Majority of twenty-three, I face the Judge with joy and glee; For am I not a lucky chap - No more hanging, no more cap; A "lifer," yes, but well I know In fifteen years they'll let me go; For I'll be pious in my prison, Sing with gusto: Christ Is Risen; Serve the hymn-books out on Sunday, Sweep the chapel clean on Monday: Such a model lag I'll be In fifteen years they'll set me free.
Majority of twenty three, You've helped me cheat the gallows tree. I'm twenty now, at thirty-five How I will laugh to be alive! To leap into the world again And bless the fools miscalled "humane," Who say the gibbet's wrong and so At thirty-five they let me go, Tat I may sail the across the sea A killer unsuspect and free, To change my name, to darkly thrive By hook or crook at thirty-five.
O silent dark and beastly wood Where with my bloodied hands I stood! O piteous child I raped and slew! Had she been yours, would you and you Have pardoned me and set me free, Majority of twenty-three? Yet by your solemn vote you willed I shall not die though I have killed; Although I did no mercy show, In mercy you will let me go. . . . That he who kills and does not pay May live to kill another day.
*By a majority of twenty-three the House of Commons voted the abolition of the death penalty.