A Berlin cable announces that four prisoners were recently beheaded by an executioner in evening dress and wearing a top hat.
If I'm ever executed
And quite easily I may
My dispatcher must be suited
In sartorial array
That befits the great occasion.
I refuse to be bumped off,
Or to listen to persuasion,
Lest he be a perfect toff.
If he passes my inspection
When he treads the gallows deck,
Then in gratified subjection
I'll extend my swan-like neck.
But he simply may not back it --
And I must decline to die --
Should he wear a dinner jacket
With a ready-made white tie.
I shall voice extreme displeasure
If I find him crudely dressed
In a suit not made to measure
With a pair of pants impressed.
Then, in accents patronising,
I'll upbraid such crude display;
And, while he's apologising,
I shall calmly walk away.
Yet, if I am executed,
I've a fear they will employ
Some ill-mannered cove recruited
From the ill-dressed hoi-polloi.
And I'll yield my life, unhappy,
To some prince of uncouth coots --
Some black darbled, shirt-sleeved chappie
In a pair of blucher boots.
First published in The Herald, 29 August 1933;
and later in
The Courier-Mail, 9 September 1933.