Page:The Green Bag (1889–1914), Volume 25.pdf/17

This page needs to be proofread.

Lines Written by a Layman to a Lawyer Friend in Jail SUGGESTED BY THE SENTENCING OF A FRIEND FOR CONTEMPT By Douglass M alloc h DEAR John: I know so little law, What things to say that are exempt, I take my pen in hand with awe Lest I be guilty of contempt. Undoubtedly I little dreamt That things I said in other days Might have me locked away or hemped Because of some illegal phrase. I know so little legal ways, They are so intricate, you see, They seem to me a mighty maze, A most gigantic mystery. And yet I hope no law may be, When naught improper I intend, Preventing laymen like to me From sending comfort to a friend. And so this little screed I send, The simple lines I've written here, The atmosphere of gloom to rend That hangs about the lower tier — To rend the gloomy atmosphere That hangs about your residence, To bid you keep a heart of cheer That is a fellow's best defense. The soul of friendship is immense; It knoweth neither bolts nor bars; It riseth over circumstance And sets its throne among the stars. The clod's fatigue, the soldier's scars, The stress of sickness, hurt of pain, The cut of caustic scimitars, It heals and maketh well again. And, though the sheriff may enchain In consequence of present scrape,