In a cold room there stands a clock. It was once a ballroom with great pillars upholding a high ceiling. Its windows stretched from the ground up into the very rafters and cast thin, blue light—thin, blue, wavering light—into the disused ballroom. It is an exceedingly great room, designed so that whatever song was played, though the softest and quietest of sounds, the echoes of the music should rebound, should build, and be sweet to the ear.

There is no place in that room, no corner, no seat, where the ticking of the clock cannot be heard. It is ever-present. What madman brought this terror into the ballroom? Try as one might, every song must end, but the clock was always waiting in the silence between the songs. The dancers’ faces grew pale to hear the ticking, the imperceptible ticking, invading the music, filling every moment, every square inch of the room now so abandoned, so cold, with its continual finality of tick toc, tick toc, and on and on and on with no end.

In a cold room there stands a clock,
and I can hear its tick and toc;
Many go mad and many go sane,
but it’s a sound none can contain.

Tick and toc, it ever goes on
Tick and toc, into the dawn
Tick and toc, when will it stop?
Tick and toc, and will it stop?


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