Moonlight

I.

Gentle Moon! A Captive calls;

Gentle Moon! Awake, arise!

Gild the prison’s sullen walls;

Gild the tears that drown his eyes.

II.

Throw thy veil of clouds aside;

Let those smiles, that light the pole,

Through the liquid ether glide –

Glide into the mourner’s soul.

III.

Cheer his melancholy mind;

Sooth his sorrows, heal his smart:

Let thine influence, pure, refined,

Cool the fever of his heart.

IV.

Chance despondency and care,

Fiends that haunt the guilty breast:

Conscious virtue braves despair;

Triumphs most when mist oppressed!

V.

Now I feel thy power benign,

Swell my bosom, thrill my veins;

As thy beams the brightest shine,

When the deepest midnight reigns.

VI.

Say, fair shepherds of night!

Wo thy starry flock dost lead

Unto rills of living light,

On the blue ethereal mead;

VII.

At this moment, dost thou see,

From thine elevated sphere,

One kind friend who thinks of me –

Thinks and drops a feeling tear?

VIII.

On a brilliant beam convey

This soft whisper to his breast:

“Wipe that generous drop away;

He for whom it falls is – blest!

IX.

“Blest with freedom unconfined;

Dungeons cannot hold the  soul:

Who can chain the immortal mind?

– None but he, who spans the pole.”

X.

Fancy, too, the nimble fairy,

With her subtle magic spell,

In romantic visions airy

Steals the captive from his cell.

XI.

On her moonlight pinions borne,

Far he flies from grief and pain;

Never, never to be torn

From his friends and home again!

XII.

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.

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