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Page:The Works of Lord Byron (ed. Coleridge, Prothero) - Volume 4.djvu/49

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19
THE PRISONER OF CHILLON.

The dark vault lies wherein we lay:
We heard it ripple night and day;
Sounding o'er our heads it knocked;
And I have felt the winter's spray
Wash through the bars when winds were high120
And wanton in the happy sky;
And then the very rock hath rocked,
And I have felt it shake, unshocked,[1]
Because I could have smiled to see
The death that would have set me free.


VII.

I said my nearer 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,130
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 mould140
Which in a palace had grown cold,
Had his free breathing been denied
The range of the steep mountain's side;[2]

But why delay the truth?—he died.[3]

    was once much higher, and that the floor of the halls has been raised, still the halls must originally have been built about two metres above the surface of the lake."—Guide, etc., pp. 28, 29.]

  1. [The "real Bonivard" might have indulged in and, perhaps, prided himself on this feeble and irritating paronomasy; but nothing can be less in keeping with the bearing and behaviour of the tragic and sententious Bonivard of the legend.]
  2. [Compare—

    "... I'm a forester and breather
    Of the steep mountain-tops."

    Werner, act iv. sc. 1.]

  3. But why withhold the blow?—he died.—[MS.]