The Shafter Shafted by Ambrose Bierce

Well, James McMillan Shafter, you’re a Judge–
At least you were when last I knew of you;
And if the people since have made you budge
I did not notice it. I’ve much to do
Without endeavoring to follow, through
The miserable squabbles, dust and smudge,
The fate of even the veteran contenders
Who fight with flying colors and suspenders.
Being a Judge, ’tis natural and wrong
That you should villify the public press–
Save while you are a candidate. That song
Is easy quite to sing, and I confess
It wins applause from hearers who have less
Of spiritual graces than belong
To audiences of another kidney–
Men, for example, like Sir Philip Sidney.

Newspapers, so you say, don’t always treat
The Judges with respect. That may be so
And still no harm done, for I swear I’ll eat
My legs and in the long hereafter go,
Snake-like, upon my belly if you’ll show
All Judges are respectable and sweet.
For some of them are rogues and the world’s laughter’s
Directed at some others, for they’re Shafters.

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