GENTLE MOON! a Captive calls:
Gentle Moon! awake, arise!
Gild the prison’s sullen walls;
Gild the tears that drown his eyes.
Throw thy veil of clouds aside;
Let those smiles, that light the pole,
Through the liquid Æther glide—
Glide into the mourner’s soul.
Chear his melancholy mind;
Soothe his sorrows, heal his smart:
Let thine influence, pure, refined,
Cool the fever of his heart.
Chace despondency and care,
Fiends that haunt the guilty breast:
Conscious virtue braves despair;
Triumphs most when most oppressed!
Now I feel thy power benign,
Swell my bosom, thrill my veins;
As thy beams the brightest shine,
When the deepest midnight reigns.
Say, fair shepherdess of night!
Who thy starry flock dost lead
Unto rills of living light,
On the blue etherial mead;
At this moment, dose thou see,
From thine elevated sphere,
One kind friend who thinks of me—
Thinks, and drops a feeling tear?
On a brilliant beam convey
This soft whisper to his breast:
“Wipe that generous drop away;
“He for whom it falls is— blest!
“Blest with Freedom Unconfin’d;
“Dungeons cannot hold the Soul:
“Who can chain the immortal Mind?
“—None but HE, who spans the pole.”
Fancy, too, the nimble fairy,
With her subtle magic spell,
In romantic visions airy
Steals the Captive from his cell.
On her moonlight pinions borne.
Far he flies from grief and pain;
Never, never to be torn
From his friends and home again!
Stay, thou dear delusion! stay!
Beauteous bubble! do not break!
— Ah! the pageant flits away!
— Who from such a dream would wake?
York Castle, March 7, 1795.