Daily Whitman


The Singer in the Prison

  The sun was low in the west one winter day,
  When down a narrow aisle amid the thieves and outlaws of the land,
  (There by the hundreds seated, sear-faced murderers, wily counterfeiters,
  Gather'd to Sunday church in prison walls, the keepers round,
  Plenteous, well-armed, watching with vigilant eyes,)
  Calmly a lady walk'd holding a little innocent child by either hand,
  Whom seating on their stools beside her on the platform,
  She, first preluding with the instrument a low and musical prelude,
  In voice surpassing all, sang forth a quaint old hymn.

       A soul confined by bars and bands,
       Cries, help! O help! and wrings her hands,
       Blinded her eyes, bleeding her breast,
       Nor pardon finds, nor balm of rest.

       Ceaseless she paces to and fro,
       O heart-sick days! O nights of woe!
       Nor hand of friend, nor loving face,
       Nor favor comes, nor word of grace.

       It was not I that sinn'd the sin,
       The ruthless body dragg'd me in;
       Though long I strove courageously,
       The body was too much for me.

       Dear prison'd soul bear up a space,
       For soon or late the certain grace;
       To set thee free and bear thee home,
       The heavenly pardoner death shall come.

          Convict no more, nor shame, nor dole!
          Depart—a God-enfranchis'd soul!

Posted on 15/04/2015, in literature, poetry and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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