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William Stanley Braithwaite, ed. The Book of Georgian Verse. 1909.

Sonnet on Chillon

Lord Byron (1788–1824)

ETERNAL Spirit of the chainless Mind!

Brightest in dungeons, Liberty! thou art,

For there thy habitation is the heart—

The heart which love of thee alone can bind;

And when thy sons to fetters are consign’d—

To fetters, and the damp vault’s dayless gloom,

Their country conquers with their martyrdom,

And Freedom’s fame finds wings on every wind.

Chillon! thy prison is a holy place,

And thy sad floor an altar—for’t was trod,

Until his very steps have left a trace

Worn, as if thy cold pavement were a sod,

By Bonnivard! May none those marks efface!

For they appeal from tyranny to God.