Verse > William Wordsworth > Complete Poetical Works
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SONNETS

UPON THE PUNISHMENT OF DEATH

IN SERIES, 1839

XIII. CONCLUSION

          YES, though He well may tremble at the sound
          Of his own voice, who from the judgment-seat
          Sends the pale Convict to his last retreat
          In death; though Listeners shudder all around,
          They know the dread requital's source profound;
          Nor is, they feel, its wisdom obsolete--
          (Would that it were!) the sacrifice unmeet
          For Christian Faith. But hopeful signs abound;
          The social rights of man breathe purer air,
          Religion deepens her preventive care;                       10
          Then, moved by needless fear of past abuse,
          Strike not from Law's firm hand that awful rod,
          But leave it thence to drop for lack of use:
          Oh, speed the blessed hour, Almighty God!


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