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The scaffold stood by the courthouse side, Only as wide as the door was wide; A frame as tall, or little more, Than the capping sill of the courthouse door.
And we wondered, whenever we had the time, Who the criminal, what the crime That the Hangman judged with the yellow twistof knotted hemp in his busy fist.
We purely and simply deserved everything that happened afterward.”Into our town the Hangman came, Smelling of gold and blood and flame.
And he paced our bricks with a diffident air, And built his frame in the courthouse square.
That's a thing I do To stretch a rope when the rope is new."Then one cried "Murder! "And into our midst the Hangman came To that man's place. And we gave him way, and no one spoke Out of fear of his Hangman's cloak.
The powers delegated to the government must be precisely defined …
Or have we found angels in the forms of kings to govern him? Of all tyrannies, a tyranny exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive.
It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies.
"And we cried out, "Is this one he Who has served you well and faithfully? And we cried again,"Hangman, Hangman, is this the man? "that we hangmen know For easing the trap when the trap springs slow."And so we ceased, and asked no more, As the Hangman tallied his bloody score.
"The Hangman smiled: "It's a clever schemeto try the strength of the gallows-beam."The fourth man's dark, accusing song Had scratched our comfort hard and long;"And what concern," he gave us back."Have you for the doomed -- the doomed and Black? And sun by sun, and night by night, The gallows grew to monstrous height.