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No Prisoner be—
Where Liberty—
Himself—abide with Thee—

by Emily Dickinson.

Fragment: To A Friend Released From Prison

For me, my friend, if not that tears did tremble
In my faint eyes, and that my heart beat fast
With feelings which make rapture pain resemble,
Yet, from thy voice that falsehood starts aghast,
I thank thee--let the tyrant keep
His chains and tears, yea, let him weep
With rage to see thee freshly risen,
Like strength from slumber, from the prison,
In which he vainly hoped the soul to bind
Which on the chains must prey that fetter humankind.

by Percy Bysshe Shelley.

Wearily, drearily,
Half the day long,
Flap the great banners
High over the stone;
Strangely and eerily
Sounds the wind's song,
Bending the banner-poles.

While, all alone,
Watching the loophole's spark,
Lie I, with life all dark,
Feet tether'd, hands fetter'd
Fast to the stone,
The grim walls, square-letter'd
With prison'd men's groan.

Still strain the banner-poles
Through the wind's song,
Westward the banner rolls
Over my wrong.

by William Morris.

A Good Knight In Prison

Wearily, drearily,
Half the day long,
Flap the great banners
High over the stone;
Strangely and eerily
Sounds the wind's song,
Bending the banner-poles.

While, all alone,
Watching the loophole's spark,
Lie I, with life all dark,
Feet tether'd, hands fetter'd
Fast to the stone,
The grim walls, square-letter'd
With prison'd men's groan.

Still strain the banner-poles
Through the wind's song,
Westward the banner rolls
Over my wrong.

by William Morris.

On The Jail Steps

I've won the race.
Young man, I'm new!
Old Sallow-face
Good luck to you!

I've turned about,
And paid for sin.
And you come out,
As I go in.

Ten years! but mark,
I am free, free!
Ten years of dark
Shall gather me.

My wife long-while
She wept her pain.
She cannot smile;
She weeps again.

My little one
Shall know my call.
Child is there none
For sin grows tall.

Now who are you,
Spar of hell's flood?
And who, and who,
But your own blood?

by Eleanor Agnes Lee.

If gratitude a poor man's virtue is,
'Tis one at least my sick soul can afford.
Bankrupt I am of all youth's charities,
But not of thanks. No. Thanks be to the Lord!
Praise be, dear Lady of all grace, to you.
You were my mediciner, my one sole friend,
When the world spurned me from its retinue.
And I am yours, your bond--slave to the end.
--How shall I tell it you? There was a time
When I was sordid in my unbelief,
And mocked at all things less robust than crime,
A convict in my prison--house of grief.
But that is past. Your pity was the key
Which sent me forth, a broken man, but free.

by Wilfrid Scawen Blunt.

I count the dismal time by months and years
Since last I felt the green sward under foot,
And the great breath of all things summer-
Met mine upon my lips. Now earth appears
As strange to me as dreams of distant spheres
Or thoughts of Heaven we weep at. Nature's lute
Sounds on, behind this door so closely shut,
A strange wild music to the prisoner's ears,
Dilated by the distance, till the brain
Grows dim with fancies which it feels too
While ever, with a visionary pain,
Past the precluded senses, sweep and Rhine
Streams, forests, glades, and many a golden train
Of sunlit hills transfigured to Divine.

by Elizabeth Barrett Browning.

Farewell Dark Gaol

Farewell, dark gaol. You hold some better hearts
Than in this savage world I thought to find.
I do not love you nor the fraudulent arts
By which men tutor men to ways unkind.
Your law is not my law, and yet my mind
Remains your debtor. It has learned to see
How dark a thing the earth would be and blind
But for the light of human charity.

I am your debtor thus and for the pang
Which touched and chastened, and the nights of thought
Which were my years of learning. See I hang
Your image here, a glory all unsought,
About my neck. Thus saints in symbol hold
Their tools of death and darings manifold.

by Wilfrid Scawen Blunt.

Sonnet Iii. Written On The Day That Mr. Leigh Hunt Left Prison

What though, for showing truth to flatter'd state,
Kind Hunt was shut in prison, yet has he,
In his immortal spirit, been as free
As the sky-searching lark, and as elate.
Minion of grandeur! think you he did wait?
Think you he nought but prison-walls did see,
Till, so unwilling, thou unturn'dst the key?
Ah, no! far happier, nobler was his fate!
In Spenser's halls he stray'd, and bowers fair,
Culling enchanted flowers; and he flew
With daring Milton through the fields of air:
To regions of his own his genius true
Took happy flights. Who shall his fame impair
When thou art dead, and all thy wretched crew?

by John Keats.

Written On The Day That Mr Leigh Hunt Left Prison

What though, for showing truth to flattered state,
Kind Hunt was shut in prison, yet has he,
In his immortal spirit, been as free
As the sky-searching lark, and as elate.
Minion of grandeur! think you he did wait?
Think you he nought but prison-walls did see,
Till, so unwilling, thou unturnedst the key?
Ah, no! far happier, nobler was his fate!
In Spenser's halls he strayed, and bowers fair,
Culling enchanted flowers; and he flew
With daring Milton through the fields of air:
To regions of his own his genius true
Took happy flights. Who shall his fame impair
When thou art dead, and all thy wretched crew?

by John Keats.

I Was Sick And In Prison

Thou hast not left the rough-barked tree to grow
Without a mate upon the river's bank;
Nor dost Thou on one flower the rain bestow,
But many a cup the glittering drops has drank;
The bird must sing to one who sings again,
Else would her note less welcome be to hear;
Nor hast Thou bid thy word descend in vain,
But soon some answering voice shall reach my ear;
Then shall the brotherhood of peace begin,
And the new song be raised that never dies,
That shall the soul from death and darkness win,
And burst the prison where the captive lies;
And one by one new-born shall join the strain,
Till earth restores her sons to heaven again.

by Jones Very.

Sonnet 133: Beshrew That Heart That Makes My Heart To Groan

Beshrew that heart that makes my heart to groan
For that deep wound it gives my friend and me!
Is't not enough to torture me alone,
But slave to slavery my sweet'st friend must be?
Me from my self thy cruel eye hath taken,
And my next self thou harder hast engrossed.
Of him, myself, and thee I am forsaken—
A torment thrice threefold thus to be crossed.
Prison my heart in thy steel bosom's ward,
But then my friend's heart let my poor heart bail;
Whoe'er keeps me, let my heart be his guard,
Thou canst not then use rigour in my jail.
And yet thou wilt; for I, being pent in thee,
Perforce am thine, and all that is in me.

by William Shakespeare.

Beshrew that heart that makes my heart to groan
For that deep wound it gives my friend and me!
Is't not enough to torture me alone,
But slave to slavery my sweet'st friend must be?
Me from myself thy cruel eye hath taken,
And my next self thou harder hast engross'd:
Of him, myself, and thee, I am forsaken;
A torment thrice threefold thus to be cross'd.
Prison my heart in thy steel bosom's ward,
But then my friend's heart let my poor heart bail;
Whoe'er keeps me, let my heart be his guard;
Thou canst not then use rigor in my gaol:
And yet thou wilt; for I, being pent in thee,
Perforce am thine, and all that is in me.

by William Shakespeare.

In The Prison Pen

1864

Listless he eyes the palisades
And sentries in the glare;
'Tis barren as a pelican-beach
But his world is ended there.

Nothing to do; and vacant hands
Bring on the idiot-pain;
He tries to think--to recollect,
But the blur is on his brain.

Around him swarm the plaining ghosts
Like those on Virgil's shore--
A wilderness of faces dim,
And pale ones gashed and hoar.

A smiting sun. No shed, no tree;
He totters to his lair--
A den that sick hands dug in earth
Ere famine wasted there,

Or, dropping in his place, he swoons,
Walled in by throngs that press,
Till forth from the throngs they bear
him dead--
Dead in his meagreness.

by Herman Melville.

To Thomas Moore : Written The Evening Before His Visit To Mr. Leigh Hunt In Horsemonger Lane Gaol, May 19, 1813

Oh you, who in all names can tickle the town,
Anacreon, Tom Little, Tom Moore, or Tom Brown,
For hang me if I know of which you may most brag,
Your Quarto two-pounds, or your Two­penny Post Bag;

But now to my letter-to yours 'tis an answer--
To-morrow be with me, as soon as you can, sir,
All ready and dress'd for proceeding to spunge on
(According to compact) the wit in the dungeon--
Pray Phobus at length our political ma­lice
May not get us lodgings within the same palace!
I suppose that to-night you're engaged with some codgers,
And for Sotheby's Blues have deserted Sam Rogers;
And I, though with cold I have nearly my death got,
Must put on my breeches, and wait on the Heathcote;
But to-morrow, at four, we will both play the Scurra,
And you'll be Catullus, the Regent Mamurra.

by George Gordon Byron.

On A Political Prisoner

SHE that but little patience knew,
From childhood on, had now so much
A grey gull lost its fear and flew
Down to her cell and there alit,
And there endured her fingers' touch
And from her fingers ate its bit.
Did she in touching that lone wing
Recall the years before her mind
Became a bitter, an abstract thing,
Her thought some popular enmity:
Blind and leader of the blind
Drinking the foul ditch where they lie?
When long ago I saw her ride
Under Ben Bulben to the meet,
The beauty of her country-side
With all youth's lonely wildness stirred,
She seemed to have grown clean and sweet
Like any rock-bred, sea-borne bird:
Sea-borne, or balanced on the air
When first it sprang out of the nest
Upon some lofty rock to stare
Upon the cloudy canopy,
While under its storm-beaten breast
Cried out the hollows of the sea.

by William Butler Yeats.

Song Of Myself, XXXVII

You laggards there on guard! look to your arms!
In at the conquer'd doors they crowd! I am possess'd!
Embody all presences outlaw'd or suffering,
See myself in prison shaped like another man,
And feel the dull unintermitted pain.

For me the keepers of convicts shoulder their carbines and keep watch,
It is I let out in the morning and barr'd at night.

Not a mutineer walks handcuff'd to jail but I am handcuff'd to him and walk by his side,
(I am less the jolly one there, and more the silent one with sweat on my twitching lips.)

Not a youngster is taken for larceny but I go up too, and am tried and sentenced.

Not a cholera patient lies at the last gasp but I also lie at the last gasp,
My face is ash-color'd, my sinews gnarl, away from me people retreat.

Askers embody themselves in me and I am embodied in them,
I project my hat, sit shame-faced, and beg.

by Walt Whitman.

The Prisoner To A Robin Who Came To His Window

Welcome! welcome! little stranger,
Welcome to my lone retreat,
Here, secure from every danger,
Hop about, and chirp, and eat.
Robin! how I envy thee,
Happy child of liberty.

Hunger never shall distress thee,
While my meals one crumb afford,
Colds and cramps shall ne'er oppress thee,
Come and share my humble board:
Robin, come and live with me,
Live, yet still at liberty.

Soon shall spring, with smiles and blushes,
Steal upon the blooming year;
Then, amid the verdant bushes,
Thy sweet song shall warble clear;
Then shall I too, joined with thee,
Taste the sweets of liberty.

Should some rough, unfeeling Dobbin,
In this iron-hearted age,
Seize thee on thy nest, my robin,
And confine thee in a cage;
Then, poor robin, think of me,
Think - and sigh for liberty.

Liberty! thou brightest treasure
In the crown of earthly joys,
Source of gladness, soul of pleasure,
All delights besides are toys:
None but prisoners like me
Know the worth of liberty.

by James Montgomery.

The Soul's Farewell to the Body

So we must part forever; and although
I long have beat my wings and cried to go,
Free from your narrow limiting control,
Forth into space, the true home of the soul,

Yet now, yet now that hour is drawing near,
I pause reluctant, finding you so dear.
All joys await me in the realm of God-
Must you, my comrade, moulder in the sod?

I was your captive, yet you were my slave;
Your prisoner, yet obedience you gave
To all my earnest wishes and commands.
Now to the worm I leave those willing hands

That toiled for me or held the books I read,
Those feet that trod where'er I wished to tread,
Those arms that clasped my dear ones, and the breast
On which one loved and loving heart found rest,

Those lips which my prayers to God have risen,
Those eyes that were the windows to my prison.
From these, all these, Death's Angel bids me sever;
Dear Comrade Body, fare thee well forever!

I go to my inheritance, and go
With joy that only the freed soul can know;
Yet in my spirit wanderings I trust
I may sometimes pause near your sacred dust.

by Ella Wheeler Wilcox.

Air -- "The Soldier's Orphan Boy"


Down south the Libby prison stood,
The rebel's filthy den;
Rebs in battle prisoners took --
Of course our union men.
And our brave boys, hearty and hale,
To prison had to go,
And few have lived to tell the tale
Of misery and woe.

This prison was a horrid place,
Many brave boys died there,
In rags and filth and wretchedness,
They died for want of care.
Many a brave and noble man,
As he lay sick and sore,
Was thinking of his friends and home
He never would see more.

Fathers, brothers, young husbands dear
Went through that prison door --
Some lived to return home, we hear,
And others are no more.
Many a noble soldier died
In Libby prison cell,
And comrades perish'd side by side,
As many a man can tell.

No loving hand was near a couch
To bathe an aching head --
No loving friend to watch the hours,
Or soothe their dying bed;
No friend to wipe the fallen tears
From off the dewy face --
No loving kindred was there near
To mark their resting place.

by Julia Ann Moore.

To Althea From Prison.

I.
When love with unconfined wings
Hovers within my gates;
And my divine ALTHEA brings
To whisper at the grates;
When I lye tangled in her haire,
And fetterd to her eye,
The birds, that wanton in the aire,
Know no such liberty.

II.
When flowing cups run swiftly round
With no allaying THAMES,
Our carelesse heads with roses bound,
Our hearts with loyal flames;
When thirsty griefe in wine we steepe,
When healths and draughts go free,
Fishes, that tipple in the deepe,
Know no such libertie.

III.
When (like committed linnets) I
With shriller throat shall sing
The sweetnes, mercy, majesty,
And glories of my King.
When I shall voyce aloud, how good
He is, how great should be,
Inlarged winds, that curle the flood,
Know no such liberty.

IV.
Stone walls doe not a prison make,
Nor iron bars a cage;
Mindes innocent and quiet take
That for an hermitage;
If I have freedome in my love,
And in my soule am free,
Angels alone that sore above
Enjoy such liberty.

by Richard Lovelace.

A Prison Gets To Be A Friend

652

A Prison gets to be a friend—
Between its Ponderous face
And Ours—a Kinsmanship express—
And in its narrow Eyes—

We come to look with gratitude
For the appointed Beam
It deal us—stated as our food—
And hungered for—the same—

We learn to know the Planks—
That answer to Our feet—
So miserable a sound—at first—
Nor ever now—so sweet—

As plashing in the Pools—
When Memory was a Boy—
But a Demurer Circuit—
A Geometric Joy—

The Posture of the Key
That interrupt the Day
To Our Endeavor—Not so real
The Check of Liberty—

As this Phantasm Steel—
Whose features—Day and Night—
Are present to us—as Our Own—
And as escapeless—quite—

The narrow Round—the Stint—
The slow exchange of Hope—
For something passiver—Content
Too steep for lookinp up—

The Liberty we knew
Avoided—like a Dream—
Too wide for any Night but Heaven—
If That—indeed—redeem—

by Emily Dickinson.

OUR prison house extends so wide
It walls the farthest Oceans’ tide,
Enarches every Tropics bloom,
And gives the opposing Arctics room.

Its vistas do all stars include

In one abysm of solitude,
Whose hollow antres swoon where Thought
In vain imagines Aught or Naught.

At time, to ease the jail, we deem
Ourselves companioned in the dream,

Conceiving kindred Spirits share
The doom each soul alone must bear.

They seem to move and smile and moan
With sense of all the heart hath known,
Which helps the pent-up soul beguile

The tension of its domicile;

Till, doubtful of the fancied zest
It made to soothe its deep unrest,
Once more the solitary thrall
Ponders the illimitable Wall.

“Perchance another Thought supreme
Includes the Dreamer and the Dream?
Or doth the soundless Prison zone
Confine One absolutely lone?”

’T is only when Love’s angel eyes

Gaze steadfast from a mortal guise,
Tranquil, sincere, divine, devout,
They still the tumult of the Doubt.

Then, prisoning Power, we do accept
The Mystery that Thou hast kept,

And cheerful in Thy bondage dwell,
Blest creatures of Thy miracle.

by Edward William Thomson.

A Guiltlesse Lady Imprisoned: After Penanced. Song

I.
Heark, faire one, how what e're here is
Doth laugh and sing at thy distresse;
Not out of hate to thy reliefe,
But joy t' enjoy thee, though in griefe.

II.
See! that which chaynes you, you chaine here;
The prison is thy prisoner;
How much thy jaylor's keeper art!
He bindes your hands, but you his heart.

III.
The gyves to rase so smooth a skin,
Are so unto themselves within;
But, blest to kisse so fayre an arme,
Haste to be happy with that harme;

IV.
And play about thy wanton wrist,
As if in them thou so wert drest;
But if too rough, too hard they presse,
Oh, they but closely, closely kisse.

V.
And as thy bare feet blesse the way,
The people doe not mock, but pray,
And call thee, as amas'd they run
Instead of prostitute, a nun.

VI.
The merry torch burnes with desire
To kindle the eternall fire,
And lightly daunces in thine eyes
To tunes of epithalamies.

VII.
The sheet's ty'd ever to thy wast,
How thankfull to be so imbrac't!
And see! thy very very bonds
Are bound to thee, to binde such hands.

by Richard Lovelace.

Peter Released From Prison

Fervent persevering prayers
Are faith's assured resource,
Brazen gates, and iron bars,
In vain withstand their force:
Peter when in prison cast,
Though by soldiers kept with care;
Though the doors were bolted fast,
Was soon released by prayer.

While he slept an angel came
And spread a light around;
Touched, and called him by his name,
And raised him from the ground:
All his chains and fetters burst,
Every door wide open flew;
Peter thought he dreamed, at first,
But found the vision true.

Thus the Lord can make a way
To bring his saints relief;
'Tis their part, to wait and pray,
In spite of unbelief:
He can break through walls of stone,
Sink the mountain to a plain;
They, to whom his name is known;
Can never pray in vain.

Thus in chains of guilt and sin,
Poor sinners sleeping lie;
No alarm is felt within,
Although condemned to die:
Till descending from above
Mercy smiling in his eyes
Jesus, with a voice of love,
Awakes, and bids them rise.

Glad the summons they obey,
And liberty desire;
Strait their fetters melt away,
Like wax before the fire:
By the word of him who died,
Guilty pris'ners to release;
Every door flies open wide,
And they depart in peace.

by John Newton.

SHAKERAGS, cripples, gaunt and dazed,
Prison-broken hosts on hosts,
Torture-scarred and dungeon-crazed,
Down the convict road they pour,
More and more and myriads more,
Terrible as ghosts.
Shuffling feet that miss the chain,
Shoulders welted, faces hoar,
Sightless eyes that stare in vain,
Writhen limbs and idiot tongue—
They are old who were so young
When they passed before.
Grimy from the mines, a stain
And a horror on the white
Sweep of the Siberian plain,
These, grotesque and piteous, these
Fill the earth with jubilees,
Flood the skies with light.
While each squalid tatter spins
At the sport of wind and snow,
Russia hails her paladins,
And with cheer or sob proclaims
Long unspoken hero names,
Names they hardly know.
They unto themselves are vague,
Even as they tear the bread
That their famished fingers beg;
They themselves are specters, who
Melt into their retinue
Of unnumbered dead.
From the shackles, from the whips,
Over frozen steppes they stream,
Quavering songs on ghastly lips,
Haggard, holy caravan,
Saviours of the soul of man,
Martyrs of a dream;
Martyrs of a dream fulfilled,
Givers who have paid the price,
Homing now to hearths long chilled,
Guests exalted over all
At glad Freedom's festival,
Saints of sacrifice.

by Katharine Lee Bates.

The Invalid to the Caged Bird

What are you singing my beautiful bird?
What are the words of your song?
How can you carol when always denied
The freedom for which you must long?

Once, where the wild roses blushing at morn
Grew pale at the sunset's first glow;
Hidden from sight by a cool, leafy screen,
Your little nest swung to and fro.

There your bright eyes first awoke to the light,
And your restless wings scarcely could wait;
So eager to try in the great outside world,
Their portion of fortune or fate.

But long ere your delicate velvety wings
Were penciled with faint lines of blue;
With the first eager taste of sweet freedom's delight,
A prison stood ready for you.

Have you forgotten the shadowy trees,
With the lily-bells nodding below?
Have you forgotten the rocky hill-side,
Where the wood-pinks and buttercups grow?

There I too, wandered, unfettered and free,
Ere my prison doors hid them from sight;
I too, am longing to see them again
Aglow in the sun's golden light.

For I am a prisoner, too, beautiful bird,
Shut in from the beauties I love;
Shut in from the blossoms and verdure beneath,
And the blue of the cloud-lands above.

O teach me, sweet singer, your pure, artless song,
That I may your happiness share;
And forget in the joy of a rapture like them,
The phantoms of hope and despair!

by Martha Lavinia Hoffman.

By the warm road--side, where chestnut and thorn
The brightness shaded, supine, at ease,
A felon, freed that morn,
Lay idle, and wondered, gazing up through the trees.

O strange no more to be one of a band
Numbered and known; to lose the measure
Of day divided and planned:
To think for the morrow, to choose work or pleasure.

His ear the jostling roar of the street
Amazed: he felt the crowd like a load;
And welcomed, refuge sweet,
Deserted suburb and silent shady road.

For now, with his hands habitual stones
Of the pavement he touched: close to the wall
He nestled, and felt to his bones
The warmth, and the shadow cool on his forehead fall.

And catching a leaf from the chestnut strayed,
He held it, glowing green in the light,
Transparent, with veins inlaid;
And thrust the world and its vastness away from sight.

Children from school, as they passed him, eyed
His shorn temples, and whispering turned
To mock him: he on his side,
Abstracted, his limbs disposed to a slumber earned.

A grave citizen, homeward bound,
Perceived him, as negligent still he lay,
And swerved askance, and frowned,
And crossed to the opposite pavement and went his way.

But warming him shone the indifferent noon;
And chestnut and thorn on his sleeping head
In the careless glory of June
Scattered their delicate blossom of white and red.

by Robert Laurence Binyon.

The Released Rebel Prisoner

June, 1865

Armies he's seen--the herds of war,
But never such swarms of men
As now in the Nineveh of the North--
How mad the Rebellion then!

And yet but dimly he divines
The depth of that deceit,
And superstitution of vast pride
Humbled to such defeat.

Seductive shone the Chiefs in arms--
His steel the nearest magnet drew;
Wreathed with its kind, the Gulf-weed drives--
'Tis Nature's wrong they rue.

His face is hidden in his beard,
But his heart peers out at eye--
And such a heart! like a mountain-pool
Where no man passes by.

He thinks of Hill--a brave soul gone;
And Ashby dead in pale disdain;
And Stuart with the Rupert-plume,
Whose blue eye never shall laugh again.

He hears the drum; he sees our boys
From his wasted fields return;
Ladies feast them on strawberries,
And even to kiss them yearn.

He marks them bronzed, in soldier-trim,
The rifle proudly borne;
They bear it for an heirloom home,
And he--disarmed--jail-worn.

Home, home--his heart is full of it;
But home he never shall see,
Even should he stand upon the spot:
'Tis gone!--where his brothers be.

The cypress-moss from tree to tree
Hangs in his Southern land;
As weird, from thought to thought of his
Run memories hand in hand.

And so he lingers--lingers on
In the City of the Foe--
His cousins and his countrymen
Who see him listless go.

by Herman Melville.

I lash and writhe against my prison bars,
And watch with sullen eyes the gaping crowd . .
Give me my freedom and the burning stars,
The hollow sky, and crags of moonlit cloud!

Once I might range across the trackless plain,
And roar with joy, until the desert air
And wide horizons echoed it amain:
I feared no foe, for I was monarch there!

I saw my shadow on the parching sand,
When the hot sun had kissed the mountain's rim;
And when the moon rose o'er long wastes of land,
I sought my prey by some still river's brim;

And with me my fierce love, my tawny mate,
Meet mother of strong cubs, meet lion's bride . .
We made our lair in regions desolate,
The solitude of wildernesses wide.

They slew her . . . and I watched the life-blood flow
From her torn flank, and her proud eyes grow dim:
I howled her dirge above her while the low,
Red moon clomb up the black horizon's rim.

Me, they entrapped . . . cowards! They did not dare
To fight. as brave men do, without disguise,
And face my unleashed rage! The hidden snare
Was their device to win an untamed prize.

I am a captive . . . not for me the vast,
White dome of sky above the blinding sand,
The sweeping rapture of the desert blast
Across long ranges of untrodden land!

Yet still they fetter not my thought! In dreams
I, desert-born, tread the hot wastes once more,
Quench my deep thirst in cool, untainted streams,
And shake the darkness with my kingly roar!

by Lucy Maud Montgomery.

Still let my tyrants know, I am not doomed to wear
Year after year in gloom and desolate despair;
A messenger of Hope comes every night to me,
And offers for short life, eternal liberty.

He comes with western winds, with evening's wandering airs,
With that clear dusk of heaven that brings the thickest stars:
Winds take a pensive tone, and stars a tender fire,
And visions rise, and change, that kill me with desire.

Desire for nothing known in my maturer years,
When Joy grew mad with awe, at counting future tears:
When, if my spirit's sky was full of flashes warm,
I knew not whence they came, from sun or thunderstorm.

But first, a hush of peace -a soundless calm descends;
The struggle of distress and fierce impatience ends;
Mute music soothes my breast -unuttered harmony
That I could never dream, till Earth was lost to me.

Then dawns the Invisible; the Unseen its truth reveals;
My outward sense is gone, my inward essence feels;
Its wings are almost free -its home, its harbour found;
Measuring the gulf, it stoops, and dares the final bound.

O dreadful is the check -intense the agony -
When the ear begins to hear, and the eye begins to see;
When the pulse begins to throb, the brain to think again,
The soul to feel the flesh, and the flesh to feel the chain.

Yet I would lose no sting, would wish no torture less;
The more that anguish racks, the earlier it will bless;
And robed in fires of hell, or bright with heavenly shine,
If it but herald Death, the vision is divine.

by Emily Jane Brontë.

Since I walked careless in the noisy street,
With common words for any I might meet,
And did the petty duties each day brought,
And grievous troubles from small sources wrought,
Ah, me! it seems a weary while ago.

'Tis dreary desolation here to wait
The dreadful hour when I shall meet my fate!
Whilst others all the sweet of living share,
Nor of the hapless captive think or care.
Yet once it bore as little on my mind,
When other men in other prisons pined.
I too in heedless, over-hasty blame,
Forgot the human heart beat on the same;
Forgot the subtle agony which wrings
A wounded soul, remembering common things
As when the sunlight on this prison floor
Recalls some scene that I shall see no more!

Perchance some gentle hearts may grant my pain
The justice they would hope themselves to gain;
Nor blindly every accusation trust,
When he, who only can refute, is dust.
And in the end, most lives appeal above;
Some cry for 'Rest,' and others wait for 'Love:'
For 'Justice' to the one just Judge I call!—
And Heaven provides a recompense for all.

Yet still, 'tis very hard to die like this!
No household hearth my presence there to miss;
Nothing to leave, except this dismal cell,
No loving lip to press a last farewell!
But through the tumult of a rabble rout,
Mid grave hard faces, full of stinging doubt,
Forlornly lone, this hunted soul must go,
And bear to heaven few memories but woe!

And yet I could not join the world again;
My heart has withered in this bitter pain.
Wounded by finding mortal Justice blind,
I've almost lost my faith in human kind.
'Tis best to bow beneath man's erring rod,
And ask no more for justice—save from God!

by Isabella Fyvie Mayo.

The Princess Elizabeth, When A Prisoner At Woodstock, 1554

Will you hear how once repining
Great Eliza captive lay,
Each ambitious thought resigning,
Foe to riches, pomp, and sway?

While the nymphs and swains delighted
Tripp'd around in all their pride,
Envying joys by others slighted,
Thus the royal maiden cried:

'Bred on plains, or born in valleys,
Who would bid those scenes adieu?
Stranger to the arts of malice,
Who would ever courts pursue?

Malice never taught to treasure,
Censure never taught to bear;
Love is all the shepherd's pleasure;
Love is all the damsel's care.

How can they of humble station
Vainly blame the powers above
Or accuse the dispensation
Which allows them all to love?

Love, like air, is widely given;
Power nor chance can these restraint;
Truest, noblest, gifts of heaven!
Only purest on the plain!

Peers can no such charms discover,
All in stars and garters drest,
As on Sundays does the lover,
With his nosegay on his breast.

Pinks and roses in profusion,
Said to fade when Chloe's near;
Fops may use the same allusion,
But the shepherd is sincere.

Hark to yonder milkmaid singing
Cheerly o'er the brimming pail,
Cowslips all around her springing
Sweetly paint the golden vale.

Never yet did courtly maiden
Move so sprightly, look so fair;
Never breast with jewels laden
Pour a song so void of care.

Would indulgent heaven had granted
Me some rural damsel's part!
All the empire I had wanted
Then had been my shepherd's heart.

Then with him o'er hills and mountains
Free from fetters, might I rove,
Fearless taste the crystal fountains,
Peaceful sleep beneath the grove.

Rustics had been more forgiving,
Partial to my virgin bloom;
None had envied my when living,
None had triumph'd o'er my tomb.'

by William Shenstone.

My Uncle Bill! My Uncle Bill!
How doth my heart with anguish thrill!
For he, our chief, our Robin Hood,
Has gone to jail for stealing wood!
With tears and sobs my voice I raise
To celebrate my uncle's praise;
With all my strength, with all my skill,
I'll sing the song of Uncle Bill."
Convivial to the last degree,
An open-hearted sportsman he.
Did midnight howls our slumbers rob,
We said, "It's uncle 'on the job'."
When sounds of fight rang sharply out,
Then Bill was bound to be about,
The foremost figure in "the scrap",
A terror to the local "trap".
To drink, or fight, or maim, or kill,
Came all alike to Uncle Bill.
And when he faced the music's squeak
At Central Court before the beak,
How carefully we sought our fob
To pay his fine of forty bob!
Recall the happy days of yore
When Uncle Bill went forth to war!
When all the street with strife was filled
And both the traps got nearly killed.
When the lone cabman on the stand
was "stoushed" by Bill's unaided hand,
And William mounted, filled with rum,
And drove the cab to kingdom come.
Remember, too, that famous fray
When the "Black-reds", who hold their sway
O'er Surry Hills and Shepherd's Bush,
Descended on the "Liver Push".
Who cheered both parties long and loud?
Who heaved blue metal at the crowd!
And sooled his bulldog, Fighting Bet,
To bite, haphazard, all she met?
And when the mob were lodged in gaol
Who telegraphed to me for bail?
And -- here I think he showed his sense --
Who calmly turned Queen's evidence?"

Enough! I now must end my song,
My needless anguish, why prolong?
From what I've said, you'll own, I'm sure,
That Uncle Bill was pretty "pure",
So, rowdies all, your glasses fill,
And -- drink it standing -- "Uncle Bill"."

by Banjo Paterson.

Poulain The Prisoner

I.

BEYOND his silent vault green springs went by,
The river flashed along its open way,
Blithe swallows flitted in their billowy play,
And the sweet lark went quivering up the sky.
With him was stillness and his heart's dumb cry
And darkness of the tomb through hopeless day,
Save that along the wall one single ray
Shifted, through jealous loop-holes, westerly.

One single ray: and where its light could fall
His rusty nail carved saints and angels there,
And warriors, and slim girls with braided hair,
And blossomy boughs, and birds athwart the air.
Rude work, but yet a world. And light for all
Was one slant ray upon a prison wall.

II.

One ray, and in its track hlie lived and wrought,
And in free wideness of the world, I know,
One said, 'Fair sunshine, yet it serves not so,
It needs a tenderer when I shape my thought;'
And, ''Tis too brown and molten in the drought,'
And, ''Tis too wan a greyness in this snow,'
And would have toiled, but wearied and was woe,
While days stole past and had bequeathed him nought.

Maybe in Gisors, round the fortress mead—
Gisors where now, when fair-time brings its press,
They seek the prisoner's tower to gaze and guess
And love the work he made in loneliness—
One cursed the gloom, and died without a deed,
The while he carved where his one ray could lead.

III.

'Oh loneliness! oh darkness!' so we wail,
Crying to life to give we know not what,
The hope not come, the ecstasy forgot,
The things we should have had and, needing, fail,
Nor know what thing it was for which we ail,
And, like tired travellers to an unknown spot,
Pass listless, noting only 'Yet 'tis not,'
And count the ended day an empty tale.

Ah me! to linger on in dim repose
And feel the numbness over hand and thought,
And feel the silence in the heart, that grows.
Ah me! to have forgot the hope we sought.
One ray of light, and a soul lived and wrought,
And on the prison walls a message rose.

by Augusta Davies Webster.

A Prisoner In A Dungeon Deep

A prisoner in a dungeon deep
Sat musing silently;
His head was rested on his hand,
His elbow on his knee.
Turned he his thoughts to future times
Or are they backward cast?
For freedom is he pining now
Or mourning for the past?

No, he has lived so long enthralled
Alone in dungeon gloom
That he has lost regret and hope,
Has ceased to mourn his doom.

He pines not for the light of day
Nor sighs for freedom now;
Such weary thoughts have ceased at length
To rack his burning brow.

Lost in a maze of wandering thoughts
He sits unmoving there;
That posture and that look proclaim
The stupor of despair.

Yet not for ever did that mood
Of sullen calm prevail;
There was a something in his eye
That told another tale.

It did not speak of reason gone,
It was not madness quite;
It was a fitful flickering fire,
A strange uncertain light.

And sooth to say, these latter years
Strange fancies now and then
Had filled his cell with scenes of life
And forms of living men.

A mind that cannot cease to think
Why needs he cherish there?
Torpor may bring relief to pain
And madness to despair.

Such wildering scenes, such flitting shapes
As feverish dreams display:
What if those fancies still increase
And reason quite decay?

But hark, what sounds have struck his ear;
Voices of men they seem;
And two have entered now his cell;
Can this too be a dream?

'Orlando, hear our joyful news:
Revenge and liberty!
Your foes are dead, and we are come
At last to set you free.'

So spoke the elder of the two,
And in the captive's eyes
He looked for gleaming ecstasy
But only found surprise.

'My foes are dead! It must be then
That all mankind are gone.
For they were all my deadly foes
And friends I had not one.'

by Anne Brontë.

Patrick Sheehan

My name is Patrick Sheehan,
My years are thirty-four;
Tipperary is my native place,
Not far from Galtymore;
I came from honest parents,
But now they're lying low;
And many a pleasant day I spent
In the Glen of Aherlow.

My father died; I closed his eyes
Outside our cabin door;
The Lord Lieutenant and Sheriff too
were there the day before!
And then my loving mother,
And sisters three also,
Were forced to go with broken hearts
From the Glen of Aherlow.

For three long months, in search of work,
I wandered far and near;
I went then to the poor-house,
For to see my mother dear;
The news I heard nigh broke my heart;
But still in all my woe,
I blessed the friends who made their graves
In the Glen of Aherlow.

Bereft of home and kith and kin,
With plenty all around,
I starved within my cabin;
And slept upon the ground;
But cruel as my lot was,
I ne'er did hardship know
Till I joined the English Army
Far away from Aherlow.

'Rouse up, there,' says the Corporal,
'You lazy Hirish 'ound;
Why don't you hear, you sleepy dog,
The call 'To Arms' sound?'
Alas I had been dreaming
Of days long, long ago;
I woke before Sebastapol,
And not in Aherlow.

I groped to find my musket -
How dark I thought the night!
O Blessed God, it was not dark,
It was the broad daylight!
And when I found that I was blind,
My tears began to flow;
I longed for even a pauper's grave
In the Glen of Aherlow.

O Blessed Virgin Mary,
Mine is a mournful state;
A poor blind prisoner here I am,
In Dublin's dreary gaol;
Struck blind within the trenches,
Where I never feared the foe;
And now I'll never see again
My own sweet Aherlow.

A poor neglected mendicant,
I wandered through the street;
My nine months pension now being out,
I beg from all I meet:
As I joined my country's tyrant,
My face I'll never show
Among the kind old neighbours
In the Glen of Aherlow.

Then Irish youths, dear countrymen,
Take heed of what I say;
For if you join the English ranks,
You'll surely rue the day;
And whenever you are tempted
A soldiering to go,
Remember poor blind Sheehan
Of the Glen of Aherlow.

by Charles Joseph Kickham.

To Lucasta, From Prison

I.

Long in thy shackels, liberty
I ask not from these walls, but thee;
Left for awhile anothers bride,
To fancy all the world beside.

II.

Yet e're I doe begin to love,
See, how I all my objects prove;
Then my free soule to that confine,
'Twere possible I might call mine.

III.

First I would be in love with peace,
And her rich swelling breasts increase;
But how, alas! how may that be,
Despising earth, she will love me?

IV.

Faine would I be in love with war,
As my deare just avenging star;
But War is lov'd so ev'rywhere,
Ev'n he disdaines a lodging here.

V.

Thee and thy wounds I would bemoane,
Faire thorough-shot religion;
But he lives only that kills thee,
And who so bindes thy hands, is free.

VI.

I would love a parliment
As a maine prop from Heav'n sent;
But ah! who's he, that would be wedded
To th' fairest body that's beheaded?

VII.

Next would I court my liberty,
And then my birth-right, property;
But can that be, when it is knowne,
There's nothing you can call your owne?

VIII.

A reformation I would have,
As for our griefes a sov'raigne salve;
That is, a cleansing of each wheele
Of state, that yet some rust doth feele.

IX.

But not a reformation so,
As to reforme were to ore'throw,
Like watches by unskilfull men
Disjoynted, and set ill againe.

X.

The publick faith I would adore,
But she is banke-rupt of her store:
Nor how to trust her can I see,
For she that couzens all, must me.

XI.

Since then none of these can be
Fit objects for my love and me;
What then remaines, but th' only spring
Of all our loves and joyes, the King?

XII.

He who, being the whole ball
Of day on earth, lends it to all;
When seeking to ecclipse his right,
Blinded we stand in our owne light.

XIII.

And now an universall mist
Of error is spread or'e each breast,
With such a fury edg'd as is
Not found in th' inwards of th' abysse.

XIV.

Oh, from thy glorious starry waine
Dispense on me one sacred beame,
To light me where I soone may see
How to serve you, and you trust me!

by Richard Lovelace.

To Lucasta From Prison An Epode

I.
Long in thy shackels, liberty
I ask not from these walls, but thee;
Left for awhile anothers bride,
To fancy all the world beside.

II.
Yet e're I doe begin to love,
See, how I all my objects prove;
Then my free soule to that confine,
'Twere possible I might call mine.

III.
First I would be in love with PEACE,
And her rich swelling breasts increase;
But how, alas! how may that be,
Despising earth, she will love me?

IV.
Faine would I be in love with WAR,
As my deare just avenging star;
But War is lov'd so ev'rywhere,
Ev'n he disdaines a lodging here.

V.
Thee and thy wounds I would bemoane,
Faire thorough-shot RELIGION;
But he lives only that kills thee,
And who so bindes thy hands, is free.

VI.
I would love a PARLIAMENT
As a maine prop from Heav'n sent;
But ah! who's he, that would be wedded
To th' fairest body that's beheaded?

VII.
Next would I court my LIBERTY,
And then my birth-right, PROPERTY;
But can that be, when it is knowne,
There's nothing you can call your owne?

VIII.
A REFORMATION I would have,
As for our griefes a SOV'RAIGNE salve;
That is, a cleansing of each wheele
Of state, that yet some rust doth feele.

IX.
But not a reformation so,
As to reforme were to ore'throw,
Like watches by unskilfull men
Disjoynted, and set ill againe.

X.
The PUBLICK FAITH I would adore,
But she is banke-rupt of her store:
Nor how to trust her can I see,
For she that couzens all, must me.

XI.
Since then none of these can be
Fit objects for my love and me;
What then remaines, but th' only spring
Of all our loves and joyes, the King?

XII.
He who, being the whole ball
Of day on earth, lends it to all;
When seeking to ecclipse his right,
Blinded we stand in our owne light.

XIII.
And now an universall mist
Of error is spread or'e each breast,
With such a fury edg'd as is
Not found in th' inwards of th' abysse.

XIV.
Oh, from thy glorious starry waine
Dispense on me one sacred beame,
To light me where I soone may see
How to serve you, and you trust me!

by Richard Lovelace.

Spare me, dread angel of reproof,
And let the sunshine weave to-day
Its gold-threads in the warp and woof
Of life so poor and gray.

Spare me awhile; the flesh is weak.
These lingering feet, that fain would stray
Among the flowers, shall some day seek
The strait and narrow way.

Take off thy ever-watchful eye,
The awe of thy rebuking frown;
The dullest slave at times must sigh
To fling his burdens down;

To drop his galley's straining oar,
And press, in summer warmth and calm,
The lap of some enchanted shore
Of blossom and of balm.

Grudge not my life its hour of bloom,
My heart its taste of long desire;
This day be mine: be those to come
As duty shall require.

The deep voice answered to my own,
Smiting my selfish prayers away;
'To-morrow is with God alone,
And man hath but to-day.

'Say not, thy fond, vain heart within,
The Father's arm shall still be wide,
When from these pleasant ways of sin
Thou turn'st at eventide.

''Cast thyself down,' the tempter saith,
'And angels shall thy feet upbear.'
He bids thee make a lie of faith,
And blasphemy of prayer.

'Though God be good and free be heaven,
No force divine can love compel;
And, though the song of sins forgiven
May sound through lowest hell,

'The sweet persuasion of His voice
Respects thy sanctity of will.
He giveth day: thou hast thy choice
To walk in darkness still;

'As one who, turning from the light,
Watches his own gray shadow fall,
Doubting, upon his path of night,
If there be day at all!

'No word of doom may shut thee out,
No wind of wrath may downward whirl,
No swords of fire keep watch about
The open gates of pearl;

'A tenderer light than moon or sun,
Than song of earth a sweeter hymn,
May shine and sound forever on,
And thou be deaf and dim.

'Forever round the Mercy-seat
The guiding lights of Love shall burn;
But what if, habit-bound, thy feet
Shall lack the will to turn?

'What if thine eye refuse to see,
Thine ear of Heaven's free welcome fail,
And thou a willing captive be,
Thyself thy own dark jail?

'Oh, doom beyond the saddest guess,
As the long years of God unroll,
To make thy dreary selfishness
The prison of a soul!

'To doubt the love that fain would break
The fetters from thy self-bound limb;
And dream that God can thee forsake
As thou forsakest Him!'

by John Greenleaf Whittier.

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