A 'Mass' Meeting - Poem by Ambrose Bierce
It was a solemn rite as e'er
Was seen by mortal man.
The celebrants, the people there,
Were all Republican.
There Estee bent his grizzled head,
And General Dimond, too,
And one-'twas Reddick, some one said,
Though no one clearly knew.
I saw the priest, white-robed and tall
(Assistant, Father Stow)-
He was the pious man men call
Dan Burns of Mexico.
Ah, 'twas a high and holy rite
As any one could swear.
'What does it mean?' I asked a wight
Who knelt apart in prayer.
'A mass for the repose,' he said,
'Of Colonel Markham's'--'What,
Is gallant Colonel Markham dead?
'Tis sad, 'tis sad, God wot!'
'A mass'-repeated he, and rose
To go and kneel among
The worshipers-'for the repose
Of Colonel Markham's tongue.'
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