Highwayman's Song

There's a smell of burning wood in the air
That comes with the turning year,
The road unwinds in a silver coil
As the autumn moon rides clear
Of a patch of cloud,—and there, etched sheer,
Swings the coach, through a burst of light....
O, a harvest of Louis D'or is ours,
A flood of golden sovereigns is ours
If we screw our courage tight;
With a heigh and a ho
As we rob 'em so
In the gaze of the great, white moon,—
Though every thief has his piece of rope,
Every thief has his piece of rope
That hangs him, late or soon.
Now there isn't a game in all the earth
That only one can play;
The blackest of crimes needs fellowship
To hearten or gainsay,—
And we are rollicking, singing lads,
Although we'll get for our pains
A gibbet on a bleak cross-road
To swing on the wind in chains.
O, the stage draws near and the moon rides clear
As we wait where the shadows lurk,—
And, bursting forth, we make 'em stand,
All in a row we make 'em stand
With many a jest and quirk,
As with heigh and ho
We rob 'em so
In the gaze of the great, white moon,
Though every thief has his piece of rope,
Every thief has his piece of rope
That hangs him, late or soon.
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