When thou art called into public pow'r,
And when a crowd of suitors throng thy door,
Be sure no great offenders 'scape their dooms;
Small praise from len’ty and remissness comes :
Crimes pardon'd, others to those crimes invite;
Whilst lookers-on severe examples fright.
When by a pardon'd murd'rer blood is spilt,
The judge that pardon'd hath the greatest guilt.
Who accuse rigour make a gross mistake;
One criminal pardon’d may an hundred make.
When justice on offenders is not done,
Law, government, and commerce, are o'erthrown.
As besiegt traitors with the foe conspire
T' unlock the gates and set the town on fire.
Yet let the punishinent th' offence exceed,
Justice with weight and measure must proceed:
Yet when pronouncing sentence seem not glad,
Such spectacles, tho' they are just, are sad;
Tho' what thou dost thou ought'st not to repent,
Yet human bowels cannot but relent. -
Rather than all must suffer some must die;
Yet Nature must condole their misery:
And yet, if many equal guilt involve,
Thou may’st not these condemu and those absolve.
Justice when equal scales she holds, is blind;
Nor cruelty nor mercy change her mind.
When some escape for that which others die,
Mercy to those, to these is cruelty.
A and der get the spider weaves,
Which little and liglet animals receives;