Into our town the Hangman came
Into our town the Hangman came,
Smelling of gold and blood and flame.
And he paced our bricks with a diffident air,
And built his frame on the courthouse square.
And innocent though we were, with dread,
We passed those eyes of buckshot lead;
Till one cried: “Hangman, who is he
For whom you raise the gallows-tree?”
Then a twinkle grew in the buckshot eye,
And he gave us a riddle instead of reply:
“He who serves me best,” said he,
“Shall earn the rope on the gallows-tree.”