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| “SHERIFF, n. In America the chief executive office of a country, whose most characteristic duties, in some of the Western and Southern States, are the catching and hanging of rogues.|
John Elmer Pettibone Cajee
(I write of him with little glee) Was just as bad as he could be.
'Twas frequently remarked: "I swon! The sun has never looked upon So bad a man as Neighbor John."
A sinner through and through, he had This added fault: it made him mad To know another man was bad.
In such a case he thought it right To rise at any hour of night And quench that wicked person's light.
Despite the town's entreaties, he Would hale him to the nearest tree And leave him swinging wide and free.
Or sometimes, if the humor came, A luckless wight's reluctant frame Was given to the cheerful flame.
While it was turning nice and brown, All unconcerned John met the frown Of that austere and righteous town.
"How sad," his neighbors said, "that he So scornful of the law should be -- An anar c, h, i, s, t."
(That is the way that they preferred To utter the abhorrent word, So strong the aversion that it stirred.)
"Resolved," they said, continuing,
"That Badman John must cease this thing Of having his unlawful fling.
"Now, by these sacred relics" --here Each man had out a souvenir Got at a lynching yesteryear --
"By these we swear he shall forsake His ways, nor cause our hearts to ache By sins of rope and torch and stake.
"We'll tie his red right hand until He'll have small freedom to fulfil The mandates of his lawless will."
So, in convention then and there, They named him Sheriff. The affair Was opened, it is said, with prayer. --J. Milton Sloluck”
Ambrose Bierce quotes (American Writer, Journalist and Editor, 1842-1914)
Book: Devil's Dictionary quotes
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