The Judge And The Robber

: Literary Fables Of Yriarte

A villain was by hands of justice caught,

Just as of cash, and even of his life,

At the sharp point of murderous knife,

A luckless wayfarer to rob, he sought

The Judge upbraids him with his crime--

He answered: "Sir, from earliest time

I've been a rogue, practised in petty theft;

When buckles, watches, trunks and cloaks,

And swords, I stole from other folks.

Then, fairly launched upon my wild career,

I houses sacked. Now--no compunction left--

On the highways I rob, without a fear.

Let not your worship, then, make such a stir,

That I should rob and slay a traveller--

Nor of the matter make a charge so sore!

I've done such things these forty years, and more."

* * * * *

Do we the bandit's wretched plea allow?

Yet writers give no worthier excuse,

Who justify, by argument of use,

Errors of speech or of expression low--

Urging the long-lived blunders of the past

Against the verdict by sound critics cast.