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Poem by William Ernest Henley


Before


Behold me waitingwaiting for the knife.
A little while, and at a leap I storm
The thick, sweet mystery of chloroform,
The drunken dark, the little death-in-life.
The gods are good to me:  I have no wife,
No innocent child, to think of as I near
The fateful minute; nothing all-too dear
Unmans me for my bout of passive strife.
Yet am I tremulous and a trifle sick,
And, face to face with chance, I shrink a little:
My hopes are strong, my will is something weak.
Here comes the basket?  Thank you.  I am ready.
But, gentlemen my porters, life is brittle:
You carry Caesar and his fortunessteady!



William Ernest Henley


William Ernest Henley's other poems:
  1. In Rotten Row
  2. London Types: Bus Driver
  3. A Wink from Hesper
  4. The Ways of Death Are Soothing and Serene
  5. Let Us Be Drunk


Poems of the other poets with the same name:

  • Robert Browning Before ("Let them fight it out, friend! things have gone too far")

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