The village square stands quiet The curfew still enforced The streets are even clear of dogs and whores Like some evil bird of prey The scaffold spreads its wings The people build their fires and bolt their doors The mayor is giving dinner to the officers’ wives His eldest son is learning how to fawn The barrack block is hushed and tense The soldiers drawing lots Who will be the hangman in the dawn? The lot falls on a young man Who has served for but a year His home is in the village close nearby He shivers at the thought of what He’s forced to do next day He wonders who it is, who has to die? And the full moon casts a cold light On the gloomy prison walls The papist walks his cell, he cannot sleep He hears the waiting gallows creaking Just beyond that door He prays for he has no more tears to weep The day begins to break A muffled drums begins to sound A crowd begins to gather in the square The presence of the hangman in his terrifying mask Weighs heavy on the minds of all those there The colonel reads the sentence Which the papist knows by heart He has failed to show allegiance to the King His crime is thus with God himself And in His name he must hang The papist, head held high, says not a thing The jailer binds his hands And puts his blindfold to his eyes He leads him through the door before the crowd The hangman sees his victim And the blood drains from his face He sees his younger brother standing proud The hangman tries to protest But is ordered to proceed His trembling hands begin to take the strain His eyes are blind with streaming tears And he cries for all to hear Forgive me, God, we hang him in Thy name Forgive me, God, we hang him in Thy name Forgive me, God, we hang him in Thy name Oh, please forgive me, God, we hang him in Thy name Forgive me, God, we hang him in Thy name
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