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And then the sighs he would suppress
More slowly drawn, grew less and less : 205 I listen’d, but I could not hear
I call’d, for I was wild with fear ;
I call’d, and thought I heard a sound210 I burst my chain with one strong bound,
And rush'd to him :-I found him not,
The accursed breath of dungeon-dew; 215 The last—the sole—the dearest link
Between me and the eternal brink,
One on the earth, and one beneath-
I took that hand which lay so still,
But felt that I was still alive
I know not why
I could not die, I had no earthly hope—but faith, 230 And that forbade a selfish death.
What next befell me then and there
I know not well—I never knew.-
202. The use of would, with a Verb to express repetition of an action, is to be noted as a peculiar idiom of the English language.
229. I had no earthly hope, but (I had) faith.—The but does not mean except.
First came the loss of light and air,
And then of darkness too :
Among the stones I stood a stone,
For all was blank, and bleak, and gray ; 240 It was not night—it was not day,
It was not even the dungeon-light,
And fixedness—without a place ; 245 There were no stars—no earth-no time
No check—no change—no good—no crime-
A sea of stagnant idleness,
A light broke in upon my brain,“
It was the carol of a bird ;
The sweetest song ear ever heard, 255 And mine was thankful till my eyes
Ran over with the glad surprise,
But then by dull degrees came back 260 My senses to their wonted track,
I saw the dungeon walls and floor
264. Creeping.-Ought it not to be creep in 7 283. Connect if it were with I knew not, 279.
365 But through the crevice where it came
That bird was perch d, as fond and tame,
And tamer than upon the tree ;
And song that said a thousand things, 270 And seem'd to say them all for me!
I never saw its like before,
But was not half so desolate,
None lived to love me so again,
I knew not, if it late were free,
But knowing well captivity,
Sweet bird ! I could not wish for thine !
A visitant from Paradise : 285 For-Heaven forgive that thought ! the while
Which made me both to weep and smile
But then at last away it flew,
For he would never thus have flown,
Lone—as a solitary cloud,
While all the rest of heaven is clear,
When skies are blue, and earth is gay.
300 A kind of change came in my fate,
My keepers grew compassionate,
But so it was my broken chain 305 With links unfasten'd did remain,
And it was liberty to stride
and down, and then athwart,
Returning where my walk begun,
For if I thought with heedless tread 315 My step profaned their lowly bed,
My breath came gaspingly and thick,
I made a footing in the wall ;
It was not therefrom to escape ; 320 For I had buried one and all,
Who loved me in a human shape ;
No child—no sire—no kin had I, 325 No partner in my misery ;
I thought of this, and I was glad,
311, 312. Returning, avoiding.–Participles unconnected grammatically with any
327. Had made=would have made. Soo 95.
But I was curious to ascend
my barr'd windows, and to bend 330 Once more, upon the mountains high,
The quiet of a loving eye.
I saw them-and they were the same,
I saw their thousand years of snow 335 On high-their wide long lake below,
And the blue Rhone in fullest flow;
I saw the white-wall’d distant town, 340 And whiter sails go skimming down ;
And then there was a little isle, *
The only one in view ;
A small green isle, it seem'd no more, 345 Scarce broader than my dungeon floor,
But in it there were three tall trees,
And on it there were young flowers growing, 350 Of gentle breath and hue.
The fish swam by the castle wall,
Methought he never flew so fast 355 As then to me he seem'd to fly,
And then new tears came in my eye,
* Between the entrances of the Rhone and Villeneuve, not far from Chillon, is a very small island; the only one I could perceive, in my voyage round and over the
lake, within its circumference. It contains a few trees (I think not above three), and from its singleness and diminutive size, has a peculiar effect upon the view.-BYRON.