At The Sign Of The Skull

written by Madison Julius Cawein

At The Sign Of The Skull

— Madison Julius Cawein

It's 'Gallop and go!' and 'Slow, now, slow!'
With every man in this life below
But the things of this world are a fleeting show.

The postchaise Time that all must take
Is old with clay and dust;
Two horses strain its rusty brake
Named Pleasure and Disgust.

Our baggage totters on its roof,
Of Vanity and Care,
As Hope, the postboy, spurs each hoof,
Or heavy-eyed Despair.

And now a comrade with us rides,
Love, haply, or Remorse;
And that dim traveler besides,
Gaunt Memory on a horse.

And be we king or be we kern
Who ride the roads of Sin,
No matter how the roads may turn
They lead us to that Inn.

Unto that Inn within that land
Of silence and of gloom,
Whose ghastly landlord takes our hand
And leads us to our room.

It's 'Gallop and go!' and 'Slow, now, slow!'
With every man in this life below
But the things of this world are a fleeting show.

About the poet


Madison Julius Cawein

Madison Cawein (23 March 1865 – 8 December 1914) was a poet from Louisville, Kentucky, whose poem "Waste Land" has been linked with T. S. Eliot's later The Waste Land. Cawein's father made patent medicines from herbs. Cawein thus became acquainted with and developed a love for local nature as a child. He worked in a Cincinnati pool hall as an assistant cashier for six years, saving his pay so he could return home to write. His output was thirty-six books and 1,500 poems. He was known as the "Keats of Kentucky." In 1912 Cawein was forced to sell his Old Louisville home, St James Court (a two-and-a-half story brick house built in 1901, which he had purchased in 1907), as well as some of his library, after losing...

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