The Statesmen

Original Text: 
Shapes of Clay, Vol. IV, The Collected Works of Ambrose Bierce (Neale, 1910: New York: Gordian Press, 1966), pp. 165-68. PS 1097 A1 1966 Robarts Library.
1How blest the land that counts among
2    Her sons so many good and wise,
3To execute great feats of tongue
4    When troubles rise.
5Behold them mounting every stump,
6    By speech our liberty to guard.
7Observe their courage--see them jump,
8    And come down hard!
9"Walk up, walk up!" each cries aloud,
10    "And learn from me what you must do
11To turn aside the thunder cloud,
12    The earthquake too.
13"Beware the wiles of yonder quack
14    Who stuffs the ears of all that pass.
15I--I alone can show that black
16    Is white as grass."
17They shout through all the day and break
18    The silence of the night as well.
19They'd make--I wish they'd go and make--
20    Of Heaven a Hell.
21A advocates free silver, B
22    Free trade and C free banking laws.
23Free board, clothes, lodging would from me
24    Win wamr applause.
25Lo, D lifts up his voice: "You see
26    The single tax on land would fall
27On all alike." More evenly
28    No tax at all.
29"With paper money," bellows E,
30    "We'll all be rich as lords." No doubt--
31And richest of the lot will be
32    The chap without.
33As many "cures" as addle-wits
34    Who know not what the ailment is!
35Meanwhile the patient foams and spits
36    Like a gin fizz.
37Alas, poor Body Politic,
38    Your fate is all too clearly read:
39To be not altogether quick,
40    Nor very dead.
41You take your exercise in squirms,
42    Your rest in fainting fits between.
43'Tis plain that your disorder's worms--
44    Worms fat and lean.
45Worm Capital, Worm Labor dwell
46    Within your maw and muscle's scope.
47Their quarrels make your life a Hell,
48    Your death a hope.
49God send you find not such an end
50    To ills however sharp and huge!
51God send you convalesce! God send


52] vermifuge: a means of expelling parasitic worms. Back to Line
Publication Start Year: 
RPO poem Editors: 
Ian Lancashire
RPO Edition: 
RPO 1998.