It changes, though, from man to man,
and women, too, will take an offer --
if you make it. If you can.
Take a man acclaimed for murder,
who takes the punishment alone;
don't delay the matter further.
Get on with it. Send him home.
Let him get a hero's welcome,
from cheering mobs who howl, who wait:
don't make too much or dwell on it,
don't remark their love for hate.
Think instead what they may offer
oil and treaties, wealth in store,
balance him against that coffer --
he's one man, and nothing more.
Or take the coin in cause we favor,
to balance wrongs of long ago,
forgive, for sake of things we savor,
harm to one we'll never know.
Console ourselves by saying primly,
"If she saw him, she'd be proud --"
she who saw him leaving, dimly,
from the car in which she drowned.