An Old Story
(Retold in Rhyme)
They threw him in a prison cell;
He moaned upon his bed.
And when he crept from coils of hell:
"Last night you killed," they said.
"last night in drunken rage you slew
A being brave with breath;
A radiant soul, because of you
Lies dark in death."
"last night I killed," he moaned distraught,
"When I was wild with wine;
I slew, and I remember naught . . .
O Mother, Mother mine!
"To what unbridled rage may lead
You taught me at your knew.
Why did I not your warning heed . . .
And now - the gallows tree.
"O Mother, Mother, come to me,
For I am sore distrest,
And I would kneel beside your knee
And weep upon your breast. . . ."
They stared at him; their lips were dumb,
Their eyes tear filled;
Then spoke the Priest: "She cannot come . . .
'Twas she you killed."
Robert William Service