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No Neck-Tie Party Analysis

Author: poem of Robert Service Type: poem Views: 4

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A prisoner speaks:

Majority of twenty-three,

I face the Judge with joy and glee;

For am I not a lucky chap -

No more hanging, no more cap;

A "lifer," yes, but well I know

In fifteen years they'll let me go;

For I'll be pious in my prison,

Sing with gusto: Christ Is Risen;

Serve the hymn-books out on Sunday,

Sweep the chapel clean on Monday:

Such a model lag I'll be

In fifteen years they'll set me free.

Majority of twenty three,

You've helped me cheat the gallows tree.

I'm twenty now, at thirty-five

How I will laugh to be alive!

To leap into the world again

And bless the fools miscalled "humane,"

Who say the gibbet's wrong and so

At thirty-five they let me go,

Tat I may sail the across the sea

A killer unsuspect and free,

To change my name, to darkly thrive

By hook or crook at thirty-five.

O silent dark and beastly wood

Where with my bloodied hands I stood!

O piteous child I raped and slew!

Had she been yours, would you and you

Have pardoned me and set me free,

Majority of twenty-three?

Yet by your solemn vote you willed

I shall not die though I have killed;

Although I did no mercy show,

In mercy you will let me go. . . .

That he who kills and does not pay

May live to kill another day.

*By a majority of twenty-three the House of Commons

voted the abolition of the death penalty.


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