Ambrose Bierce

(24 June 1842 - 26 December 1913 / Horse Cave Creek, Ohio)

A False Prophecy - Poem by Ambrose Bierce

Dom Pedro, Emperor of far Brazil
(Whence coffee comes and the three-cornered nut),
They say that you're imperially ill,
And threatened with paralysis. Tut-tut!
Though Emperors are mortal, nothing but
A nimble thunderbolt could catch and kill
A man predestined to depart this life
By the assassin's bullet, bomb or knife.

Sir, once there was a President who freed
Ten million slaves; and once there was a Czar
Who freed five times as many serfs. Sins breed
The means of punishment, and tyrants are
Hurled headlong out of the triumphal car
If faster than the law allows they speed.
Lincoln and Alexander struck a rut;
_You_ freed slaves too. Paralysis-tut-tut!


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Poem Submitted: Friday, September 28, 2012



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