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William Ernest Henley (1849-1903)

Madam Life's a Piece in Bloom


Largo e mesto

              1   Madam Life's a piece in bloom
              2     Death goes dogging everywhere:
              3She's the tenant of the room,
              4     He's the ruffian on the stair.

              5   You shall see her as a friend,
              6You shall bilk him once or twice;
              7   But he'll trap you in the end,
              8And he'll stick you for her price.

              9With his kneebones at your chest,
            10    And his knuckles in your throat,
            11You would reason -- plead -- protest!
            12   Clutching at her petticoat;

            13   But she's heard it all before,
            14Well she knows you've had your fun,
            15    Gingerly she gains the door,
            16And your little job is done.


Online text copyright © 2003, Ian Lancashire for the Department of English, University of Toronto.
Published by the Web Development Group, Information Technology Services, University of Toronto Libraries.

Original text: William Ernest Henley, "Echoes IX," Poems (London: Macmillan and Co., 1920): 87. PR 4783 A36 1921 Robarts Library
RPO poem editor: Ian Lancashire
RP edition: RPO 1996-2000.
Recent editing: 4:2002/4/24

Composition date: 1877
Rhyme: abab


Other poems by William Ernest Henley