David Lewis Paget
The Valley Of Dreadful Night - Poem by David Lewis Paget
He hid in the fields and hedgerows,
And skirted the towns by night,
He lay in the barns of deserted farms
To sleep, when the time was right.
He always kept one step ahead
Of the pack that would hunt him down,
And stole his food in the neighbourhood
Of the cottages, far from town!
He thought of his love, his Jenny,
And gave out a savage cry,
He'd found her lying with Jack Malone
Like a pig, in a rutting sty,
He'd plunged the dagger into the heart
Of his love, and his one delight,
Then watched the fire leach out of her eyes
To the Valley of Dreadful Night!
Malone, he'd left as a warning,
His throat slit ear to ear,
No more was the great philanderer
To bed any woman here,
He propped him up at the old crossroads,
He nailed his corpse to a tree,
And left a sign: ‘I was caught in crime,
Now look what's happened to me! '
His nights, they were black and broken
By dreams that troubled his sleep,
For Jenny would seem to be woken
From the depths of a bottomless creek,
She raged in his shallow nightmares,
What she said would leave him agape:
‘I never loved any man but you,
It was simply a case of rape! '
Then he moaned and cried in confusion,
And he wept ‘til he lay awake,
With his tear-stained face now broken,
With the loss of his heartfelt hate,
And he mourned the loss of his Jenny,
The girl with the wide, bright eyes,
And he cursed himself for a felon,
And the life that he now despised!
They found him there in the morning,
They beat, and bound him in chain,
Then dragged him off to the magistrates
As he sank in his pit of pain.
The judge put on the dread black cap
And thundered the words that he said:
‘I have no choice but to sentence you
To be hanged by the neck, ‘til dead! '
The sun, it was barely rising,
He could hear the birds from his cell,
Fluttering up in the willow tree
By the gallows, his personal hell,
They looped the rope down over his neck
And he said: ‘It's only right! '
As he crashed down into a dreamless sleep
In the Valley of Dreadful Night!
16 April 2012
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