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Literature and Ideas



The Devil's Dictionary

Ambrose Bierce

A place in which the dead are laid to await the coming of the medical student.

Beside a lonely grave I stood —
    With brambles 'twas encumbered;
The winds were moaning in the wood,
    Unheard by him who slumbered,

A rustic standing near, I said:
    "He cannot hear it blowing!"
"'Course not," said he:  "the feller's dead —
    He can't hear nowt [sic] that's going."

"Too true," I said; "alas, too true —
    No sound his sense can quicken!"
"Well, mister, wot is that to you? —
    The deadster ain't a-kickin'."

I knelt and prayed:  "O Father, smile
    On him, and mercy show him!"
That countryman looked on the while,
    And said:  "Ye didn't know him."

Pobeter Dunko