Verse > Anthologies > Edmund Clarence Stedman, ed. > An American Anthology, 1787–1900
Edmund Clarence Stedman, ed. (1833–1908).  An American Anthology, 1787–1900.  1900.
885. The Condemned
By Edward Howland
READ me no moral, priest, upon my life,—
    Reserve that for your flock.
A few short hours will end my mortal strife,
    Upon the gallows block.
Before the gaping crowd, who come to see        5
    A fellow mortal die,
Preach if you choose, and take your text from me,—
    To them I cannot lie.
And still the less can I, a finite man,
    Pretend to cheat my God:        10
By him the workings of his mighty plan
    Are clearly understood.
Conceived in lust, brought up in sordid sin,
    How could I hope to be
Aught but the outcast I have ever been,        15
    Fruit for the gallows tree?
Go teach the children swarming through the town,
    To-day exposed to all
The poverty and vice that drew me down,—
    Save them before they fall.        20
But as for me, I die as I have lived,
    As all men must,
Believing as I always have believed
    That God is just.


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