Sidor som bilder

The youngest, whom my father loved,
Because our mother's brow was given
To him, with eyes as blue as heaven-
For him my soul was sorely moved;
And truly might it be distressed
To see such bird in such a nest;
For he was beautiful as day-


(When day was beautiful to me
As to young eagles, being 1 free) —
A polar day,2 which will not see
A sunset till its summer's gone,

Its sleepless summer of long light,
The snow-clad offspring of the sun :

And thus he was as pure and bright,
And in his natural spirit gay,
With tears for naught but others' ills,
And then they flowed like mountain rills,
Unless he could assuage the woe
Which he abhorred to view below.3


The other was as pure of mind,
But formed to combat with his kind;
Strong in his frame, and of a mood
Which 'gainst the world in war had stood,
And perished in the foremost rank

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But yet I forced it on to cheer
Those relics of a home so dear.
He was a hunter of the hills,

Had followed there the deer and wolf;
To him his dungeon was a gulf,
And fettered feet the worst of ills.


Lake Leman1 lies by Chillon's walls: 2
A thousand feet in depth below
Its massy waters meet and flow;
Thus much the fathom line was sent
From Chillon's snow-white battlement,
Which round about the wave inthralls:
A double dungeon wall and wave
Have made and like a living grave
Below the surface of the lake
The dark vault lies wherein we lay,3

We heard it ripple night and day;

Sounding o'er our heads it knocked;

And I have felt the winter's spray

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Wash through the bars when winds were high 120
And wanton in the happy sky;

And then the very rock hath rocked,
And I have felt it shake, unshocked,
Because I could have smiled to see
The death that would have set me free.


1 Leman, ancient classic name for Lake Geneva. (See Childe Harold, Canto III. Stanza LXXXV.: "Clear, placid Leman!" etc.)


2 "The lake has been fathomed to the depth of eight hundred feet, French The walls are white" (BYRON). The castle with its loopholed towers, once a ducal residence, was used as both fortress and state prison. Parts of the structure are said to be nearly one thousand years old. It is on an isolated rock at the east end of Lake Geneva.

3 The dungeon is not below the surface of the lake.



I said my nearer 1 brother pined,
I said his mighty heart declined,
He loathed and put away his food;
It was not that 'twas coarse and rude,
For we were used to hunter's fare,
And for the like had little care:

The milk drawn from the mountain goat
Was changed for water from the moat,
Our bread was such as captives' tears
Have moistened many a thousand years,
Since man first pent his fellow-men
Like brutes within an iron den;

But what were these to us or him?
These wasted not his heart or limb;
My brother's soul was of that mold
Which in a palace had grown cold,
Had his free breathing been denied
The range of the steep mountain's side;
But why delay the truth?-he died.
I saw,
and could not hold his head,
Nor reach his dying hand-nor dead,—
Though hard I strove, but strove in vain,
To rend and gnash my bonds in twain.
He died, and they unlocked his chain,
And scooped for him a shallow grave
Even from the cold earth of our cave.
I begged them as a boon to lay
His corse in dust whereon the day
Might shine-it was a foolish thought,
But then within my brain it wrought,
That even in death his freeborn breast
In such a dungeon could not rest.

1 Nearer in what, distance or age?







I might have spared my idle prayer-
They coldly laughed, and laid him there:
The flat and turfless earth above
The being we so much did love;
His empty 1 chain above it leant,1
Such murder's fitting monument!



But he, the favorite and the flower,
Most cherished 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 2.
He, too, was struck, and day by day
Was withered on the stalk away.3
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
Unmixed with such 4-but sure and slow:







1 Note the inaccuracy of the words "empty" and "leant." Bonnivard's chain, about four feet in length, is preserved among the prison relics.

2 Inspired by what?

3 Why


on the stalk" rather than "off the stalk"?

4 What does "such" modify? Compare this description with Halleck's

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,1
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
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;

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I called, and thought I heard a sound 2.
I burst my chain with one strong bound,
And rushed to him:-I found him not,
I only stirred in this black spot,
I only lived, I only drew

The accursed breath of dungeon dew; 3
The last, the sole, the dearest link

Between me and the eternal brink,

2 Scan this line.







lines on modes of death in the poem Marco Bozzaris: " Come to the bri

dal chamber, Death!" etc.

1 Comment on this line.
3 What is "dungeon dew"?

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