A Verdict

Mercy there is to ask: but not of these,
That count the stripes upon a coat and see
How they may judge. Enough—they judged themselves
And spoke: and hanged their soul upon a tree.

Mercy there is to seek: nor yet of these
His hungry foes, by fear made light and lithe:
Nay, judge not, torture not, the twisted souls—
What need of racks to teach a worm to writhe?

We wait for mercy in a narrower court:
Dreaming if pardon or black judgement brews
Beneath one brow: bound with such crown of thorns
As old-world warriors bound upon a Jew.

Mother of Arts, behold thy son! Away!
Of old long loves still this much left have we
As for some screaming harlot, still to pray
That in this hour he is not judging thee.
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