Verse > Anthologies > Edmund Clarence Stedman, ed. > An American Anthology, 1787–1900
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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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