[Skip Navigation]

Poetry Archives

A continuing selection of classic and contemporary poems.

A Ballade Of Suicide

G. K. Chesterton

The gallows in my garden, people say,
Is new and neat and adequately tall.
I tie the noose on in a knowing way
As one that knots his necktie for a ball;
But just as all the neighbours—on the wall —
Are drawing a long breath to shout ‘Hurray!’
The strangest whim has seized me . . . After all
I think I will not hang myself today.

Tomorrow is the time I get my pay —
My uncle’s sword is hanging in the hall —
I see a little cloud all pink and grey —
Perhaps the Rector’s mother will not call —
I fancy that I heard from Mr Gall
That mushrooms could be cooked another way —
I never read the works of Juvenal —
I think I will not hang myself today.

The world will have another washing day;
The decadents decay; the pedants pall;
And H.G. Wells has found that children play,
And Bernard Shaw discovered that they squall;
Rationalists are growing rational —
And through thick woods one finds a stream astray,
So secret that the very sky seems small —
I think I will not hang myself today.

    Envoi
Prince, I can hear the trumpet of Germinal,
The tumbrils toiling up the terrible way;
Even today your royal head may fall —
I think I will not hang myself today.
Online text © 1998-2017 Poetry X. All rights reserved.
From Poems | 1915
Add Keyword Tags

Separate each tag with a space. You may add as many tags as you'd like to each poem.

What are tags?
Tags, sometimes called “folksonomies,” are words that describe or categorize a poem, like “20th century modernism” or “Italian sonnet”. Tags can help you find poems that have something in common, based on how other people classify them.

More Info

This site will work and look better in a browser that supports web standards, but it is accessible to any Internet device.