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Literature and Ideas

decide

v.i.

The Devil's Dictionary

Ambrose Bierce

To succumb to the preponderance of one set of influences over another set.

A leaf was riven from a tree,
"I mean to fall to earth," said he.

The west wind, rising, made him veer.
"Eastward," said he, "I now shall steer."

The east wind rose with greater force.
Said he:  "'Twere wise to change my course."

With equal power they contend.
He said:  "My judgment I suspend."

Down died the winds; the leaf, elate,
Cried:  "I've decided to fall straight."

"First thoughts are best?"  That's not the moral;
Just choose your own and we'll not quarrel.

Howe'er your choice may chance to fall,
You'll have no hand in it at all.

G.J.