It is mine--the little chamber, Mine alone. I had it from my forbears Years agone. Yet within its walls I see A most motley company, And they one and all claim me As their own.

There's one who is a soldier Bluff and keen; Single-minded, heavy-fisted, Rude of mien. He would gain a purse or stake it, He would win a heart or break it, He would give a life or take it, Conscience-clean.

And near him is a priest Still schism-whole; He loves the censer-reek And organ-roll. He has leanings to the mystic, Sacramental, eucharistic; And dim yearnings altruistic Thrill his soul.

There's another who with doubts Is overcast; I think him younger brother To the last. Walking wary stride by stride, Peering forwards anxious-eyed, Since he learned to doubt his guide In the past.

And 'mid them all, alert, But somewhat cowed, There sits a stark-faced fellow, Beetle-browed, Whose black soul shrinks away From a lawyer-ridden day, And has thoughts he dare not say Half avowed.

There are others who are sitting, Grim as doom, In the dim ill-boding shadow Of my room. Darkling figures, stern or quaint, Now a savage, now a saint, Showing fitfully and faint Through the gloom.

And those shadows are so dense, There may be Many--very many--more Than I see. They are sitting day and night Soldier, rogue, and anchorite; And they wrangle and they fight Over me.

If the stark-faced fellow win, All is o'er! If the priest should gain his will I doubt no more! But if each shall have his day, I shall swing and I shall sway In the same old weary way As before.

Sherlock Holmes
Classic Literature Library

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