Corpus of Electronic Texts Edition
The Ballad of Reading Gaol (Author: Oscar Wilde)


  1. 1] He did not wear his scarlet coat,
    2] For blood and wine are red,
    3] And blood and wine were on his hands
    4] When they found him with the dead,
    5] The poor dead woman whom he loved,
    6] And murdered in her bed.
  2. 7] He walked amongst the Trial Men
    8] In a suit of shabby gray;
    9] A cricket cap was on his head,
    10] And his step seemed light and gay;
    11] But I never saw a man who looked
    12] So wistfully at the day.
  3. 13] I never saw a man who looked
    14] With such a wistful eye
    15] Upon that little tent of blue
    16] Which prisoners call the sky,
    17] And at every drifting cloud that went
    18] With sails of silver by.

  4. p.2

  5. 19] I walked, with other souls in pain,
    20] Within another ring,
    21] And was wondering if the man had done
    22] A great or little thing,
    23] When a voice behind me whispered low,
    24] ‘That fellow's got to swing’.
  6. 25] Dear Christ! the very prison walls
    26] Suddenly seemed to reel,
    27] And the sky above my head became
    28] Like a casque of scorching steel;
    29] And, though I was a soul in pain,
    30] My pain I could not feel.
  7. 31] I only knew what hunted thought
    32] Quickened his step, and why
    33] He looked upon the garish day
    34] With such a wistful eye;
    35] The man had killed the thing he loved
    36] And so he had to die.
  8. 37] Yet each man kills the thing he loves
    38] By each let this be heard,
    39] Some do it with a bitter look,
    40] Some with a flattering word,
    41] The coward does it with a kiss,
    42] The brave man with a sword!

  9. p.3

  10. 43] Some kill their love when they are young,
    44] And some when they are old;
    45] Some strangle with the hands of Lust,
    46] Some with the hands of Gold:
    47] The kindest use a knife, because
    48] The dead so soon grow cold.
  11. 49] Some love too little, some too long,
    50] Some sell, and others buy;
    51] Some do the deed with many tears,
    52] And some without a sigh:
    53] For each man kills the thing he loves,
    54] Yet each man does not die.
  12. 55] He does not die a death of shame
    56] On a day of dark disgrace,
    57] Nor have a noose about his neck,
    58] Nor a cloth upon his face,
    59] Nor drop feet foremost through the floor
    60] Into an empty place.
  13. 61] He does not sit with silent men
    62] Who watch him night and day;
    63] Who watch him when he tries to weep,
    64] And when he tries to pray;
    65] Who watch him lest himself should rob
    66] The prison of its prey.

  14. p.4

  15. 67] He does not wake at dawn to see
    68] Dread figures throng his room,
    69] The shivering Chaplain robed in white,
    70] The Sheriff stern with gloom,
    71] And the Governor all in shiny black,
    72] With the yellow face of Doom.
  16. 73] He does not rise in piteous haste
    74] To put on convict-clothes,
    75] While some coarse-mouthed Doctor gloats, and notes
    76] Each new and nerve-twitched pose,
    77] Fingering a watch whose little ticks
    78] Are like horrible hammer-blows.
  17. 79] He does not know that sickening thirst
    80] That sands one's throat, before
    81] The hangman with his gardener's gloves
    82] Slips through the padded door,
    83] And binds one with three leathern thongs,
    84] That the throat may thirst no more.
  18. 85] He does not bend his head to hear
    86] The Burial Office read,
    87] Nor, while the terror of his soul
    88] Tells him he is not dead,
    89] Cross his own coffin, as he moves
    90] Into the hideous shed.

  19. p.5

  20. 91] He does not stare upon the air
    92] Through a little roof of glass:
    93] He does not pray with lips of clay
    94] For his agony to pass;
    95] Nor feel upon his shuddering cheek
    96] The kiss of Caiaphas.


  1. 97] Six weeks our guardsman walked the yard,
    98] In a suit of shabby gray:
    99] His cricket cap was on his head,
    100] And his step seemed light and gay,
    101] But I never saw a man who looked
    102] So wistfully at the day.
  2. 103] I never saw a man who looked
    104] With such a wistful eye
    105] Upon that little tent of blue
    106] Which prisoners call the sky,
    107] And at every wandering cloud that trailed
    108] Its ravelled fleeces by.
  3. 109] He did not wring his hands, as do
    110] Those witless men who dare
    111] To try to rear the changeling Hope
    112] In the cave of black Despair:
    113] He only looked upon the sun,
    114] And drank the morning air.

  4. p.7

  5. 115] He did not wring his hands nor weep,
    116] Nor did he peek or pine,
    117] But he drank the air as though it held
    118] Some healthful anodyne;
    119] With open mouth he drank the sun
    120] As though it had been wine!
  6. 121] And I and all the souls in pain,
    122] Who tramped the other ring,
    123] Forgot if we ourselves had done
    124] A great or little thing,
    125] And watched with gaze of dull amaze
    126] The man who had to swing.
  7. 127] And strange it was to see him pass
    128] With a step so light and gay,
    129] And strange it was to see him look
    130] So wistfully at the day,
    131] And strange it was to think that he
    132] Had such a debt to pay.
  8. 133] For oak and elm have pleasant leaves
    134] That in the spring-time shoot:
    135] But grim to see is the gallows-tree,
    136] With its adder-bitten root,
    137] And, green or dry, a man must die
    138] Before it bears its fruit!

  9. p.8

  10. 139] The loftiest place is that seat of grace
    140] For which all worldlings try:
    141] But who would stand in hempen band
    142] Upon a scaffold high,
    143] And through a murderer's collar take
    144] His last look at the sky?
  11. 145] It is sweet to dance to violins
    146] When Love and Life are fair:
    147] To dance to flutes, to dance to lutes
    148] Is delicate and rare:
    149] But it is not sweet with nimble feet
    150] To dance upon the air!
  12. 151] So with curious eyes and sick surmise
    152] We watched him day by day,
    153] And wondered if each one of us
    154] Would end the self-same way,
    155] For none can tell to what red Hell
    156] His sightless soul may stray.
  13. 157] At last the dead man walked no more
    158] Amongst the Trial Men,
    159] And I knew that he was standing up
    160] In the black dock's dreadful pen,
    161] And that never would I see his face
    162] In God's sweet world again.

  14. p.9

  15. 163] Like two doomed ships that pass in storm
    164] We had crossed each other's way:
    165] But we made no sign, we said no word,
    166] We had no word to say;
    167] For we did not meet in the holy night,
    168] But in the shameful day.
  16. 169] A prison wall was round us both,
    170] Two outcast men were we:
    171] The world had thrust us from its heart,
    172] And God from out His care:
    173] And the iron gin that waits for Sin
    174] Had caught us in its snare.


  1. 175] In Debtors' Yard the stones are hard,
    176] And the dripping wall is high,
    177] So it was there he took the air
    178] Beneath the leaden sky,
    179] And by each side a Warder walked,
    180] For fear the man might die.
  2. 181] Or else he sat with those who watched
    182] His anguish night and day;
    183] Who watched him when he rose to weep,
    184] And when he crouched to pray;
    185] Who watched him lest himself should rob
    186] Their scaffold of its prey.
  3. 187] The Governor was strong upon
    188] The Regulations Act:
    189] The Doctor said that Death was but
    190] A scientific fact:
    191] And twice a day the Chaplain called
    192] And left a little tract.

  4. p.11

  5. 193] And twice a day he smoked his pipe,
    194] And drank his quart of beer:
    195] His soul was resolute, and held
    196] No hiding-place for fear;
    197] He often said that he was glad
    198] The hangman's hands were near.
  6. 199] But why he said so strange a thing
    200] No Warder dared to ask:
    201] For he to whom a watcher's doom
    202] Is given as his task,
    203] Must set a lock upon his lips,
    204] And make his face a mask.
  7. 205] Or else he might be moved, and try
    206] To comfort or console:
    207] And what should Human Pity do
    208] Pent up in Murderers' Hole?
    209] What word of grace in such a place
    210] Could help a brother's soul?
  8. 211] With slouch and swing around the ring
    212] We trod the Fool's Parade!
    213] We did not care: we knew we were
    214] The Devil's Own Brigade:
    215] And shaven head and feet of lead
    216] Make a merry masquerade.

  9. p.12

  10. 217] We tore the tarry rope to shreds
    218] With blunt and bleeding nails;
    219] We rubbed the doors, and scrubbed the floors,
    220] And cleaned the shining rails:
    221] And, rank by rank, we soaped the plank,
    222] And clattered with the pails.
  11. 223] We sewed the sacks, we broke the stones,
    224] We turned the dusty drill:
    225] We banged the tins, and bawled the hymns,
    226] And sweated on the mill:
    227] But in the heart of every man
    228] Terror was lying still.
  12. 229] So still it lay that every day
    230] Crawled like a weed-clogged wave:
    231] And we forgot the bitter lot
    232] That waits for fool and knave,
    233] Till once, as we tramped in from work,
    234] We passed an open grave.
  13. 235] With yawning mouth the yellow hole
    236] Gaped for a living thing;
    237] The very mud cried out for blood
    238] To the thirsty asphalte ring:
    239] And we knew that ere one dawn grew fair
    240] Some prisoner had to swing.

  14. p.13

  15. 241] Right in we went, with soul intent
    242] On Death and Dread and Doom:
    243] The hangman, with his little bag,
    244] Went shuffling through the gloom
    245] And each man trembled as he crept
    246] Into his numbered tomb.
  16. 247] That night the empty corridors
    248] Were full of forms of Fear,
    249] And up and down the iron town
    250] Stole feet we could not hear,
    251] And through the bars that hide the stars
    252] White faces seemed to peer.
  17. 253] He lay as one who lies and dreams
    254] In a pleasant meadow-land,
    255] The watcher watched him as he slept,
    256] And could not understand
    257] How one could sleep so sweet a sleep
    258] With a hangman close at hand
  18. 259] But there is no sleep when men must weep
    260] Who never yet have wept:
    261] So we—the fool, the fraud, the knave—
    262] That endless vigil kept,
    263] And through each brain on hands of pain
    264] Another's terror crept.

  19. p.14

  20. 265] Alas! it is a fearful thing
    266] To feel another's guilt!
    267] For, right within, the sword of Sin
    268] Pierced to its poisoned hilt,
    269] And as molten lead were the tears we shed
    270] For the blood we had not spilt.
  21. 271] The Warders with their shoes of felt
    272] Crept by each padlocked door,
    273] And peeped and saw, with eyes of awe,
    274] Grey figures on the floor,
    275] And wondered why men knelt to pray
    276] Who never prayed before.
  22. 277] All through the night we knelt and prayed,
    278] Mad mourners of a corpse!
    279] The troubled plumes of midnight were
    280] The plumes upon a hearse:
    281] And bitter wine upon a sponge
    282] Was the savour of Remorse.
  23. 283] The gray cock crew, the red cock crew,
    284] But never came the day:
    285] And crooked shape of Terror crouched,
    286] In the corners where we lay:
    287] And each evil sprite that walks by night
    288] Before us seemed to play.

  24. p.15

  25. 289] They glided past, they glided fast,
    290] Like travellers through a mist:
    291] They mocked the moon in a rigadoon
    292] Of delicate turn and twist,
    293] And with formal pace and loathsome grace
    294] The phantoms kept their tryst.
  26. 295] With mop and mow, we saw them go,
    296] Slim shadows hand in hand:
    297] About, about, in ghostly rout
    298] They trod a saraband:
    299] And the damned grotesques made arabesques,
    300] Like the wind upon the sand!
  27. 301] With the pirouettes of marionettes,
    302] They tripped on pointed tread:
    303] But with flutes of Fear they filled the ear,
    304] As their grisly masque they led,
    305] And loud they sang, and loud they sang,
    306] For they sang to wake the dead.
  28. 307] ‘Oho!’ they cried,‘The world is wide,’
    308] ‘But fettered limbs go lame!’
    309] ‘And once, or twice, to throw the dice’
    310] ‘Is a gentlemanly game,’
    311] ‘But he does not win who plays with Sin’
    312] ‘In the secret House of Shame.’

  29. p.16

  30. 313] No things of air these antics were
    314] That frolicked with such glee:
    315] To men whose lives were held in gyves,
    316] And whose feet might not go free,
    317] Ah! wounds of Christ! they were living things,
    318] Most terrible to see.
  31. 319] Around, around, they waltzed and wound;
    320] Some wheeled in smirking pairs:
    321] With the mincing step of demirep
    322] Some sidled up the stairs:
    323] And with subtle sneer, and fawning leer,
    324] Each helped us at our prayers.
  32. 325] The morning wind began to moan,
    326] But still the night went on:
    327] Through its giant loom the web of gloom
    328] Crept till each thread was spun:
    329] And, as we prayed, we grew afraid
    330] Of the Justice of the Sun.
  33. 331] The moaning wind went wandering round
    332] The weeping prison-wall:
    333] Till like a wheel of turning-steel
    334] We felt the minutes crawl:
    335] O moaning wind! what had we done
    336] To have such a seneschal?

  34. p.17

  35. 337] At last I saw the shadowed bars
    338] Like a lattice wrought in lead,
    339] Move right across the whitewashed wall
    340] That faced my three-plank bed,
    341] And I knew that somewhere in the world
    342] God's dreadful dawn was red.
  36. 343] At six o'clock we cleaned our cells,
    344] At seven all was still,
    345] But the sough and swing of a mighty wing
    346] The prison seemed to fill,
    347] For the Lord of Death with icy breath
    348] Had entered in to kill.
  37. 349] He did not pass in purple pomp,
    350] Nor ride a moon-white steed.
    351] Three yards of cord and a sliding board
    352] Are all the gallows' need:
    353] So with rope of shame the Herald came
    354] To do the secret deed.
  38. 355] We were as men who through a fen
    356] Of filthy darkness grope:
    357] We did not dare to breathe a prayer,
    358] Or give our anguish scope:
    359] Something was dead in each of us,
    360] And what was dead was Hope.

  39. p.18

  40. 361] For Man's grim Justice goes its way,
    362] And will not swerve aside:
    363] It slays the weak, it slays the strong,
    364] It has a deadly stride:
    365] With iron heel it slays the strong,
    366] The monstrous parricide!
  41. 367] We waited for the stroke of eight:
    368] Each tongue was thick with thirst:
    369] For the stroke of eight is the stroke of Fate
    370] That makes a man accursed,
    371] And Fate will use a running noose
    372] For the best man and the worst.
  42. 373] We had no other thing to do,
    374] Save to wait for the sign to come:
    375] So, like things of stone in a valley lone,
    376] Quiet we sat and dumb:
    377] But each man's heart beat thick and quick,
    378] Like a madman on a drum!
  43. 379] With sudden shock the prison-clock
    380] Smote on the shivering air,
    381] And from all the gaol rose up a wail
    382] Of impotent despair,
    383] Like the sound that frightened marshes hear
    384] From a leper in his lair.

  44. p.19

  45. 385] And as one sees most fearful things
    386] In the crystal of a dream,
    387] We saw the greasy hempen rope
    388] Hooked to the blackened beam,
    389] And heard the prayer the hangman's snare
    390] Strangled into a scream.
  46. 391] And all the woe that moved him so
    392] That he gave that bitter cry,
    393] And the wild regrets, and the bloody sweats,
    394] None knew so well as I:
    395] For he who live more lives than one
    396] More deaths than one must die.


  1. 397] There is no chapel on the day
    398] On which they hang a man:
    399] The Chaplain's heart is far too sick,
    400] Or his face is far too wan,
    401] Or there is that written in his eyes
    402] Which none should look upon.
  2. 403] So they kept us close till nigh on noon,
    404] And then they rang the bell,
    405] And the Warders with their jingling keys
    406] Opened each listening cell,
    407] And down the iron stair we tramped,
    408] Each from his separate Hell.
  3. 409] Out into God's sweet air we went,
    410] But not in wonted way,
    411] For this man's face was white with fear,
    412] And that man's face was gray,
    413] And I never saw sad men who looked
    414] So wistfully at the day.

  4. p.21

  5. 415] I never saw sad men who looked
    416] With such a wistful eye
    417] Upon that little tent of blue
    418] We prisoners called the sky,
    419] And at every careless cloud that passed
    420] In happy freedom by.
  6. 421] But there were those amongst us all
    422] Who walked with downcast head,
    423] And knew that, had each got his due,
    424] They should have died instead:
    425] He had but killed a thing that lived
    426] Whilst they had killed the dead.
  7. 427] For he who sins a second time
    428] Wakes a dead soul to pain,
    429] And draws it from its spotted shroud,
    430] And makes it bleed again,
    431] And makes it bleed great gouts of blood
    432] And makes it bleed in vain!
  8. 433] Like ape or clown, in monstrous garb
    434] With crooked arrows starred,
    435] Silently we went round and round
    436] The slippery asphalte yard;
    437] Silently we went round and round,
    438] And no man spoke a word.

  9. p.22

  10. 439] Silently we went round and round,
    440] And through each hollow mind
    441] The memory of dreadful things
    442] Rushed like a dreadful wind,
    443] And Horror stalked before each man,
    444] And Terror crept behind.
  11. 445] The Warders strutted up and down,
    446] And kept their herd of brutes,
    447] Their uniforms were spick and span,
    448] And they wore their Sunday suits,
    449] But we knew the work they had been at
    450] By the quicklime on their boots.
  12. 451] For where a grave had opened wide,
    452] There was no grave at all:
    453] Only a stretch of mud and sand
    454] By the hideous prison-wall,
    455] And a little heap of burning lime,
    456] That the man should have his pall.
  13. 457] For he has a pall, this wretched man,
    458] Such as few men can claim:
    459] Deep down below a prison-yard,
    460] Naked for greater shame,
    461] He lies, with fetters on each foot,
    462] Wrapt in a sheet of flame!

  14. p.23

  15. 463] And all the while the burning lime
    464] Eats flesh and bone away,
    465] It eats the brittle bone by night,
    466] And the soft flesh by the day,
    467] It eats the flesh and bones by turns,
    468] But it eats the heart alway.
  16. 469] For three long years they will not sow
    470] Or root or seedling there:
    471] For three long years the unblessed spot
    472] Will sterile be and bare,
    473] And look upon the wondering sky
    474] With unreproachful stare.
  17. 475] They think a murderer's heart would taint
    476] Each simple seed they sow.
    477] It is not true! God's kindly earth
    478] Is kindlier than men know,
    479] And the red rose would but blow more red,
    480] The white rose whiter blow.
  18. 481] Out of his mouth a red, red rose!
    482] Out of his heart a white!
    483] For who can say by what strange way,
    484] Christ brings his will to light,
    485] Since the barren staff the pilgrim bore
    486] Bloomed in the great Pope's sight?

  19. p.24

  20. 487] But neither milk-white rose nor red
    488] May bloom in prison air;
    489] The shard, the pebble, and the flint,
    490] Are what they give us there:
    491] For flowers have been known to heal
    492] A common man's despair.
  21. 493] So never will wine-red rose or white,
    494] Petal by petal, fall
    495] On that stretch of mud and sand that lies
    496] By the hideous prison-wall,
    497] To tell the men who tramp the yard
    498] That God's Son died for all.
  22. 499] Yet though the hideous prison-wall
    500] Still hems him round and round,
    501] And a spirit man not walk by night
    502] That is with fetters bound,
    503] And a spirit may not weep that lies
    504] In such unholy ground,
  23. 505] He is at peace—this wretched man—
    506] At peace, or will be soon:
    507] There is no thing to make him mad,
    508] Nor does Terror walk at noon,
    509] For the lampless Earth in which he lies
    510] Has neither Sun nor Moon.

  24. p.25

  25. 511] They hanged him as a beast is hanged:
    512] They did not even toll
    513] A requiem that might have brought
    514] Rest to his startled soul,
    515] But hurriedly they took him out,
    516] And hid him in a hole.
  26. 517] They stripped him of his canvas clothes,
    518] And gave him to the flies;
    519] They mocked the swollen purple throat,
    520] And the stark and staring eyes:
    521] And with laughter loud they heaped the shroud
    522] In which their convict lies.
  27. 523] The Chaplain would not kneel to pray
    524] By his dishonoured grave:
    525] Nor mark it with that blessed Cross
    526] That Christ for sinners gave,
    527] Because the man was one of those
    528] Whom Christ came down to save.
  28. 529] Yet all is well; he has but passed
    530] To Life's appointed bourne:
    531] And alien tears will fill for him
    532] Pity's long-broken urn,
    533] For his mourner will be outcast men,
    534] And outcasts always mourn.


  1. 535] I know not whether Laws be right,
    536] Or whether Laws be wrong;
    537] All that we know who lie in gaol
    538] Is that the wall is strong;
    539] And that each day is like a year,
    540] A year whose days are long.
  2. 541] But this I know, that every Law
    542] That men have made for Man,
    543] Since first Man took his brother's life,
    544] And the sad world began,
    545] But straws the wheat and saves the chaff
    546] With a most evil fan.
  3. 547] This too I know—and wise it were
    548] If each could know the same—
    549] That every prison that men build
    550] Is built with bricks of shame,
    551] And bound with bars lest Christ should see
    552] How men their brothers maim.

  4. p.27

  5. 553] With bars they blur the gracious moon,
    554] And blind the goodly sun:
    555] And they do well to hide their Hell,
    556] For in it things are done
    557] That Son of God nor son of Man
    558] Ever should look upon!
  6. 559] The vilest deeds like poison weeds
    560] Bloom well in prison-air:
    561] It is only what is good in Man
    562] That wastes and withers there:
    563] Pale Anguish keeps the heavy gate,
    564] And the Warder is Despair
  7. 565] For they starve the little frightened child
    566] Till it weeps both night and day:
    567] And they scourge the weak, and flog the fool,
    568] And gibe the old and gray,
    569] And some grow mad, and all grow bad,
    570] And none a word may say.
  8. 571] Each narrow cell in which we dwell
    572] Is a foul and dark latrine,
    573] And the fetid breath of living Death
    574] Chokes up each grated screen,
    575] And all, but Lust, is turned to dust
    576] In Humanity's machine.

  9. p.28

  10. 577] The brackish water that we drink
    578] Creeps with a loathsome slime,
    579] And the bitter bread they weigh in scales
    580] Is full of chalk and lime,
    581] And Sleep will not lie down, but walks
    582] Wild-eyed, and cries to Time.
  11. 583] But though lean Hunger and green Thirst
    584] Like asp with adder fight,
    585] We have little care of prison fare,
    586] For what chills and kills outright
    587] Is that every stone one lifts by day
    588] Becomes one's heart by night.
  12. 589] With midnight always in one's heart,
    590] And twilight in one's cell,
    591] We turn the crank, or tear the rope,
    592] Each in his separate Hell,
    593] And the silence is more awful far
    594] Than the sound of a brazen bell.
  13. 595] And never a human voice comes near
    596] To speak a gentle word:
    597] And the eye that watches through the door
    598] Is pitiless and hard:
    599] And by all forgot, we rot and rot,
    600] With soul and body marred.

  14. p.29

  15. 601] And thus we rust Life's iron chain
    602] Degraded and alone:
    603] And some men curse, and some men weep,
    604] And some men make no moan:
    605] But God's eternal Laws are kind
    606] And break the heart of stone.
  16. 607] And every human heart that breaks,
    608] In prison-cell or yard,
    609] Is as that broken box that gave
    610] Its treasure to the Lord,
    611] And filled the unclean leper's house
    612] With the scent of costliest nard.
  17. 613] Ah! happy day they whose hearts can break
    614] And peace of pardon win!
    615] How else may man make straight his plan
    616] And cleanse his soul from Sin?
    617] How else but through a broken heart
    618] May Lord Christ enter in?
  18. 619] And he of the swollen purple throat,
    620] And the stark and staring eyes,
    621] Waits for the holy hands that took
    622] The Thief to Paradise;
    623] And a broken and a contrite heart
    624] The Lord will not despise.

  19. p.30

  20. 625] The man in red who reads the Law
    626] Gave him three weeks of life,
    627] Three little weeks in which to heal
    628] His soul of his soul's strife,
    629] And cleanse from every blot of blood
    630] The hand that held the knife.
  21. 631] And with tears of blood he cleansed the hand,
    632] The hand that held the steel:
    633] For only blood can wipe out blood,
    634] And only tears can heal:
    635] And the crimson stain that was of Cain
    636] Became Christ's snow-white seal.


  1. 637] In Reading gaol by Reading town
    638] There is a pit of shame,
    639] And in it lies a wretched man
    640] Eaten by teeth of flame,
    641] In a burning winding-sheet he lies,
    642] And his grave has got no name.
  2. 643] And there, till Christ call forth the dead,
    644] In silence let him lie:
    645] No need to waste the foolish tear,
    646] Or heave the windy sigh:
    647] The man had killed the thing he loved,
    648] And so he had to die.
  3. 649] And all men kill the thing they love,
    650] By all let this be heard,
    651] Some do it with a bitter look,
    652] Some with a flattering word,
    653] The coward does it with a kiss,
    654] The brave man with a sword!
C. 3. 3.