A Coward

By hardihood to rise and fear to strike,
And fitly to rebuke his sins decrees,
That, hide from others with what care he please,
Night sha'n't be black enough nor earth so wide
That from himself himself can ever hide!
Hard fate indeed to feel at every breath
His burden of identity till death!
No moment's respite from the immortal load,
To think himself a serpent or a toad,
Or dream, with a divine, ecstatic glow,
He's long been dead and canonized a crow!

by Ambrose Bierce

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