Robert William Service (16 January 1874 - 11 September 1958 / Preston)
'Tis hard to hang a husky lad
When larks are in the sky;
It hurts when daffydills are glad
To wring a neck awry,
When joy o' Spring is in the sap
And cheery in the sun,
'Tis sad to string aloft a chap,
No matter what he done.
And sittin' in the pub o' night
I hears that prison bell,
And wonders if it's reely right
To haste a man to hell,
For doin' what he had to do,
Through greed, or lust, or hate . . .
Aye, them seem rightful words to you,
But me, I calls it - Fate.
Lots more would flout the gallows tree,
But that they are afraid;
And so to save society,
I ply my grisly trade.
Yet as I throttle eager breath
And plunge to his hell-home
Some cringin' cove, to me his death
Seems more like martyrdom.
For most o' us have held betime
Foul murder in the heart;
And them sad blokes I swung for crime
Were doomed right from the start.
Of wilful choosing they had none,
For freedom's most a fraud,
And maybe in the end the one
Responsible is - God.
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