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Gentle Gaoler

 Being a gaoler I'm supposed
 To be a hard-boiled guy;
Yet never prison walls enclosed
 A kinder soul than I:
Passing my charges precious pills
 To end their ills.
And if in gentle sleep they die, And pass to pleasant peace, No one suspects that it is I Who gave them their release: No matter what the Doctor thinks, The Warden winks.
A lifer's is a fearful fate; It wrings the heart of me.
And what a saving to the State A sudden death must be! Doomed men should have the legal right To end their plight.
And so my veronel they take, And bid goodbye to pain; And sleep, and never, never wake To living hell again: Oh call me curst or call me blest,-- I give them rest.

by Robert William Service
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