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Vice Versa

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



Down in the state of Maine, the story goes,
A woman, to secure a lapsing pension,
Married a soldier-though the good Lord knows
That very common act scarce calls for mention.
What makes it worthy to be writ and read
The man she married had been nine hours dead!

Now, marrying a corpse is not an act
Familiar to our daily observation,
And so I crave her pardon if the fact
Suggests this interesting speculation:
Should some mischance restore the man to life
Would she be then a widow, or a wife?

Let casuists contest the point; I'm not
Disposed to grapple with so great a matter.
'T would tie my thinker in a double knot
And drive me staring mad as any hatter
Though I submit that hatters are, in fact,
Sane, and all other human beings cracked.

Small thought have I of Destiny or Chance;
Luck seems to me the same thing as Intention;
In metaphysics I could ne'er advance,
And think it of the Devil's own invention.
Enough of joy to know though when I wed
I _must_ be married, yet I _may_ be dead.

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Submitted on May 13, 2011

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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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