A Poem by Andrew Marvell
O Who shall, from this Dungeon, raise
A Soul inslav’d so many wayes?
With bolts of Bones, that fetter’d stands
In Feet, and manacled in Hands;
Here blinded with an Eye, and there
Deaf with the drumming of an Ear;
A Soul hung up, as ’twere, in Chains
Of Nerves, and Arteries, and Veins;
Tortur’d, besides each other part,
In a vain Head, and double Heart.
O who shall me deliver whole,
From bonds of this Tyrannic Soul?
Which, stretch’d upright, impales me so
That mine own Precipice I go;
And warms and moves this needless Frame,
(A Fever could but do the same)
And, wanting where its spite to try,
Has made me live to let me die.
A Body that could never rest,
Since this ill Spirit it possest.
What Magic could me thus confine
Within anothers Grief to pine;
Where whatsoever it complain,
I feel, that cannot feel, the pain;
And all my Care its self employs;
That to preserve which me destroys:
Constrain’d not only to indure
Diseases, but, what’s worse, the Cure;
And ready oft the Port to gain,
Am Shipwreck’d into Health again.
But Physic yet could never reach
The Maladies Thou me dost teach;
Whom first the Cramp of Hope does Tear,
And then the Palsie Shakes of Fear;
The Pestilence of Love does heat,
Or Hatred’s hidden Ulcer eat;
Joy’s cheerful Madness does perplex:
Or Sorrow’s other Madness vex;
Which Knowledge forces me to know,
And Memory will not forego.
What but a Soul could have the wit
To build me up for Sin so fit?
So Architects do square and hew,
Green Trees that in the Forest grew.