Victor Marsh & Walter Shepherd (1904)
The moon shone through the grimy window pane
Athwart the dusk that gathered in the room.
The day was over, twilight on the wane
And all seemed wrapped in dark and dismal gloom
Except within the gas light's flickery flare
Which weakly shed its sickly radiance down
Upon a somewhat strange fantastic chair
Where sat a beardless youth whose eyes so brown
Seemed starting from their sockets as in fear.
He clutched the chair with hands both white and bony
With head thrown back with throat exposed and bare.
His whole frame shook and quaked with agony.
Horror! Is this some dreaded den of torture
where suffer those who sin against the State?
Is this some youthful and rebellious courtier
who now in pain his crimes must expiate?
I see the dreaded operator near
As if to seize his victim in his wrath,
To glory in the agony of fear,
That flecks the victim's lips and chin with froth.
I see the beads of sweat upon the brow,
The mute appeal within that poor youth's eyes,
As his tormentor pounces on him now,
For his escape no earthly chance now lies.
I see the glint of steel... a bright blade flash...
Oh! horrid sight that makes my marrow freeze...
But stop! From out the chair he makes a dash,
Pays twopence for his first shave...