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Ye brood of Conscience—Spectres! that frequent The bad man's restless walk, and haunt his
bedFiends in your aspect, yet beneficent In act, as hovering Angels when they spread Their wings to guard the unconscious Innocent— 5 Slow be the Statutes of the land to share A laxity that could not but impair Your power to punish crime, and so prevent. And ye, Beliefs! coiled serpent-like about The adage on all tongues," Murder will out," 10 How shall your ancient warnings work for
good In the full might they hitherto have shown, If for deliberate shedder of man's blood Survive not Judgment that requires his own?
Before the world had past her time of youth
Proscribed the spirit fostered by that rule,
His mandates, given rash impulse to control 10 And keep vindictive thirstings from the sonl, So far that, if consistent in their scheme, Theyjnust forbid the State to inflict a pain, Making of social order a mere dream.
Fit retribution, by the moral code
And, the main fear once doomed to banishment, Far oftener then, bad ushering worse event, Blood would be spilt that in his dark abode Crime might lie better hid. And, should the
change Take from the horror due to a foul deed, 10 Pursuit and evidence so far must fail, And, guilt escaping, passion then might plead In angry spirits for her old free range, And the " wild justice of revenge" prevail.
Though to give timely warning and deter
Speaking through Law's dispassionate voice
the State Endues her conscience with external life 10 And being, to preclude or quell the strife Of individual will, to elevate The grovelling mind, the erring to recall, And fortify the moral sense of all.
Our bodily life, some plead, that life the
shrine Of an immortal spirit, is a gift So sacred, so informed with light divine, That no tribunal, though most wise to sift Deed and intent, should turn the Being adrift 5 Into that world where penitential tear May not avail, nor prayer have for God's ear A voice—that world whose veil no hand can
lift For earthly sight. "Eternity and Time" They urge, "have interwoven claims and rights Not to be jeopardised through foulest crime: n The sentence rule by mercy's heaven-born
lights." Even so; but measuring not by finite sense Infinite Power, perfect Intelligence.
Ah, think how one compelled for life to abide
In life-long exile on a savage coast,
Soon the relapsing penitent may boast
Of yet more heinous guilt, with fiercer pride.
Hence thoughtful Mercy, Mercy sage and pure,
Sanctions the forfeiture that Law demands, 10
Leaving the final issue in His hands
Whose goodness knows no change, whose love
is sure, Who sees, foresees; who cannot judge amiss, And wafts at will the contrite soul to bliss.
See the Condemned alone within his cell
Yes, though He well may tremble at the sound
In death; though Listeners shudder all around,
The formal World relaxes her cold chain
gain, Imagination works with bolder hope The cause of grateful reason to sustain; 5
And, serving Truth, the heart more strongly
beats Against all barriers which his labour meets In lofty place, or humble Life's domain. Enough;—before us lay a painful road, And guidance have I sought in duteous love 10 From Wisdom's heavenly Father. Hence hath
flowed Patience, with trust that, whatsoe'er the way Each takes in this high matter, all may move Cheered with the prospect of a brighter day.