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At The Close Of The Canvass

Ambrose Bierce 1842 (Meigs County) – 1914 (Chihuahua)



'Twas a Venerable Person, whom I met one Sunday morning,
All appareled as a prophet of a melancholy sect;
And in a jeremaid of objurgatory warning
He lifted up his _jodel_ to the following effect:

O ye sanguinary statesmen, intermit your verbal tussles
O ye editors and orators, consent to hear my lay!
And a little while the digital and maxillary muscles
And attend to what a Venerable Person has to say.

Cease your writing, cease your shouting, cease your wild unearthly lying;
Cease to bandy such expressions as are never, never found
In the letter of a lover; cease 'exposing' and 'replying'
Let there be abated fury and a decrement of sound.

For to-morrow will be Monday and the fifth day of November
Only day of opportunity before the final rush.
_Carpe diem!_ go conciliate each person who's a member
Of the other party-do it while you can without a blush.

'Lo! the time is close upon you when the madness of the season
Having howled itself to silence, like a Minnesota 'clone,
Will at last be superseded by the still, small voice of reason,
When the whelpage of your folly you would willingly disown.

'Ah, 'tis mournful to consider what remorses will be thronging,
With a consciousness of having been so ghastly indiscreet,
When by accident untoward two ex-gentlemen belonging
To the opposite political denominations meet!

'Yes, 'tis melancholy, truly, to forecast the fierce, unruly
Supersurging of their blushes, like the flushes upon high
When Aurora Borealis lights her circumpolar palace
And in customary manner sets her banner in the sky.

'Each will think: 'This falsifier knows that I too am a liar.
Curse him for a son of Satan, all unholily compound!
Curse my leader for another! Curse that pelican, my mother!
Would to God that I when little in my victual had been drowned!''

Then that Venerable Person went away without returning
And, the madness of the season having also taken flight,
All the people soon were blushing like the skies to crimson burning
When Aurora Borealis fires her premises by night.

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Submitted on May 13, 2011

1:45 min read
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Ambrose Bierce

Ambrose Gwinnett Bierce was an American editorialist, journalist, short story writer, fabulist, and satirist. more…

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