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Consolation - (1996)

Ambrose Bierce

for medium voice and piano

Little's the good to sit and grieve
Because the serpent tempted Eve.
Better to wipe your eyes and take
A club and go out and kill a snake.

But if you prefer, as I suspect,
To philosophize, why, then, reflect:
If the cunning rascal upon the limb
Hadn't tempted her she'd have tempted him.

from The Collected Works of Ambrose Bierce: Shapes of Clay. Ambrose Bierce. New York: Neale Publishing Company, 1910

Ambrose Bierce



This little bit of humor is meant as an encore, a sweet bit of "fluff," short and to the point. Often in recitals I have used something so short in order to tease the audience with a thought and a moment's worth of melody. Several of these short songs have been by the admirable Ned Rorem, some only a minute's duration.


Bierce's poem is no attack on the various notions of the biblical story or the doctrine of original sin per se, but rather a whimsical look at women and their own appeal and therefore "temptation."

[ 1 page, circa 1' 00" ]