Verse > Anthologies > Ralph Waldo Emerson, ed. > Parnassus: An Anthology of Poetry
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Ralph Waldo Emerson, comp. (1803–1882).  Parnassus: An Anthology of Poetry.  1880.
 
From The Prisoner of Chillon
By Lord Byron (1788–1824)
 
(See full text.)

I MADE a footing in the wall,
  It was not therefrom to escape,
For I had buried one and all,
  Who loved me in a human shape;
And the whole earth would henceforth be        5
A wider prison unto me:
But I was curious to ascend
To my barred windows, and to bend
Once more upon the mountains high,
The quiet of a loving eye.        10
 
I saw them—and they were the same;
They were not changed like me in frame;
I saw their thousand years of snow
On high,—their wide long lake below,
And the blue Rhone in fullest flow;        15
I heard the torrents leap and gush
O’er channelled rock and broken bush;
I saw the white-walled distant town,
And whiter sails go skimming down;
And then there was a little isle,        20
Which in my very face did smile,
  The only one in view;
A small green isle, it seemed no more,
Scarce broader than my dungeon floor,
But in it there were three tall trees,        25
And o’er it blew the mountain breeze,
And by it there were waters flowing,
And on it there were young flowers growing,
  Of gentle breath and hue.
The fish swam by the castle-wall,        30
And they seemed joyous each and all;
The eagle rode the rising blast;
Methought he never flew so fast
As then to me he seemed to fly,—
And then new tears came in my eye,        35
And I felt troubled,—and would fain
I had not left my recent chain.
 
 
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