Lord, shed thy light upon his desert path,
And gild his branded brow, that no man spill
His forfeit life to balk thy holy will
That spares him for the ripening of wrath.
Already, lo! the red sign is descried,
To trembling jurors visibly revealed:
The prison doors obediently yield,
The baffled hangman flings the cord aside.
Powell, the brother's blood that marks your trail
Hark, how it cries against you from the ground,
Like the far baying of the tireless hound.
Faith! to your ear it is no nightingale.
What signifies the date upon a stone?
To-morrow you shall die if not to-day.
What matter when the Avenger choose to slay
Or soon or late the Devil gets his own.
Thenceforth through all eternity you'll hold
No one advantage of the later death.
Though you had granted Ralph another breath
Would _he_ to-day less silent lie and cold?
Earth cares not, curst assassin, when you die;
You never will be readier than now.
Wear, in God's name, that mark upon your brow,
And keep the life you purchased with a lie!