Ambrose Bierce

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

Salvini In America - Poem by Ambrose Bierce

Come, gentlemen-your gold.
Thanks: welcome to the show.
To hear a story told
In words you do not know.

Now, great Salvini, rise
And thunder through your tears,
Aha! friends, let your eyes
Interpret to your ears.

Gods! 't is a goodly game.
Observe his stride-how grand!
When legs like his declaim
Who can misunderstand?

See how that arm goes round.
It says, as plain as day:
'I love,' 'The lost is found,'
'Well met, sir,' or, 'Away!'

And mark the drawing down
Of brows. How accurate
The language of that frown:
Pain, gentlemen-or hate.

Those of the critic trade
Swear it is all as clear
As if his tongue were made
To fit an English ear.

Hear that Italian phrase!
Greek to your sense, 't is true;
But shrug, expression, gaze
Well, they are Grecian too.

But it is Art! God wot
Its tongue to all is known.
Faith! he to whom 't were not
Would better hold his own.

Shakespeare says act and word
Must match together true.
From what you've seen and heard,
How can you doubt they do?

Enchanting drama! Mark
The crowd 'from pit to dome',
One box alone is dark
The prompter stays at home.

Stupendous artist! You
Are lord of joy and woe:
We thrill if you say 'Boo,'
And thrill if you say 'Bo.'


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Poem Submitted: Saturday, September 29, 2012



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