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  4. To the Bartholdi Statue by Ambrose Bierce
To the Bartholdi Statue

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O Liberty, God-gifted—
Young and immortal maid—
In your high hand uplifted,
The torch declares your trade.

Its crimson menace, flaming
Upon the sea and shore,
Is, trumpet-like, proclaiming
That Law shall be no more.

Austere incendiary,
We're blinking in the light;
Where is your customary
Grenade of dynamite?

Where are your staves and switches
For men of gentle birth?
Your mask and dirk for riches?
Your chains for wit and worth?

Perhaps, you've brought the halters
You used in the old days,
When round religion's altars
You stabled Cromwell's bays?

Behind you, unsuspected,
Have you the axe, fair wench,
Wherewith you once collected
A poll-tax for the French?

America salutes you—
Preparing to "disgorge."
Take everything that suits you,
And marry Henry George.


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To the Bartholdi Statue

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  • Ambrose Bierce's literary reputation is based primarily on his short stories about the Civil War and the supernatural—a body of work that makes up a relatively small part of his total output. Often compared to the tales of Edgar Allan Poe, these stories share an attraction to death in its more bizarre forms, featuring depictions of mental deterioration, uncanny, otherworldly manifestations, and expressions of the horror of existence in a meaningless universe. Like Poe, Bierce professed to be mainly concerned with the artistry of his work, yet critics find him more intent on conveying his misanthropy and pessimism. In his lifetime Bierce was famous as a California journalist dedicated to exposing the truth as he understood it, regardless of whose reputations were harmed by his attacks. For his sardonic wit and damning observations on the personalities and events of the day, he became known as "the wickedest man in San...

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