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And then they smote me, and I did not weep,
But cursed them in my heart, and to my haunt
Return'd and wept alone, and dream'd again.
The visions which arise without a sleep.
And with my years my soul began to pant
With feelings of strange tumult and soft pain;
And the whole heart exhaled into One Want,
But undefined and wandering, till the day
I found the thing I sought-and that was thee;
And then I lost my being, all to be

Absorb'd in thine; the world was past away;
Thou didst annihilate the earth to me!


I loved all Solitude, but little thought
To spend I know not what of life, remote
From all communion with existence, save
The maniac and his tyrant; had I been
Their fellow, many years ere this had seen
My mind like theirs corrupted to its grave:"
But who hath seen me writhe, or heard me rave?
Perchance in such a cell we suffer more

Than the wreck'd sailor on the desert shore;
The world is all before him-mine is here,
Scarce twice the space they must accord my bier.
What though he perish, he may lift his eye,
And with a dying glance upbraid the sky;
I will not raise my own in such reproof,
Although 'tis clouded by my dungeon roof.


Yet do I feel at times my mind decline,*
But with a sense of its decay: I see

3 ["My mind like theirs adapted to its grave."-MS.]

4 [" "Nor do I lament," wrote Tasso, shortly after his confinement, "that my heart is deluged with almost constant misery, that my head is always heavy, and often painful, that my sight and hearing are much impaired, and that all my frame is become spare and meagre; but, passing all this with a short sigh, what I would bewail is the infirmity of my mind. My mind sleeps, not thinks; my fancy is chill, and forms no pictures; my negligent senses will no longer furnish the images of things my hand is sluggish in writing, and my pen seems as if it shrunk from the office. I

Unwonted lights along my prison shine,
And a strange demon, who is vexing me
With pilfering pranks and petty pains, below
The feeling of the healthful and the free;
But much to One, who long hath suffer'd so,
Sickness of heart, and narrowness of place,
And all that may be borne, or can debase.
I thought mine enemies had been but Man,
But Spirits may be leagued with them; all Earth
Abandons, Heaven forgets me: in the dearth
Of such defence the Powers of Evil can,
It may be, tempt me further, and prevail
Against the outworn creature they assail.
Why in this furnace is my spirit proved,
Like steel in tempering fire? because I loved?
Because I loved what not to love, and see,
Was more or less than mortal, and than me.

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I once was quick in feeling—that is o'er;
My scars are callous, or I should have dash'd
My brain against these bars, as the sun flash'd
In mockery through them: If I hear and bore
The much I have recounted, and the more

Which hath no words, 'tis that I would not die

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And sanction with self-slaughter the dull lie

Which snared me here, and with the brand of shame
Stamp Madness deep into my memory,

And woo Compassion to a blighted name,
Sealing the sentence which my foes proclaim.
No-it shall be immortal! and I make
A future temple of my present cell,

Which nations yet shall visit for my sake.'
While thou, Ferrara! when no longer dwell

The ducal chiefs within thee, shalt fall down,

And crumbling piecemeal view thy hearthless halls,

feel as if I were chained in all my operations, and as if I were overcome by an unwonted numbness and oppressive stupor."Opere, t. viii., p. 258.]


["Which after days
nations yet

shall visit for my sake."-MS.]

A poet's wreath shall be thine only crown,—
A poet's dungeon thy most far renown,

While strangers wonder o'er thy unpeopled walls!
And thou, Leonora! thou-who wert ashamed
That such as I could love-who blush'd to hear
To less than monarchs that thou couldst be dear,
Go! tell thy brother, that my heart, untamed
By grief, years, weariness,—and it may be
A taint of that he would impute to me—
From long infection of a den like this,

Where the mind rots congenial with the abyss,
Adores thee still; and add-that when the towers
And battlements which guard his joyous hours
Of banquet, dance, and revel, are forgot,
Or left untended in a dull repose,-
This, this, shall be a consecrated spot!

But Thou-when all that Birth and Beauty throws
Of magic round thee is extinct-shalt have
One half the laurel which o'ershades my grave.
No power in death can tear our names apart,
As none in life could rend thee from my heart.
Yes, Leonora! it shall be our fate

To be entwined for ever-but too late!"

The Lord

"[Lord Byron's "Lament" is as sublime and profound a lesson in the recesses of the human soul, as it is a production most eloquent, most pathetic, most vigorous, and most elevating among the gifts of the Muse.-BRYDGES. There is one poem-the "Prisoner of Chillon"—in which Lord Byron has almost wholly laid aside all remembrance of the darker and stormier passions; in which the tone of his spirit and his voice at once is changed, and where he who seemed to care only for agonies and remorse, and despair, and death, and insanity, in all their most appalling forms, shows that he has a heart that can feed on the purest sympathies of our nature, and deliver itself up to the sorrows, the sadness, and the melancholy of humbler souls. "Lament" possesses much of the tenderness and pathos of the "Prisoner." Byron has not delivered himself unto any one wild and fearful vision of the imprisoned Tasso, he has not dared to allow himself to rush forward with headlong passion into the horrors of his dungeon, and to describe, as he could fearfully have done, the conflict and agony of his uttermost despair,-but he shows us the poet sitting in his cell, and singing there-a low, melancholy, wailing Lament, sometimes, indeed, bordering on utter wretchedness, but oftener partaking of a settled grief, occasionally subdued into mournful resignation, cheered by delightful remembrances, and elevated by the confident hope of an immortal fame.-PROFESSOR WILSON.]


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