The Poetess of Reform
from Fantastic Fables
by Ambrose Bierce
ONE pleasant day in the latter part of eternity, as the Shades of all the great writers were reposing upon beds of asphodel and moly in the Elysian fields, each happy in hearing from the lips of the others nothing but copious quotation from his own works (for so Jove had kindly bedeviled their ears), there came in among them
with triumphant mien a Shade whom none knew. She (for the newcomer showed such evidences of sex as cropped hair and a manly stride) took a seat in their midst, and smiling a superior smile explained:
"After centuries of oppression I have wrested my rights from the grasp of the jealous gods. On earth I was the Poetess of Reform, and sang to inattentive ears. Now for an eternity of honour and
But it was not to be so, and soon she was the unhappiest of mortals, vainly desirous to wander again in gloom by the infernal lakes. For Jove had not bedeviled her ears, and she heard from the lips of each blessed Shade an incessant flow of quotation from his own works. Moreover, she was denied the happiness of repeating her
poems. She could not recall a line of them, for Jove had decreed that the memory of them abide in Pluto's painful domain, as a part of the apparatus.