by Ambrose Bierce
Twas a sick young man with a face ungay
And an eye that was all alone;
And he shook his head in a hopeless way
As he sat on a roadside stone.
"O, ailing youth, what untoward fate
Has made the sun to set
On your mirth and eye?" "I'm constrained to state
I'm an ex-West Point cadet.
"'Twas at cannon-practice I got my hurt
And my present frame of mind;
For the gun went off with a double spurt-
Before it, and also behind!"
"How sad, how sad, that a fine young chap,
When studying how to kill,
Should meet with so terrible a mishap
Precluding eventual skill.
"Ah, woful to think that a weapon made
For mowing down the foe
Should commit so dreadful an escapade
As to turn about to mow!"
No more he heeded while I condoled:
He was wandering in his mind;
His lonely eye unconsidered rolled,
And his views he thus defined:
"'Twas O for a breach of the peace-'twas O
For an international brawl!
But a piece of the breech-ah no, ah no,
I didn't want that at all."
Last updated January 14, 2019