Foundations Of The State

Poem By Ambrose Bierce

Observe, dear Lord, what lively pranks
Are played by sentimental cranks!
First this one mounts his hinder hoofs
And brays the chimneys off the roofs;
Then that one, with exalted voice,
Expounds the thesis of his choice,
Our understandings to bombard,
Till all the window panes are starred!
A third augments the vocal shock
Till steeples to their bases rock,
Confessing, as they humbly nod,
They hear and mark the will of God.
A fourth in oral thunder vents
His awful penury of sense
Till dogs with sympathetic howls,
And lowing cows, and cackling fowls,
Hens, geese, and all domestic birds,
Attest the wisdom of his words.
Cranks thus their intellects deflate
Of theories about the State.
This one avers 'tis built on Truth,
And that on Temperance. This youth
Declares that Science bears the pile;
That graybeard, with a holy smile,
Says Faith is the supporting stone;
While women swear that Love alone
Could so unflinchingly endure
The heavy load. And some are sure
The solemn vow of Christian Wedlock
Is the indubitable bedrock.

Physicians once about the bed
Of one whose life was nearly sped
Blew up a disputatious breeze
About the cause of his disease:
This, that and t' other thing they blamed.
'Tut, tut!' the dying man exclaimed,
'What made me ill I do not care;
You've not an ounce of it, I'll swear.
And if you had the skill to make it
I'd see you hanged before I'd take it!'

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Alone

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

The Day Of Wrath / Dies Iræ

Day of Satan's painful duty! Dies iræ! dies illa!
Earth shall vanish, hot and sooty; Solvet sæclum in favilla

Weather

Once I dipt into the future far as human eye could see,
And I saw the Chief Forecaster, dead as any one can be--
Dead and damned and shut in Hades as a liar from his birth,
With a record of unreason seldome paralleled on earth.

Christian

I dreamed I stood upon a hill, and, lo!
The godly multitudes walked to and fro
Beneath, in Sabbath garments fitly clad,

At The Close Of The Canvass

'Twas a Venerable Person, whom I met one Sunday morning,
All appareled as a prophet of a melancholy sect;
And in a Jeremiad of objurgatory warning

Decalogue

Thou shalt no God but me adore:
'Twere too expensive to have more.