Ambrose Bierce


The New Decalogue

Have but one God: thy knees were sore
If bent in prayer to three or four.

Adore no images save those
The coinage of thy country shows.

Take not the Name in vain. Direct
Thy swearing unto some effect.

Thy hand from Sunday work be held —
Work not at all unless compelled.

Honor thy parents, and perchance
Their wills thy fortunes may advance.

Kill not — death liberates thy foe
From persecution’ s constant woe.

Kiss not thy neighbor’ s wife. Of course
There’ s no objection to divorce.