The Judge looked down, his face was grim,
by Robert William Service
He scratched his ear;
The gangster's moll looked up at him
With eyes of fear.
She thought: 'This guy in velvet gown,
With balding pate,
Who now on me is looking down,
Can seal my fate.'
The Judge thought: 'Fifteen years or ten
I might decree.
Just let me say the word and then
Go home to tea.
But then this poor wretch might not be
So long alive . . .'
So with surprise he heard that he
Was saying 'Five'.
The Judge went home. His daughter's child
Was five that day;
And with sweet gifts around her piled
She laughed in play.
Then mused the Judge: 'Life oft bestows
Such evil odds.
May he who human mercy shows
Not count on God's?'