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When free from this error I thrill with the terror,
(Thought horrid to dwell on!)
That the wretch whom they cherish may shamefully
Be publicly gibbetted, branded, exhibited,
As a murderous felon !
O punishment hellish! the house I embellish
From centre to corner upbraids its adorner,
A door's lowest creaking swells into a shrieking,
Against me each column bears evidence solemn,
Each statue 's a Nemesis.
They follow, infest me, they strive to arrest me,
Till in terrified sadness that verges on madness,
I rush from the premises.
The country's amenity brings no serenity.
There is not
bird or beast but cries-“ Murder !
There goes the offender!
Dog him, waylay him, encompass him, stay him,
And make him surrender !"
My flower-beds splendid seem eyes blood-distended,
Drive me hither and thither.
I would forfeit most gladly wealth stolen so madly,
Quitting grandeur and revelry to fly from this devilry,
But whither-0 whither:
Hence idle delusions! bence fears and confusions !
Not a single friend's severance lessens men’s reverence,
No neighbour of rank quits my sumptuous banquets
Without lauding their donor;
Throughout the wide county I'm famed for my bounty,
All hold me in honour.
Let the dotard and craven by fear be enslaven.
They have vanish'd! How fast fly these images ghastly,
When in firm self-reliance,
You determine on treating the brain's sickly cheating,
With scorn and defiance !
Ha ha! I am fearless henceforward and tearless,
No coinage of fancy, no dream's necromancy
'Tis the shriek soul-appalling he utter'd when falling!
By day thus affrighted,' 'tis worse when benighted;
With the clock's midnight boom, from the church on his
There comes a sharp screaming too fearful for dreaming;
Bone fingers unholy draw the foot curtains slowly,
O God! how they stare at me, flare at me, glare at
Those eyes of a Gorgon! !
Beneath the clothes sinking with shuddering shrinking,
A mental orgasm and bodily spasm
Convulse every organ.
Nerves a thousand times stronger could bear it no longer.
Grief, sickness, compunction, dismay in conjunction, Nights and days ghost-prolific, more grim and terrific
Than judges and juries,
Make the heart writhe and falter more than gibbet and
Arrest me, secure me, seize, handcuff, immure me!
I own my transgression-will make full confession,
Quick-quick! Let me plunge in some dark-vaulted dun
Where, tho' tried and death-fated, I may not be baited
By devils and furies !
[Written under Windsor Terrace, the day after the Funeral of
George the Third.]
I saw him last on this Terrace proud,
Walking in health and gladness,
Begirt with his Court; and in all the crowd
Not a single look of sadness.
Bright was the sun, and the leaves were green,
Blithely the birds were singing,
The cymbal replied to the tambourine,
And the bells were merrily ringing.
I have stood with the crowd beside his bier,
When not a word was spoken;
But every eye was dim with a tear,
And the silence by sobs was broken.