The Outlaw

A poem by Gilbert Keith Chesterton

Priest, is any song-bird stricken?
Is one leaf less on the tree?
Is this wine less red and royal
That the hangman waits for me?

He upon your cross that hangeth,
It is writ of priestly pen,
On the night they built his gibbet,
Drank red wine among his men.

Quaff, like a brave man, as he did,
Wine and death as heaven pours--
This is my fate: O ye rulers,
O ye pontiffs, what is yours?

To wait trembling, lest yon loathly
Gallows-shape whereon I die,
In strange temples yet unbuilded,
Blaze upon an altar high.

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