Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, A BALLADE OF SUICIDE, by GILBERT KEITH CHESTERTON



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A BALLADE OF SUICIDE, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: The gallows in my garden, people say
Last Line: I think I will not hang myself to-day.
Alternate Author Name(s): Chesterton, G. K.
Subject(s): Suicide


THE gallows in my garden, people say,
Is new and neat and adequately tall.
I tie the noose on in a knowing way
As one that knots his necktie for a ball;
But just as all the neighbours -- on the wall --
Are drawing a long breath to shout "Hurray!"
The strangest whim has seized me. . . . After all
I think I will not hang myself to-day.

To-morrow is the time I get my pay --
My uncle's sword is hanging in the hall --
I see a little cloud all pink and grey --
Perhaps the rector's mother will not call --
I fancy that I heard from Mr. Gall
That mushrooms could be cooked another way --
I never read the works of Juvenal --
I think I will not hang myself to-day.

The world will have another washing day;
The decadents decay; the pedants pall;
And H. G. Wells has found that children play,
And Bernard Shaw discovered that they squall;
Rationalists are growing rational --
And through thick woods one finds a stream astray,
So secret that the very sky seems small --
I think I will not hang myself to-day.

Prince, I can hear the trump of Germinal,
The tumbrils toiling up the terrible way;
Even to-day your royal head may fall --
I think I will not hang myself to-day.





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