Ambrose Bierce

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

A Hasty Inference - Poem by Ambrose Bierce

The Devil one day, coming up from the Pit,
All grimy with perspiration,
Applied to St. Peter and begged he'd admit
Him a moment for consultation.

The Saint showed him in where the Master reclined
On the throne where petitioners sought him;
Both bowed, and the Evil One opened his mind
Concerning the business that brought him:

'For ten million years I've been kept in a stew
Because you have thought me immoral;
And though I have had my opinion of you,
You've had the best end of the quarrel.

'But now-well, I venture to hope that the past
With its misunderstandings we'll smother;
And you, sir, and I, sir, be throned here at last
As equals, the one to the other.'

'Indeed!' said the Master (I cannot convey
A sense of his tone by mere letters)
'What makes you presume you'll be bidden to stay
Up here on such terms with your betters?'

'Why, sure you can't mean it!' said Satan. 'I've seen
How Stanford and Crocker you've nourished,
And Huntington-bless me! the three like a green
Umbrageous great bay-tree have flourished.

They are fat, they are rolling in gold, they command
All sources and well-springs of power;
You've given them houses, you've given them land
Before them the righteous all cower.'

'What of that?' 'What of that?' cried the Father of Sin;
'Why, I thought when I saw you were winking
At crimes such as theirs that perhaps you had been
Converted to my way of thinking.'


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Poem Submitted: Friday, September 28, 2012



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