AT THE CLOSE OF THE CANVASS
by: Ambrose Bierce (1842-1914)
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
- 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!
- Rest 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
- Let there be abated fury and a decrement of sound.
- "For to-morrow will by 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 so while you can without a blush.
- "Lo! the time is close upon you when the madness of
- 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- Will at last be superseded by the still, small voice of reason,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
- 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,
- 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
- 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 warner disappeared around a corner,
- And the season of unreason having also taken flight,
- All the cheeks of men were burning like the skies to crimson
- When Aurora Borealis fires her premises by night.
POEMS BY AMBROSE BIERCE
"At the Close of the Canvass"
is reprinted from The Collected Works of Ambrose Bierce Vol.
IV: Shapes of Clay. Ambrose Bierce. New York: Neale Publishing