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Hell


The friends who stood about my bed
Looked down upon my face and said:
"God's will be done--the fellow's dead."

When from my body I was free
I straightway felt myself, ah me!
Sink downward to the life to be.

Full twenty centuries I fell,
And then alighted. "Here you dwell
For aye," a Voice cried--"this is Hell!"

A landscape lay about my feet,
Where trees were green and flowers sweet.
The climate was devoid of heat.

The sun looked down with gentle beam
Upon the bosom of the stream,
Nor saw I any sign of steam.

The waters by the sky were tinged,
The hills with light and color fringed.
Birds warbled on the wing unsinged.

"Ah, no, this is not Hell," I cried;
"The preachers ne'er so greatly lied.
This is Earth's spirit glorified!

"Good souls do not in Hades dwell,
And, look, there's John P. Irish!" "Well,"
The Voice said, "that's what makes it Hell."



Ambrose Bierce

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