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[personal profile] randy_byers
Clark Ashton Smith leads us by obscure (and probably Cyclopean) passageways back via George Sterling to Ambrose Bierce, although there's little of Smith and Sterling's late-Romanticism in this piece of sour wit. It's very much in the vein of Bierce's The Devil's Dictionary.

The New Decalogue
by Ambrose Bierce

Have but one God: thy knees were sore
If bent in prayer to three or four.

Adore no images save those
The coinage of thy country shows.

Take not the Name in vain. Direct
Thy swearing unto some effect.

Thy hand from Sunday work be held—
Work not at all unless compelled.

Honor thy parents, and perchance
Their wills thy fortunes may advance.

Kill not—death liberates thy foe
From persecution’s constant woe.

Kiss not thy neighbor’s wife. Of course
There’s no objection to divorce.

To steal were folly, for ’tis plain
In cheating there is greater gain.

Bear not false witness. Shake your head
And say that you have “heard it said.”

Who stays to covet ne’er will catch
An opportunity to snatch.

Date: 2010-04-26 05:29 pm (UTC)
ext_28681: (Default)
From: [identity profile] akirlu.livejournal.com
Resume
by Dorothy Parker

Razors pain you;
Rivers are damp;
Acids stain you;
And drugs cause cramp.
Guns aren't lawful;
Nooses give;
Gas smells awful;
You might as well live.

Date: 2010-04-26 06:01 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] randy-byers.livejournal.com
Truly a classic. Bonus point for actual use of the word "acids".

Date: 2010-04-26 05:35 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] holyoutlaw.livejournal.com
Acidic, yes, but like most of his writing, more accurate for what people actually believe.

Date: 2010-04-26 06:08 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] randy-byers.livejournal.com
The cynicism is bracing, but I'm not sure I'd call it accurate. A kind of corrective to Romanticism, perhaps.

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