In The Prison Pen



Listless he eyes the palisades
  And sentries in the glare;
'Tis barren as a pelican-beach
  But his world is ended there.
Nothing to do; and vacant hands
  Bring on the idiot-pain;
He tries to think—to recollect,
  But the blur is on his brain.
Around him swarm the plaining ghosts
  Like those on Virgil's shore—
A wilderness of faces dim,
  And pale ones gashed and hoar.
A smiting sun. No shed, no tree;
  He totters to his lair—
A den that sick hands dug in earth
  Ere famine wasted there,
Or, dropping in his place, he swoons,
  Walled in by throngs that press,
Till forth from the throngs they bear
    him dead—
  Dead in his meagreness.


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