The Carpenter’s Son

To the Gallows

Here the hangman stops his cart:
Now the best of friends must part.
Fare you well, for ill fare I:
Live, lads, and I will die.

Oh, at home had I but stayed
‘Prenticed to my father’s trade,
Had I stuck to plane and adze,
I had not been lost, my lads.

Then I might have built perhaps
Gallows-trees for other chaps,
Never dangled on my own,
Had I but left ill alone.”

Now, you see, they hang me high,
And the people passing by
Stop to shake their fists and curse;
So ’tis come from ill to worse.”

Here hang I, and right and left
Two poor fellows hang for theft:
All the same’s the luck we prove,
Though the midmost hangs for love.

Comrades all, that stand and gaze,
Walk henceforth in other ways;
See my neck and save your own:
Comrades all, leave ill alone.

Make some day a decent end,
Shrewder fellows than your friend.
Fare you well, for ill fare I:
Live, lads, and I will die.

—A E Housman

Read by Pete Postlethwaite

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Published in: on January 16, 2010 at 2:51 PM  Comments (2)  
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2 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. really cool.
    i like the modern touch on an ancient story

    • Housman is an old favorite and Postlethwaite’s readings are invariably superb. Wish I could do that.


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