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Stedman and Hutchinson, comps. A Library of American Literature:
An Anthology in Eleven Volumes. 1891.
Vols. IX–XI: Literature of the Republic, Part IV., 1861–1889

A Savage

By John Boyle O’Reilly (1844–1890)

DIXON, a Choctaw, twenty years of age,

Had killed a miner in a Leadville brawl;

Tried and condemned, the rough-beards curb their rage,

And watch him stride in freedom from the hall.

“Return on Friday, to be shot to death!”

So ran the sentence—it was Monday night.

The dead man’s comrades drew a well-pleased breath;

Then all night long the gambling dens were bright.

The days sped slowly; but the Friday came,

And flocked the miners to the shooting-ground;

They chose six riflemen of deadly aim,

And with low voices sat and lounged around.

“He will not come.” “He’s not a fool.” “The men

Who set the savage free must face the blame.”

A Choctaw brave smiled bitterly, and then

Smiled proudly, with raised head, as Dixon came.

Silent and stern—a woman at his heels—

He motions to the brave, who stays her tread.

Next minute—flame the guns: the woman reels

And drops without a moan—Dixon is dead.