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Sunday, April 27, 2014

A Verdict
The Speaker, September 16, 1899

Mercy there is to ask; but not of these,
That count the stripes upon a coat and see
How they may judge. Enough- they judged themselves
And spoke: and hanged their souls upon a tree.

Mercy there is to seek: nor yet of these,
His hungry foes, by fear made light and lithe:
Nay, judge not, torture not, the twisted souls-
What need of racks to teach a worm to writhe?

We wait for mercy in a narrower court:
Dreaming if pardon or black judgment brews
Beneath one brow: bound with such crown of thorns
As old-world warriors bound upon a Jew.

Mother of arts, behold thy son! Away!
Of old long loves still this much left have we
As for some screaming harlot, still to pray-
That in this hour he is not judging thee.

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