Ambrose Bierce

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

History - Poem by Ambrose Bierce

What wrecked the Roman power? One says vice,
Another indolence, another dice.
Emascle says polygamy. 'Not so,'
Says Impycu-''twas luxury and show.'
The parson, lifting up a brow of brass,
Swears superstition gave the _coup de grace_,
Great Allison, the statesman-chap affirms
'Twas lack of coins (croaks Medico: ''T was worms')
And John P. Jones the swift suggestion collars,
Averring the no coins were silver dollars.
Thus, through the ages, each presuming quack
Turns the poor corpse upon its rotten back,
Holds a new 'autopsy' and finds that death
Resulted partly from the want of breath,
But chiefly from some visitation sad
That points his argument or serves his fad.
They're all in error-never human mind
The cause of the disaster has divined.
What slew the Roman power? Well, provided
You'll keep the secret, I will tell you. I did.


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Poem Submitted: Friday, September 28, 2012



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