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AN AVERTED TRAGEDY
by
Gilbert Wells

His outlook seemed both drear and dark, no joy had life to give,
He thought, "Earth holds no place for me, so why then should I live?
Down to the very dregs at last, I've drained life's bitter cup—
I'll finish things, I'll end it all— my mind is quite made up!"
Into the chemist's shop he went with madness in his eye—
"Mix me a deadly draught," he cried— "to-night I mean to die!
A draught to which no antidote has been discovered yet—
Have you such things?" The chemist looked at him and said, "You bet."
He reached a phial from the shelf on which it stood alone
And told his customer, "This is the strongest poison known.
One little drop will be enough to finish your career,
But 'ere you swallow it, let me its properties make clear.
Its taste is vile, but what of that? Your tongue 'twill paralyse,
Then countless shooting pains will dart like needles through your eyes;
Cold chills will run through all your bones, in ev'ry limb you'll ache,
And then your brain will seem to burn, your palsied hands will shake.
Next, total blindness will ensue, paralysis will come—
You'll try to scream, with no avail, for you'll be stricken dumb.
Internal pains will rack you next, in agony you'll bend,
And twitches indescribable will come before the end.
You'll fall and writhe upon the ground— that is the final sign,
And after that at last you'll die— the price is two-and-nine.
D'you wish to take the draught at home, or will you have it now?"
The would-be suicide stood there, and puckered up his brow.
He eyed the draught and then he said, "If that's the way it kills,
I think I'll change my mind and have a pennyworth of pills!"
 
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