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Page:The Works of Lord Byron (ed. Coleridge, Prothero) - Volume 4.djvu/50

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20
THE PRISONER OF CHILLON.

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.[1]
He died—and they unlocked his chain,
And scooped for him a shallow grave[2]150
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,[3]
That even in death his freeborn breast
In such a dungeon could not rest.
I might have spared my idle prayer—
They coldly laughed—and laid him there:
The flat and turfless earth above160
The being we so much did love;
His empty chain above it leant,
Such Murder's fitting monument!


VIII.

But he, the favourite 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,[4]
My latest care, for whom I sought
To hoard my life, that his might be170

Less wretched now, and one day free;
  1. To break or bite ——.—[MS.]
  2. [Compare "With the aid of Suleiman's ataghan and my own sabre, we scooped a shallow grave upon the spot which Darvell had indicated" (A Fragment of a Novel by Byron, Letters, 1899, iii. Appendix IX. p. 452).]
  3. [Compare—

    "And to be wroth with one we love
    Doth work like madness in the brain."

    Christabel, by S. T. Coleridge, part ii. lines 412, 413.]

  4. [It is said that his parents handed him over to the care of his uncle,Jean-Aimé Bonivard, when he was still an infant, and it is denied that is father was "literally put to death."]