The Ballad of Reading Gaol

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R.A. Martin, 1908 - 28 pages
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User Review  - duck2ducks - LibraryThing

This beautifully-written six-chapter poem movingly portrays the monstrous inhumanity of prison life, and the stark-white hypocrisy of capital punishment. It also reminded me of Coleridge's Rime of the ... Read full review

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User Review  - millsge - LibraryThing

The pain of the author is almost too much to bear - even more so given who is suffering and why he is suffering. The injustice defies belief. Read full review

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Page ii - His cricket cap was on his head, And his step seemed light and gay, But I never saw a man who looked So wistfully at the day. I never saw a man who looked With such a wistful eye Upon that little tent of blue Which prisoners call the sky, And at every wandering cloud that trailed Its ravelled fleeces by.
Page 23 - And bound with bars lest Christ should see How men their brothers maim. With bars they blur the gracious moon, And blind the goodly sun: And they do well to hide their Hell, For in it things are done That Son of God nor Son of Man Ever should look upon! The vilest deeds
Page 19 - With crooked arrows starred, Silently we went round and round The slippery asphalte yard; Silently we went round and round, And no man spoke a word. Silently we went ,round and round, And through each hollow mind The Memory of dreadful things Rushed like a dreadful wind,
Page 13 - They glided past, they glided fast, Like travelers through a mist: They mocked the moon in a rigadoon Of delicate turn and twist, And with formal pace and loathsome grace The phantoms kept their tryst. With mop and mow, we saw them go, Slim shadows hand in hand: About, about, in ghostly rout They trod a saraband: And the
Page 20 - upon the wondering sky With unreproachful stare. They think a murderer's heart would taint Each simple seed they sow. It is not true! God's kindly earth Is kindlier than men know, And the red rose would but blow more red, The white rose whiter blow.
Page 12 - of Remorse. The gray cock crew, the red cock crew, But never came the day: And crooked shapes of Terror crouched, In the corners where we lay: And each evil sprite that walks by night Before us seemed to play.
Page 13 - grotesques made arabesques, Like the wind upon the sandl With the pirouettes of marionettes, They tripped on pointed tread: But with flutes of Fear they filled the ear, As their grisly masque they led, And loud they sang, and long they sang, For they sang to wake the dead. "Oho!" they cried, "The world is wide, But fettered limbs go lame! And once, or twice,
Page 16 - But each man's heart beat thick and quick, Like a madman on a drum! With sudden shock the prison-clock Smote on the shivering air, And from
Page 11 - Right in we went, with soul intent On Death and Dread and Doom: The hangman with his little bag, Went shuffling through the gloom: And each
Page 14 - Till like a wheel of turning steel We felt the minutes crawl: О moaning wind! what had we done To have such a seneschal?

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