The Execution of Wild Robert
THE EXECUTION OF WILD ROBERT.
Being a Warning to all Parents.
WILD ROBERT was a graceless Youth,
And bold in every sin;
In early life with petty thefts
His course he did begin.
But those who deal in lesser sins
In great will soon offend;
And petty thefts not check’d betimes,
In murder soon may end.
And now, like any beast of prey,
Wild Robert shrunk from view,
Save when at eve on Bagshot heath
He met his hardenÆd crew.
With this fierce crew Wild Robert there
On plunder set his mind;
And watched and prowl’d the live-long night
To rob and flay mankind.
By GOD, whose vengeance never sleeps,
ThoÆ he delays the blow,
Can in a single moment lay
The prosperous villain low.
One night, a fatal night indeed!
Within a neighboring wood,
A harmless passenger he robb’d,
And dyed his hands in blood.
The direful deed perform’d, he went
To shew his golden spoils,
When vengeful Justice, unawares,
Surpris’d him in her toils.
Wild Robert seiz’d, at once was known,
(No crape hid his face)
Imprison’d, tried, condemn’d to die!
Soon run was Robert’s race!
Since short the time the laws allow
To murderers doom’d to die,
How earnest should the suppliant wretch
To heaven for mercy cry!
But he, alas! no mercy sought,
ThoÆ summon’d to his fate;
The Cart drew near the Gallows Tree,
Where throng’d spectators wait.
Slow as he past no pious tongue
Pour’d forth a pitying pray’r;
Abhorrence all who saw him felt,
He, horror and despair.
And now the dismal death bell toll’d,
The fatal chord was hung,
While sudden, deep, and dreadful shrieks,
Burst forth amid the throng.
Hark! ætis his mother’s voice he hears!
Deep horror shakes his frame;
‘Tis rage and fury fill his breast,
Not pity, love, or shame.
“One moment hold!” the mother cries,
“His life one moment spare,
“One kiss, my miserable child,
“My Robert, once so dear!”
Hence, cruel mother, hence he said,
Oh! deaf to nature’s cry;
Your’s is the fault I liv’d abhorr’d
And unlamented die.
You gave me life, but with it gave
What made that life a curse;
My sins uncurb’d, my mind untaught,
Soon grew from bad to worse.
I thought that if I scap’d the stroke
Of man’s avenging rod,
All would be well, and I might mock
The vengeful pow’r of GOD.
MY hands no honest trade were taught,
My tongue no pious pray’r;
Uncheck’d I learnt to break the laws,
To pilfer, lie, and swear.
The Sabbath bell, that toll’d to church,
To me unheeded rung;
GOD’s holy name and word I curs’d
With my blaspheming tongue.
No mercy now your ruin’d child
Of heav’n can dare implore,
I mockÆs at grace, and now I fear
My day of grace is o’er.
Blame not the law which dooms your son,
Compar’d with you ’tis mild;
‘Tis you have sentenc’d me to death
To hell have doom’d your child.
He spoke, and fixing fast the chord,
Resign’d his guilty breath;
Down at his feet his mother fell,
By conscience struck with death.
Ye parents, taught by this sad tale,
Avoid the path she trod;
And teach your sons in early years
The fear and love of GOD.
So shall their days tho’ doom’d to toil,
With peace and hope be blest;
And heav’n, when life’s short task is o’er,
Receive their souls to rest.
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