Robert William Service

(16 January 1874 - 11 September 1958 / Preston)

Gypsy Jill


They're hanging Bill at eight o' clock,
And millions will applaud.
He killed, and so they have to kill,
Such is the will of God.
His brother Tom is on my bed
To keep me comforted.

I see his bleary, blotchy face,
I hear his sodden snore.
He plans that he can take Bill's place;
I felt worse than a whore
As in his arms I cried all night,
Thinking of poor Bill's plight.

I keep my eyes upon the clock;
It nears the stroke of eight.
I think how bravely Bill will walk
To meet his gallows fate . . .
His loaded gun is in the tent,--
I know now what he meant.

Though Tom is boastful he will wed
With me, no more to part,
I'll put a bullet through his head,
Another through my heart:
At eight, stone-dead we three will be,
--Bill, Tom and me.

Submitted: Monday, January 13, 2003

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