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A light broke in upon my brain,—

It was the carol of a bird;
It ceased, and then it came again,

The sweetest song ear ever heard,
And mine was thankful till my eyes
Ran over with the glad surprise,
And they that moment could not see
I was the mate of misery;
But then by dull degrees came back
My senses to their wonted track, 260
I saw the dungeon walls and floor
Close slowly round me as'before,
I saw the glimmer of the sun
Creeping as it before had done,
But through the crevice where it came
That bird was perch'd, as fond and tame,

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And tamer than upon the tree;
A lovely bird, with azure wings,
And song that said a thousand things,

And seem'd to say them all for me!
I never saw its like before,
I ne'er shall see its likeness more:
It seem'd like me to want a mate,
But was not half so desolate,
And it was come to love me when
None lived to love me so again,
And cheering from my dungeon's brink,
Had brought me back to feel and think.
I know not if it late were free,

Or broke its cage to perch on mine, But knowing well captivity,

Sweet bird! I could not wish for thine Or if it were, in winged guise, A visitant from Paradise;

For—Heaven forgive that thought! the while

Which made me hoth to weep and smile;

I sometimes deemed that it might be

My brother's soul come down to me;

But then at last away it flew,

And then 'twas mortal—well I knew, 2CK)

For he would never thus have flown,

And left me twice so doubly lone,—

Lone—as the corse within its shroud,

Lone—as a solitary cloud,

A single cloud on a sunny day,
While all the rest of heaven is clear,
A frown upon the atmosphere,
That hath no business to appear

When skies are blue, and earth is gay.


A kind of change came in my fate, 300

My keepers grew compassionate,

I know not what had made them so,

They were inured to sights of woe,

But so it was:—my broken chain

With links unfasten'd did remain,

And it was liberty to stride

Along my cell from side to side,

And up and down, and then athwart,

And tread it over every part;

And round the pillars one by one, 310

Returning where my walk begun,

Avoiding only, as 1 trod,

My brothers' graves without a sod;

For if I thought with heedless tread

My step profaned their lowly bed,

My breath came gaspingly and thick. And my crush'd heart fell blind and sick.


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 A wider prison unto me: No child—no sire—no kin had I, No partner in my misery; I thought of this, and I was glad, For thought of them had made me mad; But I was curious to ascend To my barr'd windows, and to bend Once more, upon the mountains high, The quiet of a loving eye.

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