Tuesday, 12 March 2013

Sonnet Written in York Castle

Sonnet Written in York Castle

During an arbitrary Incarceration of Forty Days, in the autumn of
1846 for “Contempt of Court”

Think not, because a prison’s massive wall
Deprives my body of its liberty,
That stones, and locks, and iron bars call thrall
The scaring mind, which, mounting over all,
Can freely roam o’er each declivity, 5
And mountain-steep through groves, o’er verdant plains,
Visiting scenes of pleasures past or pains;
For tyrants ne’er can keep the soul in chains.
The heart that’s nobly learn’d to soar above
Mere worldly wealth, and rank, and lawless power, 10
Of human life,—the heart that in its love
And all the sensual play-things of the hour
Can comprehend the meanest things that crawls,
Defies all terror of your castle-walls!

George Tweddell
[To be found in the Special Collection, Brotherton library,
Leeds University and included here with kind permission.]

York Castle Prison

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