He did not wear his scarlet coat,
For blood and wine are red,
When they found him with the dead,
And murdered in her bed.
He walked amongst the Trial Men
In a suit of shabby gray;
And his step seemed light and gay;
So wistfully at the day.
I never saw a man who looked
With such a wistful eye
Which prisoners call the sky,
With sails of silver by.
I walked, with other souls in pain,
Within another ring,
A great or little thing,
"That fellow's got to swing."
Dear Christ! the very prison walls
Suddenly seemed to reel,
Like a casque of scorching steel;
My pain I could not feel.
I only knew what haunted thought
Quickened his step, and why
With such a wistful eye;
And so he had to die.
Yet each man kills the thing he loves,
By each let this be heard,
Some with a flattering word,
The brave man with a sword!
Some kill their love when they are young,
And some when they are old;
Some with the hands of Gold:
The dead so soon grow cold.
Some love too little, some too long,
Some sell, and others buy;
And some without a sigh:
Yet each man does not die.
He does not die a death of shame
On a day of dark disgrace,
Nor a cloth upon his face,
Into an empty space.
He does not sit with silent men
Who watch him night and day;
And when he tries to pray;
The prison of its prey.
He does not wake at dawn to see
Dread figures throng his room,
The Sheriff stern with gloom,
With the yellow face of Doom.
He does not rise in piteous haste
To put on convict-clothes,
Each new and nerve-twitched pose,
Are like horrible hammer-blows.
He does not feel that sickening thirst
That sands one's throat, before
Comes through the padded door,
He does not bend his head to hear
The Burial Office read,
Tells him he is not dead,
Into the hideous shed.
He does not stare upon the air
Through a little roof of glass:
For his agony to pass;
The kiss of Caiaphas.