The thought of which appals the hero's courage,
And pales still more the coward's fear-blanched cheek.
[He steps on a chair standing beneath the grated window and looks without.]
In prison! ah! and beams not there the sun
Which our Creator poised upon the arch
Of heaven to shine alike on good and bad,—
The sun through which all beings live and thrive,
To which the tiniest blossom turns its eye,
Without which Heart and Nature grow a waste?
And spread not there " the gardens of the desert,'
The swelling prairies, quick with life and motion,
And farther off, near the horizon's brink,
The glassy main, as free and wide as they,
To whose expanse and breeze-pervaded air
Man's spirit feels a kindred intimate,
When over them he strides or sails away?
There goes the daring hunter with elastic step
And hopeful breast, to lurk, to spring, to conquer;
There sails the buoyant mariner to brave
The tempest's rage, to venture and explore;
There rides the thoughtful merchant on his route
To bargain and to risk and win,—all, all
With bosoms thrilled by wishes and desires
Which to pursue and gain forms their delight.
[He steps down]
In prison! ah! and what, if it enshrines
The height of sorrow, the abyss of woe?