The Maniac's Song

There lay in the shade of a cypress tree,
A pilgrim dark from a far country;
His eyes were bright with a subtle flame,
And his brow seem'd scorch'd with woe and shame;
He lay beneath the cypress tree,
And thus to the cold moon chanted he:---

"Roll on, thou glitt'ring eye-ball, roll---
Thou seest the hell of this sinful soul;
So calm, so gentle, and so bright,
Was that lady's brow on her bridal night;
Soon ghastly, dim, and pale its gleam,
As thine shall be at morning's beam.

"My infants gorged the greedy sea,
Into its waves they were cast by me;
The grey-hair'd ones who call'd me child,
Their ghosts are wand'ring the forest wild,
Where their bones unburied lie all green
With ivy, and blue where decay hath been.

"And the spirits of the dead are here---
They gaze from the stars, and they hiss in mine ear,
They bay me, like pitiless bloodhounds, forth,
To wander, like Cain, the blacken'd earth---
To live accurst, and die, and be
Fit vassal, Beelzebub, for thee."

He hath fled from the shade of the cypress tree,
That pilgrim dark from a far country;
He wanders through deserts, but not alone---
The fiend of madness is with him gone;
And Guilt her snakes round his bosom weaves,
Till he longs for the garland of cypress leaves.

Peter John Allan, The Poetical Remains of Peter John Allan, Esq., Late of Fredericton, New Brunswick, 1853

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