow. do but gratify them when In palliation. in Wear. I'd humbly I love the righteous and the wicked differ hate. Good will and ill its busy point incite: I write. approving you. And keep the life you purchased with a lie! ONE JUDGE Wallace. created on a noble plan To show us that a Judge can be a Man.22 THE COLLECTED WORKS assassin. would I truly could proclaim My bosom lighted with so pure a flame! Alas. from this we to me. Nor in approval one Fred Crocker's voice! . You never will be readier than now. state. So. God's name. And Heaven. we agree. consents Take. though. Through moral mire exhaling mortal stench God-guided sweet and foot-clean to the Bench.

of bard was long-winded. somehow- There was reams and reamses of woe. "Some harrowing whack up." So he twisted the tail of his mental cow And made The grief her give that down her flow. Enter a party a-drinking the cup Of sorrow and likewise of woe: poetry. His posture was pensive and picturesque. . Wrapped in appropriate gloom. Like a raven charming a tomb. All wrote in the key of O. From It's the strife where she fit mighty a nickel a line? Cond n the expense! to For wealth is now little me.OE AMBROSE BIERCE 23 AN OBITUARIAN A newspaper Death-poet sat at his desk. "For the angels have called my old woman hence free." The Bard "It is of Mortality looked him through In the piercingest sort of a way: much to me though it's little to you I've taken a wife to-day. Mister.

Blood in the vein and marrow in the shin. A COMMUTED SENTENCE Boruck and Waterman upon In Hades lay. even in mid-December. Has trying weather. Now this occurred in the far future. his Hotly disputing. tallow. their grills with many a sigh and groan. . for each swore own Were clearly keener than the other's ills. likewise did also Woe. you remember. life! Then he Then Sorrow As cruel ignored the she opened her gates a-wide. is And the death-poet's song. as Is sang in the key of heard inside.24 THE COLLECTED WORKS his wife in her grave The widower man which had buried Grew lily-like round each gill. All Mankind had been a million ages dead. nerve and skin. For she turned and came back to bill. Teeth. And truly each had much to boast of bone And sinew. O. eyes and other organs (for the soul Has all of these and even a wagging chin) All blazed and coruscated like a coal! For Lower Sacramento. muscle.

They lay and browned since his teeth Till Boruck (who long had ground Away Stump and spoke Gum Arabic and made speeches even in praying) looked around said to Bob's incinerated shade: And "Your Excellency. So Waterman and Boruck lay and roared In Hades. Boruck and Waterman warmest pain all their Crackled and sizzed with For." other soul his right hand all aflame.OF AMBROSE BIERCE And Each each to her reward above had sped. too. to his 25 punishment below. I call That quite a just arrangement. But did not suffer them. they'd freed a scurvy host Of crooks from the State prison. For 'twas with that he'd His tongue. when on earth. It is true all other males Felt the like flames and uttered equal wails. who again Had robbed and ravaged the Pacific Coast And (such the felon's predatory nature) Even got themselves into the Legislature. like a chiefly sinned. whereas they bored Each one the other! But indeed my tale's Not getting on at all. this is mighty hard on The The inventors of the unpardonable pardon. might and main. in As I said. although wick was working woe To the reserve of tallow in his frame .

apparently. wick you back so quick? "what calls It scarcely You left was a century ago "I have come to bring. all form of Satan loomed fire. Although this climate is not good for Hope." mists and shadows of the night-time. To feel some pious promptings the right. the sight. sputtering. "St. with a sputtering.26 THE COLLECTED WORKS with a gesture like Said. And a shaken torch: "Yes." answer (he is said Nick. you both begin to But since. . crimson with reflection's Like some tall tower or cathedral spire Touched by In Said Still the dawn while all the earth is gloomed "Sire. his agitable Waterman." as he spoke." us. I Whose joyous wing 'twould Of Hell we'll quit with a Last century I signified think the porch pacific slope. repentance And Even In asked for commutation of our sentence. singe. "He says that he's instructed to reply (And he has so instructed me) that sin Like yours and to this poor gentleman's who's in For bad advice you comes rather high. Peter's never slow In correspondence) to your application For pardon pardon me! for commutation. uncertain flow. but I'm sure we'll not much longer scorch.

Eternity seems 'tis long a term. And He quench the left fire. commuted to one-half. when that expires. M. the Is De Young whose splendor bright and brave phosphorescence from another's grave Till now unknown. I'm quite Prepared. by any to the hearts at chance or luck.OF AMBROSE BIERCE And So fain 27 would turn your all too faces to the light. their civilly retreating." And. H.] What! you whip Bears. to free the worm meeting. for whose back the rods and cudgels strove Ere yet the ax had hewn them from the grove? You. Even which you feebly struck? you You whip a rascal out of office? Whose Its leadless weapon once ignobly blew smoke in six directions to assert Your lack of appetite for other's dirt? . in its rascals? you. whose gutter blood dark. Enough of prison-birds' prolific germs To serve a whole eternity of terms? You. dishonorable flood. them holding protracted A LIFTED FINGER [The Chronicle did a great public service in whipping and his fellow-rascals out of office. de Young's Newspaper.

dismal lesson you ignore While yet the stains are fresh upon your floor. Slandered to death to serve a sordid end. And With calmly march upon the fatal brink eyes averted to your trail of ink. mark Dare If you. Now. As once before. even as the body hath. to woman's idle hand. this course you to maintain. services of those Counting unkind the . And. If the grim. 'twill fertilize the field of wrath. for vengeance Mutely appeals on your head. or rather to renew. Whip a cripple for action you're less free than bold (Your palms both brimming with dishonest gold) Entrust the castigation that you've planned. She called you murderer and called me if friend. one short year's immunity has made blink again the perils of your trade ghastly sequence of the You The The maddened "knave.28 THE COLLECTED WORKS when for Practice makes perfect: fame you first. So in your spirit shall two pleasures join To slake the sacred thirst for blood and coin. if a rascal. through roses ever red. thirst. libeler. spilled. stills. Blood? Souls have blood. Lo! in a purple gorge of yonder hills." hot encounter and the colder grave. Where o'er a grave a bird its day-song A woman's blood. Then whip Or.

your stupid nose. blood's too precious to be lightly spilt guilt. From the encounter of those mighty Of thunder. to live the thing you are! Pregnant with possibilities of crime. at the least. and . and what events did spring sons of guns.OF AMBROSE BIERCE Who pull. Or. dream of broken necks and swollen tongues world's gibbets loaded The whole with De Youngs! TWO In that fair city DELEGATES by the inland sea Where Frank Elaine unhived his Presidential bee Pixley's meeting with George Gorham sing. And Your full of felons for all coming time. Live to the vision that I see vistas of the time to be: Down the dim A A A dream of clattering beaks and burning eyes Of hungry dream ravens glooming all the skies. to 29 hold you back. of gleaming teeth and foetid breath Of jackals wrangling at the feast of death. In testimony to a venial Live to get whelpage and preserve a name No praise can sweeten fulfill and no lie unshame. and of slaughter. The day for you to die is not so far. Celestial muse.

behind. by fear dismayed. with eager mien Demands an ounce of bacon and a bean. hastens to comply. thinking him a lord. He spurned them. Lo! the portentous Pixley heaved in view! Before him yawned invisible the cell. his hat Balked of His soul was gloomy though So fierce his was white. fixed For famine's and horrible regard He takes for menace. been reminded thrice nation had no need of his advice. Great Gorham his yearning tooth to sate And give him stomach for the day's debate. fell. The Nor trembling waiter. the warden's footsteps Thrice in convention rising to his feet. As he shaking flew. street Sprang to the and left their scores unpaid. The patrons of the place. chairs nor tables can his speed retard.30 THE COLLECTED WORKS first. mien. by the statesman's eye Smitten with terror. Thrice had protested. roaring grandly to their chief: "Give me (Fred Crocker pays) a leg of beef!" His wandering Fell eye's deluminating flame crisis upon Gorham and the came! filled For Pixley scowled and darkness Till the room Gorham's flashing orbs dispelled the gloom. his will to set the people right. with provident accord The waiters swarmed him. . He The thrice had been thrust back into his seat. Unheard. Entering a restaurant.

Cut.} Be pleased. 31 when Jove thunders and his lightnings gleam To And The sour the milk and curdle. with a heart contrite We And thank Thee that sparest lash o'er Thou goest south to smite. loins. fell to hill. One ate his bacon. nor uttered any cry. the cream. t'other MATTER FOR GRATITUDE [Especially should we be thankful for having escaped the ravages of the yellow scourge by which our neighbors have been so sorely afflicted. In brief. Father of Mercies. o'er the shadowed ass forsakes his hay. their weapons brandished high. storm-clouds gather.OF AMBROSE BIERCE So. Hotly the heroes now their breath Came They short and hard. too. stabbed. the pig his swill. and Guaymas weeps instead. But gnashed their teeth and struggled on! one his beef. as in the throes of death. and hewed. Governor Stoneman's Thanksgiving Proclamation. clenched their hands. . to take a people's thanks That Thine avenging sword has spared our ranks That thou hast parted from our lips the cup And forced our neighbors' lips to drink it up. to San Francisco's crack Thy That on Hermosillo's bleeding back our homes Thine awful angel spread A friendly wing. O Lord.

We Can Yellow Jack commit recurring crime. And Thou And damp Skip to the good because the chimneys stand cities There templed sink into the sea. that Yellow Fever here to rear. seeds yield Though forms vary. Father. thank Thee that Thou killest all the time. shrieking as they hills and hold a celebration wise discrimination. Here the fat priest to the contented king Points to the harvest and the people sing There mothers eat their offspring. Thrift reaps but straw and Famine gleans in vain. flee. as in Mexico's impested clime. God. but they Not. Thy call summon all. His horrid banner has not dared Consumption's jurisdiction to contest. at least Thou hast provided offspring for the feast.32 THE COLLECTED WORKS praise We Thee. tender mercies. Well. Her dagger deep in every second breast! Catarrh and Asthma and Congestive Chill Attest Thy bounty and perform These native messengers obey Thy will. They summon singly. Here the sown Abundant grain that whitens all the field There the smit corn stands barren on the plain. rolls An earthquake here art harmless through the land. In honor of Thy . survivors. never end: all Thy Upon heads their Thy blessings still descend.

Fame's dead-wall daubed with Served in the Senate. Wasting below seat as he decayed aloft. throat. fell off That performed. to cut his country's. And fall with saintly grace upon their knees To render thanks when Thou dost only sneeze. the happy day! . 33 from Stoneman down. his time. He left the hall he could not And grateful millions blessed bring away. by the presiding eye ignored. forgive them all. grown harder as his brain grew soft. Thy smile who construe and expound Thy frown. weep! By His lying long disqualified to sit. THREE KINDS OF A ROGUE I Sharon.OF AMBROSE BIERCE O God. for our his illustrious name sins. Each word a folly and each vote a crime. ambitious of immortal shame. to vote Auspicious thunder! when he woke He stilled his rite own. Which only sought him when too loud he snored. to While statesmen ages dead awoke For sedentary service all unfit. again to sleep. Law Yet for our governance well skilled to make By knowledge still gained in study how to break.

so Sharon tries purchase happiness that age denies. Obtains the shadow. Their murmuring Peace takes the Chair. As Tantalus again and yet again to restrain. To low melodious thunders then they fade. lullabies all ears invade. Which from their dusty nooks expostulate And close with stormy clamor the debate.34 THE COLLECTED WORKS in that hall still is Whate'er contention heard. eats. Alert his faculties as three score years four score vices will permit. but the substance goes. Making no laws. II Lo! the new Sharon with a new intent. The elusive wave endeavors To To slake his awful thirst. but cannot keep the rose. And And And hugs the thorn. the portal Silence keeps. he nears the finish of the game. but keen to circumvent The laws of Nature (since he can't repeal) his failing That break body on the wheel. His sovereign State has the final word: For disputatious statesmen when they roar Startle the ancient echoes of his snore. For Dead Sea then. No motion stirs the dark Lethean deeps Washoe has spoken and the Senate sleeps. Dicing with Death . with tardy reformation cheats. fruits bids prodigally.

unconscious of its foetal twig. . From With the scant garner of a sightless pig. "Washoe canaries" on the Geiger Grade Subdue the singing of their cavalcade. The sympathetic "Comstocks" droop And Carson Which With ready river sheds a viscous tear sturdy tumble-bugs assail amain. The jackass rabbit sorrows as he lopes. In rising clouds the poignant Tearless itself. a woman's rod it Predestined for his back while yet lay Closed in an acorn which. feeble 35 glow diminishes at every throw. one luckless day. pleasures are his Moments gains. He crouches now beneath quarreling with God. With man long warring. The sage-brush glooms along the mountain slopes. makes everybody cry. that alone remains. lustily He bawls more than once he snored. The joy of grasping Ill Ring up the curtain and the play protract! in his last Behold our Sharon mad act. and urge along the plain. He stole. alkali.OF AMBROSE BIERCE And curses still his candle's The narrow circle of whose Dims and wasting flame. Which even in his grasp revert to pains. to hear. his losses. thrift. bleeding shoulders pitilessly scored.

And With still the continents and oceans ring royal torments of the Silver fill King ! Incessant bellowings all the earth. Nevadans weep. die along that There break and awful shore Which God's own Dark. And. wiping with Grieve for their family's unlucky head. He roars.36 THE COLLECTED WORKS their ears the tears unshed. And Still shake the splendors of the great white throne! roaring outward through the vast profound. The spreading circles of receding sound in a failing race Pursue each other To the cold confines of eternal space. men laugh. Plash the affrighted fish. and blare along the Startle in hell the Sharons as they groan. and shriek the fowl! rise. eyes have never dared explore fearful. Mingled with inextinguishable mirth. Virginia City intermits her trade And Nay. formless. Peal upon peal. nameless evermore! Look to the west! Against yon steely sky its Lone Mountain rears holy cross on high. . Nevada ceases work to weep. With monstrous din their blended thunders skies. well-clad strangers all walk her streets unflayed. in his dreams his goose-quill's creaking fount Augments the debits in the long account. beasts howl. And But the recording angel goes to sleep.

OF AMBROSE BIERCE About its 37 base the meek-faced dead are laid its To share the benediction of shade. A MAN Pennoyer. kill. Amphibious) saw a rising cloud of And heard a faint. Cried with one voice: "The President! He comes!" And some there were who flung their headgear up . hats. years. vulgarity and strife. Governor of Oregon. leathers With 'twixt his toes. With crossed white hands. perchance. Their nights are innocent. some their days discreet. "Lo." Cried one. Casting to South his eye across the bourne Of his dominion (where the Palmiped. And be in good society at Your purse unsilvered and your face unbrassed. paddles his marsh. far sound of distant cheers Below the swell of the horizon. remain of life Of vice and greed. Sharon. shut eyes and formal feet. And then God speed the day if such His You'll lie will among the dead you help to last. "the President! the President!" All footed webwise then took up the word all The The hill tribes and the and tribes lacustrine folk riparian littoral.

To gain his action to their end. Then spake The Court Dunce. Then some there were who fell upon their And some upon their Governor. as heretofore thou hast.38 THE COLLECTED WORKS soberly disposed. as became him: "Sire. humbly. said. wilt deign To By As reap advantage of a fool's advice action ordered after nature's way. decent courtesy shall seem We have in custom the best warrant for. more And silently had and others made as they could. Governor of Oregon. While some. stood fits." They "thy brother Governor to South Met him Backed even at the gateway of his realm. and sought Each in his knees. manifest (for still in thy people Stupidity's the only wisdom) thou Wilt get thee straight unto to the border land To mark the President's approach with such as it Due. still In emulation of the Southern mob. Crook-kneed. like a rainbow all things done in form . magnetic-handed and agrin. way. answered not. and hearing far hurrahs Of an exulting people. If thou. by blandishment or force." Pennoyer. Eying the storm of hats which darkened all The Southern sky. Such reverent genuflexions Having that climate in their bones. "Behold.

nor thinks to move his feet Aside and look below. Governor of Oregon. Governor of Oregon." too. the while to retire. o'ershadowing to right and The Eastern and the Western world. he showed The newly written entry. . black and big Upon the credit side of thine account. and cried: "Pennoyer. Has said. said: "He be damned!" To that High Place o'er Portland's central block. Said the superior bird have already booked Pray observe. came flocking up Inferior angels. but turned his back to them And as if He started speaking to himself. O what an awful word! too bad To And be by us repeated!" "Yes. whose covers left Apart. Pennoyer. Governor of Oregon." fell Splitting the giant tome. Shall 39 we of all his servitors refuse Swift welcome to our master and our lord ?" Pennoyer. I it know. all aghast. "I heard it. Answered them not.OF AMBROSE BIERCE Of due Alone observance and respect. Where the Recording Angel stands to view The sinning world.

sea. .40 THE COLLECTED WORKS YE FOE TO CATHAYE O never an oathe sweares he. y s youth. Of ye man from over For he knows A-synging as he werkes. AT A "NATIONAL ENCAMPMENT" You're grayer than one would have thought you The climate you have over there In the East has apparently brought you Disorders affecting the hair. And never a pig-taile jerkes. A tricke of exceeding worth: And he plans withouten ruth conflagration's birth! A SAMUEL SHORTRIDGE Like a worn mother he attempts in vain To still the unruly Crier of his brain: of his chin. ful well. Which pardon me seems a bit spare. The more he rocks the cradle The more uproarious grows the brat within. With For to buste y e crust. a brick-battle he ne lurkes perdie.

stilling their thunder. You might have been stronger if living Out here in our sanative breeze. you Remember my paunching And how that it didn't a bullet? agree With? Just pass well. see. I'm not But plump as a pullet. me the wine I've a helly And horrible kind of drouth! When a fellow has that in his belly didn't go in at his all Which mouth South! He's hotter than Down Great Scott! what a nasty day that was When Division every galoot in our crack who didn't lie flat was Dissuaded from further attack By the bullet's felicitous whack. jest. It's unhealthy here for disease. 'Twas there that our major slept under Some cannon Till they of ours on the crest. that's the old wound. honest hardtack for me. so No. woke him by And he cursed them for breaking his rest. And died in the midst of his .OF AMBROSE BIERCE You'll not take offence at 41 my giving Expression to notions like these.

'Tis if the prime that sir. Anderson. my God bless you. Your talk is as pleasant as pie. that exist In modern lived in ancient Egypt's clime. one word of warning: I. Good-bye. But. and a chap remember Who When took I it exceedingly dragged myself over his bill. Well. Theosophist: "Among Some the many halls. I'm off now good morning. . to his woes. And in their childhood saw Of Karnak's walls. is true my conviction. Speak That's little and seldom.42 THE COLLECTED WORKS night it That was late in November chill The dead seemed uncommonly I ill To the touch. pardon me. say way. that you Are one of those That once Heir resided by the Nile Peer to the Sacred Crocodile. THEOSOPHISTRY Says Anderson." Ah. comrades.

a use. in fraying you. To nature true. 43 the Holy Cat (and your hat) Mews through your larynx years. consider how It eases me. lowering my knurly pate. And all your school Of Theosophs I cannot All the more earnestly I scare. Come.OF AMBROSE BIERCE My judgment is. . That's plain to see With Be only half an eye. And though Reincarnation prove A creed too stubborn to remove. And moves In you the Bull Divine again Bellows and paws the dusty plain. I challenge not his ancient hate. fair. be fair. to tears. swear That you're a fool! You'll say that this is mere abuse Without. Lock horns with you. These many Through you Its the Hallowed Onion brings melancholy sense of things. now. But.

ioodle." . fall." The water was As prone on I weltering round my feet. "O poet." He "you came hither to die. his A luminous peasant was driving wain. And But I he offered my soul a ride. nourished a sorrow I fixed uncommonly tall. said "I crave a victim. you see." leapt he to the soaken strand.44 THE COLLECTED WORKS AZRAEL The moon in the field of the keel-plowed main Was watching the growing tide. "O peasant." We shook. And him fast with my eye. "That ravishing song would make The devil a saint!" He And solemnly added: held out his hand "Shake." I sang with a dying leave "Go me to sing and to die. iay!" Then I heard the swish of erecting ears Which caught that enchanting strain. The ocean was swollen with storms of tears That fell from the shining swain. chanted my death-song loud and sweet: "Kioodle. the beach they lay.

"You'll sing no worser for that. O Lord! thought uncommonly hard. No Has other mortal." said he And he drove with my soul away. ioodle. 45 of Death. since the dawn of time. dead and on his way to Hell. : ! Who boasted that his mercy could excel is Thine own. the bard .OF AMBROSE BIERCE The Angel And the 'Twas I." Gravely the Savior asked: "What did he do To make his impious assertion true?" "He was a Governor. presumptuous and overbold. 'twas he! 'twas he! victim he crove was I! Fred Emerson Brooks. O death-song singers. Kioodle. And he knocked I me on it the head. for I pardon him" . For I didn't want to be dead. be warned by me. ever pardoned such a mass of crime!" Christ smiled benignly on the Seraphim: "Yet I am victor. lay! COMPETITION The Seraphs came to Christ and said "Behold The man. releasing all The vilest felons ever held in thrall.

for I Was Some haunted by a consciousness of crime. whose lurid gloom appeared Freaked with a moving mist. Gigantic night-birds. but whose I knew not. And The And bodiless voices babbled in the gloom ghosts of blasphemies long ages stilled. startled all the air. that I knew no more And that but dimly. as in dreadful dreams The sleepy senses babble to the brain Imperfect witness. rising from the reeds With cries discordant. cried aloud Some words Yet to me in a forgotten tongue. which. straight I knew me for a ghost forlorn. though brokenly. All These things malign.46 THE COLLECTED WORKS A VISION OF DOOM I stood upon a hill. by sight and sound revealed. Took shapes forbidden and without a name. But whence it came knew not. reeking up From dim tarns hateful with some horrid ban. The lit setting sun Was And That crimson with a curse and a portent. shrieks of women. and men's curses. As I I stood. some spiritual sense Interpreted. Were sin-begotten. giant guilt. . scarce his angry ray up the land lay below. All These visible shapes. and sounds no mortal ear Had ever heard. a voice.

Named in another tongue than his for one Ensainted. attend. fairest city in the world. And standing by the Western sea. Again. As in reply to something which in me Had shaped itself a thought. It spake from the dread mystery about: "Immortal shadow of a mortal soul That perished with eternity.OF AMBROSE BIERCE Returned from the illimited 47 inane. his soul as thine. This dread. above The youngest. saw its populous domain . long dead. What thou beholdest is as void as thou: The shadow of a poet's dream himself As thou. with all and its terrors lo! 'Tis but a phantom world. all So long ago That God and That poet lived the angels since have died his yourself long dead mind Filled with the light of a prophetic fire. His dreams alone survive eternity As pictures in the unsubstantial void. but found no words. But not like thine outlasted by its shade. but in a language that I knew. Unspeakable land about thy Its desolation feet. Excepting thee and me (and we because The poet' wove us in his thought) remains Of nature and the universe no part Nor vestige but the poet's dreams.

and the people smiled. And that foul city be no more! ! a tale. scarce his angry ray lit up the land Freaked with a moving mist. raised to heaven His arms and sang a song of doom of the time to be. said. And O pitiful! the babe was slain Within mother's breast and the same grave Held babe and mother. nor cared to loose assassin's fingers Plague-smitten with a nameless shame. Red-handed murder rioted. which.48 THE COLLECTED WORKS For there people gathered gold. A dream. the Law. when God should lift lean Indignant from the Throne and His hand." "Was The the prophecy fulfilled?" sullen disc of the declining sun Was And crimson with a curse and a portent. and said: 'The Law.' there. touched upon the lips a live coal from Truth's high altar. each in his vile pursuit engrossed: 'Am Look I my brother's keeper? Let the Law to the matter. and there The The But from the victim's throat. its But the Law did not. people dead.' Then With Sang the great poet. reeking up . a desolation and a curse vestige of its No glory should survive its In fact or memory: Its site forgotten. its and very name Disputed. Still gathering gold.

" and from the clay forth and. bodiless voices babbled in the gloom. sadly. walked away." He breathed And to this it into him. Adam came An empty Till in a matrix whence his body was obtained. A miracle! from out that ancient hole soul. covering I my face with thin. . And. and cried aloud to God! GENESIS God The said: "Let there be Man. a vapor black. 49 shapes forbidden and without a name. dead hands. "but lend him mine. Strolled to the place and. it day has never got back. Rose Morehouse. man-shaped cavity. to And But not me came any voice again. and woke. all his will to make a fool. envying his Master's power To make Exerted the meat himself could but devour. remained All unregarded from that early time modern storm it filled with slime." Said Satan.OF AMBROSE BIERCE From dim Took tarns hateful with a horrid ban. thoughtful. wept. Now Satan. standing by the pool. lacking nothing but a "To give him that I've not the I'll power divine.

'] Professor dear. some two or three Are schemes I for plucking pigeons) mean 'tis strange that every change Our As t' poor minds to unfetter Entails a new religion true other one. I think it queer That all these good religions ('Twixt you and me. existing conditions a new religion comes in. from a to izzard. and it is better than the old one. risen above his early love dirt When Of and blood and slumber. . once upon a time long gone Man His worshiped Cat and Lizard: God he'd find in any kind Of beast. Until we cease to fear Nay. He pulled down these vain deities. Professor Howison. That wood or or spirit May justly boast rules the roast it. And made one out of lumber. and better. From each in turn the truth flesh it we learn.50 THE COLLECTED WORKS RELIGIOUS PROGRESS When men rise above [Every religion is important.

"A The timber Godthat's very odd!" Said Progress. kindly soul! consented. THE FALL OF Hear me MISS LARKIN sing of Sally Larkin who. Played accordions as well as any lady in the land. religion's good!" But one poor cynic doubted. Along our line of march recline Dead gods devoid of feeling. And I've often heard it stated that her fingering was such . Who." 51 The Howisons all "When God is wood shouted. and invented simple plan to worship Man. I'd have you under- stand. Our vows all unregarded. But soon our eye we lift asky.OF AMBROSE BIERCE "Far better that than even a cat. And find (at least so says the priest) The Truth and Man's discarded. And thick about each sun-cracked lout Dried Howisons are kneeling.

all eyes sing. and they say were wet When Which As Sally and the ranch-dog were performing a duet it is I take a song that has to be so loudly sung to overtax the strength of any single least. you how she flourished) is how Sally Larkin One day ' there came to visit Sally's dad as sleek and smart A chap as ever wandered there from any foreign part. see was conspicuous to That he was That a real Gent of an uncommon high degree. his gentle birth Though It and breeding he did not at all obtrude was somehow whispered round he was a simon-pure Dude. tell.52 That THE COLLECTED WORKS Professor Schweinenhauer was enchanted with her touch. And That that beasts were so affected their when her apparatus rang they dropped upon haunches and deliriously sang. it Howsoe'er that may have been. like a jaybird. at would seem to follow from the I have to Which (I've told fell. I opine. Sally cast her tender and affectionate regards . This I know from is testimony. tale That. dissimilar in Needs an ear that She could some respects to mine. too. human lung. though a critic.

who was melancholy too. And going into session strove to magnify the sound. pillar Leaning up against a with his lip in grog imbrued. to play poker with her dad. and was variously blind many charms I of person and the merits of her mind. lifted He up his spirit till the gloaming rang and rang With the song that to his darling he impetuously sang! that Then musing youth. preferred. O my darling!" rose that wild im- passioned strain. "In the gloaming. which he was Now And Then Sally. maybe. of that ancient land in a Dude. and near her stood that melancholy chap.OF AMBROSE BIERCE On To And this exquisite creation 53 was. And One Her acted in a manner was in that in general was bad. of course. grieve to say it. And her music apparatus sympathetically wailed. in her evening lap 't summer she was holding accordion. began to hum elongate the accordion with a preluding thumb. upon the cards. Thinking. But he her didn't seem to notice. And her eyes were fixed on his with an intensity of pain. recalling all his soul from other scenes. sighs of amorosity she painfully exhaled. Till the ranch-dog from his kennel at the postern gate came round. .

54 Where From THE COLLECTED WORKS his fathers all were Dudes and his mothers all Dudines." A RENDEZVOUS Nightly I put up this humble petition: "Forgive me.' o' '49 Or 'Horn aroundt'? Did them thar eye-holes see the Southern Cross . his lips removed the beaker and politely. my sins of My sins of the Mission Dolores!" YORICK Hard by an excavated street one sat In solitary session on the sand . omission. please be quiet: you will interrupt the dog. My sins of commission. O Father of Glories. o'er the grog. Said: "Miss Larkin. To which that retrospective Pioneer Addressed the few remarks that follow here : "Who are you ? Did you come In days 'der blains agross. And ever and anon he spake and spat And spake again a yellow ckull in hand.

Now she's growed . But Ed'ard Go Creek with resolved my friend McGowan. "Maybe I knowed you. I'm talking some'at into space. town. your name unbeknown I reckon.' the way say! From with Mr. disremember I'm that breed Of Seein' owls. as regards both bank and crust? "I wonder was you here when Casey shot James King o' William? ? And did you attend The neck-tie dance ensuin' j'ined the rush to / did not. when I knowed Nigh That was onto every dern galoot in as late as '50. I don't forget a But names I I've seed face.OF AMBROSE BIERCE From the Antar'tic Sea git up an' shine? 'all 55 Or did you drive a bull team Pike. to me. An' maybe my remarks is is too derned free. where he subsequent was bust By Sandy. seems to me Your face afore. Joseph Bowers? "Was you to in Frisco when the water came Up The time Montgum'ry street? and do you mind when Peters run the faro game Mississip Jim Peters from old behind Wells Fargo's. for we was In sech diversions not to be involved. "Ther* was a time.

the cause was he knowed "Maybe you had that claim adjoinin' mine Up To which Long Mary An' throwed squar' I guess if she thar in Calaveras.56 THE COLLECTED WORKS Surprising Yes. Brown. to thy dying sire. Would hardly for sech glances did. Was it you took a mighty shine. didn't If ther was a cuss us. these eyes lose their eyes. fear not. off on Jake the Kangaroo? could see ye now she'd take o' Her chance "You Yer o' happiness along Jake. for mine eyes are bright I read through a millstone at dead of night. We know." STANFORD'S "O Be WELCOME fire: son of mine age. Was wide acquainted. ain't so purty now as eyes is nothin' but you was then two prospect holes." "O father. : An' women which are hitched to better men their souls. me an' my 1 pardner. I pray. For" (kicks the skull) "I'm Jake the Kangaroo. damn it's As Lengthie By God! I hope you." .

with tears in his eyes. please die. father. For giving him lately that fine surprise." Which make him so wise and grand and 'tis Now.OF AMBROSE BIERCE "My son." "My memory fails as I How did they astonish near mine end." "My I son. father. the votes great. who are those men. though dull are mine ears." "Sagacious youth with the wondrous eye. Why?" until. and then they will pocket. like apples or oats. With that which has made him so good. his hand. Rushing. late." "He's thanking them. "Because they've thrown up their hands O. for growing . 57 O tell me. my son. their grateful friend?" "By letting him buy. hear a great sound like the people's cheers. like pigs to the feeding-pen?" "Welcomers they of a statesman grand. to They're so tired! and dinners they've none throw. They'll shake. They seem to throw up their headgear.

58 THE COLLECTED WORKS POSTERITY'S AWARD I'd long been dead. in attitude commanding. toga from its shoulders. True. ended Flush with his lowest vertebra. 'Twas a colossal figure bronze and gold A Nobly designed. I straight began to guess For whom this mighty image was intended. The grave-mould upon me. Fell to the pedestal on which 'twas standing. And It all it except a face! showed no features: not a trace nor sign Of any eyes or nose could be detected its On the smooth oval of sites for front no line selected. when my eye Perceived a statue standing straight and high." I cried. "The Is head. Where Let this mouths are commonly its All blank and blind be said : faulty head it reared. 'twas generously eared. still hardly finished waking. and its came to see that I'd Received dues. Seeing these things. but no Sane sculptor ever made a toga so." . and the dress his cloak Parson Bartlett's own. fold on fold. "is Upton's. but I returned to earth. Some small affairs posterity I was making worth A mess of. Nobility it had and splendid should have had grace.

OF AMBROSE BIERCE Then on the pedestal these 59 words I read: "Erected Eighteen Hundred Ninety-seven" (Saint Christofer! how fast the time had sped! Of "To course it naturally does in Heaven) " (here a blank space for the name began) s "The Nineteenth Century Great Foremost " Man!" in "Completed" the inscription ended. Even as I gazed. and the name was sunk in the pedestal's metallic trunk. which. all And then by acclamation the people . Decreed whose was our century's best fame Then Deep scaffolded the statue like a steeple. pray excuse I can't consent to The Be seeming rudeness. The Year Three Thousand" which was just arriving. 'Twas neither yours nor mine let that content you. Upon a dead man's word. To make the likeness. was Deacon Fitch! . If not. but so forehanded with important news. 'twould make the founders grin To learn whose fame so long has To read the name posterity will place been surviving In that blank void. By Jove! thought I. the name I must surrender. and view the finished face. Whose was it ? Gentle reader. the year Three Thousand came.

THE I SPIRIT OF A SPONGE died. sir. dreamed one night that Stephen Massett for admission And up at Heaven St." And wondering nations.trump of sound it through "the fame. Do I'll you not know why should I explain? Instruction. you've a nasal I'll name speaking. The masking With mind dove had been a dove the Provincial censor! all untaught in art. indecent and indecent heart. hearing from afar The brazen twang of its resounding jar. . The picture was not to gratify painted. argument show you reasons when you show me alike were vain brain. for you! Your mind and taste address.60 THE COLLECTED WORKS AN ART CRITIC Ira P. Massett said: his of Pipesville. Shall say: "These bards are an uncommon class They blow their noses with a tube of brass!" So you object to Cytherea! Do. Rankin. "Who "Jeems are you?" Pipes. less. asked Peter." Peter bowed head. nay. applied.

replaced his hat upon his head. risen to the bird a twin his chin. He paused. hat in hand.OF AMBROSE BIERCE Opened the gates 61 you. Irish rise!" the edict rang As when Creation into being sprang! Nature. O'er his already sprouting wings: "I swear I smell some broiling going on down there!" So Massett's paunch. attracted by the smell." said better. When As from a cloud below such fumes arose tickled tenderly his conscious nose. Had she but fixed a wing upon . and said: "I'm glad to know And wish we'd something it. sir. Followed his nose and found a place in Hell." "Don't mention Stephen. to the saintly Turned back and warden said. not clearly understanding. ORNITHANTHROPOS "Let John P. And was about to enter. baffle the creative But naught could Yet he had plan Despite her efforts 'twas almost a man. tried To make a bird that on the air could ride. to show you. looking bland.

. the ass's jaw. it And shake o'er a hero's grave. Are you not he who makes to-day A merchandise of old renown Which he persuades this easy town He won in battle far away? revile Nay. but you you draw That ancient blade. such words from you.62 THE COLLECTED WORKS TO E. fell Southern brother where he Slept all your base oration through. What! Salomon! Who The call yourself a soldier? Well. Alike to him he cannot know harm as your Your praise or blame: as little Your tongue can do him arm A quarter-century ago. S. The brave respect the brave. The brave Respect the dead. SALOMON. Who in a Memorial Day oration protested bitterly against decorating the graves of Confederate dead. those the fallen who Have ne'er before the living stood And And stoutly made their battle good greeted danger with a smile.

We do not know we can but deem. men as wise Have reverently practised. ideas run Recurrent in an endless track. and other men Arise with knowledges diverse: What And Now The seemed a blessing seems a curse. What most we censure.OF AMBROSE BIERCE What if the dead whom still you Were wrong? Are you so hate surely right? 63 We know is the issues of the fight The sword but an advocate. And he is loyalest and best Who And The takes the light full on his breast it follows throughout the dream. years go on. broken light. the shadows wide Behold the battle-field displayed! God The save the vanquished from the blade. is still at odds with Then. victor from the victor's pride ! . Men live and die. nor fail to Will future wisdom war On principles we dearly prize. the old comes back To mock the new beneath the sun Is nothing new.

dead are dead let that atone: And The Yet God The though with equal hand we strew blooms on saint and sinner will too. shall trace Upon your tomb this epitaph: "Draw near. Salomon. whate'er his life and lot. know to choose his own. ye generous this and brave Kneel round monument and weep For one who tried in vain to keep A flower from a soldier's grave. / shall not. loving you at last. Who With does not love the harmless dead all his heart and all his head May God forgive him. wretch. the cleansing rain Remember. Salomon. you come to quaff The Darker Cup with meeker face." . When.64 THE COLLECTED WORKS If. too. the blessed dew That falls upon the Blue and Gray Is powerless to The sin of differing wash away from you. I. Of widows' and The of orphans* tears. Remember how the flood of years Has rolled across the erring slain.

Newly descended from Sweet-eyed compassion his face. my all friends." I said. "The "The I apples all are gone roses perished from here." A voice cried out: "The man Is risen who eternally was dead!" I turned and saw an angel standing the heights of filled there. There'll be. With fruits and flowers thick on I crossed a Shadow flung athwart my way. on God's when feet. either hand.OF AMBROSE BIERCE DENNIS KEARNEY Your 65 influence. and their spirits fled. air. his hands A naked sword and golden trumpet bare. clean spot left for Him to set His FINIS ^ETERNITATIS Strolling at sunset in my native land. has gathered head To No east and west its tides encroaching spread. Emerging on a waste of rock and sand. they meet. will go back. . fool-stool.

I said. the shadow that frost." the same land! Remembered mountains thrust Grayed heads asky. Lifted smooth ridges in the steely light Bleak." "Its chill was but a touch of made me gasp. but quickly I it With 'Twas breath recovered ere scarce came through. Where I had worshiped at my father's tomb. A jackal slunk along the naked rock. "Eternity's at hand!" I cried aloud. Save one brass mausoleum on a (I mound knew it well) spared by the artist Time To emphasize the desolation round. Affrighted by some prescience of doom. It THE COLLECTED WORKS 'twas not death. ." the angel said. Some heights. Within a massive temple's awful gloom. and every dragging gust. Into the stagnant sea the sullen sun Sank behind bars of crimson. desolate acclivities of stone. was lost. Stirred in familiar river-beds the dust. "Eternity. one by one.66 "Nay. where once the traveler city was shown The youngest and the proudest known. "is done. I crossed. In ashen valleys where my sons had reaped. Man's vestiges were nowhere to be found.

The angels all are dead but I alone. If ears are what you want. at the door a curst hyena sprang And fled! Said Azrael: "His soul's escaped. at And knock you yon pompous tomb of brass. too. Conspicuous virtues won boon for me?" "to "You've been revived. "What me rare.OF AMBROSE BIERCE "For man is ages dead in every zone. The devils. And God lies dead before the great white ' 67 throne! 'Tis foreordained that I bestride the shore When all are gone (as Gabriel did before. declare I Why conquered the grave?" this I cried. and while the hollow echoes rang. the greatest ass." And closed the brazen portal with a bang." "Then let me creep again beneath the grass." "O Azrael O Prince of Death." he said. Charles Crocker's there ears. . are cold enough at last. When I had throttled the last man alive) And swear Eternity shall be no more." Betwixt the greatest He Out rapped. hear swear.

. 'for the battle to be won. say each time a loaded off so.68 THE COLLECTED WORKS THE VETERAN John Jackson. And when discharged (for war's a sport it) So hot he had to leave He made a very loud report. likewise. He's used to giving ground. gun Went he did. still a martial feeling. I Though truth to never did Exactly love him. once a soldier bold. they say. He cares not how much ground to-day He gives for men to doubt him . But no one did AN "EXHIBIT" Goldenson hanged! Well. Hath So. Heaven forbid That I should smile above him: tell. believe it. Who When. sees a foe. behold! when he He charges him with stealing. They lately fought with out him. His gallantry was needed.

No longer he's a show: no more. of course. though. the sheriff who'll abuse let it! His powers to . His words. In Silent is his voice all the papers. -But ours is awful! What! Be shall a wretch condemned to die In shame upon the gibbet set before the public eye As an His "exhibit"? looks. No longer can he hold the floor When The The I'd be talking. his actions noted if down. will it publish news However blast may get it. fate of the assassin's sad. laws that govern jails are bad If such displays are lawful. light or solemn. to rejoice That his unpleasing capers Are ended. his Bear-like. den he's walking. And all this hawked about the town So much a column? The But press.OF AMBROSE BIERCE It can't be 69 wrong.

hold your noses!" How And long. His stormy mane. O Lord.70 THE COLLECTED WORKS Nay. His his glooming eyes. must I hear you call the roll Of all the vices that infest your soul? lately Was't not enough that you did bawl Your money-worship Still in the ears of all? must you crack your brazen cheek to tell That though a miser you're a sot as well? . shall Law and Right Be mocked angels for gain or glory. I'm rude Perhaps unruly Because I burn with shame and rage Beyond my power of telling To see assassins in a cage And "Walk up! keepers yelling. Walk up!" the showman cries: "Observe the lion's poses. yet an editor. truly. as they recite weep The shameful story? THE TRANSMIGRATIONS OF A SOUL What! Pixley. Fm Nor no reporter. this is not ingratitude.

If in the cavern of your skull the light Of knowledge Of shone where now eternal night Breeds the blind. be they coins or corns. you'd manners too you'd shame You've money. vapor-fatted naughts cerebration that you think are thoughts Black bats in cold and dismal corners hung That squeak and gibber when you move your tongue You would not write. in Avarice's defense. .OF AMBROSE BIERCE Still 71 must I hear From getting how low your taste has sunk money down to getting drunk? all beside. its worth. as now you is never can. learning beyond your scope. had you gentle birth You'd know. You've money. stubborn to your hope. if To The boast your weakness or your baseness name. damning his callous knees And shows His own with pious pride. Speaks with half-knowledge. Deaf But to your envy. eagerness to sacrifice Nor show your All noble virtues to one loathsome vice. neighbor. but measure not things denied to your unhappy lot. Appraise the things you have. Who worships money. if upon your undeserving head Science and letters had their glory shed. poddy. A senseless eulogy on lack of sense. You've money. for no man e'er scorns possessions.

learning. crime of growing old disgracefully. If not our young. All that distinguishes a man from Pray damn at will: all shining virtues gain An added luster from a rogue's disdain. to seek sin and tortoise to forsake. birth and manners. Yourself enamored of the dirtiest most. the But spare young that proselyting sin. Distinction. next to wallow drunken in the mire. too. A toper's apotheosis of gin. at least our pigs may claim Exemption from the spectacle of shame! Are you not he who lately out of shape Blew a brass trumpet to denounce the grape? Who And led the brave teetotalers afield slew your leader underneath your shield? Swore that no man should drink unless he flung Himself across your body at the bung? Who vowed of if you'd the power you would fine for The Son All God making water wine? odium you tread and boast. The laws of expiate. taste condemn you all to the stake To The where the world may see. .72 THE COLLECTED WORKS values manners lighter than a cork He Who Hare combs his beard at table with a fork. you. trails to One The day to be a miser you aspire.

in the catalogue of all theft your graces and cowardice no honored places? here's a rival Yield thee. And crowd master from the infernal throne! INDICTMENT ON EVIDENCE Bruce Douglas. and still his moan Had all the cadences and stops of song Recurrent swells and measured silences Which sought the ear as ocean's billows roll. fool a teacher and to fog a guide With slack allegiance and boundless greed. all his aims to make thy glory his own. quick To To the example of the elder Nick. as great talent as With was e'er applied . low in heart And spirits. To He paunch the profit of a traitor deed. .OF AMBROSE BIERCE The Have third. Round him lay the forms of men Men of the people. nephew to a Scottish Earl. lo! you're a meritorious liar! 73 Pray. Sat in the City Prison. And so he sat and moaned. of ignoble birth in sleep. great Satan name With Quick all thy vices and but half thy shame! to the letter of the precept. Prone or supine but sleep and he Were out: the Douglas was too drunk for sleep.

insects in the grass Throbbing of noon-day All rhythmic movements of the universe Which Even poets echo in their thought and speech. in their inarticulate complaints Of pain. My life I'll hazard that the man's A bard disguised to look a gentleman. and the fair land was this Our That California. The man's a poet. At even One Wherefore uprose An As old gray constable who in the morn And blossom of his life had courted fame horse-reporter for a public print.74 THE COLLECTED WORKS spaces and with matching speed. And In a every ode in fair Odes and odes there were. after one ashore. and he spake. so And was skilled in letters. From the snowy peaks glitter in the skies of Siskiyou." So. bringing his effects. the And from dim Sierra. In his moan I hear The pulsing and the passion of the sea Hear the far beating of the waterfall. now. which had till then Lain unconsidered from all his pockets plucked And tossed aside curiously they Explored the papers. praise of some fair scene land. Down Slips to the golden margin where the land underneath the San Diegan bay. There to the sergeant. saying: "Surely. far across his breast To where old Ocean bears upon .

Bruce Douglas. splitting the Book of Doom. Mike de Young? reeking of the gutter whence you sprung? Senators were such as you Their hands so slender and so crimson too (Shaped to the pocket for commercial work. rape. land and dear household gods. mayhem and intent to leave The State and so defraud his creditors With vagrancy.OF AMBROSE BIERCE The Mongol Its native 75 horde returning to its its own. For literary. Bruce Douglas. extortion and assault Felonious. nephew of a Scottish Earl. TO AN ASPIRANT What! you Still Sir. Charged him therein with murder. Had sung the beauty of the Golden State! So then the Clerk. nephew of a Scottish Earl. if all a Senator? you. arson. fitted to the dirk) So black their hearts. libel. Theft. obtaining cash by false Pretenses with infanticide even him. so lily-white their livers The toga's touch would give a man the shivers! .

A fish in .76 THE COLLECTED WORKS AT THE WHITE HOUSE Among the notables one day that came To see the President was one Was known from Porto Rico Although it whose name to Luzon. Occasionally. all men some. self-righteous. the sons of pious mothers. wasn't Smith nor even John. him upon him others. snug. fervor and in faith a cat. His name indeed was famous. for the ensuing harvest claimed the glory. Renowned in field and council too. daily as Prayed for Sleek. but because My The memory's weak I know not what it was. cunning as a rat. just to pass the time. He worked at patriotism and Went up and down the land scowled at crime. denouncing those Who And loved him little as the country's foes. in the fireside's rosy light And Not grunted disesteem throughout the night. Predicted famine when they scorned his story. President he came that day to see as illustrious in his Was way as he. His name a household word that is to say Men damned him Deplored him roundly to begin the day. for he Had tilled the soil and been a school trustee.

take measures to prevent may He If both at once they would be President. he had ne'er been great If 77 Fortune had not kicked him into 'state. for each swore him by God's abounding grace. And never by me intended. For aught I know they are in session yet. He saw how the grass of the good was And the wicked lived in clover. I shall have this thing amended. If to me the power ever belong all wrong.OF AMBROSE BIERCE Obscure by nature. . not me is From words opprobrious my I page free. O. the place There in the Belonged to But." He looked so solemn and good and wise this observation As he made That the men who heard him believed their eyes Instead of his reputation. TIDINGS OF Old Nick from GOOD his place of last resort Came up and looked the world over. His name? Go ask Posterity. So they were married no mean they met. White House. short And he gravely said: "This is all.

" When Benson heard of the luck of the good eating his dinner) he muttered: 'tis (He was "It cannot help me." "that is free from guile Will now be free from annoyance. . and each Reported the words as nearly As memory served with additional speech To bring out the meaning clearly. Then Robert Morrow was With seen to smile a bright and lively joyanc6. And writers will form good habits. deputy sheriffs. police. And no But open For juror will ever heed 'em. for understood My bread is already buttered. gain. "The widows more easily robbed will be. or freedom. jailers. said he. "The While Featherstones doubtless will now increase And multiply like the rabbits.78 THE COLLECTED WORKS So they bruited the matter about. The consequence was that none understood. his purse to my eloquent plea security. And the wildest rumors started Of something intended to help the good And injure the evil-hearted. "A man.

Deepens his dullness to display his dirt. if they please. May the jurors that they lick. With impudence Unmoved. And those his naked nastiness to drown) Make such a din that cheeks erewhile aflame Grow white and in their fear forget their shame. sublime. all his And.OF AMBROSE BIERCE "My plats of surveys are all false. varied talents to exert. Like donkeys. imperial. with hisses crowd. In hot contention (these his art to crown. they say. He The fancies all the louder he can hear tube resounding in his spacious ear. loud. Till storm and counter-storm are both allayed. Joseph Emmett thinks the crimson shame On woman's cheek a trumpet-note of fame. the red storm "rises The more The more round her nose her eyes averted seek her toes. the patient actor bides his time. And when the gallery's applauding And gentlemen below. 79 But that cannot greatly matter for I'll tell To me." AN ACTOR Some one ('tis hardly new) has oddly said is The And color of a trumpet's blare red. each by t'other one outbrayed. my platter. .

venturesome To Of penetrate the wilds rectangular grass-grown ways luxuriant of blooms. It is a land of death. and intrenched in larders live. menace of starvation. strays with heedless is feet afar From human habitation and lost . Frequented of the bee and of the Bold squirrel. But woe to him. Drawing their sustentation from abroad. To where the Pestuary's fragrant studded. the stranger! He shall die As die the early righteous in the bud And promise of their prime. bears its With dead dogs Broods the still azure fleet. though some there be her sway Who challenge. blithe. for Famine there Holds sovereignty.80 THE COLLECTED WORKS all When One the place is silent as a mouse slow. suggestive gesture clears the house! FAMINE'S REALM To him in whom the love of Nature has Imperfectly supplanted the desire And dread necessity of food. He. from Tamaletown slime. is Fair Oakland. your shore. Bones Of men and women bleach along the ways And pampered vultures sleep upon the trees. Over all Your sunny level. a terror.

Like fish-hawks warring in the upper sky For that which one has taken from the deep. There ends history. Manage between them to dispatch the prey. and the two. Of all felonious and deadlywise of Souls. It flourishes that life May On human With That wither. He His enters and leaves hope behind. Dyspepsia. clean-picked By buzzards (with the bones himself had picked. That man may die. my friends. 81 There hunger seizes him.OF AMBROSE BIERCE In mid-Broadway. Anon his bones. Incautious) line the highway. lo! appears Extends so far) he has not wherewithal To bate its urgency. life Devices of the Enemy Planted along the ways of to snare Man's mortal and immortal part alike. Its foundation stones repose hearts and hopes. It lives The Oakland restaurant is chief. in I've seen in it Crabs stewed milk and salad offered up dressing so unholily it compound Yea. And (careless man! deeming God's providence Then. included flour and sugar! I've eaten dog there! dog. A restaurant a mealery a place Where poison battles famine. O. assumes the pen scrawls a tortured "Finis" on the page. . as I'm a man. Dog Thy And seethed in sewage of the town! No more hand.

Beneath the red-hot. Exclaims: "A Bonynge? to What the devil's that?" Mackay. falls asleep. riven coat-tails testified their hate. what first their indignation fired. heavenly goddess. and his suit he won. awaking like a startled bat. mutually smeared with gore.82 THE COLLECTED WORKS THE MACKAIAD Mackay's hot wrath to Bonynge. . As child of nature. envy all attent. She gives the assenting nod and Straightway the Bonynges all invade the Court And The The telegraph the news to every port. Whose hair in handfuls marked the dire debate. sing to Hellman's office floor That wrath which hurled Two And heroes. seas. the tidings fly. No more the Sovereign. muse. cables crinkle and the fishes fry! world. meanwhile. it. What words augmented by whom inspired. His habitation in the setting sun. the great Bonynge comes upon the scene Queen. his portly person and his name. Low and more low the royal eyelids creep. From slumber's chain her faculties can free. Sing. First. wearied with his plea. claim: all his And asks the favor of the British Suppliant he stands and urges His wealth. direful spring Of blows unnumbered.

Touched Bonynge with his finger-tip. "alike of nature and a gun. all which knew the man. what next to break the peace occurred What act uncivil. head and heel. And. Knowest not Mackay's insufferable sin? Hast thou not heard that he doth stand and grin? Arise! assert thy manhood. And As conscious of a will that never swerved. and ere his worshiper could kneel Had dived into his slush pool.OF AMBROSE BIERCE Untaught to spare. waiting but a moment's space to dry. Full of the god and to revenges nerved. And science said the seismic agitation Was due to mutable equilibration. unable to relent. gladly took him New York Through received him. in a mean. "O son. as other gods the sky. Where since creation he has played the fool. Clove the blue slush. but a shudder ran the western coast. and attest The uncommercial Avenge spirit in thy breast. And Sing." He said. . set sail: Bonynge our world beyond the wave as the other gave. for by Jove I swear Thou shalt not else be my peculiar care!" He spake. 83 Walks in our town on needles and on pins. revengeful spirit grins! muse. thine honor. what unfriendly word? The god of Bosh ascending from his pool.

The long spear brandish and porrect the shield. limb from limb. terrified. for a quill that nourished it to life. for a voice that's adequate to sing The splendor and the terror of the fray. aghast. feet street. Retreated east and west and north and south Before the menace of that twisted mouth. tail-tucked. in answer to their prayers. Did he unscabbard the avenging blade. Let vulgar souls to low revenge of diviner spirits at is divine. ! from an archangel's wing O. in public places Bonynge noonday stood And The And (with regard to the Mackays) made faces! Before those formidable frowns and scowls dogs fled. sing O what Bonynge next essayed. incline. the Havoc town and devastate thirst for blood did the field? His sacred he allay By halving the unfortunate Mackay? Small were the profit and the joy to him To hew That a base-born person.84 THE COLLECTED WORKS goddess. with affrighted howls. horses. Till Jove. with flying O'erthrew the apple-stands along the Involving the metropolis in vast Financial ruin! Men themselves. sent Night To veil the dreadful visage from their sight! Such were the causes of the horrid strife The mother-wrongs O. .

85 The The parted collars and the gouts of gore floor. A SONG Hail. attire ! Revolving bodies in deranged Vain. Alone remains. let In thy high service me ever be critics (Yet never serve thee as my me) Happy and I fallible. Blunder! hail!- Clay-footed deity of all who fail. lost and variously rent. but a lamp to mine. Let me. the coat-tails all astray. Reeking and smoking on the banker's interlocking limbs. vain the trial: 'tis vouchsafed to none into one! refuse. embraces dire. at seasons opportune and turns adore thee and by turns commit. To sing two millionaires rolled My hand and pen their offices And hoarse and hoarser grows the weary muse. content to feel to thee I kneel. to tell of the event. blunder chiefly best felicity is when But his thy praise . fit. blessed IN PRAISE golden idol.OF AMBROSE BIERCE The scattered hair. Celestial image. The Bonynge nethermost habiliment. Abandoned. Thy By feet concealing. let thy glory shine.

A POET'S FATHER Welcker. envy Peter Robertson for naught. Prime Pedagogue. vaulting spit-ball drops untimely fly down. not thine working. impaled on the tormenting pin Stills in his awful glance its dizzy din. Drink dry the whole Pierian spring and ask To The The slake their fervor at his private flask. for he thinks a life his. altar.86 THE COLLECTED WORKS Who Who And And I utters unaware in works and ways laborare est orare proves. I'm told. thy will. waves his ferule o'er a studious land Where humming youths. intent upon the page. dunce-cap flies . feels they suasion wheresoe'er he moves. Arrested by the terror of his frown. If such with blessings be not fraught. Thirsting for knowledge with a noble rage. it Serving thy purpose. And honored in the service of the all Public Instruction his mind employs its He He guides its methods and wage enjoys. Beneath that stern regard the chewing-gum Which writhed and squeaked between Obedient to his will the the teeth is dumb. imperious and grand. can boast a father great State. still.

perch upon the brows of the unwise
supple switch forsakes the parent







do the greatest good,
of old





With Solomon

for spitting

on the

Learned Professor, variously

Guide, guardian, instructor of the State


to discern

and zealous

to correct

The faults that mar the public intellect From where of Siskiyou the northern bound
Is frozen eternal to the sunless





San Diego's torrid clime
Greaser swelters in

The swarthy


Beneath your stupid nose can you not see

The dunce whom


you dandled on

your knee?

O mighty

master of a thousand schools,

Stop teaching wisdom, or stop breeding

Marriot, distressed by an "attack,"

the strange insolence to answer back
hides behind a







And out of shadow falters God knows him, though
hardihood to

his reply.
identified alike

and fear

to strike,


fitly to


rebuke his sins decrees,

That, hide from others with what care he


sha'n't be black

enough nor earth so wide

That from

himself himself can ever hide!


fate indeed to feel at every breath

His burden of




No To


from the immortal load,

think himself a serpent or a toad,

dream, with a divine, ecstatic glow,

He's long been dead and canonized a crow!

Attend, mine enemies of


all degrees,


sandlot orators and other fleas



gentlemen and rising louts


babble slander at your drinking bouts,

with unfamiliar wine, begin

Lies drowned, ere born, in more congenial gin.

But most

attend, ye persons of the press



though why, yourselves alone can guess)

In hope deferred, ambitious

to shine


at half a cent a line

Like drones among the bees of brighter wing,
Sunless to shine and impotent to sting.


estimate in easy verse




controversial value of a


So lend your ears


God knows you

have enough!

lie is

to teach,


I can't I'll cuff.


wicked, so the priests declare;
to us

But that

neither here nor there.
it is

'Tis worse than wicked,

vulgar too;


with that we've nothing here to do.

If 'twere artistic I


lie till

latest breath,


shape a falsehood with


Parrhasius never more did pity lack,

The while his model Than I should for my
stabbed with
vainly seek to

writhed upon the rack,
adversary's pain,

again and yet again,


move my stubborn

If slander were,

and wit were





fast as you,


faster far than I.

Shall I compete, then, in a strife accurst

Where Allen Forman And where the second


an easy



rightly flung


Charley Shortridge or to Mike de Young?

In mental combat but a single end
Inspires the formidable to contend.

Not by Not by



recruit's ambition fired,

By whom

foul blows, though harmless, are admired;

the coward's zeal, who, on his knee
his protecting tree,

Behind the bole of



So curves

musket that the bark





blows the weapon into


But with

the noble aim of one

whose heart
his art


foeman for he loves


veteran debater moves afield,
to libel as


untaught to


Dear foeman mine,

I've but this





to prevent

which most you wish
you most eager

to do.


then, are

to be at?





help you,

at that.

This only passion does your soul



wish to scorn me.



shall admire.

'Tis not enough


neighbors that you school

In the

belief that

I'm a rogue or fool

That small advantage you would gladly For what one moment would yourself
'You sha'n't believe


Write, then, your largest and your longest

howsoe'er you



falsehood you can


evil do,

Shall turn

me from

the truth to injure you,

your war

barren of effect

I find


victory in your respect.



have you


the world you set



For the world will soon forget
this or that;

It thought






vivid picture of your moral stain,




my memory




sweet, soft consciousness that you're a liar.

your triumph, then, to prove that you

Will do the thing that

would scorn



God grant that I forever be exempt From such advantage as my foe's contempt.

Still as


he climbed into the public view

His charms of person more apparent grew,
Till the pleased world that watched his airy grace

Saw nothing


him but

his nether face

his follies

his head's retreat,


blessed his virtues as

viewed their


proverb hath



"There never

great loss without
'Tis Nature's plan



restitution, I've

no doubt;

As sometimes

a repentant thief

Restores, for conscience's relief,

ten per cent., or thereabout,



the loot with which he ran.


Dear Governor, when you were ill You lost, they say, some twenty pound; But, muse and ponder as I will,




searching thoughts around,

I find in that great loss

no gain

Unless indeed in heart and brain






be bound

they are unaffected



you're foolish and absurd,
malicious and perverse
in truth I've



ever; and


since recovering you're worse.

The You The

inference, I think,


not what


best could spare:


character remains to curse

State until you're sepulchred.

'Tis true there's measurably less

Of you



and you're a load

chiefly that concerns, I guess,


patient beast that you bestrode

When, booted, spurred and gloved and You led Mark Boruck from the stall,



him on

that rocky road,



In gain to Boruck, though,




loss to

every honest soul,

It aids the

weekly Harridan,

His thoroughbred-and-butter



end: the weight whose


we mourn,

From Waterman by

illness torn,

Was mostly To learn he'd


were droll

twenty pounds of man!

Jacob Jacobs, of Oakland, he swore:

"Dat Solomon Martin


haf his gore!"

Solomon Martin, of Oakland, he


Shacob Shacobs der bleed I


So they met, with seconds and surgeon at


fought with pistol and powder and







as before I said,

They fought with


and powder and





for each other they


Fighting with pistol and powder and lard!

For the lead had been

stolen away, every trace,


Christian hog-product supplied
the shade of


Moses indignant


"Quvicker dan lighdnings go vosh yer glose!"
Jacob Jacobs, of Oakland, they

Applied for a pension the following day.

Solomon Martin, of Oakland,

I hear,


call himself

Colonel for


a year.

Refrain. But when you hold your tongue we hear. from speaking out. at least.94 THE COLLECTED WORKS TO W. H. Roberts and Carmany on either The circling contribution-box no more Provokes the nod and simulated snore. While thrifty sisters o'er the cauldron stoop To serve their all God with zeal. dull orator. Ladies' Lunches at a bit a bite Destroy the health yet spare the appetite. Your noise in mastering that little beast. No Nor more the Lottery. EMANCIPATION Behold the days of miracle ! at last Return if ever they were truly past: From sinful creditors' unholy greed last is freed The church called Calvary at So called for there the Savior's crucified. For silence deepens when you raise the shout. And With the brethren mendicate the earth viewless placards: "We've been so from birth!" . L. their friends with soup. Lures the reluctant dollar from its lair. B. side. no more the Fair.

The holy brethren. thrill Remarking with a martyr's prescient The Hemp maturing on the cheerless Hill. with gentle cachination: "I have a mortgage on the congregation. Deeply disguised (a deacon newly dead Supplied the means) Jack Satan holds his head As His high as any and as loudly sings jubilate till each rafter rings. Grins through the collar of a horse and thinks . Thus the clown. Pour out their gratitude in prayer and psalms. "The debt is lifted and the temple free!" Then says. Evening Post. The wit and Mentor of the country town. "Rejoice. Chant De Profundis." JOHNDONKEY [There sneaking isn't a man for living who does not have at least a reverence a horse-shoe. the pastor 95 now can lend His whole attention to his latter end. aside. meaning "out of debt." And dance like mad or would if they were let.OF AMBROSE BIERCE Sure of his wage. ye ever faithful.] Thus the poor ass whose appetite has ne'er any sweeter fare Known Thinks than the all thistle the world eats thistles. lifting pious palms." bellows he.

" When Sink from my body I was free I straightway felt myself. .96 THE COLLECTED WORKS secretly. How How odd that any mind such natural to write it stuff should boast! in the Post! HELL The friends who stood about my bed said: Looked down upon my face and "God's will be done the fellow's dead. Where were green and flowers sweet. Though unwilling still In public to attest their lack of skill. because Others for pleasure do as he for drinks. The climate was devoid of heat. "Here you dwell "this is aye. not." a Voice cried Hell!" A landscape lay about trees my feet. their understandings his. And For then alighted. all Naught that he knows he fancies. ah me! downward to the life to be. life Each dunce whose Believes as he is all and mind living are all follies mar men His vices theirs. is. Full twenty centuries I fell.

whose sovereign genius wields body yields. The The quill his tributary author of an opera All but the music and libretto's his: A work renowned. hills with light and color fringed. repels the assault of fame From the high vantage of a dusty shelf. Who told the tale of "Culture" in a screed if That some might understand Master of poesy and lord of all would read.- prose. no. there's The Voice said. that is. his Linked with own. "The This preachers ne'er so greatly is Earth's spirit glorified! "Good And. gentle beam." BY FALSE PRETENSES John S. The The waters by the sky were tinged. Irish!" "Well. Birds warbled on the wing unsinged.OF AMBROSE BIERCE The sun looked 97 down with steam. "that's John P. Upon the bosom of the Nor saw I any sign of stream. souls do not in Hades dwell. Hittell. this is not Hell. look. lied. . all Secure from the world except himself. "Ah." I cried." what makes it Hell. whose formidable name.

98 THE COLLECTED WORKS like a setter. went down to death's eternal night Sweetly unconscious that the wretch could write. And knows a painting with a canvas back Distinguished from a duck by the duck's quack. left it A woman And so him who could not read. Judge of the painter's art. The loose leash dangles from your finger-tips. But the loud "havoc" dies upon your No spirit animates your feeble clay yield than even You'd rather In vain run away. for Clio this. LUCIFER OF THE TORCH O Reverend Ravlin. Has now a fortune. if He flushes both not his fault we miss. all You Urged the fiery boycotters afield see And Alas. Dowered. of his pen the meed. who'll straight proclaim The hue of any color you can name. McGlashan labors to inspire . how great the change! Your dogs of war are ailing all of mange . This thinker and philosopher. once with sounding lung shook the bloody banner of your tongue. whose work Is famous from Commercial street to Turk. swore you'd rather them die than yield. lips. That one for Erato. with a double nose. how brief the time.

You cackle concord to congenial geese. Glowing and smarting underneath Successive Ravlins have revenged their shame ' By blowing every coal and flinging flame.OF AMBROSE BIERCE Your pallid nostril with his breath of fire: 99 The You light of battle's faded from your face his place. their tails fails. Upon the kindling Boycott's ruddy bloom. when Christ with scourges drave The The Ravlins headlong from the Temple's nave. keep the peace. Put pinches of goodwill upon And pluck them with a touch that never . Save that cupidity forbids the wrong. thrown by whom. the brambles with their fleece. Has slaked your parching blood-thirst and allayed The flash and shimmer of your lingual blade? your salary's unpaid! Your salary In the old days. in Birth-marked forever surviving hurts. vast monstrous rubric. By shouting when no more you can incite The dogs to put the timid sheep to flight To load. the latest (may you be the last!) Endorsed with that hereditary. strife you preferably pass your days it But brawl no moment longer than pays. what cold water. And And In you. their shirts. his pelt the Each bore upon mark divine Boycott's red authenticating sign. would the feud prolong. for you. John Chinaman O Ravlin.

Although they cannot write. Ancient enmities how cruel ! Balaam cudgeled once a Jewell. To have one talent good enough to show sufficient to Has always been command The veneration of the brilliant band Of railroad scholars. Indeed. Though one would not suspect it from your is looks. too. indeed. . you can write spell. hand in hand more than I can ever hope to know. who themselves." Still. can mostly read. Where Your geniuses are singularly slight. to assail 'em. Like sentimental schoolgirls. friends the Chinamen you are understood. You show About the workmanship of Stanford's cooks the region of the appetite. Jewell speaks of Balaam And his vices. to speak of as "belly good. you're a genius and can write. You lack that certain spareness which quite Distinctive of the persons who make books. I understand Though how two Is such accomplishments can go.100 THE COLLECTED WORKS "THE WHIRLIGIG OF TIME" Dr. A RAILROAD LACKEY Ben Truman.

. I'm now content: meet them later if I don't repent. I it observe to say nay. like the my rebel pen stubborn bird from which 'twas got. And Ned's degree less precious than his wage. You've writ a letter. land! how I run on! I quite forgot Whom I think this was meant to be about. Or when you signed away your soul and swore On You The railrogue battle-fields to shed your gore mentally reserved the right to shed raiment of your character instead. "Thou Good canst not say I did it. used to dash his name on glory's page. for when upon that odd. and invite them to In thicker quantity. Who "A." with his every breath. unearthly lot Not quite Creed Raymonds. To I'll leave your comrades.OF AMBROSE BIERCE There's Towne. Perhaps you drink No corporation's wine. is all obliterate with age. but love its ink. 101 Gage Goodman and Steve Ned Curtis of Napoleonic face. with Fillmore." appended to denote his place Among the learned. yet not wholly men I'm dominated by That. Now the last faint trace Of Nap. more. if Goes waddling forward I will or not. Ben. M. He says: "I done it. You've published how good you come o'er think The coolies." says Macbeth.

102 THE COLLECTED WORKS You're naked. To stimulate virtue by comforting thrift. said he man consider himself legatee. when making a gift. for. legal and straight. But "eland $tanford" a pretty brand. lawyers preferring to manage the same. for none would is steal and none reclaim. And The all San Francisco. feel well. And he wrote out a will. anyhow: unragged you stand In frank and stark simplicity of shame. is flat: naked unreserve you're Don your habiliment fat. The iron has marked you with your owner's nam< Needless. for he didn't is Said he: "It proper. in letters grand. you're fat! THE LEGATEE In fair San Francisco a good man did dwell. and Oakland beside Save only the lawyers came each with his claim." In due course of time that philanthropist died. . To "the cursedest rascal in all of the State. Wrought by an But come this artist with a cunning hand." So he left all his property." : But the name he refused "Let each to insert. And here upon your flank.

he did so: got for to go. where's your eyes? Them's "Arise. The And cursedest rascal in all of the State. and he wrote. arise. The "For editor man he said. which was legal and straight. sedate and serene. "and be going. tumultuous. out of his court And left him 'Twas then that he said: "It is plain to I find my mind This property's ownerless how can The cursedest rascal in all of the State?" it So he took himself. were tried in Department Thirteen Judge Murphy presided. But couldn't quite specify.OF AMBROSE BIERCE The cases 103 . "DIED OF A ROSE" A reporter he was. so he remarked to them. Inquiring: "What's them a-growing?" The reporter chap said: floral tributes!" "Why. legal and straight. little and big dig!' To claimants: "You skip!" and to lawyers: "You victorious. 'floral tributes' he's I For hold the same misleading. holding the fort. They tumbled." Then he called him in and he pointed sweet To a blooming garden across the street." . wrote he: "The grave was covered as thick as could be floral tributes" With which reading." The editor said.

Both bound for Heaven's high In life gate. soiled And While torn as by a gale. Her pinions were bedraggled. on the gallows high Died pious and they flew. . too. AT THE ELEVENTH HOUR As through the blue expanse he skims On joyous wings. you would have sworn That she had murdered him. he touches without gloves.104 THE COLLECTED WORKS A LITERARY HANGMAN Beneath his coat of dirt great Neilson loves To hide the He handles all avenging rope. The Her feathers of his visage. was stained and worn And menacing and His sweet and mild grim. his were bright all freshly oiled tail. Excepting soap. they loved and (God knows why A He lover so should sue) slew her. the late Frank Hutchings overtakes Miss Sims.

Nor enter the debate an atheist. but Lingered about the county To see a Christian die. Why Bartlett. "For you." A CONTROVERSIALIST I've sometimes wished that Ingersoll were wise To hold his tongue. nor he's rail against the skies. Nor time your soul to save. is But when they say there a God to I ask exist." said she. "and I jail I should wail In Hell even now. unluckily." ' 'Tis true. is suffered .OF AMBROSE BIERCE When they'd arrived before He said to her: "My dear." I brandish no iconoclastic fist. then. But you can't enter here. 'Tis hard once the gate 105 more to separate. were sent So quickly to the grave You had no notice to repent. For when made a point some pious dunce Like Bartlett of the Bulletin "replies.

must thy remaining years their ears Be passed in leading idiots by Thine own (which Justice." But humbly sent. unto thee Let meaner mortals bend the subject knee! is mendacity's imperial crown. forsooth. if she ruled the roast Would Still fasten to the penitential post) On the wagging sympathetically hung same rocking-bar that bears thy tongue? of darkness. . Alike by genius. dost thou hope to stay till Thou dog Time's dread advance thou hast had thy day? release his hold Dost think the Strangler will Because. Saying: "There's no place for his punishment That's worse than earth. Senex. no beneath thy multiplying load Of years thou canst not tarry on the road To dabble in the blood thy leaden feet pressed Have from bosoms that have ceased to beat. E'er lied so greatly with so shame! O bad old man. No man.106 THE COLLECTED WORKS infidels that logic Even might resent. I submit That he's himself a hell wherever MENDAX High Lord Thine of Liars. since words could set a little cheek aflame. some fibs remain untold? No. action and renown.

And thou who killest patience be not killed. old. as Thy But life washed out with a wave of ink." . Leaving that eminence brown and bare. the my clan. hear And my great-grand-daddy's comical croaks In authorized versions of Bulletin jokes. If age assail in vain and vice attack Only by folly to be beaten back. Mateless and chickless. word says he. Exposed to the Prince of the sits Power of the Air. Quits his now featherless nose-o'-the-Pope. old And But he and he thinks: "I'm an last of man. if this prophecy be not fulfilled.OF AMBROSE BIERCE Tell to thyself whatever lies 107 thou wilt. ultimate plume of his pride and hope. I'd give the half of the days gone by To perch once more on the branches high. his eye all is dim. Catch as thou canst at pennies got by guilt Straight down to death this blessed year thou'lt sink. but he snaps his bill And The twitches his palsied head. this consolation give: Yet Nature can The rogues who die not are condemned to live! THE RETROSPECTIVE BIRD His caw is a cackle. And Not he mopes a day on the lowest limb . as a quill.

the scene relieved: No I wagging tail life never in my it conceived (I swear on the Decalogue!) Such penury of living dog. snarling with the snarler killed. its All nature seemed to hold breath: The silence was as deep as death. True. And saw One stack upreared its ridge so high Against the azure of the sky That some good Put up a steeple soul. . been taken out and shot lot. as before. and sold pews. Their bodies strewed each vacant O'er all the earth. from Berkeley down To I San Leandro's ancient town. out in space as far as Niles their mortal parts in piles. candidates were all a roar On every platform. with pious views. The The barking and the howling stilled.108 THE COLLECTED WORKS THE OAKLAND DOG I lay one happy night in bed And dreamed They'd all that all the dogs were dead.

Now What else befell to whom and how? Imprimis. and fog-horns snored. contesting for the track. True. And so the world was silent. through the awful years. felt free 109 To finger the calliope. True. To the nocturnal monologues And day debates of Oakland dogs. And days of worth brought nights of ease. as before. all But this was too fine for ears Accustomed. then. Men Of walked about without the dread being torn to many a shred.OF AMBROSE BIERCE And villains. . the Salvationist by night. And milkman in the early light. cocks at unheavenly hours Crew with Fat citizens excruciating powers. there were no fleas. church bells on a Sunday rang The sick man's curtain down the bang Of trains. Out of the shadow all called him back. Cats on the woodshed rang and roared. True. The lonely flutist and the mill Performed their functions with a will.

Dog being dead. his When He memories of his former shame flame Crimsoned said. I Proud of suppose. without A bulldog hanging to each nose his fragrance. art They all took lodgings in his heart. Women could drive and not a pup Would lift the horse's tendons up And let them go to interject A certain musical effect. Even children's ponies went about. All grave and sober-paced.110 THE COLLECTED WORKS Each fragment holding half a cruse Of hydrophobia's quickening juice. They had not to propitiate Some curst kioodle at each But entered one gate. "I cheeks with sudden fault too well I fell. another's grounds Unscared. and were not fed to hounds." know my They fawned upon me and Ah! I 'twas a lovely world! bore. Man's lawless flame Burned out: he granted Woman's claim. no more met that indisposing . Children's and those of country.

And when in after ages they Shall pass. Their war-song sung When Fame shall tell the tale anew . From Walnut Creek to San Jose. my dream the golden reign Of Reason filled the world again. And all mankind confessed her sway. Another aim we have in view Than for the buried boys in blue To Of drop a tear: revives the chin in Memorial Day That's Barnes. The man who's proud to love Thus in 111 a dog. THE UNFALLEN BRAVE Not all in sorrow and in tears. To-day we come. like mortal men.OF AMBROSE BIERCE The unseraphic cynogogue. To pay of gratitude's arrears The yearly sum the pride Not prompted wholly by Of those for whom their friends have died. away. and Salomon chimes why we're here.

Remarking: "My dear. Roselle in her room was alone: The flesh of her flesh and the bone of her bone Neglected the wife of his bosom to Sing tooral iooral iooral ioo. Once Mrs. person named Petrie. appeared at the door. I don't love you no more." said the lady. Sing tooral iooral iooral iay. her lover. he lived But Mr. "on Sing tooral iooral iooral iee.112 THE COLLECTED WORKS Of how intrepidly The deadly Then cull they drew tongue white lilies for the graves Of Loyalty's loquacious braves." me . Roselle. And The roses red. A CELEBRATED CASE Way down in the Boom Belt lived Mrs. Roselle he resided away A there as well. woo Then Petrie. their livers. these Those represent blood that in unmeasured seas They did not shed." "That's awfully rough.

Petrie. Although you don't love me no more. say! Sing tooral iooral iooral She deluged his head and continued to pour Till his bonny blue eyes. down while I spray you with vitriol now Sing tooral iooral iooral low." began to explain but not he! see." The Judge on the bench he looked awfully stern. It was seldom he got such a hearty shampoo ioo. "Sorry business is am for disturbin' you. Roselle. were no more." Said she. "So they say Sing tooral iooral iooral iay. The But Sheriff he came and he I offered his arm." she added. . So spray and be" O. like his love. I have an engagement and bid you farewell." she Sing tooral iooral iooral iee. marm. what a word he did iay." Said Petrie : "That liquid I know won't agree With my beauty. and then you'll no longer love me . business.OF AMBROSE BIERCE "Come Sit in. 113 Mr. Saying. "pray do: I love you. Sing tooral iooral iooral Then "You Petrie he rose and said: "Mrs. Sing tooral iooral iooral iyi. The District Attorney began to attorn The witnesses lied and the lawyers O my! .

114 THE COLLECTED WORKS chap that defended her said: "It's our claim us no longer and told us the same. sockets of Petrie were flooded with tears. And And Sing four thought her victim four that the acid uncommonly bad. O heaven-born Sympathy." The District Attorney. Not having no we may dote on you now Sing tooral iooral iooral iow. I'm a blade Designed for use at dress parade. rum tiddy iddity iddity COUPLETS [For Inscription on a of the National Guard. My gleaming length when I display Peace rules the land with gentle sway.] I Sword Presented to Colonel Cutting am for Cutting. Four jurors considered the prisoner mad. replied: "We loved you no longer eyes. bully for you! Sing tooral iooral iooral ioo. that can't be denied." The The prisoner wept to entoken her fears . sarcastic. The That he loved What else than we did could we decently do? Sing tooral iooral iooral ioo. . was "all in his eye" hi.

annual review is mine. In time of feast and dance and ballad. and eat. soulless blades take The Let human life. am for Cutting. Not for me task of setting nations free. 'Tis not mine To hew The amain the hostile line. Beneath the sing. When And I gorgeous shopmen sweat and shine. Biddy. When And Loveliness and Valor meet trees to dance. tip-toe on the pave. am for Cutting. Not mine all pitiless to spread plain with tumuli of dead. behold My The I golden glories all unfold! There formidably are displayed harmless horrors of my blade. My grander duty lies afar From haunts of the insane hussar Where charging horse and struggling foot alike Are grimed with cannon-soot. My The softer metal shuns the strife. am for cutting chicken salad. .OF AMBROSE BIERCE But when the war-dogs bare their teeth 115 I Go seek me in the modest sheath. Adores the cobble-trotting brave. and much besides.

was bare Of Of cities its and of old aspect. rails at stains reflected from his own. Go drink again at the Pierian pool. A VISION OF RESURRECTION I had a dream. Ere yet the rogue had sunk into the dunce Back. And And shrew-bound gentlemen discourse of slaves. The habitable earth all Its continents and islands forests. back to Yale and. No longer scorn the draught. And learn at least better to play the fool." nor feels the dark Ring round his neck the Ralston collar mark. So. complete. although the font Unlike Pactolus. to studies interrupted once. and I Naught remained only knew . man. Prates of "docility. in another's clear escutcheon shown. Thieves that the constable The mad Barnes that all except themselves are mad . swear employers ne'er get ready stole all they had.116 THE COLLECTED WORKS A RETORT As As vicious women think all men are knaves. ! The course a virgin's lust cut short. waters not Belmont. grown with years discreet. Back. reeling drunkards judge the idlers world unsteady.

to the distant sky's inclosing blue. how this should be I heard. But rather Riven for as by some internal force Tombs of stone were split egress. With mildewed linen all the ground was white. Low like an angel's. "behold The burial place of universal Man! A million years have rolled away since here His sheeted multitudes (save only some Whose dark misdeeds required a And individual arraigning) rose separate To judgment at the trumpet's summoning And passed into the sky for their award. "Spirit. delicately strong. preserved by miracle. And wide agape. or fancied that I heard. On every side I saw the barren land. endure . Discarded shrouds upon memorial stones Hung While without motion in the soulless greatly marveling air. and in their iron decay The massive mausoleums stood in halves. And sweet as music. unknowing how)' That this was earth and that all men were dead.OF AMBROSE BIERCE 117 (As men know things in dreams." it said. and all the graves Save one were open not as newly dug. Leaving behind these perishable things Which yet. a voice. all Even Thick-pitted with graves.

as the voice was stilled That single rounded mound cracked lengthliwise And one came forth in grave-clothes. When all 'Twas but and naught shall be forevermore! are risen that wonder will occur. Deacon and Editor a holy man rise first. bent outwardly As by the weight of saintliness above. : Noting his headstone overthrown. so Against whose name many crimes were set That only now his But one remains." Who And fell asleep in Jesus. Fitch. like parentheses." trial is at end. shall spring To flame. Rock-hearted mountain and storm-breasted River and wilderness and sites of dead And vanished capitals of men. I read of "Sacred to the memory George K. full Sprang upward and soon was lost to view. Then they and all of earth. full of years blessedness. For a space He stood and gazed about him with a smile Superior. ten centuries ago the last forth But one came a soul so black with sin. then laying off his shroud Disclosing two attenuated legs Which. The dead in Christ . Straight. sea.118 THE COLLECTED WORKS all Till are up.

And you Your well. I am a poet. so sure: that's quite as bad. it one of the poetic laws life. you'll find trouble soon in blowing it private coal to keep red and glowing. : 119 command Respect It is you are a poet and can draw. I have shown A high regard for human life because have such trouble to support my own. You would have saved your throttle from a stricture. murder even the girls I want to. and demented didn't show Well. well. About your poetry I'm not 'Tis certain we have much Whose hardy writers have not to endure The hangman's fondling. Brooks if (I mean the poet) it. but a picture. Goldenson. a pity that your gifted hand Should ever have been raised against the law. although. Goldenson.OE AMBROSE BIERCE MASTER OF THREE ARTS Your various talents. To I sing of not take it. If you had drawn no pistol. I sometimes flat and sometimes But let me say. too Taught by the muses how to smite the harp And lift the tuneful voice. It is said they're mad: Though Looked lately Mr. like you And Brooks. I never I hold sharp. with no desire to taunt you. .

but my reach are. if I where heroes You mistake you not. in the Sunday papers you. A rogue shall never rail are the man. mister. that's scribbled rhymes. Del Mar. is is and because no hand you stand. Who And lately with a supplicating twitch at the pockets of the all Plucked London you got. all Damn I great Englishmen in English speech? in am no Englishman. rich. In Hell make you blister!" THERSITES So. because You libel Of officer And I nations. Approach Saint Peter. take pity on my Forgive the murderer of Mamie all right I'll Kelly!" but. And You Peter says: "O. raised to bid falsehood unpunished of the laws. paid your share-engraver Because that you have greatly lied. stand here in a public place to mark With level finger where you part the crowd to cry aloud : I stand to name you and "Behold mendacity's great hierarch!" . crawling You cry: "Good sir.120 THE COLLECTED WORKS now I see I fancy you at the Gate on your state belly.




O what a world

it is



cut capers in the


Cotillion, waltz, or

what you

and whiz


spin and hop and sprawl about like




our future Grant or Sherman,


these youths pass their time,

passing his

If eagles ever

come from painted


deeds of arms succeed to deeds of legs.
us about Waterloo:





"foremost righting,"
it: I

the evening's dancers.

don't believe







are skillful in the Lancers

Less often die of cannon than of cancers.




half-persuaded, too,
before the

That David when he danced



the reporter's


to keep


Ed Greenway, you
Like maiden's






in the papers daily.

You think it, doubtless, honorable fame, And contemplate the cheap distinction
does the


as other

the blue-painted



Believes becoming to him.

'Tis the same
all their souls

With men


Crave eminence on any kind of



cynics (barking tribe!) are all agreed
poles performing capers

That monkeys upon
Are not

exalted, they are only "treed."


glory that

kindled by the papers

transient as the phosphorescent vapors


shine in graveyards and are seen, indeed,

But while the bodies that supply the gas Are turning into weeds to feed an ass.


can but wonder sometimes
be an ass a beast




And The


beat condignly

Because, like yours, his

life is in his heels




to use

them unbenignly.



them!) say you dance divinely.

I like St. feet

Vitus better, though,



about him with a grace more just,


hops, not for he will, but for he must.




you to observe



and adipose mamas

All looking adoration as you swerve

This way and that; but prosperous papas

If heard,

in their sleeves at you,


their ha-has,

would somewhat

agitate your nerve.

And dames and
Don't seem


keep you on their shelves


a closer tie themselves.

Gods! what a



by day a slave


your exacting back and urgent belly;

Intent to earn and vigilant to save;


By night, attired so sightly and so smelly, With countenance as luminous as jelly,
Bobbing and bowing!


of hearts and knave


diamonds, I'd bet a silver brick

If brains

were trumps you'd never take a


I slept, and,


in the years to be,



and approaching whence they came,

Listened indifferently where a key


lately been





Said to her daughter:


yonder caddy your daddy."

some emery

to scour





intuition said

That tombs were not and men had

cleared their shelves

and the electro-plated dead

Stood pedestaled as statues of themselves.

With famous dead men


the public places


thronged, and some in piles awaited bases.
structure's high facade

One mighty


Contained a single monumental niche,
central in that steep expanse of stone,


the familiar

form of Thomas





"Lo! Truth's temple and



gravely added: "I'm her chief expounder."



Professor Gayley, you're a great man, sure!


say that you can almost



can spell


parse, but cannot figure well

(For mathematics

not literature)
are fewer
sinners tell

And hold with rancor that twice two Than they're cracked up to be. Let
Wherein you

disappoint, but I will swell


chorus of your greatness.
exploit a


For that


of brass,

And roar your excellences to the sky, And fill with witness all the world Alas, You can't write poetry! No more can



that, you'll notice,


another matter.



less ubiloquent,



You hold the Chair, Of English Letters.

so your credentials say,



well and


teaching diligently, line by line,

You may

yourself have the good luck

some day


learn enough of

to bid

you stay


red right hand from making



Dear Muses then with

laurels will entwine

Your brows and



lightly to display


bold, bad poet, hear

These words of wisdom (from a grizzled head)

Inserted civilly into your ear:


In teaching verse you'll better earn your bread,


on our feelings


unkindly trample,

you will work by precept, not example.


the shouting capitals you use


strengthen feebleness, nor

the skill

You lack conceal the foolish hates that fill The fountain whence the driblet of your views
in a dirty channel to suffuse


slime the British Empire!

Dip your


In something sweeter and you'll write
your rant

less ill


better can excuse.


doubt you wish you had been born a Boer

(Spelling excepted, so indeed you were;



as well)

but that's a very poor
the Lord!
I should prefer




be a Briton though they shot








your hoofs, Jack Gayley.




Mike, have ye heard the good news?
They're gwan to have



at last


An' a Parlyment fine they will chuse, An' wurruk's a thing o' the past.
They'll vote every

man an




he can drink and




the blessedest day


seen since

we landed

I say

In America.

Whisht! though
no place to cheer!



Rule we mustn't hurroo

They'll be wantin'





street contractor, t'other


Walked out

before the day

was born.

The silver moon beyond his Had prudently retired, and
Trembled, grew

Fair golden star his clutch that feared

and disappeared.

The Our

sun rose not

afraid to risk

His tempting, double-eagle


spin out the verse?


robbers robbed

him of

his purse,

Left him uncomfortably spread


pavement, semi-dead,

ran away exultant.


Sang "Murder!" "Fire!"

every key,

Until politeness bade him cease


fear of

waking the

all faint,


straight unto the Chief,

He made

way and



"I met two robber-men," said he;





well, look at




Chief, you see."

"How much?"

asked that sententious man.

as nearly as I





gave them






six bits."

"Why, damn your avaricious soul!" The Chief said: "do you claim the whole?


did quite well to get, begad,
six bits of all they



They say, my lord, that you're a Warwick. The title's an absurd one, I believe


You make no


you have no kings

to sell,

really 'twere easy to conceive


stuffing half-a-dozen

up your


No, you're no Warwick,


from the

To hatch

out sovereigns.


a mare's nest, maybe,

You'd incubate a

mule baby.

I fancy, too, that

it is

naught but


This "power" that you're

said to be "behind



I'm sure 'twere accurate enough


represent you simply as inclined

bubbles. justifying cut-throats' crimes hire calumniating. it A. you're an impostor every way: A human "Hath bubble. THE COLLECTED WORKS To push poor Markham (ailing in his mind And body. GEORGE Attorney Knight. No. and more unruly. to a tribunal far More While honorable than their Honors are. for "the earth. that sits A court not with assenting smile living rogues dead gentleman revile. through the press. KNIGHT happens so sometimes That For lawyers. too." you know. to Such menial Employment low natures is congenial. Some hand will prick your and O.128 . A court where scoundrel ethics of your trade aid. Dan. The dead. dumb victims cruelly unsouled Speak. for gold. which were never very tough) in Round an invalid's wheeled chair. throw fallen Woolsey might to Cromwell say) Your curst ambition to the pigs though truly 'Twould make them greater pigs. as the water hath. How (As utterly you'll vanish! Daniel. Confuse no judgment and no cheating ." careless Some day film.

you. defending Powell. Kept all thy law and. Clapping your nose upon the dead man's track To run his faults to earth at least proclaim At vacant holes the overtaken game ) That men who marked you flourishing the And saw your arms so vigorously swung. To (So earn your like a fee. This hardy man's description of thy dear Ralph Smith a "shoulder-striker!" O hear Dead child. so energetic grew all hound. All silent benefactions still he wrought: High deed and gracious speech and noble thought. God. seeking still the right. to raise the The mill was laboring wind. the gentlest soul.OF AMBROSE BIERCE The Court of 129 Honest Souls. . Upon his blameless breast received the light. if Sternly reminded a man engage crammed. where you in vain May To plead your rights to falsify for gain. villifying falsehoods His mouth with He's twice detestable and doubly damned Attorney Knight. save only One. or surely they had grinned. the pride of the pack. E'er born in any land beneath the sun. All marveled tongue. how so light a breeze could stir ! So great a windmill to so great a whir Little they knew. ! serve assassins for the liar's wage.

" "With pleasure." Said he: White stared in blank surprise. . Thy So. "That's what I am here for." "Yes?" said the Saint. To Or But smite or spare me it all is Can vengeance justice give if bring my sorrow to an end. too. deep as his compassion wide Thy servant." one cried Whose wrath was Milton. When Senator White arrived in state. my lord. Pleased to observe that the man was dead ." Peter said. Thy slaughtered saints. his teeth! Or do Thou wrest it from between UNARMED Saint Peter sat at the jasper gate. saints be slaughtered and be slandered Lord. O Lord. And Powell prosper as he did before.130 THE COLLECTED WORKS "Avenge. the Senator heard With pain the inflection of that word. that. Kindly show Your ticket. "I run this place just turn that key. me back my buried friend? some Milton vainly now implore. to Nay. Thy will be done: one. Yet 'twere too much making no ado. "Admit me. and in you go. make Knight his weapon keep in sheath.

with blanching lip. with quite The self-same irritating stress Distinguishing his former yes. "Yes?" the guardian said. nay. by thunder. neighborly: "Pray tell me. You're voice rang: clear and high 7/ 7/ ever 7. mastering his emotion. "I'm Stephen M. Admittance to those Said. Does any one contest my seat?" The Saint replied: "Nay. White!" And. the Democratic party! To draw . seeing his bluster vain halls to gain. But you voted always wrong below: "Whate'er the question. And made With a motion to his hip. "Die. not so. Pete. purpose murderous and hearty.'" Now Of indignation fired the heart that insulted immortal part. Stephen. you're too damned free. And still demurely as a mouse He twirled the key to that Upper Then House. wretch!" he cried. he 131 Remarked: "My friend.OF AMBROSE BIERCE But..

told That's queer! Have you Once when William Stow? the Legislature said: "Go. You recently have said. You lightly rubbed your eyes . As one made leisurely awake. I hear. like to That you would go To serve as Senator. Stanford. and be great!" You lifted up your Jovian head And overlooked the State.132 THE COLLECTED WORKS He felt his fingers vainly slide Upon his unappareled hide tents" (The dead arise from their "silent But not their late habiliments) Then wailed it the briefest of his speeches: "I've left in my other breeches!" A POLITICAL VIOLET Come. You talk of anything you please. Stanford. let us sit at ease And talk as old friends do. And I will talk of you.

Now. sure? : that can hardly be All statesmen. I suppose. upon the whole. aside. please to A As my "But who are they who skulk to get out of reach.OF AMBROSE BIERCE And answered note of : 133 make "Thank you surprise. you'd go. that though You were surprised and pained. are pure. What! there are rogues? Dear me!" You added. And in their clothing strive to hide Three thousand dollars each? "Not members No. of your body. You thought. And in that mind remained. what That you so great a change has so frankly speak wrought Of "seeking" honors once unsought Because you "scorned to seek?" Do you not fear the grave reproof In good Creed Raymond's eye? Will Stephen Gage not stand aloof And O. you'll recall. fear pass you coldly by? litch you not that Vrooman's rise Will from earth and point .

where the join their violets train. gore." said the shedder of priestly Arrestin' to once his jaws. grow. The amber which 'Twas overflew from the cud Like rivers which burst out of bounds peculiar pleasant to think it blood A-gushin' from Papal wounds. He bit it intenser. fair His eyes was and uncommon Was his physiognomee. perchance. and then he did.134 THE COLLECTED WORKS At you a scornful finger which lack. THE SUBDUED EDITOR Pope-eater Pixley set in his den A-chewin' upon his quid. a joint? May And Await Go. The person which entered was curly of hair And smilin* as ever blue. you see. . Stanford. "Come in. A knockin' was heard uponto the door Where some one a-waitin' was. He fancied it Leo Thirteen. modest the work of William Stow And be surprised again.

is "If journals better or worse: in truth. "Exactly. I'm the owner." . howsomever. bedad!" And "The his laughture was loud and free. your mind to light With While a more superior fire: You'll have naught hencefor'ard to do but write. you understand That he meant. I am in. which and to say. it's always ran In the independentest way! "Not a dam galoot can interfere.OF AMBROSE BIERCE And yet there 135 was some'at remarkable grand And the editor says as he looks: "Your Height" (it was Highness. my friend that's me. The climate is that perverse. surpassin' mad. devil !" cried Pixley. I'm the editor is man Of this paper too." said the sunny youth. but he spoke like books) "Your Height. "I've come. I sets by to all inspire. A-shapin' my course for me : This paper's (and nothing can make Pixleian in policee! " it veer) "It's little to me. "We'll make it hot round. Where I am to home they won't keep.

Reducted to sech a plight! "BLACK BART. bold and free. Welcome. fiction. a weepin' sight To see a great editor. But you appeared have an even skinful.136 THE COLLECTED WORKS So he took a chair and a feather fan. Which sweats and sweats and sweats! All unavailin' his struggles be. are now as wool : You've made atonement for all past offenses. O. good friend . And it's. Inspirin' that humbled editor man. hope you'll hold your present stand firm And Your not again be open to conviction. . though scarlet once. And conjugated The verb "to You were We've all 'twas an awful pull! pay" in all its moods and tenses. a dreadful criminal by Heaven. Po8" as you have served your term. And he sets and sets and sets. And I found the joy of crime to be a faith. so sinful ! I think there never was a man a pinch or two of Satan's to leaven. sins.

137 The sea and sky. Stuart. To think they'd put one poet in a hole print his verses. As now he must be tempted to do daily. than the deepest curses. though he wrote.OF AMBROSE BIERCE Earth shuddered with aversion at your name. Rivers fled backward. What did you do so ? Faith. And Pegasus should bear me up it gaily. from thinking on your shame. is But now with gods and men your peace made beg you to be good and in the fashion. Nor down a steep place run into the sea. to reason deaf. . he could not I thought that Welcker. Might be arrested and "run in" for rhyming. red-handed at your horrid trade You I wrought. Brooks and all The ghastly crew who always are begriming With villain couplets every page and wall. Grew But still lobster-red at eve and in the morning. What's that? ! you "ne'er again will rob a stage?" it. gravitation scorning. and to compassion. Where. I didn't know Was that what threw poor Themis in a rage ? I thought you were convicted as a poet ! I own it was a comfort And soothed it better to my soul. And then Parnassus would be left to me.

He had not gone Painter and grainer it were vain To And say he was. weep! our Baron dear. must endure you. before. Alas! has run away. for you'll never sin By robbing coaches. sisters. Well. yet ne'er again He'll darken here a door. He was Deny a fascinating lad. hearties. if he was. . We mourn He was each matrimonial plan join the cry: Even tradesmen so promising a man Whenever he did buy. A "SCION OF NOBILITY" Come. it all . grab the and begin : Bawl your harsh I souls all out upon the gravel. until dead men travel.138 THE COLLECTED WORKS lyre-strings. If always we had kept him here astray. who may Even "moneyed" men confess he had A very taking way.

. . No tailor get its price. To women he was all respect To duns as cold as ice No lady could his suit reject.OF AMBROSE BIERCE So from our tables he Is 139 gone Our tears descend in showers. at the break of day We'll know the grand results and even now The "It eastern sky is faintly touched with gray. ill befits thine age's hoary crown This rude environment of rogue and clown. I pray Stand not here coatless. We loved the very fat upon His kidneys. He raised our hope above the sky. Who. THE NIGHT OF THE ELECTION "O venerable patriot. as the lying bulletins appear. Alas! alack! and O! it That one who worked Should play it up so high down so slow. for 'twas ours. cries With drunken incarnadine the town.

Italians. his nibs the popular John Gray." "Done. all Chilenos. Russians. None were excluded excepting. "And I never have seed." THE CONVICTS' BALL San Quentin was brilliant. and God bless you ! take my overcoat. Peruvians. perhaps. or Cleveland." Chinamen." said Jimmy Hope. Within the halls Of the noble pile with the frowning walls to make them frown. ( God knows they've enough With a Governor trying to break them down!) Was Of "The a blaze of light. allowed to vote. Kanucks and Kanaks. ball is free!" cried Black Bart. Blacks. Portuguese.140 THE COLLECTED WORKS "But if with noble zeal you stay to note of your patriotic vote The outcome Take For Elaine. I guess the country'll keep the trail I ain't somehow. and your native land. the Warden But whacked my coat up on old Stanislow. 'Twas the natal day S. Indians. and they all Said a ball with no chain was a novel ball . And now said. "Sech a lightsome dance withouten a rope. Mexicans Greased with their presence that notable ball. . pard it's mighty white of you.

those ladies and gents : Dull care (said Long Moll) had a helly go-hence! 'Twas a very aristocratic affair : The creme de la creme of the place was there The swells and belles of our toughest sets. all the same: its The The Jardin Mabille in the days of legs fame Never saw perform such springs cold-chisel's magic had given them wings. They footed it featly. But what can you hope from a gentleman barred From 'Twas circles of culture by dogs in the yard ? a glorious dance. his And "doe cee doe" was the gem of the fraud. Was Mate "Ally of the Gatherer left!" many a year. And Hubert Howe Bancroft sent his regrets. though. As heard from our countrymen lately abroad. Morrison's churchly chaps. 141 Whom The Warden had banished outside of The fiddler. would appear.OF AMBROSE BIERCE The Rev. to prevent a religious debate.) man to a painful degree to the His French was unlike French of Paree. : foot-hill style "Forward and back!" And "Helium to port for the stabbard tack!" it (This great virtuoso. . while. fiddling his hardest the "Called off" in the regular "Circle to the left!" and the gate.

you're a vein an. revealed In history and fable As warrior since ytm In As Comnnfisarr later (or If not.THE COLLECTED WORKS TO ONE DETESTED Sir. or what you A wide celebrity you earned In every age. Your mind. But on your present record flam A greater . by i on ve won renown m stoiy. in evuy cottage The tak is) you contracted for Amocof In civil life you were. we read To paying taxes when you turned call so.

but who Could lie as Mike lies? THE BOSS'S CHOICE Listen to his wild romances: He advances foolish fancies.OP AMBROSE BIEECB Cain. Esau. Hear his demagogic clamor in his gr. Slave who paid the price iron branded With two-handed By the boss pray cease to dose us. Gulielmus L. Each had peculiar powers. likewise. ah He has Man got a maggot! What a with "views" to overwhelm us! Gulielmus. Jocosus. 143 And Ananias. Racfa expounded as h** "view" Gain his brain's opacous dot. and Iscariot too. Hear him stammer See him laboring to spell Gulielmus L. .

all to Charming them willing concord. his Stoneman bewailed melancholy fate. boiling Had worn between his feet. Uplifting his incinerated brow And flaming hands in supplication's aid. And flattening his nose against a grate to dwell Behind whose brazen bars he'd had A thousand million ages to that date." ." Imperfectly by memory taught how Hell is For prayer in a lost art he prayed. thy petition Gains thee ten thousand years of intermission. Down through the appalling clamors of the place. record mentions. And his big tear-drops. some short breathing allow! one good deed I did before my ghosting. "O If grant. roasting. the as they fell. "my torment may spell be stayed- In mercy.144. A deep depression in the "good intentions. THE COLLECTED WORKS A MERCIFUL GOVERNOR Standing within the triple wall of Hell. full of grace: fell A Voice ineffable and all "Because of the law-defying race One single malefactor of the cell Thou didst deny a pardon." he cried." Spare me and give Delmas a double Breathing a holy harmony in Hell.

extinguished spirit passed that awful as he legged I it strait. last. militant for Re-read their Shakespeare in the stage. into space. centuries the question has been hot: Was Hamlet Now. the gate Laboriously turned. black with soot. elate. and. And Truth and more in wordy warfare The commentators bow before And bookworms. Muttered: "Yes. ready to allot But stuck it in my desk and quite forgot it." AN INTERPRETATION Now No Lonergan appears upon the boards. I'd signed his pardon. Confess their equal foolishness at the newer light And For swear the meaning's obvious to sight. remember that galoot it.OF AMBROSE BIERCE Back from their fastenings 145 began to shoot The The And rusted bolts . with dreadful roar. to engage. Error sheathe their lingual swords. or was Hamlet not? Lonergan's illuminating art Reveals the truth of the disputed "part/* And shows to all the critics of the earth That Hamlet was an idiot from birth! . ages past. crazy.

having to complain Of disillusion. them when the volume of our loud hurrahs? When folly blooms we trample it it more For having cultivated before.146 THE COLLECTED WORKS A SOARING TOAD So. And Some none awkwardness will ever know. You find it all is vanity and pain One clump of clover in a field of stubble One grain of pleasure in a peck of trouble. sit With dignity at his bottom of his pit. at your age. whispered. enforce the laws. you would not all serve again Although we'd agree to pay you double. but the fault is whose When I pigmies stumble. . it is And. clumsy bear makes but a sorry show Climbing a pole. and I think. make. too. wearing giants* shoes? told humbly you many moons ago A For high preferment you were all unfit. you were mad! Did you suppose because Our foolish system suffers foolish men To climb to power. would you. Why. and feel beasts look better. so. judicious. 'Tis sad. break them We We've love the fellows and respect stilled the now and then. better. Let him. Waterman. Seen from above.

His eye burning holes And the crowd below would exclaim amain: to fall for his "He's ready country again!" . His face is grimy. And Salomon If still would a hero seem dream!) (Heaven dispel the impossible He stood in a shroud on the hangman's trap. in the black.OF AMBROSE BIERCE Behold yon laborer! 147 His garb is mean. AN UNDRESS UNIFORM The apparel does not proclaim the man Polonious lied like a partisan. But let him bask In droll prosperity. but who thinks to ask 'Tis only seen The measure He's of his brains? fitted for his honorable task. absurdly clean man whom we admired before? Good Lord. And so delights the mind. but may to spell. words on your inhospitable ear like a Are wasted they sermon to the dead. don't they make him Governor?" But instead I "Why the devil did they?" fear My Still. you if may profit studied well: You can't be taught to think. how ignorant. black cap. and what a bore! Is that the Better for you that thoughtless men had said : (Noting your fitness in the humbler sphere) "Why Of.



Sweet Auburn!

liveliest village

of the plain,

Where Health and Slander welcome every train, Whence smiling innocence, its tribute paid,
Retires in terror,

wounded and dismayed


lovely bowers of gossip and disease,


climate cures us that thy dames




often have I knelt upon thy green

prayed for death, to mitigate their spleen!
often have I paused on every



With mingled admiration and alarm The brook that runs by many a scandal-mill,

The church whose pastor groans upon the grill, The cowthorn bush with seats beneath the shade, Where hearts are struck and reputations flayed;


often wished thine idle wives, some day,
at whist, less at the devil, play.

Might more

Unblest retirement! ere
(Killed by detraction)




I witness thine.


happy she who, shunning shades like these,

Finds in a wolf-den greater peace and ease;


quits the place

whence truth did



rather than

come back

prefers to die!
their sleep,

For her no jealous maids renounce

Contriving malices to make her weep;



dames her character debate


spurn imploring mercy from the gate;
lies to

But down she

a more peaceful end,

beasts don't villify, they only rend

Sinks piecemeal to their maws, a willing prey,


resignation lubricates the way,



her prospects brighten at the last:


wolves, not

women, an approved


The Devil stood before Of Heaven. He had a
Behind him, in

the gate


shadow, slunk

Clay Sheets


a perspiring funk.

"Saint Peter, see this season ticket,"
Said Satan; "pray undo the wicket."


sleepy Saint


slight regard

the proffered bit of card,

Signed by some sacerdotal cheats:


the bearer and Clay Sheets."

Peter expanded
'Clay Sheets?'

his eyes:


be damned!" he



couches are of golden cloud;

Nothing of earth

here allowed.


you in," he added, shedding Nick a smile "but not your bedding."



So, Estee,

you are






That you had died and were a blessed ghost. know at least your coffin once was bought With Railroad money; and 'twas said by most
Historians that Stanford

made a




"threw you


goes for naught


takes delight in fancy's fine inventions,

And woman

said, if they are

French ones.


you remember, Estee
long ago!

ah, 'twas long



you grew and hot


anything impeded the straight, strong,
of the great billow

Wild sweep

you had got
Great Scott!
loud your song



swimmer bold?



your wavemanship!


Of "Down with railroads!" When the wave subsided And left you stranded you were much divided.
for a time

you were content




waters of the "robber barons'




and carry was your humble trade,


ferry Stanford over in a boat,



he bestowed the kindly groat

And spoke you fair and called you pretty maid. And when his stomach seemed a bit unsteady You got your serviceable basin ready.

Strange man!


how odd

to see you,

smug and


at Chicago, to


in a Chair,

Not made

measure and a deal too






arm and swear


shall be

no more!

a fair

And civil question, and not too abstruse, Were you elected as a "robber baron," Or as a Communist whose teeth has hair on?

drives fat oxen should himself be fat;"
sings for nobles, he should noble be.
I think, in that,


There's no non sequitur,

logic plain as a, b,

Now, Hector Stuart, you're a Scottish prince,
If right

you fathom your descent

that fall


grace; and

you have no peers, and since


have no kind of nobleness at

'Twere- better to sing


you wince


When made by yet, my liege,





bid you not despair
at once:

Ambition conquers but a realm

For European bays arrange your hair Two continents, in time, shall crown you Dunce!



Ah, welcome, welcome!


you down, old friend:





your bottle



a year since you and I have



more pleasant than our own

In our brief respites from excessive work
I pointing

out the hearts for you to dirk.


have you done since lately at


We canvassed

the deserts of all the horde,
please the people best,

what names would

Engraved on

what bounding






at rest?

But never mind

the record cannot fail:
will tell the tale.




I trust ere next

we meet

you'll slay the



calls old

Tyler "Judge" and Merry "Cap"

Calls John P. Irish "Colonel" and John P.,

Whose surname

Jack-son speaks his


By the same title men of equal rank Though one is belly all, and one all shank,
their several service in the fray:


fought for food and one to get away.
I say, you'll kill the "title"

I hope,



saddles one on every back he can,

from Beersheba




fool, I trust,


you will perform



on while







hand a dozen times a day

If, luckless,

I so often cross his


I've three senses besides that of touch,

To make me
Seek him,

conscious of a fool too much.


and your purpose make

Apparent as

his guilty

hand you



him trembling with a solemn:


chief of all the addle-witted

Conceded by the Hangman's League

to you,

The fool (his dam's acquainted with a knave) Whose fluent pen, of his no-brain the slave,
Strews notes of introduction o'er the land


calls it hospitality.

His hand

May palsy seize ere he again consign To me his friend, as I to Hades mine!
Pity the wretch, his faults howe'er you

Whom A

accredits to his victim, B.

Like shuttlecock which battledores attack

forward, one would drive




trustful simpleton

twice unblest


rare good riddance, an




glad consignor rubs his hands to think





into ink;

consignee (his hands he cannot rub


has the

man upon them)

mutters: "Cub!"



And straightway plans to lose him at the club. You know, good Killer, where this dunce abides The secret jungle where he writes and hides
Though no His human
Go, bring
exploring foot has e'er upstirred
elephant's exhaustless herd.
his blood!

We'll drink


letting fall


due libation to the gods of Gall.
second thought, the gods


may have



The trumpet sounded and the dead Came forth from earth and ocean, And Pickering arose and sped
Aloft with wabbling motion.

"What makes him


lop-sided ?" cried

A soul of the elected.
was wax," a rogue


isn't resurrected."

Below him on

the pitted plain,



abandoned hollow,

His hair and




rest of


to follow.

Saint Peter, seeing



Came forward to the wicket, And said: "My mutilated friend,

thank you for your


its Delivering odors.OF AMBROSE BIERCE "The Call" said 155 Pickering. To the high skies great corolla rears In the benign sufflation of his cheers." MONTAGUE LEVERSON As some enormous violet that towers Colossal o'er the heads of lowlier flowers Its giant petals royally displayed. Pride of two Nations scarce suffice to sprout a plant so great So Leverson's humility. at the public nose. his hand To reach the latch extended. . neat And But candid Anglo-Saxon. affable and bland: "The free-list is suspended "What That claim have you that's valid here?" ancient villifier Reflected. then. And casting half the landscape into shade." "That is simple. well. outgrown The meaner virtues that he deigns to its own. Said Peter. come in. for a single State . and take a seat Up there by Colonel Jackson. like the blows Of some Would strong slugger. with look austere. Replied: "I Said Peter: am a liar.

156 THE COLLECTED WORKS THE WOFUL TALE OF MR. "By Hunky!" who were bad enough pious persons supervised their adjectives with care. PETERS I should like. William Perry Peters. minute. His learning comprehensive. When warm enough to carbonize the feathers of a bird. consolation to the good. in the town of Muscatel. Thought that Draw (and maybe was enough. Peters was a pedagogue of honor and in the section repute. frigidly as stuff. Spelling. game of Draw he knew Orthography contemning that Though the school directors. if he had it) . good friends. happened in the hot snap which 'twas we recently incurred. Whose fate is full of meaning if correctly understood Admonition It to the haughty. of the town of Muscatel. It exclaimed: to swear. And some That there were who whispered. was commonly conceded the whence he came That man who played against him needed knowledge of the game. And men And Mr. besides the as well. multifarious. to mention the disaster that befell Mr.

Peters came still In the cause of Education. He was first in the Pavilion. "can give the if human mind a lift. be our scheming what may. he was a haughty 157 man to indubitably great. his For days and days he narrowly observed the Chairman's eye. "Before a proper audience. whither Mr. His mien was contumelious "It's only men of lesser gift: me" he said. It occurred in San Francisco." Such was William Perry Peters.OF AMBROSE BIERCE Withal. Architect de- He attended a convention of the pedagogic host. and sense I feel a poignant Of grief that I'm unable to employ the present tense. And disposed of Mr. feeling the holy flame Of ambition to assist in lifting up the human mind its To a higher plane of knowledge than signed. he was last to leave post. Just let me have a decent chance to back to center lightly in a my mental hand under- And I'll come way they'll stand. Peters in a cold. Learning to advance. But too vain of his attainments and his power in debate. . the cause of me chipping in. regardless way. His efforts ineffectual to catch it on the fly. You'll see ever I've a chance. it But Providence disposes.

158 The THE COLLECTED WORKS blessed his moment came at last: the Chairman tipped head. um er. And the pain of their convergence surprise ! was a terror and As with pitiless appulsion all their heat-waves on him broke He was seen to be evolving awful quantities of smoke! cried all "Put him out!" in chorus." that functionary The gentleman from ah um er reflected with a grin. but the meaning wasn't clear Of that succoring suggestion to his obfuscated ear. And it notably augmented his incinerating glow To regard himself excessive. when I'm a-chip- ping in. For he felt himself the focus of non-Muscatelish eyes. or in any all ! way de trop. And caloric emanated from his whole periphery. "They'll know me better by-and-by. "The gentleman from ah said. Gone was Gone the his wild ambition to lift up the human mind words he would have uttered! gone the thought that lay behind! ." So William Perry Peters mounted cheerfully his feet And His straightway was aglow with an incalculable heat! face was as effulgent as a human face could be.

but never had he known Himself so very luminous as now he knew he shone. How And long he stood he knew not 'twas a century or more then that incandescent man levanted for the door! He darted like a comet from the building to the street. and William Perry Peters froze death! TWIN UNWORTHIES Ye As parasites that to the rich men stick. He stood there all irresolute . the seconds went and came . I. The minutes passed and did but add fresh fuel to his flame. of fire. "A pillar. Where Fahrenheit attested ninety-five degrees of heat. 159 in a superior And "thoughts that breathe" die a death of shame." he'd said. "to guide my race will be. Vicissitudes of climate make the tenure of the breath to Precarious. to the fattest sheep the thrifty tick Ed'ard to Stanford and to Crocker. . may breathe their last.OF AMBROSE BIERCE For "words that burn" may be consumed flame. Ben (To Ben and Ed'ard many meaner men." And now that very inconvenient thing to him was he. and He'd known himself a shining light.

to write about you. no. Hail and farewell But.160 THE COLLECTED WORKS And That lice to these) who do the kind of work thieves would have the honesty to shirk Whose wages The fat that are that your employers reeks own upon your every bone (the flattery it And deign to ask its how sweet!) About health and ! how stands the heat. Considering that the pirate never "sat. all We want a face that A prophecy of ninety shows. and this as that. ." is as like as this. with his martial mouth in place At his own ear. ART Lo! tooth and nail my countrymen contest is Which That portrait of Columbus the best. shouts dreadful! Pale horrors shudder through eternal space Of which he has a headful. A WAR CRY Charles Shortridge. by the rules. million fools. I is meant my page cleaner far without you.

Pray Heaven contentment with your station And bar you from the hauls of legislation. floor. you'll Why. you'll suppose that this has all occurred. Your breeding and your Small right to breathe in character confer that expanded air. you'd be a Senator. ceiling to your failing eyes like flies Seeming to blend. and Senators To spin about in To cherish your space! Rash man. If in that Upper House you hot. . Trembly and to speak your maiden word Walls. And Senators are persons of much note. forbear ! accurst ambition Sir. all warmer world? said that ambitious louts it who dare Aspire to Senatorial fame receive In some such fashion. though I don't believe it. e'er arise. Still. don't you know have to ride the goat. I 161 cannot choose but think it very queer That you solicit for the place a vote.OF AMBROSE BIERCE IN DISSUASION Dan Burns. is For toads to perch to send with eagles to err. I hear. Be skyward from a shaken blanket hurled And Till put in session on a heated chair is your immortal part foretaste of more than rare Your 'Tis another. desks.

official Embezzlement. When When Go to old ocean's roaring ridges Roll beneath iridium bridges. I'm exists in Mars. as ball-and-chain.162 THE COLLECTED WORKS toga. Where And Till sometimes an in "the it will "convey" shadow of the jail" abide seems photographed upon his hide if And shapes his gait. seem Round you shadows of the prison told. . who knows not (goes the is story) Which of the saints he when out for glory. scarce will serve To Which cover up the stripes to a fertile fancy like (where are the stars?) to curve bars. he dragged alway side A Dwells such a Upon the Moon's far man. when the politicians work. When When When And the ants are shiftless vagrants. the cows are flying over. if The you win it. the peacocks pluck their tails. A PREDICTION When And the skies are green with clover. the lion pares his nails. when lawyers never Fib no more again forever. diseases and physicians Quarrel. the roses lose their fragrance .

round her up and mount her. the poets learn to reason. the cats intone in Latin. And Is the smithy-haunting Sitting on the swelling bellows. a major feels the pain . . When Nor the mocking-bird eschews All of his assenting views. When Is the serpent of the sea no longer known to be. fly. across our northern border." When March the whales. When And the lady ape wears satin When When the vulture. to eggs potatoes turn. When the pie-distended On the nightmare keeps Quick to sleeper his peeper. in battle order. Field and Terry will "encounter. perches Nevermore upon the churches. proclaims them out of season. the sycophant despises rises Arts by which the bird-louse Comfortably to the sky.OF AMBROSE BIERCE When we And gather ice to 163 burn. lieutenants When When And damn the bullets Penetrating captains' gullets. no prouder than his fellows. Mortgage.

ANOTHER PLAN Owen. Owen is not so fair In feature." . And At so. of San Jose. When the turtle-doves are cruel Field and Terry'll fight a duel. the woman who's demurest Is the truest and the purest. form or limb But glances like that are familiar to him. When And the best of human creatures Is the most austere of preachers. yearning native hills and turning in its bed. expression.164 THE COLLECTED WORKS Of his colonel's shattered brain. Commonly known as "our friend Editor J." Weary Weary of scribbling for daily bread. Slept one day at and dreamed That an angel before him stood and beamed With Editor compassionate eyes upon him there. of writing what nobody his desk read. When For its the Mississippi.. to arrive by the shortest route said his visitor's will he simply: "Toot. J. its Deftly backward Lays its mouth against head.

165 more for your daily bread. Eschew now Homilize in the coming years man through his idle ears. of San Jose." Owen. The latest. strangest Though any way you wear that mental clout The seamy side seems always to be out." to supply his needs. A POLITICAL APOSTATE Good friend. ballot's purity no more your care. it is with deep regret I note turning of your coat. Commonly known as "our friend Editor Scribbling no more J.. Your intellect staggers and falls and bleeds. I Go Said lecture!" "Just what intended to do. With equal privilege to dark and . Passes of each golden year Speaking what nobody conies to hear. Weary of writing the what nobody quill reads. J.OF AMBROSE BIERCE "Editor Owen. Weary of writing life what nobody reads. Owen." the angel "Scribble no said. Who The Your could have thought that you would e'er sustain Southern shotgun's arbitrary reign? sturdy hand assisting to replace The The broken yoke on a delivered race. The angel looked pained and flew. fair.

The bow that spanned the mutual cascade Was In but the promise of a roaring trade offices. villain feuds the fact attest too well . that it is very true sable. The Blacks are ignorant and What then ? One way of two a fool must And either way with gentlemen of note Whose That pedagogues nor vice nor error quell. Your fingering now the trigger Shows that you knew your Negro was a nigger! this Ad hominem Peace! let argumentum runs: another kind of guns. red-handed. us fire I grant you. friend. And. or at least red-tongued. Which. to To-day to betray all You're constant but the better To-morrow. Your convictions are naught But the wild asses of the world of thought. And you so sympathetically bled. turning penitent upon their track. too. Ex-champion of Freedom. vote. Perceive at last they've nothing so to gain. flying mindless o'er the barren plain. Economize their strength by flying back. Brandish the javelin which by others thrown Clove Sambo's heart to quiver in your own! Confess no more that when his blood was shed. No more.166 THE COLLECTED WORKS To Yesterday a traitor. battle-lunged.

who's afraid To arm poor Folly with a wooden blade? O Rabelais. you knew (by it all! your good And honest judge Knew to be right Less fallible men misunderstood) was but one device the dice. From siding with a giant in the wrong? When Genius strikes for error. In battle-royal they engage at once hesitating dunce. conflagration of their fight The monstrous Startling the day and splendoring the night! Both are unconquerable one is right. nations prosper in their peaceful sway. . if we make him strong.OF AMBROSE BIERCE The fiercest controversies ever 167 rage When Miltons and Salmasii engage. Will't keep the pigmy. The Titans on the heights contend full soon this side On Webster and on that Calhoun. No project wide attention ever drew But it disparted all the learned crew. there than intellect The time must come all Heaven expedite the day! When And mankind shall their decrees obey. the cleaving line's prolonged As through their group With fiery combatants For guidance of the each field is thronged.

you say. then fickly turns away to find Another shore to suit her altered mind. Whatever. snakes! And fall apart at last. very bald! all about I know not what not. She hugs ships all are feminine in gender The shore. Great What skillful tinker ever takes His tongue to turn a screw? A PEACEFUL COMMUNITY With lifted hands. was about. The world Still will get each blessed day more and more askew.) About the foot of that tall rood are spread The simple mound and pompous mausoleum . I'm told.168 THE COLLECTED WORKS TINKER DICK Good Parson Dickson preached. Parson Dick. 'twas very old And 'Twas It very. nor what 'twas it "A Screw Loose" was called. Stands in the Lone Mountain's giant cross sky against the Western splendor! is (A ship beyond playing pitch-and-toss . A sermon ah.

Sandlot Judge. 169 Whose Assail You'll never see 'em a street-car passenger with stones. besetting sin to Faith! I'd not begrudge if it That cross the necks were fashioned into A A double gibbet.) The dead intimidate no Nor was it ever their Scare burly Sheriffs. is Their barren paddock a Field Elysian. Where royal odors leg it into space. a monstrous pity early legislation did not give Them the authority to rule this city. . Compared with many an historic place. Since they prefer to live is Long That live the dead! it Within the law. on t'other one a Mayor. (If they but knew. citizens love peace.OF AMBROSE BIERCE Three several republics of the dead. on one arm to bear rioter. ! Here's to their health and may their tribe increase Recruited from the Judges and Police. pauper crew Not even in Potter's Field the E'er go on strike to get a fair division Of monumental fame. Nor brain a woman with their marrow bones.

Ah. and some you take 'em says : as they come. more obscure than Browning. Maintains a most rebellious curve.170 THE COLLECTED WORKS WITH A BOOK Words shouting. My legs are not so very straight My spine. Frona Eunice Wait. I'm sorry to observe. But papa "My Mary Ann Knocks out the whole damn caravan!" . Frona Eunice Wait. But papa thinks his Mary Ann upon a gorgeous plan. skinny. Mrs. smiling. singing. Save blacking. I take the liberty to state That Venuses would go on If ordered to be all alike. My neck is . strike For some For that are made for this. and my bust Would Is built justify a husband's trust. frowning- Sense lacking. A COMPETITOR Mrs. nothing.

OF AMBROSE BIERCE Mrs. Frona Eunice Wait. Are you too plump or too petite? My She's papa says: "Why. girls. Head Venus-herder Round up your I think it of the State. Frona Eunice Wait. not what the artists say it I'm in and I'm says: in to stay. to from Beersheba Dan !" . very queer That you yourself do not compete. For papa Will "If Mary Ann man." advertise she'll get a Mrs. But Frona. dear very. 171 They think in Greaserville I'm great say in Greaserville: They She'll "You bet make them hens get up and get! I She's just a bird!" So when clout Myself in cheese-cloth you look out! For papa says: "My Mary Ann she has ran." Has win whenever Mrs. Mary Ann. I'm giving you the business straight: Make I care any standards that you please Beneath my cloth I'm just the cheese. Frona Eunice Wait.

that you've is You say no patience with such and when you read stuff As by Renan writ. as a Congregationalist blink Some certain truths that I esteem a gain. Dick Watson Gilder spares one BATS IN SUNSHINE Well. and I'm a great profane. And Pleased drop into the coffers of my is brain. bad bards to crown him brother-chief laurel leaf. have hardly strength enough from flinging the vile screed That were a wasteful deed Which you'd repent in sackcloth extra cost rough. (Why do you read?) To hold your hand Into the fire. and I'm told you care To lay up treasures Here as well as There. Mr. . you are called. Perhaps your spiritual wealth A golden truth or two can't count for much. For books money. I think. Kemble.172 THE COLLECTED WORKS GENEROSITY By seven brave poems the Mikado shows His royal fitness for the field of prose. with the pretty music of their such chink. Of bold. A You great divine.

Never mind: in any case would hardly break great. pious soul. Pained by the light that his ideas 'Tis Truth's best purpose to shine in at holes Where cower the Kembles. good.] Charles Main. City Newspaper. that 173 you mistake Your Renan His thrift for toleration. erect humbly bending. strong. We I journey forward through the time allowed. and proud. yet that you and he Travel two roads that have a common end. little What matter whether one so worth Shall stain the marble or shall feed the rose? . you that's lifted. and the one that's You I in your mausoleum shall repose. it where pleases Him who sleep bestows. of the firm of Main & Winchester.OF AMBROSE BIERCE I fear. knows attend With friendly ear the chit-chat of a friend Who knows you not. Our The one heads alike will stable soon the worm bowed. of Main & Winchester. charitable heart to find The bats and owls of your myopic kind make. has ordered a grand mausoleum for his plot in Mountain View Cemetery. to confound their souls! A WORD TO THE UNWISE [Charles Main.

A metal casket held his honored clay. will yet about it base the night is black. my friend. The name is all that's rescued by the tomb. Efface your his thieving name and substitute his own. the brass. the craven stones Lay tumbled all together in a mass. A dozen years! it That if taxes your belief. and lo! the roots of grass Had burst asunder all the joints. A dozen years. Some rogue to reputation all unknown Men's backs being turned should lift hand. Whose Would then would be the be the fame? monument? To whom in Forgotten ! your gloom Your very name forgotten ah. The gilded ornaments. your rubbish has been thrown.174 THE COLLECTED WORKS I Charles Main. 'Twill be the same to you when you are dead cannot even count our days of grief. Suppose a pompous monument you Till on its raise peak the solar splendor blaze its While But Say. Of Cyclopean architecture stood The splendid vault where he was laid away. had a friend who died one day. . Make You a thousand the time's too brief. . give your glory length of days? when beneath.

naught remains. O'er rotting howl by night desolate and dumb. Then build your it mausoleum if you must. And.OF AMBROSE BIERCE For memory of worth and work we go 175 To other records than a stone can show. . Another movement of the pendulum. with these is These The stone needless for the world will know. . And." I cursed the offender who gave him the hall all! To lecture on any conditions at But he rose with a fire divine in his eye. seated on the spot. and I dreamed of a gibbet reared high. Bill Bartlett stepped out of the hum strife Of Mammon's distracting and wearisome To stand and deliver a lecture on "Some Conditions of Intellectual Life. Haranguing with endless abundance of Till I slept . shall cities. And Dr. lacking. And creep into in the with a perfect trust But twinkling of an eye the plow Shall pass without obstruction through your dust. Bill Bartlett was dressing for death. ON THE PLATFORM When Dr. breath. low the desert-haunting wolf ! shall come.




thought in


dream "These


no doubt,

Are bad

for the life he

was talking about."
this all

I cried (pray


was a dream)


"Get down
But he

off the


it isn't

the kind!"

through the trap, with a jerk at the beam,


wiggled his toes to unburden


And, O,

so bewitching the thoughts he advanced

clung to his ankles, attentive, entranced!

To foreigners in San Francisco, greeting. When you see a labor-leader fiercely beating


all his fingers to


His view of

this or that ere yet 'tis spoken,

When you see him, as in dancing, foot it featly To manifest dissent the more completely, When you hear him in a tempest of emotion
Deflate himself of some unpeaceful notion,

Don't prophesy a blazing revolution
Don't drag the guillotine from



Don't whistle up a storm of blood and thunder,




world with horror, fear and wonder
his position,


He's dreadful in defining

He's terrible in threatening sedition


a Past

Grand Master

of Submission.



My days all

are wasted in vainly
field against

Contesting the


nights with remorses insanely
spectres of hate.
I cry

Are swarming, and
for rest!


for peace!"





for I faint in the strife.

be dead, to be dead, I'd give gladly

All, all that I have, except life."

Pervading pest

Old Adam, when he saw

Thy And

prime progenitor,

doubt not, swore

kicked the curst kioodle from the door,

Though now

thy whelpage


protect by law.

thou must have been a beastly, raw,

Uncultivated monster




centuries before




racy of the soil thou

was by breeding made to thaw. must have been


Indigenous and close to nature's heart!
strong thy jaw-lock, habits



And what

a sink of infamy thy heart!

though, thou wert created upright.



(the angels' care) could fall, a

pup might.



Prentiss Maslin, you

would kindly leave
the State has hoarded

A coin

or two of



generous of you

for we've

begun our fortunes
lost all

to retrieve,


our treasury afforded


certain robbers,

who, departing,


yo u as a memorial of the theft.

Memorial ?

Bless you


you're the very thing

and by no means any cleaner

For incarnation.

you are the king




great and proud remembering


you were young and but a misdemeanor.
ravenous of

lesser souls be


scorns the gains of greed who's greed


shall a firework covetously yearn

While splendoring

the skies

a gorgeous rocket


golden constellations grandly burn
'Tis sad to learn


take the earth along ?

That even
In you, alas!

the robe of glory has a pocket.
I'd fondly


to see

One man

that loved himself unselfishly.

The The
bands have played, the singers finished singing,


done flapping and the


done ringing.

Hereditary candidates have spoken;

Their tongues are



their hearts are


Barnes, Shortridge, Salomon-in-all-his-glory,

With wounds


mouths) no longer wide and gory-

Healed by the touch of time; for even orations

Must sometimes come




one have patience.

And still in spite of all the din infernal Of every "General" and "Judge" and "Colonel," Our grand old heroes sleep in peace eternal!

The Chinatown
at Bakersfield


blazing bright and high;

flames to water

would not



torrents drenched the sky

And drowned the ground for miles The houses were so dry. Then rose an aged preacher man


Whom all did much admire, Who said "To force on you my plan


I truly don't aspire,

But streams,
If turned


seems, might quench these beams

upon the


firemen said

"This hoary wight


folly dares to thrust



'Twere well he
shall feel


our might

Nay, he

our must !"


jet of

wet and small regret
man's dust.


laid that old

The Swan of Avon died the Swan Of Sacramento'll soon be gone And when his death-song he shall coo,

Stand back, or


will kill



Pixley, you,


kiss the



strove to cut the country's throat,

Cannot forgive the hands that smote
Applauding Applauding
in a distant land,
carelessly, as


The weaker

willing to befriend

Until the quarrel's at an end,



learn by



was begun.


North was

pitted against

Non-combatants on either
In calculating fury vied,


fought their foes by


of mouth.

That mad logomachy you led With formidable feats of tongue.

Then on

the battle's rear you


With Samson's weapon

slew the dead!

So hot the ardor of your soul

That every
His torch

fierce civilian


to kindle at

your flame,


have you blow his cooling coal.
left their



And sought the gelid bath so great The heat and splendor of your hate Of Englishmen and "Copperheads."
King Liar of deceitful men, For imposition doubly armed!

The patriots whom You stung to madness
There was a

your speaking charmed with your pen.

certain journal here,

English owner growing rich


Your hand
the treason wrote for which

A mob cut short its curst career.
If, Pixley,

you had not the brain

To know the true from false, or you To Truth had courage to be true,

loyal to her perfect reign;

you had not your powers arrayed


serve the

wrong by

tricksy speech,

Nor pushed

yourself within the reach

retribution 's accolade,

had not had the will to go
Outside the olive-bordered path

Of peace to cut the birch of wrath, And strip your body for the blow.
Behold how dark the war-clouds


the mother of our race !
gild her tranquil face

The lightnings And glitter in her

patient eyes.

children throng the hither flood lean intent above the beach.
inhibit speech


Their beating hearts
stifling tides of

English blood.



but not their hearts, they change



in ships across the sea"

Mr. Forgotten now the foolish reign Of wrath that sundered trivial vainly tries cleave a spiritual chain.OF AMBROSE BIERCE Through all the centuries to 183 be be strange. IVtay be a worthy kind of chap In his way. take our order. Superior to law. the law Of sympathetic heritage. Hate be throned on Bunker in Hill. Or waiter with a tray. Walton. fratricidal Though Shall hands may spill. ties. . The strange new land will still The Island Mother holds in gage The souls of sons she never saw. But when we want one for Recorder. Yet Love abide Seven Pines? A CULINARY CANDIDATE A cook adorned with paper cap. A soldier's sabre To The iron in our blood affines. Then.

the good ancient custom's been allowed . I think. Some honest men But none come by are in the case. . Some needy tramp. is deputized That lowly function to perform although I must confess I am : not well advised Concerning that I ne'er did I undergo A hanging. their own not even the chap Whose honest office is to spring the trap. but not your breeches. killed a man and you are free That For your hanging ne'er will come about ." If Californian hangmen are too proud To wear And In the clothing of the wretch they string. To lapse this or if so seldom murderers is swing good land that there no such thing As custom You've in the case. the truth we reach is : forfeited your life. I've observed 'tis when when jurors disagree 'Tis not as other thieves fall out.184 THE COLLECTED WORKS TO ONE ACQUITTED Sir. no doubt. you have is. The but if am right you owe customary perquisite to some Poor shivering and disappointed "bum.

" With the modest Of violet that loves to bloom unseen. Fixed to the telescope his curious eye And waited for some great phenomenon To seek his field of vision. Statues to heroes ! Mine the humble glory To tell on every pedestal the story. Had sought some grand discovery. Retiring early. to our wed known We To rear memorials in bronze and stone every kind of mortal greatness in this thy . But not realm stands anywhere A monument or statue to declare Thy greater glory. idols "Father of Falsehood.OF AMBROSE BIERCE CONTENT One day when Satan visited the earth In order that his eyes might feed his mirth. mien Content with consciousness of work well done." AT THE OBSERVATORY Mahatma Holden. With patience proof against defeat. Years and years. Dogging the came . 185 A loyal follower in sorrow said. Autocrat of Stars. Satan replied: "All earthly fame I shun. and footsteps of endeavor. he still still. rising with the sun.

ere the glorious memory and Ah. Burnham. Senseless and motionless as one that's dead. Not all in vain my vigils my To At read the secrets of the upper deep last I'm famous and my name shall ring Adown My menials. pen and ink! fades ! skill : cried he Quick.186 THE COLLECTED WORKS Grim disappointment and in mockery Derided him. Was found next morn beneath the instrument. "By some emotion overcome. even as he gazed. Mastered his spirit. Autocrat of Stars. explained: it Moon !" And was even so. friends." (Sometime physician to the said one of Ghug Smat) Who with sharp stimulants and kindly words Scarcely had the fresh Strove to revive him. And wholesome Than. " he faltered then. in mid-field of the mighty tube ! Mahatma Holden. calmly gazed about And. . and lo ! Into the telescope's illumined ken a stately grace a noble orb. the centuries unlinked with theirs. Bar Yet with a mighty effort peaced himself. A great white light crept Swam with And paused up the sky. "Paper!" air saluted both his lungs "paper. But now. with angelic "I've found the dignity.

A smile so like the all dawn of doom in the field was palled gloom. Thinking with secret joy: This mammal on a slice of "I'll spread bread !" Soon Mr. Till. eying His neck. . as he El Toro's sleek and silken hide. sold to purchase gin Where milk Renowned for butter and renowned For fourteen ounces to the pound A As bull stood watching every turn Of Mr. which. that designing worthy stalked walked About him. sepulchral smile a wide. dark.OF AMBROSE BIERCE THE OLEOMARGARINE MAN Once in the is 187 county of Marin. He drew his dasher from its sheath the while And bravely He smiled a brandished it. his flank and all beside. Wilson's keen concern To To get the creature in his churn his caution Unhorsed made him blind the fell vigor of bullkind. Wilson with a churn. at churn to copy vainly tried . And The That open smile. portentous smile. his side. . filled with valor to the teeth. A deep.

haste. Lightly and low he drew his breath This magazine of sudden death! All this the thrifty in. slice of bread Muse. the bellowing. . To fling their shadows at his feet. engaged in prayer This thunderbolt incarnate had No thought of anything that's bad: This concentrated earthquake stood And gave his mind to being good. "I'll Then rose his battle-cry: slice of spread This mammal on a bread I" To such a night the day had turned That Taurus dimly was discerned. that battle-royal sing The The The The deeds that made that region ring: cries. tribute to that awful smile. He wore so meek and grave an air It seemed as if. Wilson's glance Took and crying. the dust that darkened all the skies. all! thunders of the contest. "Now's my chance 1" Upon the bull he sprang amain To put him in his churn.188 THE COLLECTED WORKS And As all the trees within a mile. out his battle-yell : Again "I'll Rang spread !" This mammal on a Sing. blows. Made with loyalty discreet.

"Why." said God "Bring what Satan with a nod Replied. : 189 A yell there was a rush no more El Toro. His head He merely nodded as he said: "I've spread that butterman upon A slice of Southern Oregon." THE GENESIS OF CRIME God said. "This one element when I The other Opportunity supply affine In just equivalent. that's Stupidity. to his sooty laboratory . went. none of these things did befall. Scenes of blood charm for him. not I ordered. for Crime can only Stupiditate of Opportunity. leading Stoneman by the hand. Still stood there basking in the sun. tranquil as before.OF AMBROSE BIERCE Nay. "Let there be Crime." and the command Brought Satan. the two '11 And in a chemical embrace combine And Crime result." be So leaving Stoneman (not as yet endowed With Nick soul) in special session on a cloud. of his legs had shifted one Nor Stood there and conjured up his cud And Had meekly munched little it." is Crime.

190 THE COLLECTED WORKS said. dancing madly In the midmost Hell. When And Of the gibbet's chilling shade Ceases darkly to enfold you. When the devils. And. the angel who enrolled you As a master of the trade assassination sadly Blots the record he has made. beware. And your chains at last are broken . fires down at Stoneman's filled He seized them Heaven was with and thunders." he Pen. when the word is spoken. And your name and title paints In the calendar of saints. your hunted visage turning. "Here's Opportunity. are very Multitudinously merry Then beware. ink and paper and put foot. And Crime was added to Creation's wonders! LLEWELLYN POWELL Villain. beware! is Nemesis everywhere! You shall hear her at your back. Fancy that her eyes are burning . Returning soon with t'other element.

By By By By the blood that you have spilt . the awful sentence spoken irrevocable And vow .OF AMBROSE BIERCE Like a tiger's 191 on your track! You You shall hear her in the breeze Whispering to summer trees. And And to gild the mark of Cain That burns into your tortured brain! the dead man's eyes shall ever Meet your own wherever Desperate. calling To your spirit through the storm When the giant billows form And the splintered lightning. shall turn you. all Down Splendors the tossing seas! On your bed at night reclining. shall hear her calling. appalling. the Law that you have broken . Stars into your chamber shining As None they roll around the Pole. Shall appear to search your soul. falling the heights of Heaven. the terrible red token That you bear upon your brow. their purposes divining. to. And you By your shall escape you them never! heritage of guilt.

the mercy you denied. brave and shouted. As the flames infernal tell Of their power and perfection In their wavering reflection On By I the battlements of Hell. stout.192 THE COLLECTED WORKS Which Furies - consigns you to a living to the unforgiving Death and who avenge your crime . Then "Ho! the lads. condemn your guilty soul to abide. . Through the periods of time By that dread eternal in doom Hinted your future's gloom. run The powder and wad bring out To fire the sunset gun. Beneath that angry Sir Walter Turnbull. In your body Like a serpent in a hole ! THE SUNSET GUN Off Santa Cruz the western wave Was The crimson as with blood : sun was sinking to his grave flood.

and the horizon's free. Shall never wait for me. with visage stern and grave. Sir Walter waits the time. by land or sea. Then Sir fade. Walter thunders: "Fire!" parts The gunner pulls the lanyard And not a sound ensues. The glowing orb sinks in the sea." Behold the black-mouthed cannon stand. Ready with charge and prime. The lanyard in the gunner's hand. Came back from out the flood.OF AMBROSE BIERCE "That punctual orb did ne'er omit 193 To Its keep. The beating of ten thousand hearts Was heard at Santa Cruz ! Off Santa Cruz the western wave Was crimson as with blood . The sun. And clouds of steam aspire. it every engagement. .

194 THE COLLECTED WORKS THE "VIDUATE DAME" 'Tis the widow of Thomas Blythe. the widow of Thomas Blythe Their hands are overflowing. . And For they cry: "Call the National quell this parlous Guard To muss Blythe all the widows of Thomas Are upon the spree and us!" O long shall the eerie tale be told By that posse's surviving tithe. Y-perched high on the window ledge. The Ten difficult can-can tryeth. constables they essay To With bate the dame's halloing. And with tears bedewed he'll sing this rude Ballad of the widow of Thomas Blythe. And she goeth upon the spree. And red are cheeks of the bystanders For her acts are light and free. In a seven-ounce costume The widow of Thomas Blythe.

OF AMBROSE BIERCE FOUR OF A KIND ROBERT F. your smile. 195 MORROW foe Dear man! although a stranger and a To soft affection's humanizing glow. With care. too. exert your power lofty tower. Although polluted. in disgrace. looking from your light see a ruddy on every wall. as void of tenderness as wit. and idol of my my Valentine. . Lord You are my love. JR. and I'm A ROPE. it may be. call : Pause for a moment ere you sound the may be from a fire. Illustrious son of an illustrious sire Entrusted with the duty to cry "Fire !" And You It call the engines out. Although untaught how manly hearts may throb With more Although desires than the desire to rob. And owning You I fill nothing soft but Maurice Schmitt. When. your beck. From good men's blushes when they think of you. hope. watch and wait of to fall upon your neck. ALFRED CLARKE. shunned and me with a passion to embrace ! Attentive to your look.

in cloak. I say. to stay there all when is the storm When the dry and warm. lamentably gay. Keeping the evil tenor of your way. W. And Justice hears you with her wonted shrug. H. Lifts her broad bandage half-an-inch and keeps One eye upon you while the other weeps. BARNES Happy the man who sin's proverbial wage Receives on the instalment plan in age. For him the bulldog pistol's its honest bark Has naught of terror in blunt remark. But not enough Is past. His bloodless veins ignored the futile stroke. Though urged by fond affinity to stay. Yet not quite happy hark. that horrid cry ! in the eye ! His cruel mirror wounds him . beautiful and smug. sweet. And Of moral mildew kept the cut the Happy man. You walk abroad.196 THE COLLECTED WORKS JUDGE RUTLEDGE Sultan of Stupids ! with enough of brains all To go indoors in uncommon world rains. L. He looks with calmness on the gleaming steel it If e'er touched his heart he did not its feel : Superior hardness turned point away. to whom the wage sin has been commuted into age. In irking comfort.

I cried: "Alas! that hither I did ever stray. purse and ran. for I saw them do man. My ventures all all miscarrying naught had For And in Of an unsummoned Considering my labor in the heat and strife. Kissed and 197 made up. And then why.OF AMBROSE BIERCE RECONCILIATION Stanford and Huntington. then I clutched my A VISION OF CLIMATE I dreamed that Broken in was poor and ill and sad. If you have any doubts it. "Why come ye here?" I seemed to cry (though naught . rife As I lay my bitter state. hope and weary of my life I . Better in some fair country to have died Than live in such a land. where Fortune never ^(Unless one be successful) crowns Endeavor. even as I lamented. so long at outs. Dismiss them. lo! there I came A troop of Presences Nor what knew not whence they were: thought cannot rightly name spiritual evidence." Then. my heart some certain thoughts were exit. What's known through Reported not by gross material sense.

"now to present eldest son." Some subtle organ noted the reply flesh (Inaudible to ear of the tone) : "The Finest Climate in the Siskiyou to World am I." resumed. not least. The fair No Lightning flashing only here The Wholesome Earthquake and Italian Sky. With its Unstriking Sun and last. try . To bring a better stomach to the feast: When Nature makes a dance and pays the piper. The Compos Mentis Dog.198 THE COLLECTED WORKS My sleeping tongue did utter) to the first "What Ye have Some are ye? with what woful message fraught? a ghostly look. The zone Called semi-tropical I've pulled about And I shake placed it where it does most good. ingrate. as ye had burst sepulcher in memory." "Permit me. I'm sure I'd know you ye had but features. Now. Strawberry All the Year." said I." "That's very true. is "but when 'tis shaken My share My by the unjust it ever taken. And others to rebuke your discontent The Mammoth Squash. From San Diego known From the Sierra to the sea. To be unhappy is to be a viper !" . if Weird creatures. I trust. the Champagne Atmosphere. my never-failing bounty out Alike upon the just and the unjust.

" said I. The celebrants. . too. white-robed and tall (Assistant. A "MASS" MEETING It was a solemn rite as e'er Was seen by mortal man. And General Dimond. a-smirking. There Estee bent his grizzled head. my bones are "Then warm you with enthusiasm's blaze Fortune waits not on toil. "O then.OF AMBROSE BIERCE "Why. some Though no one I clearly one said knew. Ye shine : With more Although of splendor than of heat for still. saw the priest. And I awakening. 199 "with all your blessings fine (And Heaven I'm poor and ill forbid that I should speak them ill) and sorrowful. straight a-working. Father Stow) call He was the pious man men Dan Burns of Mexico. the people Were all Republican. my will is warm. yet. there." chill. And one 'twas Reddick. Join the wild chorus clamoring our praise Throw up "Begone!" your beaver and throw down your pen !" I shouted. fell They bewent." they cried .

" he Colonel Markham's" said. . men of equal leather. Is gallant Colonel 'Tis sad. Arcades ambo they are pigs together. "What does it mean ?" I asked a wight Who "A knelt apart in prayer." THE NEW DENNIS Lo Kearney. Time was when Dennis talked another wayBecause he drove an opposition dray. Thus. mass for the repose. Crocker and Kearney.200 THE COLLECTED WORKS Ah. "Of "What. For higher rates of freight and passage begs. to override the laws common carriers make common cause. soon or All late. 'tis Markham dead ? sad. Lick each other with fraternal tongues. 'twas a high and holy rite As any one could swear. and rose To go and kneel among The worshipers "for the repose Of Colonel Markham's tongue. ! rising on his hinder legs. Pool the foul issues of their dirty lungs. God wot!" "A mass" repeated he.

the thief is thee. Let Federal employees And rings rob all they please. thee I sing fathers fried Of Young Whips Land where my witches and applied to the Quaker's hide And made him spring. I love thy mob whose will's All laws above.OF AMBROSE BIERCE A RATIONAL ANTHEM 201 My country. Let's all go wrong! . Land where Thy That laws I love . For Jesus' sake. Let office-holders make piles and judges rake Our coin. My knavish country. I love thy thieving bills tap the people's tills . Sweet land of felony. free. The whole Their year long. 'tis of thee.

" "What more could you desire ?" "The whelp! We want him to "Two Away stand in and help. for we all go snacks. "How so?" says one. feed is growing Where Death so lately has been mowing." FAMINE IN PROSPERITY Two monks upon a "But field of battle Observed some lean and hungry Said one: little cattle." his purse to twist crowds contend. curse The man Some ! while we deplete his purse air contentedly he hums. "Because why." .202 THE COLLECTED WORKS INCIVISM "He's no good citizen!" the crowd Of politicians cries aloud. pray which should he assist?" "It matters not whose hand unsacks His shekels. Or twiddles his incivic thumbs.

. For sparks are sometimes seen to dance Where falls a dame's offended glance. "By the holy rood !" He cried. "I'll write an epigram.OF AMBROSE BIERCE Replied the other. in a minute's time.. by the holy mile his pencil slid. or burn to lime The marble. FIG LEAF (A Definition) An artist's trick by which the Nude's Protected from the eyes of prudes. gravely eying 203 The "All piles of dead about them lying: flesh is grass I'm quite confounded starve by hay surrounded. Which Might else with their peculiar flame its scorch the canvass in frame." That cows should AN EPIGRAMMATIST Once Hector Stuart in his tersest mood Took up his pencil. And little curls of smoke to rise From ringers veiling virgin eyes. Or melt the bronze." He did Nay.

cheeks aglow. With stubborn clay and unsubdued. Sprang. Great. And diligently tried to blush. naked. and the town was left in night ! Since then in vain the painter toils: His canvass still repels the oils. once you made Among us here a fool crusade Against some casts from the antique.204 THE COLLECTED WORKS O prudes I know you. her eyes aflame. or metal. The goddess spread her pinions bright. Then took his chisel up and dealt a At Art Her blow below the belt. to refine the Unable work. still To marble grown. In vain with melancholy sighs His burin the engraver plies. natural and Greek. in the vain attempt Half strangled Till some one (may the wretch be hemped!) Depressed his lordly length of ear Your loud lubricity to hear. The sculptor shapes his fancies crude. Whereto you flocked. And makes a god look like a Turk. Insulted. . crimson with the shame. a prurient crush. Lines multiply beneath his hand Their meaning none can understand.

" With infinite pains. workmen. or sells to Irving Scott. Mahomet Stanford. Mahomet Commanding: "In Allah's name. Piously licking them. Mollified thus and smiling free. hill!" Never an inch the mountain came. FOR PRESIDENT. Warriors. alack! Pixley Pasha on the end of the back. negroes in trains. Stanford exerted his will. Camels in caravans.OF AMBROSE BIERCE The monstrous image makes him Till. with face aflame. at the Prophet's feet. hither. of mirage to delude the eye. women. swearing them sweet. Lifted his foot and kicked. LELAND STANFORD Mahomet Stanford. crazed ill. 205 with rage. observing his master's glance. with covetous stare. the damaged lot He breaks. fools. Ventured. The work Pixley Pasha. To beg that he order the mountain's advance. vision surpassingly fair: desert's Gazed on a Far on the remote extreme A mountain of gold with a mellow gleam its Reared high pinnacles into the sky. He I'll said: "Since the mountain won't come to me. go to the mountain. and Food and water and mining tools .

voice ascends a Some other man. with a golden sheen. but is it is plain enough Your name "fill to be sneezed at: its acclaim the speaking trump of future fame" a puff With an impeded utterance Suggesting that a pinch or two of snuff disinflame. the close of day. cheat and slave. shan't be said My influence is naught but influenza. for when my at high it Tall pinnacle of praise. you'll not get from I'll me My voice and influence: cheer instead. Pixley Pasha he thus addressed: "Dog of mendacity. . alas.206 THE COLLECTED WORKS He gathered about him. May jackasses sing o'er your grandfather's grave!" FOR MAYOR O Abner Doble whose "catarrhal name" 'tis Budd Rude Will of the same might envy a rough thing to say. fair Morning broke Mountain. Abner Doble. a And the journey began at All night they traveled mighty array. at early dawn Many a wearisome league had gone. and C Sustains a chosen name. Would clear the tube and somewhat Nay. was nowhere seen! Mahomet Stanford pounded his breast.

though. enough for lot He lacked of learning. There still remained a of stuff He And hadn't any this name for. IN PICKLE The journals say that the embalming done Garfield's body badly To was begun.OF AMBROSE BIERCE A MINE FOR REFORMERS When God resolved to make the He gathered all the matter In unassorted scatter. And tagged on each a label. 207 world In Chaos that was mixed and whirled He separated that from this. kinds of substances Naming all As far as he was able. (the world completed) lies Without concatenation All unassorted and supplies Ideals for all Creation. . To execute his aim. in short Faultily finished all too soon Was of a most unsatisfactory sort.

With black-ruled journals. forsooth! Who'd wish a fish? To satisfy." says Chowder if a clam upbraid. sage or myrrh.208 THE COLLECTED WORKS How so? Unsatisfactory? To whom? tomb head Has the long sullen silence of the At last been broken? Is rebellion's Reared in the subject province of the dead? Unsatisfactory. both at the spot Where you were buried and where you were not A dummy funeral's inutile show Fifty to manifest a dummy woe. And mourning emblems blackening the walls. in salting it. As if the purpose were to pleasure them? Their cure they rightly canvass We'll cure them after in in disease." What! dead with impudence complain Of how we've potted each inert remain? The pickle criticise and even condemn. selling all at twice The customary uneventful price. please. "There was. With spices when the conscious cook supplies for the winter pies The autumnal mince-meat He makes no question if the meat prefer Clove. as fine With guarded tomb and monument . With gorgeous funerals. what way we With blazing eulogies in crowded halls. "No thought of pleasing thee shall the when I was made. cinnamon or pepper.

POET 'Tis said he wrote with wondrous is ease.) Even Your bones that served us for a public show Outlast already our unsalted woe. write such verse as he did. I can't say why. to Why. . me however much 'Tis naught to you. no doubt. to have Although. to save my soul you bravely try. was weak. and cheap for a song an undertaker sang (We More paid him for all it through the nose the pang so. my soul. quite. he please. Although for James 'twas easy Another's difficulty might In self-defense be pleaded. if But anybody.OF AMBROSE BIERCE As any light-house on the ocean line if still 209 Garfield. A CHEATING PREACHER Munhall. you are dissatisfied You might The Got brine. bless it! you might save a million such. JAMES MONTAGUE. And Can that here conceded. keen than our sorrow. as profitably not have died. So you're complaining vive la bagatelle! as well.

Munhall. Would They True. Cursing impenitent on glowing Nor quarrel with your fancy. fine. let all accept Deal. blithe and represents the wickedest as mine. I You talk as I should if some world Where lying is acceptable to God. But. I don't at all object trod forbid it Heaven! That your With airy discourse you temperately leaven reference to wicked souls coals. scorn to give to ministers the will not fight I did their calling has estopped it.210 Yet THE COLLECTED WORKS lose your own. style Which Each ornament of my spirit eases: The subject saddens. but the manner pleases. But when you "deal damnation round" 'twere sweet To think hereafter that you did not cheat. and what you allot 'em. not persuade them to adopt But. for still the "means of grace" That you employ to turn us from the place By Are the arch-enemy of souls frequented those which to ensnare us he invented! I do not say you utter falsehoods I lie: it. blast you! you are dealing from the bottom! . when you say the Devil dwells In all the breasts of all the infidels Making a lot of individual Hells.

THE AMERICAN PARTY Oh. dying. you would covet and. lad! A man Is that's shot out of his party mighty onlucky. Where Peter His happier state learn to love it. bedad! the sowl o' that An' man is sad. long bow. In the recesses of the silent tomb peace. shall release it In vain such shafts of wit as can utter The ear of death can't even hear them flutter. Peter Robertson. me I sympathize wid ye. A tomb Corea than a bed with Peter. poor hearty. you only knew How Than better is a grave-worm in the head brains like yours in far lies how far more decent.OF AMBROSE BIERCE A CROCODILE Nay. too. . 'tis 211 not for you To blubber o'er Max Taubles for if he's dead. No Maunderings of yours disturb the bag-pipe. perforce must From troubling further. Marcus D. shaped like a cease crack o' doom. and that Your mouth. droning like the Your mental gloom Of Hades audible. Boruck. By Heaven! my hearty.

"he's a kite that wull sail. I'm thinkin' too. sayin'." An' so ye hung till him securely. hard on ye." Ye said. it Ye know For ye j'ined not intendin' to sarve But hopin' to make it sarve you. An' Democrats angels forsake ye ! come about here We'll brand ye and scallop yer ear! . An' wid ref 'rence to you : "Get onto the murtherin' Joo!" Republicans never will take ye They had If ever ye ye for many a year. Enactin' the role of a But there wuzn't the ghost of a gale! But the party to-day has behind it A For powerful backin'. so American. Though the roll of its members wuz two. gossoon. darlint. So young. Wid bypassers grinnin' an' winkin'. Marcus. The other wuz Pixley. it.212 THE COLLECTED WORKS But. just enough Irish have j'ined it (An' I'm m'anin' to be enrolled) To It's kick ye out into the cold. "Surely. tail. I'm told. ye dersarve for yerself that ye do. an'.

OF AMBROSE BIERCE UNCOLONELED Though war-signs fail in 213 time of peace. Colonel Mark McDonald maybe. Two And awful portents gloom the public mind: is All Mexico arming for the fray. he smelled the fight afar. Up to the Court of Heaven sped The souls of all mankind. Republicans were at the head And Democrats behind. When cannon flame along the Rio Grande commission will be handy. R. be. A citizen's THE GATES AJAR The Day of Judgment spread seas. . A. they say. has resigned! We know The coming Howe'er Is it not by what instinct he divined trouble like the steed Described by Job. Like pods of early peas. and for that deed an aspirant to the G. its glare O'er continents and The graves cracked open everywhere. he left.

Souls less indubitably white Approached with anxious air. His ermine he had donned again. Four statesmen of the Party came And Pure ranged themselves around spirits shining like the sun. by the stains soiled a trifle Of politicians' thumbs.I 214 THE COLLECTED WORKS Reub Lloyd was there before the tube Of Gabriel could call: The dead in Christ rise Had risen first of all. would trench On custom here seat if Blake were given A upon the Bench?" . first. Knight for three. Long 'Twas laid away in gums. From taint and blemish free Great William Stow was there for one. Judge Blake at head of them by right Of having been a Mayor. and Reub He sat beside the Throne of Flame As. And George A. Then Knight addresesd the Judge of it Heaven "Your Honor. to the trumpet's sound.

so the me. but in Well. that in them both. for the other day saw you mentioned in a case in court. life Fatigued of your attempt upon his I mean his reputation made him free . your profession. move Tom's nomination. He came. the truth to The In likeness is not otherwise exact) this. without ado. Be made unanimous. sir. must say You did it as a cat that loves to sport all With an unworthy mouse too unwilling To accept the justice of repeated killing. Profession's one thing. 215 "Tom Shannon!" Peter cried. In forma pauperis was And was Stow rose. you're a lawyer. I Cross-questioning a witness. tell. tried." : Lloyd added I "That suits us. least that's Law's like religion (though. acquitted." TO A BULLY They At say. George Perry. my learned brother. fact. But you do I T practice. tale is told to This witness.OF AMBROSE BIERCE 'Twas done. practice quite another. too! remarking: "I concur.

(Heaven knows unwillingly) So that by terror of your tongue made dumb They can't tell rightly credibility. don't be fidgeting. you maul Well. "Impeaching When. it true (they say that upset you) let She must be monstrous cowardly to you! You hold it right to torture men who come to aid the law. their problem foolish clients and how best to rob them. too. The judge and But lawyers Being jury led by what they say. They've more to say than witnesses. you call it it. for I no license hold To be a blackguard. affirming that is you beat your wife. and more Important 'tis that they be truthful. and true that they Are factors in the problem to be solved. witnesses are fallible involved 'tis Sometimes in scandals. seeing an honest looking head." what they heard or saw. . right the witness take the floor And mercilessly cross-examine you? Were truth your jewel (bless us! what I've certain questions that a setting!) would set you sweating! Nay. Were't not. then.216 THE COLLECTED WORKS With If that yours. to ask them here Were perilous. and no To jail you for replies too judge is near sharp and bold. they are factors too.

And You till I'm paid a fee I'll not see I lack advantages that you Possess. it 217 were no easy task to shame you. is who Has not. he's but a glutted vulture. . where figured merely as a harmless dunce. fire Over the slow but efficacious Of cross-examination. yet bullies. the difference is narrow. them's respected. in the larger Of rhetoric you held the floor a season To give yourself for sin sufficient reason. very. and uses. air Save when. once A You term in the State Legislature. effort out. You served. and I'd kill The worm with quite insensible gradation. Who has. ambitious. if rightly I remember.OF AMBROSE BIERCE Besides. Touching If I but these matters I would fain inquire had you on the witness-grill. a scurril knave Though. defame you. and therefore cannot be so brave. By which a knave's distinguished from a Perry. And quench the fire with great deliberation. His wide wings spreading with an And shows by his unconscionable girth E'er yet the agitated air insult your Resentful nose. faith. Thus a great bird whose nature difficulty rises is in doubt With from the earth.

To He sink or take a ship. mightiest of men. There's less my heart. despite Get out." Long shall the tale be told by brave And high-born cavaliers.218 THE COLLECTED WORKS What. you're no worse than I never said you were. And old Montojo from the Shall rise with all his ears. other lawyers? little Well. flag Shows the white and feather when hears the guns of Grip. tempestuous weather When they are leagues and leagues apart Than when they get together. Hell Do you suppose I run ? this private For one small soul 'Tis your entire clan their pleadings. The air is full of uniform Gold lace with buttons blent! And then a voice succeeds the storm: "I've downed that festive gent. grave . ! I'm trying to barbecue. you brat you hamper the proceedings ! A LAND FIGHT Great Dewey. Great Grip! Great Dewey! Oh. my man.

junior. ear. junior. Get up on your blow your blaring bazoo and you And hire a hall to proclaim it. it And stick to your story and cheek through." And Rockefeller. New York Graphic.OF AMBROSE BIERCE COMPLIANCE Said Rockefeller. . ARBORICULTURE will [Californians are asking themselves how Joaquin Miller make the trees grow which he proposes to plant in the form of a Maltese cross on Goat Island. I point with pride to the far divide Where the Snake from its groves is seen to glide To Mariposa's arboreal suit. May As But stand on a stump with a lifted hand a pine may stand or a redwood stand.. in San Francisco Bay. to his boy: 219 "Be good and you shall have eternal joy. senior. being bid. his Upon knees and neighbors ever did." Said Rockefeller. and say they'll decay till You may Say it again you're sick of the say.] say they won't grow." Said Rockefeller. senior long gone gray In service at the altar: "Ever pray. to his dad: "I never do a single thing that's bad.

And Then sneer.220 And And And THE COLLECTED WORKS the shaggy shoulders of the feathered I firs sit Shasta Butte. editor. I look at my it gum-sprouts. He Now wherefore. 'tis he laughs aloud. Like a bully boy with an eye of glass. venerable sir. they hang about. many a year I've striven well To But freeze the caitiffs out this By making still good town a Hell. red and blue. Odzounds! drear to see! "Because the Boodle-Scribbler crowd Will soon be "Full far from me. And I say loud and I say their it low: bet they'll "They know man and you grow!" A HOLIDAY 'Tis Master Barry. . with a brow of brass. swear as I on my marvelous hair I roll my marvelous eyes and swear. if it and ask where would your hadn't been for me! forests be To-day I rise tip-toe. So resolutely gay? He lifts his head. takes an holiday. of Siskiyou.

OF AMBROSE BIERCE "They maken mouths and eke At the dollar limit game. And The all the country folk Besought him that he come not nigh deadly poison oak! He smiled a cheerful smile Was straightway overcast) The poison oak along his (the day way Was blighted as he passed! REJECTED When They Dr. Farewell." . "In sylvan bowers hence I'll dwell My bruised mind to ease. ye urban farewell! Hail. scenes. unfamiliar trees!" Forth then did Master Barry hie. The plate with his initials three Was simply graven "C. Charles O'Donnell died sank a box with him inside. they grin 221 And they are holpen in that sin By many a wicked dame. O' D.

never pay a cent!" said he. stern as Rhadamanthus (Minos your too. this rubbish. . and leisurely repented. When Wealth The before you suppliant appears. the lights diminished burn. you. To As be released from vows that they have made In haste. Nick looked upon it with surprise. And ^acus) have drawn And petrified them with a With fierce brows down moral frown! iron-faced rigor you have made them run The gauntlet of publicity each Hun And Vandal of the public press allowed To throw their households open to the crowd And bawl Bang! their secret bickerings aloud. Adown Ten million million leagues it fell.222 THE COLLECTED WORKS That night two demons of the Pit the coal-hole shunted it. O. "They've sent I'll C. fly go the doors and open your ears! blinds are drawn. when the poor have sought your aid. Alighting at the gate of Hell. A night-storm darkening his eyes. D. JUDEX JUDICATUS Judge Armstrong.

skilled to play silent music. rich. of judgment destitute and heart. I I did the curve of a judicial spine. No doubt it was the scratching of your pen. the Where Judges fawn upon Proud of such Golden Hand. through the livelong day. a life strife it Of conjugal brutality and vice is That vulgar. pardon. The midnight signature and chink! chink! Nay. The plain collusion and the no defense. Perform obsequious before the And still the more they scratch the more they itch! . Thy This Judges. service to that rascal thing to render to a king As slaves would blush Judges. sweetens not. though gilded shine Upon The veiled complainant's whispered evidence. The unreported and unseen decree.OF AMBROSE BIERCE Lest eyes too curious should look and learn 223 That gold refines not. O California! long-enduring land. California. chink! but think heard that sound abhorred of honest men. upright Judge. The sealed exhibits and the secret plea. Of conscience conscious only by the smart From the recoil (with caution-bump enlarged) Of duty accidentally discharged Invoking still a "song o' sixpence" from The Scottish fiddle of each lusty palm.

224 THE COLLECTED WORKS ON THE WEDDING OF AN AERONAUT Aeronaut. you're fairly caught. no more you'll freely soar the grass Above and gravel: and she will chalk Henceforth you'll walk The line that you're to travel! A HASTY INFERENCE The Devil one day. Applied to Saint Peter and begged he'd admit Him The a moment for consultation. opinion of you. coming up from the Pit All grimy with perspiration. And though I have had my You've had the best end of the quarrel. Saint showed the throne him in where the Master him. reclined On where petitioners sought Both bowed. and the Evil One opened his mind Concerning the business that brought him: "For ten million years I've been kept in a stew Because you have thought me immoral. Despite your bubble's leaven: Out of the skies a lady's eyes to Have brought you down Heaven! No more. .

be throned As equals. "Why. here on such terms with your betters?" sure you can't mean me! it!" said Satan. and I." "Indeed!" said the Master (I cannot convey A sense of his tone by mere letters) "What makes you presume you'll be bidden to stay Up "Why. the one to the other. "I've seen How Stanford and Crocker you've nourished. bless And Huntington Umbrageous the three like a green great bay-tree have flourished. they are rolling in gold. sir. sir.OF AMBROSE BIERCE "But now well." "What of that?" "What of that?" cried the Father of Sin. they command All sources and well-springs of power. I venture to 225 hope that the past smother. I thought when I At crimes such Converted to as theirs that perhaps saw you were winking you had been my way of thinking. you've given them land Before them the righteous all cower. here at last With its misunderstandings we'll And you." . You've given them houses. "They are fat.

Catton. thou dost stand joys and mysteries on either hand.226 THE COLLECTED WORKS A VOLUPTUARY Who's this that lispeth in the thickening in throng Which crowds to claim distinction my song? Fresh from "the palms and temples of the South. and hinting kittens. to report the rites Dost keep a poet And sing the tale of those Elysian nights? sir. in of a spicy tale. but can hold my tongue! AD CATTONUM know not. who you are. Nor very clearly why. I But what they are hardly could explain pain. too!) . Mr." The mixed aromas quarrel in his mouth: this the lingering gale. I'd like the place I if not too young. Faith. thy pleasure-dome (No With finer one did down by the sea Kubla Khan decree) Where. Of orange blossoms And that the odor Sir. Master of the Revels. Without afflicting you with mental Your name (gods! what a name the muse to woo Suggesting cats. I'm no great bard. but you go far I To show that you are many things beside A Chilean Consul with a tempting hide.

bow Live undespoiled of their resigned To The give their name and nature Did you little. my boy. You can't. Fling falsehoods as a sower scatters grain And. With Chilean birth your name but poorly test is ever sell tamales? It matters very If you're though. to mankind. cease Perhaps Angoran where the wicked From fiddling. a State duties all are concentrate. expand Cock-turkeywise and strut with blind conceit. there are laws that men of sense observe. invoke disdain. and these forbid to malign. Sir. All heedless of the hearts beneath your feet. and the The strings that groan animals that grow to the tormenting insides. they serve- The laws of courtesy. You As as recently you servant of another State. Chileno or American. for security. Inviting cuffs as suitable retort. Spit with impunity on ours. Wherein your Branding its Ministers as rogues in short. from Chile or from Illinois. or none . 'tis one Of any land a citizen. tallies. because you serve a foreign land. No matter whence they come nor whom did.OF AMBROSE BIERCE Points to an origin 227 perhaps Maltese.

228 THE COLLECTED WORKS new Thersites here you libels rail. O. You'll feel the cudgel on your scurvy hump Impinging with a salutary thump. 'Twill make you civil and 'twill make you jump! THE NATIONAL GUARDSMAN I'm a gorgeous golden hero And my Hear the trade is taking life twittle-twittle-tweero Of my sibillating fife And the rub-a-dub-a-dum Of my big bass drum! I'm an escort strong and bold. so hard! And my are so soft! . My countenance is cold And my attitude erect: I'm a Californian Guard And my But the banner flies aloft. If like a Loading with every western gale. The Grand Army to protect. stones are feet O.

for he turned the broad of his back upon us in "Conrad. took place: Jehovah. to care not tickle Where fawning may Exodus xxxiii.OF AMBROSE BIERCE A REAR ELEVATION [He can speak with his eyes. Yet this much. concealing His terrible face. So godlike Averting the blaze of his withering eye. Protruded His rear from behind a great rock. O * happy adorers. legs. Compassion divine the petition denied Lest vision be blasted and body be fried. 21-23. of their altars. arms. A "Dramatic Critic"} Once Moses (in Scripture the story is told) Entreated the favor God's face to behold. 229 body nay. Tempers his terrors and shows to the pack Of feeble The fires adorers the end of his back. with his very bones. fear." the other night. or lip-service fall! . worshipers die. lest without shock. which paled and declined all Before him. and his shoulder- blades spoke to us a volume of hesitation. the Bible informs us. desperation everything which could haunt a man at the moment of inevitable detection.* And edification ensued Salvini. burn the more at all brightly behind. submission. his hands.

fair. The new It Jerusalem ah me. I Elsewhere so to say. waking from my last long sleep. off its most sad to view. From trunk the bark was ripped all Its very branches w ere r stripped! An angel perched upon the fence all With the grace of indolence. took my place among the sheep.230 THE COLLECTED WORKS IN UPPER SAN FRANCISCO I heard that Heaven was bright and dwelt not there. such so deep and wide And And all unpaved. ! was a sorry sight to see blest The And mansions of the were and there. fair. . I passed the gate though angels eyed Me sharply as I stepped inside. mostly they were streets! fine But O. from side to side! in a public square there grew A blighted tree. And politicians 'Twas said in the by knowing ones that they Were So.

Psalming as if their lungs would burst) . 'Twas stripped By Durst and "The bark Siebe." "you let "What! what!" cried I such chaps Come here? You've Satan. of golden bricks "TheyVe gobbled that?" But with a scowl. who have shipped see? across the Jordan And sold it to a tannery." I cried in pain. to repent.OF AMBROSE BIERCE "Celestial bird. "You greatly wrong them. and Durst. is the Tree of Life. 231 "What vandal wrought this wreck ? Explain. filled Yet showed some purpose since your priests and parsons The place with those their preaching killed" (Here Siebe passed along. but off he went." I sighed. "their old-time tricks! That pavement. perhaps. yes. too." "We "But had him. I fear- Head of the Street Department here. too." He raised his eyelids as is if tired: "What "This a Vandal?" he inquired." said the fowl: " Twas Gilleran did that." "Alas.

the lion felled. I guess. have left nothing in the world to . but tell! well. stag they overtook. Nimrod and Bahram-Gur. though. there's much to kill.232 THE COLLECTED WORKS "He Our "In swears his foot no more shall press soil 'tis cloven. There'll be no more. short. yes. some one has Before Atrides (those were mostly dead truly said. In strength and speed and daring they excelled: The Ah. NIMROD There were brave men. lived And You for Munchausen great talkers too. Behind him) and long ages ere you were Actaeon lived." Lo! Gilleran came down the Pressing the soil street. great hunters flourished before you. the fellow's out on strike But devils are not all alike. flat feet! with broad.

Of course There's no objection to divorce. . parents. Kiss not thy neighbor's wife. for 'tis plain is In cheating there greater gain. Bear not false witness. the Take not Name in vain." Who An stays to covet ne'er will catch opportunity to snatch. Shake your head "heard it And say that you have said. and perchance Their wills thy fortunes may advance.OF AMBROSE BIERCE THE NEW DECALOGUE Have but one God: thy knees were sore If bent in prayer to three or four. 233 Adore no images save those The coinage of thy country shows. To steal were folly. effect. Direct Thy swearing unto some Thy hand Work not Honor thy from Sunday work be held at all unless compelled. Kill not death liberates thy foe From persecution's constant woe.

the gentleman of God. has. in short. his faulty pelt it upon a at least. green be the bed of him!) it Can manage somehow through the head of him. sir. keep it in. Gen. at all it Don't draw keep it in. nail (If over-eared.234 THE COLLECTED WORKS ULTRA CREPIDAM [I think there must be some misunderstanding regarding my reference to the Catholic Church in the Philippines in my address at the Stanford University. its Point out maculations with a rod. Even (ah. no tail) for an admonition against sin. The tongue is it a very uncertain convincer. CENSOR LITERARUM So. Parson Stebbins. I never have heard was any great labor To dig out your meaning dull Filipino to get when swinging your sabre. . To we press-folk ail. you've released your chin say that here. And act.] A So misunderstanding? stick to the Why. and here. that's a great scandal! weapon you know how to handle. Funston. 'Tis a great thing an editor to skin And hang And.

Sir. what were you without the press? What spreads The fame of your existence. too. Warning the people you're about to wreak Upon Whereat the human ear your Sunday freak? the most betake them to their beds. We shall appeal and take our case at once Before that higher court. Unhappy man! can you not still your tongue with worms. a taller dunce. Though some prefer to slumber in the pews And nod assent to your hypnotic views. Or Still with a pang it in its small lap) feats of it squirms? must vulgarize your lung? There were no better preachering beneath The sun if you'd naught there behind your teeth.OF AMBROSE BIERCE 'Twere needless cruelty to spoil 235 your sport By comment. once a week. according to report. But you. When By (like a luckless brat afflict cruel fleas intolerably stung. . Imperfect spiritual pulchritude For so severe a judge. the Pacific From Mail dock to the Heads. May't please the court. Despite your posing as a holy dude. critical or merely rude. have.

Find it. Happy the successful man! He has but to put one strand In his beaver's inner band And As it his intellect will soar never did before! inch of it While an remains He will noted be for brains.236 THE COLLECTED WORKS BORROWED BRAINS Writer folk across the bay Take the pains to see and say All their upward palms in air: "Joaquin Miller's cut his hair!" Hasten. hasten. If by God's exceeding grace You may hit upon the place Where the barber threw at length Samson's literary strength. And Fit to cease to write at . find it if you can. at last ('twill so befall) all. writer folk In the gutters rake and poke.

mayketh Such horrid Din the Soule within The boddy of me quayketh! .OF AMBROSE BIERCE YE FYGHTYNGE SEVENTH It is 237 the gallant Seventh It fyghteth faste and it free! God wot the where fyghteth I ne desyre to be. And eke the Shouting. Which sayeth. The Bugel loud yblowen is. divers The smoaking Earth is wet. Doe and dye! And (O good Saints defende us Agaynst the Woes of Warr) Drawn Tongues are flashing deadly To With smyte the Foeman sore! kinds of Riddance. Seeming a Flayme in Sky. And all aflowe to seaward goe The Torrents wide of Sweat! The Thunder of the Captens. The Gonfalon it flyeth.

Along a highway with more rocks than difficulty neither can compete With that wherein you navigate your feet. your law-protected game "Another's Dollar" is. On level ground. you'd find must be sought gravel. It is is a road (I thought was a river) that if hard to travel. Contrite. Jordan. . dejected and divinely sad) confessed. And In Dublin. more truly. it. once we had a little talk (That is to say. its name. Your crooked course for. 'tis and 'tis your luckless spaces (with a spirit humbled. the song says. I think. 'twas I did all the talking) About the manner of your moral walk: How devious the trail you made in stalking. To traverse Where. the walking's mighty bad. And dammen too his Eyes! INDICTED Dear Bruner.238 THE COLLECTED WORKS Whom fyghteth the bold Seventh? What haughty Power defyes? 'tis Their Colonel they drubben sore. you have stumbled lot On evil days. recently is not So blamable.

And attorneyed.) Yes. For you were on your trial To Mexico ill here. unstrangled. With thoughts untender. deep OVER THE BORDER O Justice. too. Lest you should hang as high as well. to dwell In Mexico. Or 'Tis the King proved to forgiving. you have fled.OF AMBROSE BIERCE As I 239 once George say of you: Gorham "The said of Pixley. hard think of Haman hanged. so prison yawns before you. To change and let that functionary floor you? the metaphor you seem to be seal Between Judge Wallace and the deep. . Religion looked upon you. As Haman (I dangled. his cord be know not if twanged. will you go The turnkey stalks behind 1" Now Or lag. And Haymond living. The law had long regarded you As an extreme offender. as I said: in mortal fear you journeyed.

For you'd always call so. to save your thrapple you Fled. as aforesaid. You're down in Mexico is that's plain As that the sun risen. Hall McAllister. admonition scorned! save your scoundrel client from a cell loth to swallow him as he to swell (it sum of meals insurgent decries rise) All wars intestinal with meats that You turn your scurril tongue against the press And damn the agency you ought to bless. In Politics you were de trop. TO AN INSOLENT ATTORNEY So. he to-day Would lack your company. his chain For Daniel Burns down there Drags round in prison. you'll not be warned My To As Its protest slighted. faith! there might be more said.240 THE COLLECTED WORKS The Press to you sin was cold as snow. accurately true And. . and you would lack his pay. In Morals All this is also. But well. Had not the press with all its hundred eyes Discerned the wolf beneath the sheep's disguise And raised the cry upon him.

my profession sometimes. .OF AMBROSE BIERCE Talk not of "hire" and consciences for sale profession 'tis 241 You whose to threaten. Of selfish And give a little still we shame our villainies another name. You whose most honest dollars all were By got saying for a fee "the thing that's not!" To In you 'tis one. How honorable 'tis to To you can explain lie for gain. morality for hire. liar! In every land and century a licensed No doubt. McAllister. Clients are means. Secure in his immunity from shame. or the innocent to rend. His cheek ne'er kindles with the tell-tale flame. no doubt. Calumniate and libel at the will Of any villain who can pay the bill. to challenge or defend. Hypocrisy's an ugly vice. a payment large enough secures A mercenary service to defend guilty. Provided only that the jury's made understand that lying is your trade. just and right. their money is an end. Happy the lawyer! at his favored hands Nor truth nor decency the world demands. as in yours Always. His brains for sale. rail. The But mark the difference. nor think it it slight: We do not hold lies proper. get on But blushing sinners can't without.

242 THE COLLECTED WORKS hundred thousand volumes. serve Who with livelier zeal when rogues list assist IWith perjury. conspire. he . What then? Who serves is however clean a plan a dirty man! By doing dirty work. affirmed to raise who knew him foul Ingenious man! how easy 'tis him fair. A (The Bible not included) proving that. better all around That ambidextrous That consciences abound In courts of law to do the dirty work self-respecting scavengers would shirk. services you like. that men may need The performed for crime by greed. Reminds them He'd rather (their astonishment how great!) suffer wrong than 'tis perpetrate. in short. cajole. though still the doubt remains If God none has read them with befitting pains. Who To cheat in argument and set a snare take the feet of Justice unaware. embracery (the Is long to quote) than when an honest soul. Scorning to plot. No Morrow If could get justice. Have been put forth. An I argument to justify the course that pays! if grant you. you'll declare. I grant. the perfect welfare of the State Grant that Requires the aid of those who in debate As mercenaries lost in early youth lie The fine distinction between and truth. broad and flat. intrigue.

turning away. 243 "Down!" 1 cried the saint with his face aflame. saw that magical life-laden train its Flash long glories o'er Nevada's plain. not! I'm a devil at quoting. happy passengers!" I cried. faith. but." To fail in my memory. For Pleasure. I faith. I saw it smoothly up the mountain glide. drowned the engine's roar. singing. 'Tis written that every hardy liar Shall dwell forever and ever in fire!" "That's what I said the night that I died. replied." The sinner.OF AMBROSE BIERCE ACCEPTED Charles Shortridge once to Saint Peter came. begin in. And Hope on joyous pinions flew before. Pray walk A PROMISED FAST TRAIN I turned my its eyes upon the Future's scroll And saw I pictured prophecies unroll. that?" cried the saint so "What! you said You said 'twas "what! what! 'tis writ? Then. "O happy. .

clouds of flying spikes obscured the skies. The And rusted rails broke down the rotting ties. distressed. them on the terminus its Where soon. My And coward eyes fixed I drew away.244 THE COLLECTED WORKS Then dived the train adown the sunset slope Pleasure was silent and unseen was Hope." dear has gone to heaven To make arrangements for eleven. Congealed his But now we know Our uncle's warm. melancholy tale to tell. to.West." "The winter's snow form. Crashes and shrieks attested the decay That greed had wrought upon that iron way. more. fell! One bloody car-wheel wabbled in and FROM THE DEATH-COLUMN "Open That wide." . ye golden gates lead to the heavenly shore: in still Our father suffered And mother weighs "Our papa passing through.

cross "Weep Is not. Thou'lt sprinkle without favor. sayest Thou. and parch the plains Of Upon Indiana. all allow. mother: little Will gone to Upper Louisville. Lord. Could not be graver. 245 Though wretched was Death took him from the Erected by his wife. We're just." THE FARMERS' PRAYER O Lord. and still our whistles are not wet. . While every scamp in Michigan can get His fill of water. And still 'tis growing hotter. the just and unjust. incline Thine ear unto our prayer And preachers' intercession: is This strange discrimination unfair That's our impression.OF AMBROSE BIERCE "We can but mourn our loss. The sin of promise-breaking. Send us the showers." his life. Our neighbors fall all about have copious rains like That on them manna.

his he brought . That snowflakes Wherever his eye he chances to throw The And crystals of ice begin to grow. in a word. And those who pray for an advance in corn- O smite them silly! Let corn be plentiful. the fruits and flowers he sees are lost By the singeing touch of a sudden frost. is the moral plan Of the Big. The women all shiver whenever he's near. And look upon us with a look austere Effect of the Smithian atmosphere. told that When Madame fist Ferrier had taught Hernani in school. And And he looks as good as ever he can.246 THE COLLECTED WORKS ask but justice: treat us not with scorn. Big Smith. and cheap: our hops Look well without a shower. he's such a cold all and a chaste Big Smith are his kin and kith. Such. ONE OF THE SAINTS Big Smith is an Oakland School Board man. the School Board man. We Our comfort make less chilly. We've sold our wheat: that profitable crop's Beyond Thy power.

" he smiled so sweetly the other chap that himself And Thought Caught was a Finn or Lapp in a storm of his native snows.OF AMBROSE BIERCE Like a trip-hammer down on his 247 bulbous knee. French !" "Well. ." said his learned friend. If the public's time she dares devote To the educatin' of any dam goat!" "You do not entirely comprehend a play. he. continued: "I The Smith never pursue is Immoral readinV And that true: He's a saint of remarkably high degree. "if he cuts a swath so wide I'll have him took re'glar up and tried." Said Smith. my lad. it's immoral and bad. But read! the devil a word can A MILITARY INCIDENT Dawn heralded the coming sun For Douglas was computing The minute and the sunrise gun Was manned for his saluting. With a mind as chaste as a mind can be. we'll see And he roared: "Her Nanny? By gum. With a purple ear and an azure nose. well. Hernams "By Victor Hugo What's worse.

bang! I know not how it But sure the charge exploded! Yes. destitute of awe. to could. rusty. Not at the guilty. and a A trifle wound.' " friends. The which he slowly loaded. you would have me tilt. that veteran's surprise The gun went off sublimely. untimely. old saw. When. gentle critics. I'm sure. To think that razor but an old. only at their guilt! Spare the offender and condemn Offense. felt Wounds Well. And make "Whip Nor But be not life miserable to Pretense! that is Vice and Folly satire's use personal. 'like a razor keen.248 THE COLLECTED WORKS The gunner at that firearm stood. . e'er forget what. with a touch that's neither nor seen. for that's abuse. Accardin' to this cannon!" SUBSTANCE OR SHADOW So. the sun's a minute late. Then said that gunner to his mate : (He was from Ballyshannon) "Bedad. I venture. And both his busy arms likewise Went off with it.

indubitably great Stanford. Go To to! go to! you're as unfitted quite give advice to writers as to write. impostors. I find in Folly and in Vice a lack to stirke. lest he go entirely free. they rise. Of head and for the lash no back. Rascality attends him like a shade. that's easy struck. a heel to me.OF AMBROSE BIERCE That's felt not. feel. God He. sycophants. . smug. against these wars On scamps 'tis Scampery that he abhors! in Behold advances dignity and state Grave. woundless. also. like Pelides. sets his face (so like a flint skin't) The wonder grows that Pickering doesn't With cold austerity. gave to him a corn. spirit undismayed. philanthropist! One hand bestows In alms what t'other one to justice owes. to point the moral of my fools. one can well endure. Of names Rogues. yet. The fellow's self invites assault. his crimes killing Will each bear twenty thousand times! but the list is Anon Creed Haymond long song. o'er my baffled blade. Faith! I'm for something can be made to only in the heel. But closes. 249 seen not. Whilst Pixley has a pow And Has though good Deacon Fitch (a Fitch for luck!) none. If. Its limbs unsevered. serene.

sitting at the Gate of Gold.250 THE COLLECTED WORKS foul the earth Collis They With In all and horrify the (sole honest skies Huntington man the reek of that rapscallion clan) as Denouncing Theft hard as e'er he can! .) . Though greatly these abounded. Looked idly down the A soul ascending cloudway and. Was Now. behold. A PLAYWRIGHT Saint Peter. THE COMMITTEE ON PUBLIC MORALS The Senate met in Sacramento city. from this world of woe. public morals it On had no committee. or else they wouldn't play With souls of perished pockets are supplied. hands pocketed (To souls. denied either side. Soon the quiet riot. There's a committee but no public morals. As in the flesh we wear on But the dead rich I know. serene and bold! Head up. broken by the Senators in at the end of their infectious quarrels. such pockets are.

" "I guess you haven't seen my later "What? you The Warder "Only impenitent. I fear .OF AMBROSE BIERCE "Ah. 'tis agreed. as a But pray observe that man of peace. Meek under challenge. and. Of liars bar Sam Chamberlain I'm Prince!" ." Nodding and smirking. but. indeed. me as to see a fight. crows to pick with you I You were a 'patron of the ring. first.' hear. understand. making William wince." the Saint said 'Twill do you I've certain little 251 "William Greer. Nothing so charmed said the soul : "That's right . Stage are near akin. and like a dirk That seeks a heart the cutting answer came: work. a play. to lie about my critics. good to come. sir. Harrison. the play you wrote was 'Runnymede' !" "Well?" "Worst I ever saw!" The pride alurk In authorship flashed forth. I was 'out of sight'!" To this the Saint made answer: "Although gay. you've written since?" thundered. to write and Sullivan to act. they say You were not You what reckless. friend. please. once you wrote. my it the devil I was that you did? Ah. "You had the right to do so. The Ring and With you But.

. as the nude immortal turned Swung the big engine of his holy wrath. "Poor old Saint Peter!" and with a blue grin Added: "That Paradise is a jay place. drew back his great two-handed key to flee.252 THE COLLECTED WORKS Saint The And. And smote him where the back forgets to be! All Heaven resounded with the dreadful blow. He said while hurtling Sheolward through space." THE LEADER OF THE MINORITY He tolls them along through the wilderness Ever in sight dire. And Echo babbled of it down below! his To farthest reaches of the shoreless void Raced the receding sound-waves of "O!" Rubbing the part with many a grimace. A clod by day and a pillar of fire- Water by night.

He knew that Jonah downed the whale And made no bones of it. with saints enrolled.OF AMBROSE BIERCE CALIFORNIA 253 [The Chinaman's Assailant was allowed to walk quietly away. And scorning pious platitudes. He had no doubt That Daniel laid the lions out. . He saw in the Beatitudes A lamp to guide his feet. The tale That Ananias told He swore was true. all lowliness. he had All meekness and And was 'Tis true. all holiness. although the street was filled with pedestrians.] Why To should he not have been allowed thread with peaceful feet the crowd filled That that Christian street? The Decalogue he had observed. From Faith in Jesus had not swerved. slight excess of zeal some A little to promote the weal Of this most Christian state Had moved him rudely to divide The queue that was a pagan's pride. In short. Newspaper.

Heavenly Father. To prove they never come to pass his soul eternally. Remove. And consecrate to human good The strength of her young womanhood And all her golden years ! GEORGE Running C.254 THE COLLECTED WORKS And The in addition certify Faith by making fur to fly From pelt as well as pate. But. pole. thou dost know That in this town these actions go For nothing worth a name. tempted by Sprang in mark so droll. for Senator with He stooped so low to wih the foremost place a That Fortune. bloody hands the reins of pow'r Fall slack. PERKINS clumsy pace. Nay. and kicked him to the winning . every editorial ass. Will damn Although in his own journal he May From read the printed shame. the disgrace That stains our California's face. the high-decisive hour Strikes not for liars' ears. O Father.

For longer than I know. So rich was he That none could be Wise. But few of all the things he ought. all becoming. in San Francisco lived a beggar man. said: But men "Who be. agreed: Grown life provident. In deed or thought. indeed. we read. He Which was Ere did. San Francisco dwelt a wealthy man. not Would wish him to? do!" Great souls are born to One thing. And when "Just like in bed They found him dead the scamp!" the people said. was spent He built a mighty monument. good and great in like degree. 'Tis true he wrought. .OF AMBROSE BIERCE TO EITHER Back I 255 farther than in know.

A hole. Forgotten. too.256 THE COLLECTED WORKS He died." neatly said: 'Twas get not even a stone instead." The Sank years rolled round: His humble mound to the level of the ground. Was Had t'other. Though still his name Shouted in granite just the same. On the same day His wealthy neighbor passed away. they say. who to reared the monument woo x Inconstant Fame. and there the chap was "He "Hell asked for bread. They got a spade And pick and made laid. But matters it When Their beats? beggars quit I answer: Not a bit. And men That forgot the bare spot like) Was (and was the beggar's lot. .

members dreamed no more. honored For argument here's whom? ample room. in his pride. As. to munch on. said: for luncheon?" "Pray what have / . Then. I 257 swear. its echoes balking . He to his seat was passing. sixth with rueful visage. That lofty tomb. Then six fierce bears ensued and tried To sunder him for "sassing. and one his head. the Chairman's snore Was startled Steele. They both did bear The beggar and the millionaire.OF AMBROSE BIERCE That name. long had held the floor. "Go up thou baldhead!" Reddy cried. who Had suddenly ceased talking. like Elijah." Two The The seized his legs. The fifth fourth his trunk. preferred an arm instead. stilled. DISAPPOINTMENT The The For Senate woke.

. serene and chipper. "My Look friend. The Brothers envy the accord of mind And peace of purpose (by the good deplored As honor among Commissioners) which bind That confraternity of crime. you shall not lack your share: in the Treasury." THE VALLEY OF THE SHADOW OF THEFT In fair Yosemite. El Capitan. The Vernal Fall abates And hesitates to take Awaits her in the her pleasant speed the final plunge. is The joyous Bridal Veil And a crepe streamer torn in twain dangles there instead. still His larger share as leader denied. For rumors reach her that another greed Valley of the Sponge. lo! the Devil grieves. the Board. beclouds his head. foreseeing that his reign May be disputed too.258 THE COLLECTED WORKS Then to that disappointed bear Said Steele. that den of thieves of the Wherein the minions moon divide The travelers' purses. and there You'll find his other flipper.

and hear I once. Of your revenge you should An end with my decease. new-laid: I heard above my fleshless head The grinding of a spade. "O poet. Mouldyshanks. as formerly. let your hand be stayed have made And leave me here in peace. A gruffer note ensued and grew To The harsh and harsher strains: poet Bashford then I knew Was "snatching" my remains. as you're my moan : aware. not." "Hush. because bereft: afflict him when asleep Of losing his remaining half by theft. .OF AMBROSE BIERCE The Half-Dome bows But Prophetic dreams his riven 259 head to weep. Ambitious knaves! has not the upper sod Enough of room But you must loot for every crime that crawls in Palaces of God And daub your filthy names upon the walls? DOWN AMONG THE DEAD MEN Within my dark and narrow bed I rested well.

me at by name. "My Men splendor made Milpitas e'er bright And San Like Francisco blind. "With honors all insatiate. my books Forgetful most of I should feel a sweet content If one poor dun his claim Would And bring to bully me for settlement. all "My It dog is my howls through the night. alas! I Too far. With curst ambition smit. . gate forlorn. tempted fate I'd writ! I published what "Good Heavens! with what a hunger wild Oblivion swallows fame! Men who Forget have known very name! me from a child my "Even creditors with searching looks recall.260 THE COLLECTED WORKS Was eminent in letters known And honored everywhere. swore no writer could write me if I'd a mind. My face cannot My heaviest one "O he prints all.

dread Remains. "What lazy-bones these mortals be!" plied the horn. blew loud. But no one rose. Blew long. do a deed of sin. . "Alas!" said he. come not here to hale in. I'm not about To I . again Again he Deflating both his lungs in vain. lighting upon Laurel Hill shrill. blew high and The houses compassing the ground Rattled their windows at the sound.OF AMBROSE BIERCE And when It I 261 greet it in the morn answers with a bite!" "O poet. what in Satan's name To me's all this ado? Will snatching me restore the fame That printing snatched from you?" "Peace. Then At stood astonished and chagrined raising nothing but the wind." you out I'm trying to get THE LAST MAN I dreamed that Gabriel took his horn On And Resurrection's fateful morn.

all In holes and trenches misfits Mixed up with one another's bits: One's back-bone with another's shin. Why don't they rise. Why do I sound my note in vain? Why spring they not from out the plain? Where's Luning. why don't they The man replied: "Reburied long With others of the shrouded throng In San Mateo carted there rise?" And dumped promiscuous. not doomed to To him thus Gabriel: "Sir. A third one's skull with a fourth one's grin Your eye was never. Magee. Was known in all they wished Brisk boomers once. I pray This mystery you'll clear away. alert and wise. Last of mankind. anywhere. never fixed . And all who consecrated lands Of old by laying on of hands? I ask of them because their worth the earth. who know a thing or two land which rose but never sank? Where's Con O'Conor of the Bank. Blythe and Michael Reese.262 THE COLLECTED WORKS At last Of he caught the tranquil eye an observer standing by die. who ran the Golden Fleece? Where's Asa Fisk? Was Of thought to Jim Phelan.

THE PIUTE Unbeautiful is the Piute! Howe'er bedecked with bravery. when they hear the tones.OF AMBROSE BIERCE Upon a company so mixed! Go now among them there and blow: 'Twill be as good as any show 263 To see them. His person is unsavory Of soap he's destitute." ARBOR DAY Hasten. black and white Celebrate the yearly rite. Every pupil plant a It will tree: grow some day to be Big and strong enough to bear A School Director hanging there. children. Compiling one another's bones! But here 'tis vain to sound and wait: here but real estate. . I Don't know me? am Henry George. Naught I rises it own all and shan't disgorge.

264 THE COLLECTED WORKS He multiplies upon the earth admonishing. Surrounds with celerity. He tracks the pine-nut to it its lair. Regards Smiles. He penetrates the spider's veil. Upon the Reservation wide give for his inhabiting a. it with asperity there! and it isn't . He makes it with his boweling Familiarly acquaint.jackass rabbiting We He goes To furnish The his inside. And shadows home the snail. gobbles all that pass. troweling. He lightly runs to earth deftly the faint Red worm and. hopper singing seizes in the grass : He He And t- with avidity its loves tart acidity. In spite of all All censure his astonishing And versatile unworth. Industriously pillages The toads' defenseless villages.

By Companee. said "I'm a monarch. its title And "The grand read he : Chronicles of the Kings" the History it was. to be out!" . flout However the wits may if As wide almost as this blessed town" (But he winced as "I paid 'em like sin with gout.OF AMBROSE BIERCE I wish he'd open up a grin 265 Of adequate vivacity And carrying capacity To take his Agent in. But O." he (But a tear he shed) picter here "And my you see. and O. "Great and lasting is my renown. FAME He held a book in his knotty paws.) For to put it's me in.

said : "You have the advantage. "A master of the literary "I'm somewhat famous. I grieve to tell." said the other." said the immortal part art. just a touch "Good morning. pleasant soul as ever was. The And Saint bent gravely. too. "Why." As controversialist and "That's of no consequence. standing at the Gate. beheld A A soul whose body Death had lately felled." his visage beamed. "No But one up here cares anything for that. There was Of foreign accent. of me. is there nothing you were always at? "It seems to me you were what it accused one day I can't just say. like a stately tree. but not overmuch." Of something was "Quite likely. I myself my Master once denied." "Renan of Paris. infidel. "but I swear My life was irreproachable and fair." . sir.266 THE COLLECTED WORKS ONE OF THE REDEEMED Saint Peter." the Saint replied. he seemed: step His was joyous and Peter.

the stepping Frenchman turned And down from cloud to cloud. singing. that's the fellow he's a preacher came From San Francisco. suffused with holy pride." said "Do you Believe? believe him ?" Renan. A harp he bore and vigorously thumbed. Mansfield was his name. Strumming he His countenance. As well befitted one of the redeemed.OF AMBROSE BIERCE Just then a soul appeared upon the wall. inside.' "Yes. About his head a golden halo gleamed. "Great Scott ! Believe the blackguard? Of course not! "Just walk right in and make yourself at home. and." Resting his eyes one moment on that proof aloof." . "He's only here because the Devil swore He wouldn't have him. 267 Singing a hymn as loud as he could bawl. "who declares: 'Kenan's a rake and drunkard smokes and swears. And if he pecks at you I'll cut his comb. said he: I'll "Thank you. monsieur. see if he'll have me. for the smile he wore. Glowed "Ah! like a pumpkin with a light that's the chap. ever strummed. Of saving grace." said Peter. sang.

vanity or famine urges? Admonished by the stimulating goad. but. Call. is not a good judge of The Morning you. the thrift invites : Your In vain to make a higher with tons of garbage overlaid. vile cascade level. to had mine 'T would your editors mean something solemn. How gaily. . The lo ! the spavined crow-bait prances Its cart before it eager to unload dead-dog sentiments and swill-tub fancies. "Rubbish may be shot here" I familiar sign! seem to see it in your every column. sir. all his rascal rubbish and. As folly. Thanks Fortune for so good a dumping-station. Gravely the sweating scavenger pulls out The Shoots tail-board of his curst imagination.] That from neighbor! to whose vacant lot Each rhyming literary knacker scourges His cart-compelling Pegasus to trot.268 THE COLLECTED WORKS A CRITIC [Apparently the Cleveland Leader poetry. no doubt. if I You have your wish. To improve your property. baseless Your bog sinks slowly to the devil.

I fear. Rose up 'Please. I'm holding here A resolution which. In our (I'm in if you please) Academy For there of Sciences. " 'Twas one of them. one night last week. his figure for to speak: Mr.OF AMBROSE BIERCE A QUESTION OF ELIGIBILITY It 269 was a bruised and battered chap victim of some dire mishap. is various gents belong persistent To And it which go wrong. sat The Who upon a rock and spent in this His breath ungay lament: heard of such "Some wars I've frequent Has beat the everlastin' Dutch! fight But never was fit by man To equal this which has began it. Some Their ancient fossils that has bust cases and shook off their dust . loving the debate's delight Calls one another names at sight. accords With fighting like they all was lords! Sech impulses should be withstood: 'Tis scientific to be good. Chair. too. Their disposition.

what words was uttered there! "The Chair was silent. Which was Could that idiots no more join us as they had before! "No sooner was he seated than The members rose up.270 THE COLLECTED WORKS To sit as members here will find Unpleasant. Proposed a fundamental change. instead Of me. wild and strange. denied a hearing. to a man. you Might maybe undertake to do Each other harm before you I've took cease. he'd lack enough of eyes to recognize! Each orator And since. resolution. He 'If smiled sarcastical and said: Argus was the Chair. all on which heard. Each chap was primed with a reply And tried to snatch the Chairman's eye. They stomped and shook their fists in air. not to say unkind'. some steps to keep the peace: . O. And. but at last He hove up his proportions vast And stilled them tumults with a By which the undauntedest look was shook. And And That then he read silence fell it every word.

They'd been thousand at the very least spread upon the floor deceased! to exaggerate. what words was uttered there! And when at last the day dawn came Three hundred Scientists was lame. everything we felt we hit! We gouged. friends. 271 That Science e'er to such a pass the gas!' Should come! I've ordered out "O if a tongue or pen of fire Was mine I could not tell entire What the ensuin' actions was! When swollered up in darkness* jaws We And fit and fit and fit and fit. we scratched and we pulled hair. the question it is And now of more Importance than Shall vacancies was before: us be among To idiots threw open free?" . the disaster sad "Such. Was But 'Twere easy lies is things I mortal hate.OF AMBROSE BIERCE I've ordered out alas. and Two One hundred others couldn't stand. alas. Acad. so careless handled. is Which has befell the Cal. And O.

and thought to sink Back. To stay me till I more could see. I let all. "Fatigue. Not so. headlong.272 THE COLLECTED WORKS FLEET STROTHER What! you were born. the way was steep : I scarcely. for fatigue. from the mountain's brink. and would not bego. you animated doll. At length the last wan glimmer died. RECIPROCITY The night was dark.) . But ere I fell my startled eyes skies. (When shows are free that men admire 'Tis most unthrifty to expire. of the Capitol? Within the shadow 'Twas always thought (and history so assures Its trusting readers) it was reared in yours. could creep. Beheld a wonder in the I grasped again a friendly tree. begone!" It tarried I cried. Of hope that go lit up my inside.

With lifted brow and heart elate I entered by the stranger's gate. No king that had ever seen (Nor surely any jack nor queen) Had With ever on a golden throne such a gracious aspect shone. my feet were And well I knew that I had clomb To Lick's renowned memorial dome. my very eyes its It reared. Without defection. arms folded and head I bare. Then paused. 273 Their light was like another sun! Straight upward to the zenith they. revealing with their light A massive Before building on the height. tube betrays Where Holden's mammoth The stellar gambols to his gaze. held their way.OF AMBROSE BIERCE Seven clustered planets rose as one. sat bolt upright in a chair He Legs crossed. The great man's figure there I saw. Smit with a reverential awe. face at its base. .

"Why " is the glass reversed. reversed. and o'er your roof Seven crazy planets are aloof. Within two yards of Holden's "O mighty scientist. and in session 'neath its eye? why Are you 'Tis little that I is know as of stars. "The trails are terrors to my shanks. . I dread the planetary pranks!" He deigned no word. hip and thigh. sign of an assenting god. "The night is bad.274 THE COLLECTED WORKS The giant telescope. It seethed him in a lambent light. but gave the nod. And Venus to me Mars. "This mystery I pray explain. That Meantime the telescope's great eye With splendor smote him." I cried. glorious and white! "Illustrious man. Sharp. first! Seemed diving from the sky head Its broader end remained at rest breast. "Let me beneath this dome abide." I said again. searching.

Is then. as you see." ." he said "that what you view payment of a debt long due. good man. Next morn as my way "I've seen a just. "But. and to-night Their observation I invite. the people say.OF AMBROSE BIERCE "But. generally speaking. and smile O. "Those planets up I in Heaven's high cope long have studied through the 'scope. pardon me." I sped. And mapped " the stars from pole to pole. The was light and cold as snow! "Know." How gentlemen should pass That great professor smiled. Permit them now on to study Me. I 275 know aright the night. lights of Charted the San Jose. I said. "Fair play's a jewel. I've "For years watched the planets roll. "I turn the tube and. I Can tell the valley from the sky. 'Tis true I once.

virgin Of a half-a-hundred years. . The widower flirtatious. The solemn-staring sturgeon Of a firm of auctioneers.276 THE COLLECTED WORKS CALIFORNIAN SUMMER PICTURES THE FOOT-HILL RESORT Assembled in the parlor Of the place of last resort. . and another one his teeth. The smiler and the snarler And the guests of every sort The elocution chap With rhetoric on tap. Vulgarian and dude. The man with a proboscis and a neath. the money-hog. The mimic and the funny dog The social sponge. The adiposing dame With pimply face The kitten-playful aflame. sepulcher be- One assassin picks his banjo. And the prude. The widow all too gracious.

With thunder simultaneous and loud ." TO THE HAPPY HUNTING GROUNDS Wide windy reaches of high stubble field.OF AMBROSE BIERCE THE IN-COMING CLIMATE 277 Now o' nights the ocean breeze Makes the patient flinch. through the gloom Of Market-street's opaque simoom. and or else fire as . were not there. Two city sportsmen with a dove between. bordered with dusty pines A wagon moving in a "cloud by day". Lo! the admiring population Chorusing in sternutation A catarrhal acclamation! A LONG-FELT WANT Dimly apparent. A queue of people. A long gray road. a dingy sign : "Teeth dusted nice five cents a shine. parti-sexed. Two guns that one. In twenty counties. For that zephyr bears a sneeze In every cubic inch. . Breast-high upon a fence and fast asleep A It solitary dove. Awaiting the command of "Next!" A sidewalk booth. the only it dove sick.

" JAMES As oft it L. He glides into the gloom and fades from its sight. flown. comes The worthy local coroner is he. and popular With many Compiling a remain. cured of ailment by the shock. .278 THE COLLECTED WORKS Two shattered human wrecks of blood and bone a ! And later. All tenderly in a game-bag the remains. SLANDER FITCH : "All vices you've exhausted. in the gloaming. on pinions strong and die of age in To some far foreign land. as he's Who. Renowned all man thereabout. what vile calumnies are penned! 'Tis just the other way. FLOOD youth of day happens in the That mists obscure the sun's imperfect ray. friend. mounting to the dome's extreme. The Has dove." PICKERING "Ah. fleet. So all the papers say. Smites and dispels them with a steeper beam. meantime.

OF AMBROSE BIERCE So you the vapors that begirt your birth 279 Consumed. as they pass. to cheer the man or cheer the ass. Perkins. "The Railroad can't run Stanford. Inside the vegetable-garden's pale The pig destroys more cabbage than the tail. The crowd Whether all undecided. you know. to the goal of your hope. could put to a better use In washing your hands of ambition butter's used for cooking your goose To a beautiful brown condition. You'll need ten tons of the softest soap And butter The soap you Ere the a thousand firkins. but then. . and manifested all your worth. But still one early vice obstructs the light And sullies all the visible and bright Display of mind and character. THREE CANDIDATES FOR SENATOR To sleek your O plausible way Mr. You write." That is so The tail can't curl the pig. Gods! what a sight! Astride McClure's broad back Estee jogs round the Senatorial track.

head white with many a winter's snow (I wish. . And And the tired beast. withdrawing from between. And Is with as little sense of wrong and right As animates that irritable creature. as they start again. I know. You damn all witnesses. that your heart would thaw) Claims reverence and honor. Nagging and scolding every one in sight As harshly as a jaybird in a pine. fiercer for that howl With only moonshine to incite their rage. in the law. scarce the crowd can say which one's on deck. you're an aged man. but all the hotter. but the jaw That's always busy with a word malign. And And a learned too. glows as dogs the louder Not you. I suppose (But that's a far And what Your wrath it's all more righteous thing to do) about. the biped's neck. the They man to lower his feet is seen. And swear at the attorneys. A GROWLER Judge Shafter. Mounts. all jurors too.280 THE COLLECTED WORKS stop. not a very venerable feature. the good Lord knows. however. I doubt not.

belief. I see 'tis ink For writing nonsense. and how can I Have that by being willing? I cannot. Lest all men." they'll go to Headlong Faith is Hades. do own also. Believe a shilling. Even when their food flung into the cage. Believe you If so. . pray it. This dime though I try.OF AMBROSE BIERCE And bears with 281 more ferocious is menace growl. Perhaps you can. But what seems evidence I to you may not call so. hearing you. do not try to ladies show To That gentlemen and if they have not "Faith. and forbear to curse us. Heaven knows This I'd like the Faith to think little vessel's contents Are liquid gold. cry: "Ecce ursus!" AD MOODIUM Tut! Moody. Reform. your Honor.

"Curst Reason! Faith forever blest!" You're crying all the season. to-morrow. he answers you According to your folly. I hope. however. swallow every As certain fish do. to. I But some day might think a rope chase and bite me. Would Would bolden and delight me. He's right or wrong. Mr. may Come now and then to sorrow: They put In lies their trust in truth to-day. Reason. bait. And says what you have taught him polly. Like any .282 THE COLLECTED WORKS Minds prone to Faith. is But who decides that Faith best? Why. No doubt the happiness is To think as one would But not to great wish to. To think a snake a cord.

this red rust a widow's curse appears. What dismal records burn upon thy blade! On Of In thee I see the maculating stains passengers' commingled blood and brains. as within a magic glass. In God's name. historic spade. seem to see a foul procession pass Judges with ermine dragging in the mud And Kept spotted here and there with guiltless blood. Press Telegram. While ghosts of murdered virtues shriek about thy blade ! .OF AMBROSE BIERCE A SPADE [The spade that was used to turn the construction of the Central Pacific Railroad at the is 283 first sod in the to be exhibited New Orleans Exposition. Upon thy handle sanguinary bands Reveal the clutching of thine owner's hands When first he wielded thee with vigor To cut a sod and dig a people's grave For they who Within I brave are debauched are dead and ought. And fancy figures thee a devil's lance in the Gleaming portentous growing shade. And here an orphan tarnished thee with tears. editors and sycophantic scribes.} Precursor of our woes. thee. Liars in swarms and plunderers in tribes! They fade away before the night's advance. Gold-greedy legislators jingling bribes. to be hid from sight and thought.

thine avenue. cause and finish of the fray. to ears of mortal clay. would suffice. Van Ness. if lodged there." they sneered in tones of "The owner's self. "No you don't/' "lean!" "You can't!" "I will!" "You won't!" "By heaven!" he swore. meaning. Who signed their favor with assenting nods off half their That snapped dry heads their necks grown Since last the nectar cup went circling by) lot." For three long months the awful war they waged: With women. engaged. "not only But purchase donkeys till will I build. Great Porter Ashe (invoking first the gods. the cries of battle and distress! Brave lungs were thundering with dreadful sound And The perspiration smoked along the ground! Sing. While roaring babes and shrilling poodles raged! . is the place filled!" ice "Needless expense. men with men.284 THE COLLECTED WORKS THE VAN NESSIAD From end Rang with to end. women. Said he: "I build that stable!" Said they. Resolved to build a stable on his His neighbors fiercely swearing he should not. heavenly muse.

Lo! he holds high in heaven the fatal beam. Portentously and made a ringing sound." The conscious nickel. died at last load of fate. the others win. to whom his mind he broached: . as is his wont. bears the destiny of all Van Alas. Deliver judgment neither pro nor con : The dooms hang level and the war goes With a divine. the beam with ready wit. in state. Interminable but by loss of For malediction soon exhausts the breath If not. contemptuous disesteem Then. to decide the strife. feels of Porter's fate the One One downward Ness. from Olympus. stress. Jove dropped the pans and kicked. on. Raised his considering orbs. Porter loses. and lay Jove scanned the disk and then. remarking: Twirled "See it spin: Head. the rusted scales. exclaiming: "Front!" With leisurely alacrity approached The herald god. their life all gone. it : The nickel that he did not care for absently. himself. spun round. its Then. where he still 285 maintains His ancient session (with rheumatic pains his Touched by long exposure) marked the life. tail.OF AMBROSE BIERCE Jove. staggering beneath Sank rattling. A golden pan depends from each extreme. strife. old age itself is certain death. charged with doom.

With dark vituperation gloom the day. Fight for a in either class ass. Trailing a splendor like a falling star! With dimming lustre through the air he burned. Deacon The Bulletin being Fitch. my! what could you. and but a single Achilles Ashe. that sold. The sovereign of the gods superior smiled. Vanished. My. good Mercury. betake thee hence And salivate him till he has no sense!" Sheer downward shot the messenger afar. have been about These many years of editoring? Why. against which nor gods nor men Decrees their victory and his defeat. Such round great though Ilion's towers. with formidable Assails a jaw hee-haw. he never had. and mild: "Is Destiny's decree performed. "In San Francisco two belligerent Powers. my lad? And has he now no sense?" "Ah. sire. but with another sun returned. There's not a horse. They compete. it . fatherly Beaming benignant." VALEDICTORY They tell me. man. Fate. With haste.286 THE COLLECTED WORKS as contended stable. Trojan band with fierce Firing the night with brilliant curses. you are out : you couldn't buy it.

287 working at so good a trade. There's no accounting as no doubt you think yourself you proudly stood. You're hardly worth maybe he who scorns : His opportunities of gain by mounting. And For then dismounting. meant to sing about. other person's corns Discredits journalism. it. . (What fowl so meditative on the nest So introspective as the glutted vulture?) "Our Mike" He'll tell is noble. I'm persuaded nay. not him. air. So rich is he that many persons swear He ought as Senator to be elected. They've leisure. they explain. tastes.OF AMBROSE BIERCE Seems hardly credible that you have made So little. He's famous from the water-front to San Juan Smith He's rich! street as less good than you. but you. for moral culture. though fatter. bless you! there is Mike de Young. you so himself ten times a day. You I say that's nothing to the purpose. Why. it doesn't greatly matter . He's rich enough to want the earth and Although not rich enough to be respected. Among the things he's proved to own Are half a million dollars and Frank Stone. good As I if in mail of black do not think you so the rich are best. True. a man At least a well.

I can't afford. . I On No Ah. Excepting by comparison with Mike. Now. let me be frank : Excepting various errors of the noddle. The cause of quarrel (now at end of war The hatchet we'll inter and marble-slab it) Was plain to either adversary. birth. second thoughts.288 THE COLLECTED WORKS will slip in : He I I can't at all prevent intrusion. contentious years 'Tis many an I ill turn we've done each other. though sufficient Habit. Nor regard you as an elder brother. my heart is in it. blindness to my worth. let the wretch "had went. Gunst." And lately a bad And always a bat's Your record's clean flow of Sandlot twaddle. think more can you to buy befitting drink. His reasonless and seasonless wish that. here's my hand . well. for : 'Twas very simple." Come. however. as made talk of "caving down the bank. like Mo. Deacon. You You ne'er could altogether stay your sneers. (That organ's somewhat out of shape. too. in all these long. and laudable from Fitch. that If there was aught behind I know not Explains full twenty years of dog-and-cat. every way invited my dislike. us drink to his confusion. Such as you leave the field.

I'm sure. Towser (I'm thinking your name must be Towser) You're a decentish puppy as puppy dogs go. how's that? . For you never. TO A STRAY DOG Well. She sputtered and spattered the name of D. silence. and what do you think? Her trumpet she filled with a gallon of ink. And all through the Press. Max Muller. 'twould not do 289 Our long relation sullenly to sever. And you tail's unimpeachably curled just But. is a "poser": meaning I cannot get anywise it is When spoken correctly perhaps Toser. tall Soon comes the May we then be laid its Where Mike's monument bestows shade! A FISH COMMISSIONER Great Joseph D. could have dined upon trowser. with a devilish J. That goddess was angry. And means one who toses. so. glee. ) Really. dear me! your Its name if 'tis yours at. Redding illustrious name! Considered a fish-horn the trumpet of Fame.OF AMBROSE BIERCE From use in football.

"Count fairly the man-eating monster the ballots!" so rang the blind. demand hand. with his life in his . And. In the light and the heat of whose quickening fame you May grow In sunshine to an eminent dog if you can. I will vouch. like his you'll not long be a croucher: The Senate shall hear you for that. I ne'er A Or Its word's prehistorical. Stand up. Of the gallant De Young. I rechristen you Goucher. "tose. Towser (or Toser). And stood before Buckley who thought him behind.290 THE COLLECTED WORKS was ingenious at all at divining state. primitive its root. is For Buckley. I mean to rename you In honor of some good and eminent man. I'm for no nearer how's The riddle's solution than ever My pretty invented word. now that I think of it well. by consigning bloom to the turnip. sir. But damn you! I'll shoot you if ever you Gouch! IN HIS De Young "Took HAND is (in Chicago the story told) his life in his hand." like a warrior bold. Come here." any clearer its In point of signification than "towse"?'s sorrowful fate. like finding a mole.

with his life in his I will die hand. on your floor!" has been spared.OF AMBROSE BIERCE 'Tis done. by the line. "Chant. yawp Under the moon and sun. yawp. is slain reputations. chant. gilt with the gore he defies lies. candidates perching to croak. to roar: "Count His life fair or. chant! To woo the reluctant vote. No more His "lying opponents" with deadlier His trumpet is hushed and his belt unbound His enemies' characters cumber the ground. No His more he foes will charge. for his sins to atone. by God. . and the struggle is 291 ended. is And And hey! for the tale that never done. De Young is triumphant. It's ! aye the rabble. and never again Will he need. I to gabble. with a daring divine. They bloat on The fortunate the war-plain with ink all asoak. his friends with corruption. The thunders are stilled of the horrid campaign. No more He Of havocs the battle-field. And the hand that he took it in washed with cologne. A DEMAGOGUE "Yawp.

Ah! the weapon between I'm See my teeth sick of the flash of it. stab! ultimate note. each FATUUS loyal partisan. A For Buckley. boom. weep. boom! I'm beating the mammoth drum. how the slash of it Misses the foeman to mangle the sheath! "Boom. . weird. most accomplished man. wonderful gift of gab! IGNIS Weep. king of hearts. My nethermost tripes I It's blow into the pipes O for the honors that never come!" 'Twas the dolorous blab Of a tramping "scab" 'Twas the eloquent Swift Of The the marvelous gift wild. stab.292 THE COLLECTED WORKS I would I were dead And my And my say were said its song were sung to "Stab. a man Of parts of foreign parts.

293 And he would be with us to-day If ye were but with him. sway. Since he is to scoff gone we're is all agreed That he what men call A So crook: his very steps. "most of whom. The devil FROM TOP TO BOTTOM [Japan has 73.OF AMBROSE BIERCE Long years he ruled with gentle Nor grew his glory dim. "are grossly ignorant. . at his going off Men wondered In such a sudden way. Are bent let to Montreal. sighs Our and groans have way: It matters not is how much we O! to pay.759 Buddhist priests. and many of them lead scandalous lives." says a Christian missionary."] O Buddha. 'Twas thought. our tears unhindered flow. as he had come He would remain to prey. indeed. The It had you but foreknown your priesthood twist and vices of would have made you moan As any wounded beast would.

When from the humming-bird I'll A plume write of wrung Mike de Young. I'll allow. might show The same of times Confucian. In your day. And when the plate is passed about He never takes a penny out. All take the name. The records.294 THE COLLECTED WORKS You would have damned the entire lot And then turned Christian. to descend to. I never did intend to. not quite a priest. This pen's a buzzard's Such subjects quill. that would only Have brought distinction. I've . Even now A Christian might feel lonely. Nor more than half a preacher. but facts are things As stubborn as the will of kings. And yet the fact I can't disguise That Deacon Rankin's good and 'Tis true he is wise. to From Buddha down Rankin! There. priests The were ignorant and low When ridiculed by Lucian. would you not? There were no Christians. could we read. I swear. as loud at least But he exhorts As any living creature.

housewife worthy of a morning rags and sacks and bottles to solicit? t "Pussy Wants a Corner. flint to skin. Then recreation might have claimed his mind." "Simon Says Thumbs Up.t If neither worthy work nor play command This gentleman-of -leisure's heart and hand.OF AMBROSE BIERCE AN IDLER Who Had told 295 Creed Haymond he was witty? who nothing better in this world to do? embrace Could no greased Kindle pig's appeal to his his ardor for the friendly chase ? lot. autocrat of thumbs. And a far livelier satisfaction comes Of knowing Simon. Did no dead dog upon a vacant and Bloated and bald. The harmless game that shows the feline greed To cinch the shorts and make the market bleed* Is better sport than victimizing Creed. inspire his its arms To hide from human eyes faded charms? If not to works of piety inclined. No No Her * tin to mend. no glass to be put in." . or curdled in a Stir his compassion clot. visit. of profit to some deed of no no cheese to pare. Then Mammon might By hope Is there his idle spirit lift thrift.

singularly ceited Governor Nonwaterman. nor Was Boruck's threat of aiding him Effective in dissuading him self-con- This pig-headed. For office he was hotter than The love of any lover. Jacks and Aces cry.296 THE COLLECTED WORKS Lo! the blind sow's precarious pursuit Of the aspiring oak's familiar fruit !- 'Twould more advantage any man to This easy victim's undefended meal steal Than tell Creed Haymond he has wit. big-headed. . and so state to his narcotic flow! Expose the THE DEAD KING Hawaii's King resigned his breath Our Legislature guffawed. Queens. A PATTER SONG There was a cranky Governor His name it wasn't Waterman. The awful dignity of death Not any single rough awed. But when our Legislators die All Kings.

His early education had 297 Not taught the abnegation fad bull-witted. With One His day (this is prophetical) graces. To pride of parish pandering. parallels of latitude Four The slab-footed. fabulously ! feeble- minded king of gabble-gandering He conjured up. postures energetical. ad libitum.OF AMBROSE BIERCE To citrus fairs. sky-rolling. The wool-witted. He went about philandering. et cetera. hurtling hallelujah lad of peerless volatility! . to exhibit 'em. He straddled in each attitude. perceiving that agility ability His powers of Transcended her (A Upon her horns engrafted him And to the welkin wafted him circumstance for grieving at) The high-rolling. He knew not any better ah. crab-footed. galloping gregarian of presence unaesthetical ! An ancient cow.

how will you assuage Your spongy passion for the blood of age?" . yes. no doubt. "I can't complain: Life anywhere provided I it is mine Agrees with me. is What they And though I don't object to your growing old. Jail. 'tis not your growing stout. somehow." To "O see a persecuted man grow no. so you don't! Well. uncovering his teeth." as. Said Death are you looking very well. strolling through the County cell." said Death." was the reply. They like you to be. And nose that like a soaring hawk appeared.298 THE COLLECTED WORKS A CALLER "Good morning. "I think that life in this secluded spot it Agrees with men of your trade. stout. scant of breath. The pampered butcher glacially sneered: "O. does not ?" "Well. fat indifferent to lean or myself entirely favor that. It hurts their sense of harmony. And entering a fat assassin's his hat He hung and coat upon a nail. these malcontents complain "Which makes and scold. And lifted lip." that With brows met above the orbs beneath. but observe with pain That still the people murmur and repine.

" And tap the old women who THE SHAFTER SHAFTED Well. stepping partly through. I did not notice I've made you budge much to do Without endeavoring to follow. hatted unmeated pow. fate of all political contenders Who fight with flying colors and suspenders. natural and Being a Judge. Is easy quite to sing. James McMillan Shafter. Supreme there and dream. through The The miserable squabbles. for example. Turned and made answer: "I I'm going to the Bench you call sit will show you how. dust and smudge. you're a Judge At least if you were when last I knew of you. . And the people since have it.OF AMBROSE BIERCE Death with a clattering convulsion his 299 drew His coat on. Unbarred the door and. It and I confess wins applause from hearers who have less Of spiritual graces than belong To audiences of another kidney % Men. 'tis wrong That song That you should villify the public press Save while you are a candidate. like Sir Philip Sidney.

Secretary gripped him . Just so. That General Sam Young is "fired out". Root knows little else) Why But Sam should fare so better far than Nelse. You were Is yourself retired not long ago Just "cast as rubbish to the void" (for such Law's demand) alighting where 'tis much Too cold for comfort. That may be And still no harm done. for they're Shafters. don't Newspapers. Miles! You have observed. for scarcely did he light tight. TO ONE OUT OF FAVOR Attention.300 THE COLLECTED WORKS say. If you've a Yourself memory you still can how singularly hard you tell fell. That is to say. no doubt." know (Mr. for I swear I'll eat My legs and in the long hereafter go. so you always treat so The Judges with respect. it And no I one "kissed the place to make not well. There you may be found Piled up on Fame's eternal dumping-ground. For some of them are rogues and the Lord's laughter's Directed at some others. Ere Mr. belly if Snake-like. so he did. upon my you'll show All Judges are respectable and sweet. retired for age.

his person where hurt. for cannot be brave round. in pity for his hapless plight. "I've forgotten my handkerchief! "O. as in pained surprise. eyes And blew Then started her pale nose for and cried. The appropriate consolatory Miles. you're badly bruised." those staring people all . you are lucky! True. too rashly you had dared to strip for the official lip. rite. The wound But if administered. And.OF AMBROSE BIERCE Stood him erect. She murmured and moaned and wiped her relief. it Your aching back Consider the temptation (none can fight Who has Administration teeth) to bite it! PRIVATION With As That her grief the widow was so engrossed she rode at the hearse's rear. the balm refused. rinding on Performed. 301 removed his coat and it shirt. I really think the dead man's ghost Must have shed the ghost of a tear. what shall I is do when we get to the grave And I the coffin I shall put in the ground? I know With weep.

now. shriek and wheel. longer o'er the door to death display sign. red-handed." Said the widow: "What! This pokey old linen thing?" TO ONE For wife. "there is nothing forgot. the forlorn ghosts villain. for you'll IN CUSTODY not for maid: Villain! for years you've plied your awful trade widow and in no." one. "For Ladies. Now. flights of Arctic seabirds." I've read Lo! day after day For twenty years on every wall fall. immunity from you. Even confess its chastity one true Advantage About your hand. in clamorous appeal.302 THE COLLECTED WORKS said "Be calm. I pray your time has come Mercy be deaf and intercession in the dumb! life No Nor The more. path to May you be found alurk with eager knife. As round Like Pale the blade of Calmar. For your handkerchief you bring You are holding it see. mothers and babes unborn. A handwriting prophetic of your And now the last dread syllable I spell That damns your body to a felon's cell Your soul has long awaited you in Hell! .

In error. reverently Some missing mandates For lo! I fall try to supply. should be a sinner. vision Observe how clouds my bound: . ill. Lord. deem In it 303 not presumption.OF AMBROSE BIERCE FOR A REVISED VERSION Oh. compel And many (By plain command and threat of hell) Which has no corresponding vice To Of interdict in terms precise. behold! in tears away From I'd rogues Thy bidding shalt who obey. too. (although it's poetry I'd blot to Well known Thee that I hate poets). I'd exterminate the Thus brood rascals negatively good to smart Men Bible-clear." a virtue. menace dire. me to revise Thy holy Word No No No jot or tittle I'd efface. nor pledge of grace. would then be thinner) If not a saint. of dunces Who Ve I got by heart Thy written will . turn. who ought tail Beneath the lash at of cart. Lord. But humbly. Each soul (masks. too. if I am found. Wherever "Thou not" occurs add "Thou shalt the exact reverse.

. I will go to the land that the Gentile loathes As he gathers his one small wife to his breast till And curses and loathes his life is done. And I shook myself out of my clothes in the land Of the Mormons. the place I will go to the place of the Mormon: Where the jackass rabbit is first in the race And the woodchuck chatters in meaningless glee Chatters and twists all his marvelous face like Twists it and chatters and looks me. With my breast of brass and my hair's full length. to the south. up my sleeves. and stood there and kissed my hand. And The bless me with the larger light In Thine imperfect law to trace perfect purpose of Thy grace. THE MORMON QUESTION BY J-QU-N M-LL-R I said I will shake myself out of I will roll my clothes.304. and the west every sea that is under the sun). THE COLLECTED WORKS Forgive my narrowness of sight. And I rose in the strongest strength of my strength. to the east. I will spit on my hands (The hands that I kissed to the sun in the lands To Of the north.

sir. for once I saw the two Hobnobbing in a friendly kind of way . no. Embarrass you by naming. [(You'd get that back. which not back. in Gin. Tom's tongue make Senators? No. to relate To That the grand jury) it did you calculate I will and other sums. They're made by Mr. by what he has to sell. which it right. Mammon. that's gammon. Stow and Mr. But how the Like an unruly devil could the thing help child. gold. I know they are. however. to cast your bread-and-butter into the gutter.OF AMBROSE BIERCE AN ELECTION EXPENSE Stanford. at least) Tom Fitch's "silver tongue" is very well If let alone though that he'll never do. to "stump the State" (A You deemed circumstance of no importance." that's very true. piping hot. 305 when recently you gave Tom Fitch Ten thousand dollars. For he must live And silver should be "free. falls In mutiny whene'er he moves And ne'er is faithful except I when he Asleep in Je mean. would come As bread upon the waters. it you? kicks and squalls his chin. With added pancakes in an ample stack? 'Twere better. of course.

. Where you could be "surprised" when Creed should claim Your ear. And say he'd ventured to propose your name. his part Be deeper peace than Paradise Forever and forever. but not quite respected Since you in statesmanship have been detected. I heard statesmen say You took good care to tarry at the Bay. It is Up true You were not with them. firm's an old one. and hope you'd pardon him. For. And that all men had thrown their hats so high That none had yet come down. and sigh. A famous person God and he Were a majority. after all is done and all is said. And dreams disturb him never. Are you and Mammon. by your leave. Mammon & The Stanford are not over-smart.306 THE COLLECTED WORKS there at Sacramento. and would you loan him twenty dollars? said that so. and split their collars With cheers. SMITH the earth upon his dear dead heart. WILLIAM Light lie F. but it seems to me That you and he on this Thanksgiving eve Should drink a stirrup-cup (for I perceive You ride your philanthropic hobby Ned Curtis astride behind you) and so part.

inconsolable for loss of her. wit and rhetoric. Pickering) Before that microbe-chief of the spiritual faculties. Fitch. sentiment.] You. a holy beacon Upon the With an walls of Zion. though. blazing efrulgency amazing. happy period of mental independency! golden. too) the flourishing He human race was Three hundred million years upon nourishing this planet. are known to be a Deacon A shining light. in all Mr. eternal red. Bulletin. a still. says (he's seen the figures. heard of tackled his brain. ever The Until flame of immortality flickering it (which always. Allen Griffiths is 307 an audible Theosopher A student of Blavatsky. Unable to distinguish a surmise from a geranium. golden age of Theosophical ascendency! TWO GUIDES He has only [Ingersoll has neither philosophy nor logic. O O happy. Man in his and lightly then sleeping sweetly undefended cranium. The Poor Faculty of Thinking. was burned.OF AMBROSE BIERCE JUVENTUS MUNDI Dr. .

wild In the hills There's a lot of cost and a risk to boot I don't at all think it is best. his eyes with smoke and vapor . although you're a terrible swell You're not in high favor out here. .308 THE COLLECTED WORKS And (Bob yet. dear Kipling. WARNING West. I'd rather miss with him the clew it To life than follow with you. I in mean. Rudyard. For. infernal sputtering taper. I think. between the two Ingersoll. you're coming to shoot of the wide. and you) A man Would want of light to read Between the lines of nature's Creed rather scrutinize Creation By Than blind From your Though Robert's clear illumination. For you said it San Francisco was meaner than You And said was very small beer Chicago uncommonly queer. IN They tell us. Ingersoll. well. perchance. had not Of wisdom or of truth one jot. And hope it is only a jest.

And remain where pheasants And the sportsman takes his As are tame and fat aim. at the game. But know you pretended to meet folk that existed not out of your head Or an English comical sheet. a general thing. And when of your hunger you well were rid (And your manners too) like a cub 309 You You Some snarled at the speeches and grub. o's! But not the American And you damned For all of this our orators all of and for that You'd better abate your flame. you did. said I I don't know the one half that you said. You dined at the Jollidog Club. And you vilified Kearny street! Our statesman apparently didn't get far too. . But hardest of all cigar our hearts you wrung With assorted pangs and said woes When you you could speak the English tongue.OF AMBROSE BIERCE You put your legs under our tables. In the favor of one so Too utterly fine. nose. Nor the plump Nor the shiny hat could woo The sweet and beautiful You.

With a stony eye and a brow of gloom. and spooks of strains Of sepulchral laughter seem to float air as the ghost reads In the what it wrote . APPARITION "The ghosts are all gone. printers alike it scares. . It haunts the passages. beneath your nose A ghost is stalking that never goes. in real ink. phosphorescent ray visible eloquence of its lips decay Gleams on as it reads each word In a tone that no mortal before has heard. The phantoms Troop of thoughts that dead men think. good neighbor. So we just let go at the Britisher chaps Who And have made remarks too the same surcease to be. O neighbor.310 THE COLLECTED WORKS Out here when we go to shoot. where are your eyes ? Gruesome and ghastly. It enters the editorial room. white. for still real quill. But the reader most It writes it appals." the Bulletin cries. And The a faint. perhaps Nor beast nor bird we see. Sheeted ideas from wormy brains o'er the paper. and writes with a On real paper. haunts the stairs Editors. free.

as his heart were bled: "O God! will Bill Bartlett never stay dead?" A CREDITABLE COLLISION There was once a brave collision In Imaginary Bay. am busy but I'll write you by-and-by. which had hospitably stood To receive it." Then the skipper of the vessel Which was sinking in the brine Said to t'other one: "I guess I'll Trouble you "Well. Then the people on the latter Said they didn't understand.OF AMBROSE BIERCE Copy to printer 311 and ghost to tomb Silent the editorial room. as a civil steamer should. Who sees it cries." ." was the reply. But they thought they'd better scatter To And You the most adjacent land. O the Bulletin ghost is indeed a most Remarkable kind of a Bulletin ghost." me your address. When a steamer with precision its Clove comfortable way Through another. just give "I to drop a line. the people on the former said: will find it "That's so sixty fathoms down below.

Yet the passengers were fearful Of For their a melancholy fate. their tickets were not good upon that line. Some of them. knowledge was imperfect of the way That the fishes have of breathing in the bay. When And the troubles all were ended the living safe in port . Saying: "Hope we don't intrude. On But Said the floating steamer mounted. the pilot and the mate Nothing ever yet was better Than For the the way they met their fate. who were accounted Quite unmannerly and rude." the others. with politeness rare and fine. But the skipper of the wetter Ship.312 THE COLLECTED WORKS Then the to carpenter whose function Was Said: mend the leaky boat is "So wide our disjunction float. perils that beset them in their climb They encountered with alacrity sublime. Though these are cheerful For a landsman to relate. That we cannot longer See the rats already leave us!" And so he Up and hove his kit among them incidents in the sea.

The unanimous decision Of that high and mighty court Was (I "spontaneous collision" am quoting the report) And the skippers were commended who had fed To the lobsters each a bellyful of dead. Twenty Consuls. Thirty Coroners were Eighty-seven skilled objectors And a Notary to swear.OF AMBROSE BIERCE Invitation 313 was extended all to For them come to court. Where Ere defaulters fill the fist sailing o'er the western seas. And before that court And expounded how the sailor-people sighed the passengers had lied. Where the Were with officers (they afterward explained) deferential kindness entertained. Within this region I subsist. ten Inspectors. . AN EMIGRANT (AFTER TENNYSON) You ask me why. though all ill at ease. there.

814 It THE COLLECTED WORKS is a land where one may kill With sober-sided freedom bruise And shoot and stab whome'er he choose. And thugs may wreak their own sweet will. and I'm to be About had up for crime. From Scavenger to President. Where Can still I can plunder and I shoot off my loaded mouth. banded unions prosecute Our unions like the deuce. . till. . And Power should take from purse and The gains that I appropriate From every coffer of the State. And I to fight have not the will. Where And Sets Faction gathers to a head. I seek a safer sky. Then waft me from Wild winds! the harbor south. foulest thought law and order anarchy all at naught Goes If in for instead. still. in his greasy. And greed still broadens slowly down. Or made to keep my clapper mute. A land of such misgovernment That Justice here has not a frown.

never looks On wine when it is red. I think. and between Them But you repent. Poor fellow! must have felt quite rueful. . but you full.OF AMBROSE BIERCE CONTEMPT OF COURT So. Ah. who never. Observing. not himself. well. awful just prepare for something In words: That jurist has his jaw full. To trial by her peers. are in drink Are you one when you Up When to your ears? You're not her equal by a pailful you've enough to make a whale full. Juror Simpson. I know you did not mean 'Twas all an accident: You drank between drinks. But sits cold sober cramming books Into his head. 315 you got drunk And was a holy show! Who could have thought that you had sunk So very low As not to hold it clearly sinful To get your miserable skin full? Defendant has a right. Judge Ross.

to And him a curious citizen said: is "Beg pardon." said the spook in reply. but why your glorious name Not blazoned in gold on the Temple of Fame ?" "I truly don't know." why made Those other names And the risen one A wink that threw half of the land into shade. And half of the cats to the peak of a roof. "And was just on the point of asking you are.316 THE COLLECTED WORKS A PARTIAL ECLIPSE A Person of Consequence rose from the dead. eclipses. Sent half of the hens to their perches aloof. Half-crazed the foreseer of and fooled The funny left lobe of the brain of Miss Gould. .



319 . The Brink 1875. DUMP-CARTERS. NAVVIES and Unassorted Lower Distance. The delving Paddies PICKERING : Case of infra dig. light-minded and unmeaning quips Come with but scant propriety from lips Fringed with the blue-black evidence of age. FITCH : Loring. Time FITCH Gods! what a I see : steep declivity! Below go. 'Twere well to cultivate a style more sage. a Mile Deep. an Enemy to Sin OLD NICK DEAD CAT ANTIQUE EGG SHOVELRY Scene in the a General Blackwasher a Missile Another RAILROGUES. the lazy dump-carts like beetles come and Creeping and about as big.THE TWO CAVEES DRAMATIS PERSONS FlTCH PICKERING a Pelter of Railrogues his Partner. of a Railway Cut.

round : go Over and under and Swing wide and free. well and Pat Stanford it truly flung! has grassed. his cart away. Slant your fine eye below and see (Seizes it land. The anti-monopoly cat? Designed to admonish. Well. in act to throw.) PICKERING Huzza! good Deacon. it Dead Cat by the tail and swings (singing) I at. Our thrown in fun. merrily. (Enter Dead Cat) Here's one that thoughtfully has come to hand. who wouldn't be me. though fitter 'Twere that he pull it. if some day We'll not his place. hearing how you pun. . we owe The traitor one for leaving us! get. swing high and low The anti-monopoly cat! in the place of O.320 THE COLLECTED WORKS foulest missiles are but For men will fancy.) DEAD CAT Merrily. Persuade and astonish The capitalist and (letting go) : FITCH Scat! (Exit Dead Cat. Mike drives a dump-cart for the villains. and Mike de Young.

Where the Holy Of immeasurable Blossoms Crocodile smile like the early rose. the little Jew. Where the rushes later grew. Passing many a temple old.OF AMBROSE BIERCE Meantime fling missiles 321 any kind will do. . That concealed Baby Mose. too! ANTIQUE EGG: In the valley of the Nile. And I felt my yellow streaming . Straining very hard to hatch. I disrupted there my yolk. (Enter Antique Egg.) Ha! we can give them an ovation. And And By the Sacred When the Onion grows Pyramids were new the Sphinx possessed a nose. Through my white And the dream that I was dreaming Of posterity was broke In a night. Then from By the papyrus-patch the rising waters rolled. a storkess I was laid In the cool papyrus shade.

. please expose your eye and say ! whoop (exit Egg. one morn.) I've got the range. Hooray! hooray! and Teddy Colton's down: upon his It burst in thunderbolts crown ! Larry O'Crocker drops his pick and flies. to And I heard Cambyses sass The tomb of me. Memnon sang. Thy Now. venerablest orb : of all the earth. Ozymandias! FITCH O. ! And deafening odors scream along the skies Pelt 'em some more. Pickering. PICKERING : A grand good shot. FITCH : There's nothing I left but tar wish I were a Yahoo. If riper years thy ranker worth avouch.322 THE COLLECTED WORKS I proceeded to the sea. As a bad egg I am myself no slouch. God rest the lady fowl that gave thee birth! Fit missile for the vilest I freely tender thee hand to throw Although mine own.

he opens his coat and the tar-stick falls out. my pericardium with grief That I kept company with such a Nick thief. How well in flinging I recollect. Appeared and tarred us with the same (Enter Old Nick. picks it up.OF AMBROSE BIERCE PICKERING : 323 Well. Ere yet for filthy lucre he began To drive a cart as Stanford's hired man.) I hope he won't return and use his arts us part with our immortal parts. Austerely brave. To make Make I OLD NICK: yourself easy on that score my lamb. strong.) . looks at the culprit reproachfully and withdraws in tears. (Endeavoring to get his handkerchief. PICKERING: Forgive me. For both your souls I wouldn't give a damn ! want my tar-pot hello! where's the stick? FITCH Don't look at : me that fashion! look at Pick. all That Old Nick stick. erect mud. But keep the tar. you are. incomparably good. When Mike was Mens conscia recti with us proud'. father pity my remorse! stick Truth It fills is Mike took that to spank his horse. pitch-pot bearing in his hand. he stood.

I think! With many an upward smile and meaning wink The navvies all are running from the cut Like lunatics. (They sit and light cigars. Let us sit down and have a quiet smoke. BOTH An' I (singing) : was on de dummy in de cyar. smoked a I An' was on de dummy And she was in de cyar.) FiTCH (singing) : When I first I met Miss Toughie fine cigyar. to right and left PICKERING 'Tis only : Tut. BOTH An' I (singing) : was as oneasy As a gander on a tree. An' she was FiTCH I couldn't (singing) to her. was as oneasy As a gander on a tree. tut some poor sport or boisterous joke. : go An' she wouldn't come An' I to me. come hither to the brink There's something going on down there. .324 THE COLLECTED WORKS FITCH (excitedly) : O Pickering.

hurtling. a deep subterranean explosion is heard and a section of the bank as big as El Capitan starts away and plunges thunderously it into the cut. Rocks are rent And excavations all made by argument. that's : mere superstition. effect Producing an immense and lasting? PICKERING Nay. A part of strikes De Young's dump-cart abaft the axletree and flings him. a thing of legs to and arms. popular for blasting. (The earth trembles. Explosives have had their day and season. Under the name A high explosive. The modern engineer relies on reason. An' frew away a ten-cent weed To win a five-cent wench ! BOTH (singing) : An' frew away a ten-cent weed To win a five-cent wench ! FITCH Is there not : now a certain substance sold of fulminate of gold. He'll talk a tunnel through a mountain's flank And by fair speech cave down the tallest bank.OF AMBROSE BIERCE FITCH But purty soon (singing) I : 325 weakened An' lef de dummy's bench. it descend on the distant mountains. where is cold. . skyward.

fate I guess I'll drive this cart. quaffing copious potations. And do dirt-throwing henceforth with a spade.326 THE COLLECTED WORKS Fitch and Pickering pull themselves out of the debris and stand ungraveling their eyes and noses. HAYES PITTS-STEVENS Scene a Defeated Aspirant a Former President a Water Nymph A Small Lake in the Alleghany Mountains. ST. ( Curtain ) METEMPSYCHOSIS DRAMATIS PERSONS ST. JOHN a Presidential Candidate McDoNALD MRS. PICKERING: God bless my is soul! fate it gave me quite a start. since : I'm down here I will help to grade. Well. Hours I've immersed JOHN (solus) my muzzle in I : this tarn And..) FITCH Well. tried To Its suck it dry. but ever as pumped my distended skin The labor of my zeal extruded them In perspiration from my pores. and so. waters into .

Ha! there it goes again! Song. 327 They Could fell again into their source. Glue thou thy blue lips to her fountains Forever and ever. within: Cold water's the milk of the mountains. lay me down o'er its its Prone on the outer Arching and edge my neck. amen! ST. So should I be accounted as as a god.OF AMBROSE BIERCE Rilling the marginal declivity. And Nature's our wet-nurse. that This sacred spot. stridulous cacophany set its teeth Across his notchy blade. O then. Father Nilus I heard is. me! hills I but find within these ancient Some long extinct volcano. I suppose. to And mine on edge. with raucous voice ear Afflicts the sensitive membrane of mine . Ah. Has taken and so. I crater brimmed Like a would slope. perchance some water-nymph Who laving in the crystal flood her limbs cold. What's that? his file Methought some sawyer draw With jarring. JOHN: company guards Why Aloof surely there's congenial the spirit. by the rains its Of countless ages in full goblet. I'd siphon out store And Even flood the valleys with my sweat for aye.

I have seen thee When in the middle season of the night. With my dream. professional ST. Curved with a cucumber. PITTS-STEVENS: My name's Pitts-Stevens. thou hast come.328 The THE COLLECTED WORKS while she sings my sentiments. : be not afraid. JOHN: here? What dost thou PITTS-STEVENS: I'm come. or knotted hard With an eclectic pie. thou antiquated crone. alas. teetotaler. Talking Beauty. but not. (Enter Pitts-Stevens. JOHN: names I can't oft.) Hello! What fiend is this? PITTS-STEVENS 'Tis I. With paints and brush to blazon on these rocks so: The merits of my master's nostrum (paints rapidly: "McDonald's Vinegar BittersT) . art thou? I ne'er forget a face. ST. I've striven to keep My Into head and heels asunder. to bless. And who. but So well remember. sociable familiarity. fair sir. age just seventeen years.

329 JOHN: What PITTS-STEVENS: are they? A woman Took There was suffering from widowhood a full bottle and was cured. book. glassful. I'll read the whole work to you. A gutter-bunking slave to rum.OF AMBROSE BIERCE ST. MCDONALD : H'lo. the doctors all Had given him up he'd but an hour to live. Or play the riddle for a country dance. But not of Vinegar Bitters. .) (Enter McDonald. A man a murderer. I have a volume here Myself am author of a noble book (delightful task!) To train the infant mind It tells how one Samantha Brown. 'Tis warranted To cause a boy to strike his father. good friends. start the hair upon a stone. Pitts! Observe. make A pig squeal. He swallowed half a He is dead. went to church and now Has an account at my Pacific Bank. The mother gave That innocent a spoonful and it smoothed Its pathway to the tomb. A wee babe Lay sick and cried for it. reading a Sunday-school Good morrow. I trust you're well. was saved By Vinegar Bitters. sir. age six.

in thought profound. as a tree walking) Behold our queen! ALL: Her eyes upon the ground Before her feet she low'rs. Her At visage is austere. upon all fours. McDoNALD "Once on a time (enter (reading regardless) : there lived" Mrs. every step you hear plashing lemonade ! The MRS. Her gait a high parade. I rose and (cuffing Rutherford) inquired. Hayes. Walking. holding hand a rod Smarting with the blow Wherewith he struck me.330 THE COLLECTED WORKS ST. fell Knitting some hose) a sudden glory Upon my paper. Signing state White House. this "Wherefore chastisement?" The angel said: . hard at work papers (Rutherford was there. PITTS-STEVENS I : am deaf. JOHN: Heaven forbid! I've elsewhere an engagement. sitting in the (to herself) : . HAYES Once. I looked up and saw in his An angel. As 'twere.

St. JOHN: Aye. Stand forth and consummate the interchange. fresh from My spirit of my my breast.) . I swore take. and There's rum!" then flew to Heaven. John and Mrs. till their teeth (St. first. (While McDonald and Pitts-Stevens modestly turn their backs. swim-bladdered. cold I'll Swap souls with you and lead the sea-green Amphibians of Prohibition on. John discovers himself. Madam. Such oath as lady Methodist might My The I second term should medicine people would not have it my that way. soul Giving me his instead. effect is an exchange of immortal complete When the transfer McDonald turns and advances. still 331 Contrite. the latter blushing a delicate shrimp-pink. uncorking a bottle of Vinegar Bitters.OF AMBROSE BIERCE "Four years you have been President. Gifted with gills invincible! MRS. and thus equipped With my imperious and fiery essence. HAYES: Enough. Pallid of nose and webbed of foot.) What. Hayes parts. you? ST. so seek some candidate who'll take reform. fill Drive the Drink-Demon from the land and The Are people up with water all afloat.

on a dead run. In Neptune's name I anoint thee (pours the liquid down ! St. too. HAYES: My soul! I My soul! I'll never get it back Unless follow nimbly on his track. (Exit Mrs. Hayes. (Exit Pitts-Stevens.) MRS. John's back) As King (The starts of aquatical cranks liquid blisters the royal back.) PITTS-STEVENS : O my! he's such a beautiful young man! if I I'll follow. energetically exclamatory. John. and wed him can.) .332 THE COLLECTED WORKS McDoNALD (chanting) : Nectar compounded of simples Cocted in Stygian shades Acids of wrinkles and pimples From faces of ancient maids Acrid precipitates sunken From tempers of scolding wives Whose husbands. Rejoice in oblivious lives. sagaciously drunken. With this I baptize and appoint thee (to St. and His Majesty Exit St. John) To marshal the vinophobe ranks.

the bottle's the nipple Of Nature's breast! (Curtain) . smiles darken all the stage and sings) Though fortunes vary. his dust so great! Methinks for so obscure a candidate He I runs quite well.OF AMBROSE BIERCE MCDONALD He scarce is 333 (solus) '. And At then e'er a disaster befall. flask. (Produces a pocket double-distilled so grimly as to topes a cruel quantity of thunder-and-lightning out of : it. But as for Prohibition mean myself to hold the first position. Upon a ripple of golden tipple tipsy ship'll That convey you best. visible. let if all be merry. is Styx's ferry Charon's wherry In easy call. To king and cripple.

That makes . blind. Ringdivvy. since '51 I evil tenor of hills as have pursued my watery way. Feegobble. a very great return.* NOZZLE RINGDIWY FEEGOBBLE Miner a Statesman a Lawyer JUNKET Scene a Committee Yuba Dam. Nozzle NOZZLE: My The friends. stimulated by assessments which. hold. The The annual assessment. the stars fall. the steadfast faith of those who sea. regular assessment. ALL (singing) : O the adequate assessment. Unreasoning dividends. the water flow. no doubt. In foreign lands beyond the Eastern The Still shares in your concern belief in a simple. Removing by an act of faith RINGDIWY: Just so. bring.334 THE COLLECTED WORKS SLICKENS DRAMATIS PERSONS HAYSEED a Granger a . When Will upon the backs of toads.

holy law. NOZZLE It breaks : my jaw! RINGDIWY: It qualms my maw! . I think. you. Nozzle. were on the point Of making Some a remark about some rights certain vested rights you have acquired for still By long immunity. The soul with awe Bows to thy dispensation. And one may be a villain long enough To make himself an honest gentleman.OF AMBROSE BIERCE RINGDIWY : 335 The rascally assessment ! FEEGOBBLE : The murderous assessment! NOZZLE : The glorious assessment to That makes my mare FEEGOBBLE : go ! But. ALL (singing) : Hail. Holds that His right if the law one do evil undisturbed to do so ripens with the years.

my soul's salvation! NOZZLE: Why. they say. How Of small the measure granger's treasure. For yes. And here and there a ranch. tribes But for the fact that all their wicked Affect our legislation with their bribes. . female and his young Does not infrequently go to the dickens By premature burial in slickens. ALL Could (singing) : slickens forever Choke up the river. How keen his pain! RINGDIWY: These rascal grangers would long since have been Submerged in slimes. The granger with his indeed. Do strand themselves along the bottom lands And cover up a village here and there. to the last man of them. 'Tis said.336 THE COLLECTED WORKS FEEGOBBLE It : feeds It crams It is my jaw. my maw. though some. And Be slime's endeavor tried on grain. I've floated mountains to the sea lo! these many years.

: phantom.) Good Lord! here are the ghosts and spooks of I all The grangers have decently interred. transpiercing The cuticle and tickling through the nerves near. That some malign and awful thing draws (Enter Hayseed. Red-hot and penetrant. RINGDIVVY: You've the floor. And the people they are free! FEEGOBBLE: It smashes my slate! NOZZLE It is : thievery straight! RINGDIVVY But it's : been the making of me ! NOZZLE: I judge by certain callosities shrewd sensations here I In these call my thumbs all A thrilling sense as of ten thousand pins.OF AMBROSE BIERCE ALL (singing) : 337 O bribery's great 'Tis a pillar of State. . Rolled into one! FEEGOBBLE Plead.

NOZZLE : Avaunt! you horrid and infernal shape! What dire distress have you prepared for us? RINGDIWY: Were I a buzzard stooping from the sky . And the summer squash promoted. baby both included Dog and Buried All were swamped in seas of slickens. they sometimes call it) Where I cherished once the pumpkin. Dallied with the fatal melon And subdued the fierce cucumber. Harvested the sweet potato. up and dusted. tailings! Driven by the slimes and All my family my Polly Ann and all my sons and daughters. lie.338 THE COLLECTED WORKS HAYSEED : From the margin of the river (Bitter Creek. fifty fathoms under. In the dim and distant future. I've been driven by the slickens. Where they prepared to play their Gentle prank on geologic Gents that shall exhume them later. Taking them I alone got for melancholy Relics antedating Adam.

HAYSEED As I : was saying. My Who Was ranch a graveyard and that a fellow my business busted! But hearing from the City.OF AMBROSE BIERCE My craw with filth to fill. hence. fat of the land. the rifted out . I'll brain thee! Unless you saved some turnips to retain me. : by the gods. women. unless I And make himself am in error To I all such miscreants a holy terror. calls himself a Citizens' Committee. ever after. 339 Into your honorable body I Would introduce a bill. ALL O the dog is the head of Creation. Then. Men. Prime work of the Master's hand. if I thought I would get join the dialogue maybe might payment for (singing) my : dog. FEEGOBBLE Defendant. accidentally shutting the gate on him. He hasn't a lives known on the occupation. With who cover up our farms with slickens. indolent. coming up those to play the very dickens. Miss from children. door-matted. Sun-soaken. their calves. or. I got up and dusted. Yet Adipose. sleek and orbicular. cross and particular. all coddle and wait on him.

the wheels Of I justice move but slowly till they're oiled. This Committee means country here. To move Good in state about the I shall expect at every place I stop beds. and everything that's nice. to see and mark And inwardly HAYSEED : Digest my dog! NOZZLE First square : my claim for damages: the gold Escaping with the slickens keeps me poor! RINGDIVVY: I merely would remark that itching palm it if you'd grease glibly glide My would more Into the public pocket.340 THE COLLECTED WORKS that Mouthful of tendons doggy has lifted out! (Enter Junket. this Committee comes digest. FEEGOBBLE : Sir.) JUNKET: Well met. my hearties! I must trouble you Jointly and severally to provide A Of comfortable carriage. . with relays hardy horses. With For bountiful repast of meat and wine. have some certain writs and warrants here. of course.

a report and the same away. FEEGOBBLE.OF AMBROSE BIERCE Prepared against your advent. : bless your souls! I've got no money. MOUNTWAVE: My [(I friend. NOZZLE. HAYSEED: How'll that help us? Reports are not our style Of provender! JUNKET : Well. I 'tis beg that you will lend your ears asking a good deal of you) know . you can gnaw the '^Curtain) file. DINGDIWY. 341 You recall The And tale of Zaccheus : Jesus said who did climb "Comedown"? a tree. I but came to see is What Make all this noisy babble file about. "PEACEFUL EXPULSION" DRAMATIS PERSONS MOUNTWAVE HARDHAND TOK BAK SATAN a Politician a Workingman a Chinaman a Friend to Mount-wave CHORUS OF FOREIGN VOTERS. JUNKET Why.

conspicuous nose Borne. Hence. Mister. . The wounds of honest workingmen I've made A specialty. between The elephant's remarkable eye-teeth . HARDHAND Well. the long. Providence has prudently raised up Clear-sighted men like me to diagnose it Their cases and inform them where hurts. and probing them's my trade. BOTH (singing) : O O pig-tail Celestial. bestial. s'pose you let : yer bossest eye . Abominable Chinee! Simian fellow man. all Men like you Imperfectly are sensible of The miseries they actually feel. (enter Tok Bak) That Chinese competition's what ails you. ponderous and pendulous.342 THE COLLECTED WORKS I While for your instruction nominate Some certain wrongs you suffer. Camp The The on Jes' toot my my mortal part awhile sufferin's an' tell then you me what's fashionable caper now in writhes very swellest wiggle. MOUNTWAVE: Well. 'Tis plain as is my lad. barbarous.

Brickbatted. and butter are we Fat of the land are we. on the contrary. Show in conspicuous. 343 Joshian devotee! Shoe-and-cigar machine.OF AMBROSE BIERCE Primitive yellow man. In God's image planned to be Noble by birth ! You. Oleomargarine You are. Modeled upon very Different lines indeed. Base and ridiculous Ways Shame your inferior breed. Freak of biology. of ethnology. boycotted Vanish vamoose mosy go ! TOK BAK: You An' listen tell me! You beatee the big dlum me too go to Flowly Kingdom Come.) . Salt of the earth. You chinnee heap. Such talkee my washee belly cheap! (Enter Satan. You all muchee like fool. Monster unspeakably low! Fit to be buckshotted.

Why you no tackle me hay? SATAN : Methought I heard a murmuring of tongues Sound through the ceiling of the hollow earth. Where two There am or three are gathered in my I in their midst. Go Sunny Bime by pleach mebby school you'll know hell-talkee. work. No splee no go plocession fo' make vote No sendee money out of clunty fo' To helpee Ilishmen.344 You THE COLLECTED WORKS dlive me outee clunty towns all Safflisco. Well met. HARDHAND: I've Who's Shakespeare? what's heard about the work o' that galoot his trade? Till I'm jest sick! TOK BAK: Mo' Bible. You see I keep my ancient word: name. an he belly mad Say: "Alice Melicans boycottee Cain. He mebby all time dig on lanch no dlink. way. MOUNTWAVE To I : O monstrous thief know his ! quote the words of Shakespeare as your own. Tell 'Bout Abel so he live too cheap. Cain killum." . Josh He catchee at it. As if the anti-coolie ques ha! friends.

We'll make every pagan turn CHORUS OF FOREIGN VOTERS: Bedad! oof dot tief o'ze vorld Zat Ivan Tchanay vos got hurled In Hella. up to date. . all hail! with your justice and law tail. : cooks are working at this broth 'twill be by thunder.OF AMBROSE BIERCE Not muchee you no pleachee that: lie. da debil he say: "Wor be Und gry yer return as 'e pairmit. HARDHAND. (Draws pistol. SATAN For Chinese expulsion. 345 You all same MOUNTWAVE : This cuss must be expelled. What The good this dern fandango does the State. hurrah! (singing) To Away mobbing and murder. hey?" shaka da boot: "Zis haythen haf nevaire been oot!" HARDHAND Too many I think.) : MOUNTWAVE. But think how good is for me. : SATAN And ( Curtain ) me. MOUNTWAVE State's advantage. it : you may not see. sir. ef I mostly froth! I'm cussed can sarvy.

lo! Their silent headstones. Hark! Through the white mists of this portentous night (Which throng in moving shapes about my way. and ended. Their lives political. . As they were ghosts of candidates I've slain.346 THE COLLECTED WORKS ASPIRANTS THREE DRAMATIS PERSONS QUICK: DE YOUNG a Brother to Mushrooms DEAD: SWIFT ESTEE an Heirloom a Relic IMMORTALS: THE SPIRIT OF BROKEN HOPES. The THE MOON. Political Graveyard Bone Mountain. About me. ignominious. MISCELLANEOUS: A Scene TROUPE OF COFFINS. at VARIOUS COLORED FIRES. DE YOUNG This is (solus) : the spot agreed upon. Half-full and near her setting midnight. THE AUTHOR. gilded by the moon. Here rest The sainted statesmen who upon the field Of honor have at divers times laid down Their own.

if you! I had suspected you would come From the fair world of politics wherein alas.OF AMBROSE BIERCE To fray their murderer) 347 my open ear Engulfs a footstep. I had thought You would I accept the challenge that I flung ere I would have seen you damned In the night air. Now draw my ebbing fortunes to their flood. boils That burn ambitions with Are lifted into defeated fires eminence.) What? Faith. The type and symbol of my politics. or I had ESTEE firm belief that he not been here. though still Rapped on the rotting head and bidden sleep if Till Resurrection's morn. and so here we fight Though truly 'twas my Would send regrets.)] Ah. As. (Sees De Young. 1 vainly to revisit strive. But . True to appointment. and which. To fight so mean a thing. (Enter Estee from his tomb. : moon Whereby that hast so oft surprised the deeds I rose to greatness! tricksy orb. shroud-clad and came forth shivering. by the magic of a poultice. since you're here. So lately you were whelped. 'tis he. my foe.

Let us establish a Portfolio Trust. In brief. (Beats down their tongues with a bone. without sacrilege. we'll take And part them so among us that to each Shall fall the fittest to his powers. enter Swift. should all Forego them but one? Nay.) Madmen! what With Yet profits it? skill that For though you fought both survived.348 THE COLLECTED WORKS defend yourself. such heroic neither should achieve the prize. Why. Let us not contend. when from an adjacent whited sepulcher.) SWIFT : Hold! put up your tongues! Within the confines of this sacred spot Broods such a holy calm as none may break By clash of weapons. . To wreck the Grand Old Grandson's Here's at you. Draw and By gad. we three. nosegay! (They draw tongues and are about to fight. friendliwise by stipulation fix A slate for mutual advantage. for I Would But wrest it from him. we'll see Who'll be Postmaster-General! DE YOUNG I'll : We will fight (for I am lame) with any blue that And redolent remain dares aspire cabinet. Having the pick and choice of seats.

known street to Pine. 'tis a greed and one The But offices I'll imperfectly will sate. night at Butchertown sheep's blood! to and daubed her face serried rank I loss. Throughout the world. Speak.OF AMBROSE BIERCE ESTEES Agreed. in. stand SWIFT : Well. is take the War Department. . so 'tis understood. but since I My I'll have my It pick. : 349 DE YOUNG: Aye. As you're the junior member of the Trust. truly. thundering My mandate that he count the ballots fair! size! Earth heard and shrank to half her Yon moon. from Market (For a Chicago journal told the tale) life How in this hand I lately took my And marched against great Buckley. paused Which That rivaled then a liver's whiteness. Politically younger and undead. Its leather medal and the too. Michael: what portfolio do you choose? DE YOUNG I've : thought the Postal service best would serve interest. With Back Then my life drew my stronghold without To mark My The care in saving human Peace Society my own bestowed on me title.

Where the cannon roar and ring.350 Of THE COLLECTED WORKS Colonel. give me a life on the tented field. friends. ESTEE : Some claim Portfolio. That service I'd forego. Spat on Shook my my two hands. Good land ! I naturally dote on a brass band! O. you know. I might myself advance to that Rebellion raised her head. Where the flag floats free and the foemen And bleed as the bullets sing. When my And I you. . a warrior's life is fine and free. faces fierce as death. life in O. as you do know. give me a the fierce campaign Let it be the fall life of my foe: I'd rather upon him than fain the plain. my genius is for war. that is a different thing. only recently. O. But a warrior's death ah me! ah me! That's a different thing. stayed meekly in your shirts. marched with banners to the party stump. But be it yield not mine to wage the fray Where For matters are ordered the other way. Yes. fists made at once and introduced Brave resolutions terrible to read! Nay.

Oregon against the sharp . too. ESTEE Give me the Interior and : Enough I'll of that devote My The The You I'll mind to agriculture and improve breed of cabbages. named long ago stall. be Attorney-General if you Prefer. might aspire To And The military station too. slew again (to her surprise) the South! And SWIFT : You once fought Stanford. too. especially Brassica Celeritatis. For you because sold it in days of at your market and. for know I am a lawyer too! SWIFT: I never have heard that! have you. for once I led my party into Pixley's camp.OF AMBROSE BIERCE I 351 conquered Treason by the word of mouth. State of defended. 'Tis said you were an honest huckster then. I he paroled me. SWIFT (to Estee): I You take the Interior. faith. so help me! And I swear I've heard is A score of Judges say that he not. : De Young? DE YOUNG Never.

merrily for office strain and strive Buzzards all a-warble. a Troupe dancing and singing. dancing. oily all! (Exeunt Coffins. Through which a hundred thousand My coolies sailed.352 And But For THE COLLECTED WORKS bloody tooth of the Australian sheep. rustics. Raven with a stone instead Providential raven! Judges two and Colonel one Run. advances. a diplomat Though born a tinker.) pointing each of Three Worthies . The at Spirit of Broken Hopes the solemnly in turn. Was much admired. O! Prophets three. and round about. run. Enter Blue Lights on the tombs. And oily. run! is But it's O. and a circle of Red Fire on the grass.) Coffins. in the center the of Spirit of Broken Hopes. ho. the pig shaven. I'm From old Missouri. agape for bread. I've an aptitude exceeding neat bloodless battles of diplomacy. CHORUS OF COFFINS: Two Now bodies dead and one alive all! Yo. but most by Colonel Bee. cobweb treaty of Exclusion once. and I (Exit ha! what's this? all Moon.

musty. u. It this is strange ! I dreamed I know not what. harridan. Jo-coated acrobat. working to Fortune. One. Railroad lackey.) Boycotting chin-worker. is all charm complete.OF AMBROSE BIERCE SPIRIT OF 353 BROKEN HOPES: Governor. two. the fickle. spick-and-span. to woo smile upon you. shuttle-cock SHOO! (Estee falls and sleeps. editor man. drag a cloud across the blue break that infant's heart in two! Spirit And and Blue (Exeunt the Fires. . OUT! and sleeps. charlatan o. diplomat.) Now Now To they the I lie in slumber sweet. dicky-dout. three SCAT! (Swift falls and sleeps. Hasten with flying feet where beyond the farther sea its A babe upon mother's knee Is gazing into skies afar And I'll crying for a golden star. Rusty. Demagogue. of Broken Hopes and the Red Re-enter Moon. Harlequin. t. Governor.) : ESTEE (waking) Why. political falls rat.) (De Young Antimonopoler. seemed that certain apparitions were.

. out. with my accomplices. (Returns to his tomb. it will no longer do To make a third with such a wicked two.) Ah! had I known coat How sweet it is to be an honest man I never would have stooped to turn my For public favor.354 THE COLLECTED WORKS words. by some good angel sent life content. as I stood and an awful spook. significant half-understood yet ambiguous Which sang uncanny And Even Portending evil. life. Counted me Is that you. SWIFT (waking) : And Then I'll I all that? reform my life. as chameleons take The hue (as near as they can judge) of that Supporting them. (Reforms his life. Mike? DE YOUNG (waking) : It was. as children do in play. of an honest Or stay forever in this dismal place.) DE YOUNG To make me with a quiet : Prophetic dream. Now that I'm good. Henceforth offices I I'll buy With money all the And know the profit need.

From Fame's debasing struggle I'll withdraw.) ESTEE : Out But of my company these converts is flee. And taking up the pen lay down the law. since my hopes eternally have And. fled. lest my example make An honest man of him his heart would (Exit break. De Young.) Enter Faint Odor of Mor- . (Exit. searching. I'll leave this rogue. I'm more than ever dead. Exit the Gas. dead before. who ap- bowing and smiling. pears. To go to Washington or go to work. that advantage denied to me: My Nor But curst identity's confining skin lets me out nor tolerates me in. Loud calls for the Author. To And find a grander tomb be now my task. pack my pork into a stolen cask.OF AMBROSE BIERCE The question shall no 355 more my bosom irk. tality.

M. at 12 P.. the stage-coach will not pass to-night. COWBOY CHARLEY: I fear the coach will not come by and yet to-night. Clearly. of long. LELAND THE KID: I I now remember saw that but yesterday three ugly looking fellows start .356 THE COLLECTED WORKS THE BIRTH OF THE RAIL DRAMATIS PERSONS LELAND THE KID COWBOY CHARLEY a Road Agent Same Line of Business HAPPY HUNTY SOOTYMUG Scene Ditto in All Ways a Devil Flat Stage Road. luxurious oaths Betokens the traditional dispute (Unsettled from the dawn of time) between . And how at divers times in sundry ways He strewed the roadside with our carcasses. on a The Dutch Night of 1864. no note Melodious. The Nor driver and off wheeler carol of no clear chant Wells Fargo's messenger his soul Unbosoming Singing his upon the air prowess to the tenderfoot. My ears have reached no sound of wheels. Already it is past the hour.

and they 357 Did seem on business of importance bent. If so. When And robbery no longer pays expense It loses then its chiefest I prefer to cheat charm for me. Three times before if This thing has happened. they have Indubitably taken in that coach.OF AMBROSE BIERCE From Colfax with a gun apiece. you do but echo back is my thoughts: This competition 'Tis plain (unless the death of trade. and once again These outside operators dare to cut Our And rates of profit I shall quit the road take my money out of this concern. you hear me shout! HAPPY HUNTY: My chief. wealth and population on little left There's that any man can do in Without some other fellow stepping And doing it as well. If one essay . And we are overreached. of usefulness Some other business it What Of shall we must be? The field Is yearly narrowing with the advance this coast. to we wish go to work) early find. Furtively casting all their eyes about all And That covering their business tracks with use. I the care men do think perhaps They The great were Directors of that rival line. Pacific Mail.

Suggesting to the thoughtful mind my mind Instead A scheme Of that is the boss lay-out. Why. Watches and all such trifles. even undertake it And so it goes. Another hand inserted You crack a crib af dead of night. With noble specimens placed there before! LELAND THE KID: And yet this line of immigration has Advantages superior to aught That elsewhere If offers: all these passengers.358 THE COLLECTED WORKS pick a pocket he is To sure to feel (With what disgust I need not say to you) in the same. carry them. when we might Should Why Far better charge their value three times o'er to For carrying them market? . their skins with wine. Instead of crying out: Let's say: "Throw up your hands!" "Walk up and buy a ticket!" we unwieldy goods and bullion take. punched with care COWBOY CHARLEY: Significant remark! It opens up a prospect wide and fair. let's stopping passengers. and lo ! explore the dining-room for plate As you You find in session there a graceless band Stuffing their coats with spoons. To salt a mine and you will find rich .

this is No To petty. permanent. "It is bad medicine for both. and then The And come up to us and squeal. sublime. and I seem to see That cloud A Of well-devised and executed scheme wholesale robbery within the law (Made by ourselves) great. We'll build A mighty railroad through stage folk will say: this pass. And strong to grapple with the public throat Shaking the stuffing from the public purse. be bought off like honest men and fools. my dear. Mine eye prophetic pierces through the mists the future. The tears from bankrupt merchants' eyes. What will you give or take?" And then we'll sell. little one.OF AMBROSE BIERCE LELAND THE KID: Put it 359 there. Old son! HAPPY HUNTY: You take the cake. the bread From orphans' mouths! blood HAPPY HUNTY: Hooray ! LELAND THE KID: Hooray ! . the From widows' famished carcasses. slouching. COWBOY CHARLEY: Enlarge your notions. opposition scheme.

Ha! (Enter Sootymug. I thought I heard Some careless revelry. dance and sing the following song) Ah! blessed to measure glittering treasure! ! The Ah That blessed to heap up the gold Untold flows in a wide And From deepening tide Rolled. Such an intrusion might deprive the State the good that we intend it. and discharging their shotguns. Then : they join hands.) SOOTYMUG : My boys. throw them into the chaparral. rolled. He saunters carelessly in and grace- fully leans his back against a redwood. .360 THE COLLECTED WORKS ALL: Hooray ! (They tear the masks from their faces. its Converging courses Upon our LELAND THE KID: Just wait a bit. rolled multifold sources. my pards : I seem to hear A sneaking Of all grizzly cracking the dry twigs.

I Indeed.OF AMBROSE BIERCE As if 361 your minds were stirred devilry. By some new I too am in that line. the mission On which come HAPPY HUNTY: Here's more damned competition! ( Curtain ) .

Drawn by With the hand of Death. KOODOOS. seems to mine To smile an amiable smile like his Whose amiable smile I I alone Am See able to distinguish from his leer! flit how the gathering coyotes . A GHOST. SARALTHIA : The And red half-moon is dipping to the west.Yl a Sidniduc a Scheister a a a Lovelorn Trader Spader GRIMGHAST SARALTHIA NELLIBRAC a Nymph Sweetun A BODY. AN UNMENTIONABLE THING. SKULLS.362 THE COLLECTED WORKS A BAD NIGHT DRAMATIS PERSONS VlLLIAM a Sen NEEDLESON SMILER Kl. each Cursed with a ghastly grin to eyes unrubbed love's magnetic ointment. the cold fog invades the sleeping land. ETC. fleshless pate. in the level light Lo! how the grinning skulls Litter the place! Methinks Is a that every skull most lifelike portrait of my Sen. Scene A Cemetery in San Francisco.

Now what's the hour? (Distant clock strikes thirteen. Jack of Spades Grimghast) Corrupter than the thing that reeks below Hast opened secretly. Bulbously comfortable. for Here at this grave. sliding up and down My limbs. sir? . how fare you. But tumble clumsily with all their warts. exposing the Ha! Master Mouldybones. or with burning eyes Star the black shadows with a steadfast gaze! my feet the poddy toads at play.) coffin lid crumbles. rules all destinies Who A dollar a destiny. as they were A singularly interesting public roads. The cast and manner of the place the spirit Of this confederate environment. impart chill. Which my purposes (to thou. we'll work the charm.OF AMBROSE BIERCE Through About the lit 363 spaces. the remains of a man. try to hop. While pranking lizards. The circumstance and passion of the time.) Enough hale forth the stiff! (Grimghast by means of a boat-hook stands the on end in the excavation. Command the rights we come to celebrate Obedient 'to the Inspired Hag from Minna street. The seventh daughter of the seventh daughter.

There's something. these yer remains Was And the boss singer back in '72. A very proper and alluring male. too. afore gent that you've hooked onto bought the place. that was. used to allers git invites to go to Down The Swellmont and sing at every feed. Moles explored my . quite superior to has. drops her eyes and twists the corner of her apron. GRIMGHAST : Missus. you and I? NELLIBRAC : O what a personable man! (Blushes bashfully. clay. And Lubin Rroyd. Beetles occupied my head. I thank your ladyship I miss Some certain fingers and an ear or two. And my periphery's not what it was. THE BODY Down among Many years (singing) sainted : the dead I lay. dear. this distinct is alive.364 THE COLLECTED WORKS THE BODY: . How can we serve each other. In t'other Villiam's time.) SARALTHIA: Yes. Poorly. advantage Who He however. gone wrong with my inside.

: The jackal is NELLIBRAC (singing) is : The wall-mouse a worthy third. Their intellects are hazy. is But when the moon waning. CHORUS OF SKULLS: O mortals all are crazy.OF AMBROSE BIERCE There we I 365 feasted day and night and bug and beast. : Their senses they're regaining They fall to prayer and from their Remove the straws remaining. SARALTHIA: That's right. The raven is a dicky-bird." What That time he came and (like an amorous bird struts before the female of its kind. SARALTHIA (singing) a daisy. Rogues' Gallery. provided appetite They And I supplied the feast. : A SPOOK (singing) But mortals all are crazy. In the growing moon they shake their shoon And trip it in the mazy. pray keep it hair up: Your song recalls my Villiam's "Auld Lang Syne. .

Shirt that shows the well worn track Of the knuckles of his back.366 THE COLLECTED WORKS let's to business. Warbling its knightly preference) piped high His cracked falsetto out of reach. one by one f she lays upon the pqints of a magic pentagram that has thoughtfully inscribed itself in lines of light on the wet grass. Handkerchief with mottled stains. which. Into which he blew his brains. UNMENTIONABLE THING (aside) : What In all ! 7 unmentionable ? Just you wait ! the family journals of the State . time is ripe and rotten gut the grip! it (Nellibrac brings forward a value and takes from five articles of clothing. An It unmentionable thing sicken would me to sing. Collar crying out for soap Prophet of the future rope. The Body holds its late lamented nose. sweet child.) NELLIBRAC (singing) : Fragrant socks. by Villiam's toes Consecrated to the nose. Saint Cloacina's future devotee. Enough Now The Nellibrac.

OF AMBROSE BIERCE You'll some time see that I'm described at length. 367 With supereditorial grace and strength. Saralthia shalt wed ! cast the garments into the grave and push over fills coffin. Grimghast up the hole. (singing) : SARALTHIA 1 Throw them in the open tomb They will cause his love to bloom With an amatory boom! CHORUS OF INVISIBLE KOODOOS: Hoodoo. alive or dead.) . holding one another's back-hair and dancing in a circle. hoodoo. Hoodoos gradually become apparent in a phosphorescent light about the grave. voudou-vet Villiam struggles in the net! By Of By the power and intent is the charm his strength spent! the virtue in each rag Blessed by the Inspired Hag He By will be a willing victim as if a Limp donkey kicked him! this awful incantation We By decree his animation the magic of our art the cockles of his heart. if Warm Thou (They the Villiam.

Flung from thy cursing God and man. Incarnadines the land? . baring snaggy Champing their tender limbs lips in till crimson spume. frolicking hoodoos! us all things are the same as none nothing is that is under the sun. art thou not the same That stalks with aspect horrible among teeth. Small youths and maidens. Whether is what and what when. lirruping hoodoos! We mix things up that the Fates ordain. Postpone the future and sometimes tether The three and drive them abreast together We To And rollicking. is is Seven's a dozen and never then.368 THE COLLECTED WORKS KOODOOS (singing) : O we're The the larrikin hoodoos! chirruping. A man To is a tree and a cuckoo a silver cow For gold galore and enow magical. (enter Smyler) Flung like a doom athwart ha! thou? Portentous presence. mystical hoodoos! SARALTHIA : What monstrous shadow darkens all the place. Bring back the past and the present detain.

)] : SARALTHIA: Now who Of tramps and Prolific to a fault ! is next? casuals this graveyard seems (Enter Needleson. . exhaling. an odor of decayed eggs and. darts an intense regard at an adjacent marble angel places his He and open hand behind his ear.OF AMBROSE BIERCE SMYLER : 369 Thou dammid NELLIBRAC what a pretty man ! slut! (Exit Smyler. hoodoos. prophetically. one of unlaundered linen.) NEEDLESON : Hay? (Exit Needleson.) NELLIBRAC : Sweet. actually. sweet male! 1 yearn to play at Copenhagen with him ! (Blushes diligently and energetically.) Smitten with a sense of doom. The dead are cowering in the tomb. disappear Some dread deity draws near! (Exeunt Hoodoos.) CHORUS OF SKULLS: Koodoos.

Saralthia.370 THE COLLECTED WORKS Seas are calling. navigating an odor of mignonette. stars are falling And appalling is the gloom! Fragmentary flames are flung Through Lo! each Earth is the air the trees hill inclines its among! head bending 'neath his tread! (On him the contrary . rising like a black smoke in their midst. Reenter Villiam. in her pocket. Tableau. executes a monstrous significance. fire. Saralthia springs forward to put is but he falls instantly retracted by an invisible string. She headlong. . breaking her heart. enter Villiam on a chip. The cross on Bone Mountain Curtain. Smyler. of All gather about who loudly laments her accident. The Spirit Tar-and-Feathers. Needleson.) takes splendoring the peninsula. wink of graphic and vivid then contemplates them with an obviously baptismal intention.



ON STONE As in a dream. in error. Torpid A fever Heaven to quicken him applied. so confused his mind. sense. the sluggard died. unreflecting. But rather than revive. indolently blind. 373 . great but not immense. all Ideas unto him were unknown. his Proud So of the words which only were own. strange epitaphs I see. Inscribed on yet unquarried stone. destitute of feeling and of No power he but o'er his brain desired not to suffer it How to be inspired. Where wither flowers yet unstrown of the time to be. The Campo Santo LORING PICKERING (After Pope) Here Born rests a writer.

fearing their dissension. Carr's immoral part has For him no heart of woman burned. attention.374 THE COLLECTED WORKS A WATER-PIRATE Pause. Alas! he now lifts up his eyes cries. secretly put up a prayer. still his fellows for his own unworth. For. But all the rivers' heads he turned. on earth. He was He struck dead despite their care. Thus drawing God's OTHERS Cynic perforce from studying mankind In the false volume of his single mind. thought nothing good so judging. . stranger Bill whence you lightly tread fled. and so erring still. JOSEPH HEMPHILL He preached that sickness he could floor prayer and by commanding. bad Yet. In torment and for water Entreating that he may procure One drop to cool his parched McClure! THE REV. sick himself he sent for four By When Physicians in good standing. himself. He damned And.

cheat the grave. McAllister. cease for peace. landed their Jo. for he could not. When hired to flatter he would never Till those who'd paid for praises paid Not wholly miser and but half a knave. . jacet Pixley.OF AMBROSE BIERCE Observing well. whom in vain the people tried is To push from power. scribe and muleteer: Step lightly. did not. anywhere but here. 375 His learning all was got by dint of sight. catfish. but understanding ill. fish who gave us the fish. Death only from the bench could ever start That clinging surface. He And Hie yearned to squander but he lived to save. of talents rich are rare. He dined upon every except that 'Twas touching to hear him expounding his fad With a heart full of zeal and a catfish all mouth full of shad. his immortal part. Judge Sawyer. Alike to him if it is here or there: The one spot that he cared for was the ace. lost And what he knew by day he by night. Lies at this spot at finish of his race. stranger. The mewed with unspeakable woe When Death. Here lies Joseph Redding. here laid aside. the lone fisherman.

376 THE COLLECTED WORKS In Sacramento City here This wooden monument we rear In memory of Dr. He's buried. For those this mausoleum to less is erected elected. Beneath this stone sleeps Reuben Lloyd. with its brazen bray. The Templars' Captain-General. Who Stanford is the Upper House Their luck or their promotion slower. May. ere the wretch began to rot. Now his soul would have a its river Turned upon parching liver. Whose smile even Death could not allay. of sense devoid. dead. And only the hyenas care. Of breath deprived. he . Heaven alone knows where. Fame's trumpet. they were elected to the Lower. May?" Dennis Spencer's mortal coil Here is laid away to spoil said its Great riparian who Not a stream should leave bed. Bawled: "Who (and why) was Dr. This May-pole merely marks the spot Where. For.

all his His pen to suck and thumbs to count. when he had counted. Here lies Greer Harrison. All his no talents to the earth revert. to count Alas. pickled with their ears his wine. All silent now. What poetry he'd written but for lack Of skill. Expand and hiccough: "That's divine!" The The genius of his purse no longer draws pleasing thunders of a paid applause. 377 That had he not been on Death ne'er his back had ventured to attack.OF AMBROSE BIERCE So formidable seemed to be. Though riddances of worms improve his brains. no back! more he'll climb the sacred steep To wake To the lyre and put the world to sleep! his rapt lip his soul like a jaybird no longer springs sings. And Fame concludes the record: "Dirt to dirt!" . And from a knot-hole No more the clubmen. a well cracked louse So small a tenant of so big a house! Who loved to loll on the Parnassian mount. nor sound nor sense remains.

Discretion and Valor approving. alas. rise and speak In support of a week. holiness. ye rebels. he'll it Then. . When Cried : he died the people. Discretion he always retreated the dead he defeated. bring roses. Soon. reposes." Rash mortal! stay thy feet as yet is and look around holy ground. bring roses: patriot here he re-poses. This vacant tomb But soon. good-bye! Here Salomon's body Bring roses. He a motion will be making. weeping " (For they thought him only sleeping) Although he now is is quiet And his tongue not a riot. alas! Jim Fair will occupy These premises then. ye loyal.378 THE COLLECTED WORKS This grave holds Barnes in all his glory Master he of oratOry. the spell that binds him breaking. Set all of your drumsticks a-moving. And As Valor Bring roses.

A poet. met with his books.OF AMBROSE BIERCE When Waterman ended his bright career He left his wet name to history here. alas. George Perry here is stiff and stark. unluckily. The men whom they deafened enjoyed them the more. . "Ignorant ass!" mind was people said. In this peaceful spot. so the grave-diggers say. civic occasions he sprang to the fore With poems consisting of stanzas three score. With pen. ink and paper they laid Poet-elect of the him away The Judgment Day. With stone at foot and stone at head. all the secrets of his trade: He knew more ways to be an ass Than any ass that ever brayed. dark- the Not In ignorant but skilled. To carry it with him he thought unfair: 'Twould tantalize spirits 379 of statesmen There. his His heart was dark. one knew by his looks Who On hadn't. Here lies the remains of as every Fred Emerson Brooks.

And put that person in his pocket. Whose Lies business was to melt the pitch. seeking Sammy's vault. Living or dead. so much alike they smell t'other's One's grave from grave to tell. unlock it. Hangman's hands laid in this tomb an an Imp of Satan's getting. who applied it hot. whom Ancient legend says that woman to Never bore he owed his birth To Sin herself.380 THE COLLECTED WORKS Here lies the last of Deacon Fitch. Then. Beneath this stone O'Donnell's tongue's at still rest- Our noses by his spirit addressed. But when his he'll tomb the Deacon's burst first) (Of two That always be the He'll see by studying the stones he's obtained his proper bones. From Hell Earth . Convenient to this sacred spot 'Tis hard Sammy. he's equally Satanic His noise a terror and his smell a panic.

Ne'er served it half so well as now. While with mortals here he stayed. months. lying here unblest. I vow. who thought it odd That he should go to meet his God. years one at last. When And Gabriel blows a dreadful blast swears that Time's forever past.OF AMBROSE BIERCE She brought the brat in secret state 381 And laid him at the Golden Gate. his Will beat (and skin hand) his breast: There'll be no rate of interest! Here Porter Ashe is in the ground Green grows the grass upon his mound. until his eyes to hasten to grew dim. weeks. His father frequently he played. . Here Stanford lies. This patron of the turf. Then Asa Fiske. He looked. And they named him Henry Vrooman. all Days. Raised his birth-place and in other Playful ways begot his mother. For God meet him.

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