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The Wise And Good

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

'O father, I saw at the church as I passed
The populace gathered in numbers so vast
That they couldn't get in; and their voices were low,
And they looked as if suffering terrible woe.'

''Twas the funeral, child, of a gentleman dead
For whom the great heart of humanity bled.'

'What made it bleed, father, for every day
Somebody passes forever away?
Do the newspaper men print a column or more
Of every person whose troubles are o'er?'

'O, no; they could never do that-and indeed,
Though printers might print it, no reader would read.
To the sepulcher all, soon or late, must be borne,
But 'tis only the Wise and the Good that all mourn.'

'That's right, father dear, but how can our eyes
Distinguish in dead men the Good and the Wise?'

'That's easy enough to the stupidest mind:
They're poor, and in dying leave nothing behind.'

'Seest thou in mine eye, father, anything green?
And takest thy son for a gaping marine?
Go tell thy fine tale of the Wise and the Good
Who are poor and lamented to babes in the wood.'

And that horrible youth as I hastened away
Was building a wink that affronted the day.

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Submitted on May 13, 2011

1:03 min read
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Ambrose Bierce

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

All Ambrose Bierce poems | Ambrose Bierce Books

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