The New Decalogue

Original Text: 
Black Beetles in Amber, Vol. V, The Collected Works of Ambrose Bierce (Neale, 1911: New York: Gordian Press, 1966), p. 233. PS 1097 A1 1966 Robarts Library.
2If bent in prayer to three or four.
3Adore no images save those
4The coinage of thy country shows.
5Take not the Name in vain. Direct
6Thy swearing unto some effect.
7Thy hand from Sunday work be held--
8Work not at all unless compelled.
9Honor thy parents, and perchance
10Their wills thy fortunes may advance.
11Kill not--death liberates thy foe
12From persecution's constant woe.
13Kiss not thy neighbor's wife. Of course
14There's no objection to divorce.
15To steal were folly, for 'tis plain
16In cheating there is greater pain.
17Bear not false witness. Shake your head
18And say that you have "heard it said."
19Who stays to covet ne'er will catch
20An opportunity to snatch.


1] For Moses' Ten Commandments, see Exodus 20.1-10. Back to Line
RPO poem Editors: 
Ian Lancashire
RPO Edition: 
RPO 1998.