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I might have spared my idle prayer—
They coldly laugh'd—and laid him there:
The flat and turfless earth above
The being we so much did love;
His empty chain above it leant,
Such murder's fitting monument!

VIII.

But he, the favorite and the flower,
Most cherish'd since his natal hour,
His mother's image in fair face,
The infant love of all his race,
His martyred father's dearest thought,
My latest care, for whom I sought
To hoard my life, that his might be
Less wretched now, and one day free;
He, too, who yet had held untired
A spirit natural or inspired-
He, too, was struck, and day by day
Was withered on the stalk away.
Oh God! it is a fearful thing
To see the human soul take wing

In any shape, in any mood :—
I've seen it rushing forth in blood,
I've seen it on the breaking ocean
Strive with a swoln convulsive motion,
I've seen the sick and ghastly bed
Of Sin delirious with its dread:
But these were horrors—this was woe
Unmix'd with such—but sure and slow:
He faded, and so calm and meek,
So softly worn, so sweetly weak,
So tearless, yet so tender—kind,
And grieved for those he left behind;
With all the while a cheek whose bloom
Was as a mockery of the tomb,
Whose tints as gently sunk away
As a departing rainbow's ray—
An eye of most transparent light,
That almost made the dungeon bright,
And not a word of murmur—not
A groan o'er his untimely lot,—
A little talk of better days,
A little hope my own to raise,

For I was sunk in silence—lost 200

In this last loss, of all the most;

And then the sighs he would suppress

Of fainting nature's feebleness,

More slowly drawn, grew less and less:

I listened, but I could not hear—

I called, for I was wild with fear;

I knew 'twas hopeless, but my dread

Would not be thus admonished;

I called, and thought I heard a sound—

I burst my chain with one strong bound, 210

And rush'd to him:—I found him not,

I only stirr'd in this black spot,

I only lived—/ only drew

The accursed breath of dungeon-dew;

The last—the sole—the dearest link

Between me and the eternal brink,

Which bound me to my failing race,

Was broken in this fatal place.

One on the earth, and one beneath—

My brothers—both had ceased to breathe: 220

I took that hand which lay so still,

Alas l my own was full as chill;

I had not strength to stir, or strive,
But felt that I was still alive—
A frantic feeling, when we know
That what we love shall ne'er be so.

I know not why

I could not die,
I had no earthly hope—but faith,
And that forbade a selfish death.

IX.

What next befell me then and there
I know not well—I never knew—
First came the loss of light, and air,
And then of darkness too:
I had no thought, no feeling—none—
Among the stones I stood a stone,
And was, scarce conscious what I wist,
As shrubless crags within the mist;
For all was blank, and bleak, and grey,
It was not night—it was not day,
It was not even the dungeon-light,
So hateful to my heavy sight,

But vacancy absorbing space,

And fixedness—without a place;

There were no stars—no earth—no time—

No check—no change—no good—no crime—

But silence, and a stirless breath

Which neither was of life nor death;

A $ea of stagnant idleness,

Blind, boundless, mute, and motionless! 250 X.

A light broke in upon my brain,—

It was the carol of a bird;
It ceased, and then it came again,

The sweetest song ear ever heard,
And mine was thankful till my eyes
Ran over with the glad surprise,
And they that moment could not see
I was the mate of misery;
But then by dull degrees came back
My senses to their wonted track, 260
I saw the dungeon walls and floor
Close slowly round me as before,

c

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