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 meagerness.
- by Herman Melville (1819 - 1891), "In the prison pen", written 1864, appears in Battle-Pieces and Aspects of the War, first published 1866 [author's text checked 1 time against a primary source]
Musical settings (art songs, Lieder, mélodies, (etc.), choral pieces, and other vocal works set to this text), listed by composer (not necessarily exhaustive)
- by Paul Phillips , "In the prison pen", 2011, first performed 2011 [baritone and piano or orchestra], from Battle-Pieces, no. 4, Barnard Street Music [text verified 1 time]
Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]
This text was added to the website: 2014-07-12
Line count: 20
Word count: 121