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In The Prison Pen

Herman Melville 1819 – 1891



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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Submitted on May 13, 2011

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Herman Melville

Herman Melville was an American writer best known for the novel Moby-Dick. more…

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