Classic and Contemporary Poetry
THE ASSASSIN, by JAMES WHITCOMB RILEY Poet's Biography
First Line: Fling him amongst the cobbles of
Last Line: Draw backward flickeringly and knock him dead.
Alternate Author Name(s): Johnson Of Boone, Benj. F.
Subject(s): Assassination; Hate; Violence
FLING him amongst the cobbles of the street
Midmost along a mob's most turbid tide;
Stun him with tumult upon every side --
Wrangling of hoarsened voices that repeat
His awful guilt and howl for vengeance meet;
Let white-faced women stare, all torrid-eyed,
With hair blown forward, and with jaws dropped wide,
And some face like his mother's glimmer sweet
An instant in the hot core of his eyes.
Then snatch him with claw hands, and thong his head
That he may look no way but toward the skies
That glower lividly and crackle red, --
There let some knuckled fist of lightning rise --
Draw backward flickeringly and knock him dead.
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