Poetry of Kansas

That Ye Be Not Judged.

FROM a till the gold coin vanished;
    It was stolen; and to-day
From the world the thief is banished___
    Thief's an ugly word to say.
You who never knew of sinning___
    Strong in manhood from your youth;
You who from your life's beginning,
    Never loosened hands with truth___
              Are you the judge?
Yonder walks an erring woman___
    Heartless, hopeless, in the mire;
Painted, brazen, scarcely human
    In her gaudy trade attire.
Passing her, you give no token___
    You of sinless, baby face___
You, to whom mere words unspoken
    Are the chains of her disgrace___
              Are you the judge?
He was "murdered," said the jury;
    In the viscid, musty cell
Paces one whose fatal fury
    Did the deed; you said: "'Tis well"___
You who take life school-girl fashion,
    You who never spat at Fate___
You who never fondled Passion___
    You who never suckled Hate___
              Are you the judge?
They have broken vows like basting;
    They are underneath the ban;
She, her wifehood's portion wasting___
    He, his world-chance as a man.
You whose heart has ne'er caught anchor
    Deeper than Life's drifting mold;
You who never felt the rancor
    Of a duty-love grown cold___
              Are you the judge?

__William Allen White.

Rhymes by Two Friends
Albert Bigelow Paine & William Allen White
(Fort Scott: M. L. Izor and Son. 1893)
Pages 164-165
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October 11, 2002 / John & Susan Howell / Wichita, Kansas / howell@kotn.org

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