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Page:The Works of Lord Byron (ed. Coleridge, Prothero) - Volume 4.djvu/40

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14
THE PRISONER OF CHILLON.

That father perished at the stake
For tenets he would not forsake;
And for the same his lineal race
In darkness found a dwelling place;
We were seven—who now are one,[1]
Six in youth, and one in age,
Finished as they had begun,
Proud of Persecution's rage;[2]20
One in fire, and two in field,
Their belief with blood have sealed,
Dying as their father died,
For the God their foes denied;—
Three were in a dungeon cast,
Of whom this wreck is left the last.


II.

There are seven pillars of Gothic mould,[3]
In Chillon's dungeons deep and old,
There are seven columns, massy and grey,
Dim with a dull imprisoned ray,30

A sunbeam which hath lost its way,
  1. [Compare the epitaph on the monument of Richard Lord Byron, in the chancel of Hucknall-Torkard Church, "Beneath in a vault is interred the body of Richard Lord Byron, who with the rest of his family, being seven brothers," etc. (Elze's Life of Lord Byron, p. 4, note 1).

    Compare, too, Churchill's Prophecy of Famine, lines 391, 392—

    "Five brothers there I lost, in manhood's pride,
    Two in the field and three on gibbets died."

    The Bonivard of history had but two brothers, Amblard and another.]

  2. Braving rancour—chains—and rage.—[MS.]
  3. ["This is really so: the loop-holes that are partly stopped up are now but long crevices or clefts, but Bonivard, from the spot where he was chained, could, perhaps, never get an idea of the loveliness and variety of radiating light which the sunbeam shed at different hours of the day.... In the morning this light is of luminous and transparent shining, which the curves of the vaults send back all along the hall. Victor Hugo (Le Rhin,... Hachette, 1876, I. iii. pp. 123-131) describes this... 'Le phénomène de la grotto d'azur s'accomplit dans le souterrain de Chillon, et le lac de Genève n'y réussit pas moins bien que la Méditerranée.' During the afternoon the hall assumes a much deeper and warmer colouring, and the blue transparency of the morning disappears; but at eventide, after the sun has set behind the Jura, the scene changes to the deep glow of fire...."—Guide to the Castle of Chillon, by A. Naef, architect, 1896, pp, 35, 36.]