Sagas of Vaster Britain: Poems of the Race, the Empire and the Divinity of Man

by William Wilfred Campbell


 

CAPTIVITY


 

THOU, O my soul,
Thou art as an eagle
Caged in this agonised
    Iron of earth’s gloom;
Evermore beating
5
At these confining,
Effort-confounding,
    Bars of thy doom.

Evermore chafing,
Restless and longing,

10
For those far rose-peaks,
    Splendid, of light;—
That large sky-vista,
That unfettered freedom,
    Wide for thy flight.
15

Here thou art caged,
Thy hooded eye darkened,
Thy soaring wings wounded,
    Thy splendour curbed fast;
That somewhere and sometime,
20
Erstwhile enfranchised,
Met the red sunlance,
    Measured the vast.

Here in thy prison
Of fettered contumely,

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Environ ignoble,
    All high effort wronging;
Thou canst never soar to
Those vasts of the sunlit,
    Far heights of thy longing.
30

But thou, O my soul,
Out of these cage-bars,
Forth to thy freedom,
    Unshackled, alone,
Thou wilt go outward,
35
Skyward and sunward,
Vastward and strengthward,
    Back to thine own.

Where on those far-peaks,
Thou with thy kindred,

40
Kinglike and soaring,
    Eyeing the sun;
Thou wilt drink deep of that
Vastness and glory,
    Where sky-winds run.
45

Forgetting this life-curbed,
Prisoned, flesh-shackled,
Earth-enmanacled
    Thing that thou wast;—
There in thine eyrie,
50
Thou wilt regain thee
All thou hast longed for,
    All thou hast lost.