THOUGHTS in PRISON:
March 18, 1777.
WEEK THE THIRD.
Vain are thy generous efforts, worthy Bull, 
Thy kind compassion's vain! The hour is come:
Stern Fate demands compliance: I must pass
Thro' various deaths, keen torturing, to arrive
At That my heart so fervently implores;
Yet fruitless. Ah! why hides He his fell Front
From woe, from wretchedness, that with glad smiles
Would welcome his approach; and Tyrant-like,
Delights to dash the jocund roseate cup
From the full hand of gaudy Luxury,
And unsuspecting Ease!--Far worse than Death
That Prison's Entrance, whose Idea chills
With freezing horror all my curdling blood;
Whose very Name, stamping with infamy,
Makes my Soul frighted start, in frenzy whirl'd,
And verging near to Madness! See, they ope
Their iron Jaws! See, the vast Gates expand,
Gate after Gate--and in an instant twang,
Clos'd by their growling Keepers:--When again,
Mysterious Powers!--oh when to open on me?
Mercy, sweet Heaven! Support my faltering steps,
Support my sickening heart! My full eyes swim;
O'er all my frame distils a cold damp sweat.
Hark--what a rattling din! On every side
The congregated chains clank frightful:--Throngs
Tumultuous press around, to view, to gaze
Upon the wretched stranger; scarce believ'd
Other than a Visitor within such walls,
With Mercy, and with Freedom in his hands.
Alas, how chang'd!--Sons of Confinement, see
No pitying Deliverer; but a Wretch
O'erwelm'd with Misery; more hapless far
Than the most hapless 'mongst ye; loaded hard
With Guilt's oppressive Irons! His are chains
No time can loosen, and no hand unbind:
Fetters, which gore the Soul. Oh Horror, Horror!
Ye massive bolts, give way! Ye sullen doors,
Ah, open quick! and from this clamorous rout,
Close in my dismal, lone, allotted room
Shrowd me;--for ever shrowd from human sight,
And make it, if 'tis possible, my Grave!
How truly welcome, then! Then would I greet
With hallow'd joy the drear, but blest abode;
And deem it far the happiest I have known,
The best I e'er inhabited. But, alas!
There's no such mercy for me. I must run
Misery's extremest round; and this must be
Awhile my living grave! the doleful tomb,
Sad sounding with my unremitted groans,
And moisten'd with the bitterness of tears!
Ah, mournful dwelling! destin'd ne'er to see
The human face divine in placid smiles,
And innocent gladness cloth'd: destin'd to hear
No sounds of genial, heart-reviving Joy!
The Sons of Sorrows only are thy guests,
And thine the only music of their sighs,
Thick sobbing from the tempest of their breasts!
Ah, mournful dwelling! never hast thou seen,
Amidst the numerous wretched-ones immur'd
Within thy stone-girt compass, wretch so sunk,
So lost, so ruin'd, as the man who falls
Thus, in deep anguish, on thy ruthless floor,
And bathes it with the torrent of his tears!
And can it be? or is it all a dream?
A vapour of the mind?--I scarce believe
Myself awake or acting. Sudden thus
Am I--so compass'd round with comforts late,
Health, Freedom, Peace! torn, torn from all, and lost!
A Prisoner in------Impossible! I sleep:
'Tis Fancy's coinage; 'tis a dream's delusion.
Vain dream! vain Fancy! Quickly am I rous'd
To all the dire reality's distress:
I tremble, start, and feel myself awake,
Dreadfully awake to all my woes; and roll
From wave to wave on Sorrow's ocean tost!
Oh for a moment's pause,--a moment's rest,
To calm my hurried spirits! to recall
Reflection's staggering pilot to the helm,
And still the maddening whirlwind in my soul!
--It cannot be! The din increases round:
Rough voices rage discordant; dreadful shrieks!
Hoarse imprecations dare the Thunderer's ire,
And call down swift damnation! Thousand chains
In dismal notes clink, mirthful! Roaring bursts
Of loud obstreperous laughter, and strange choirs
Of gutturals, dissonant and rueful, vex
E'en the dull ear of Midnight! Neither rest,
Nor peaceful calm, nor silence of the mind,
Refreshment sweet! nor interval or pause
From morn to eve, from eve to morn is found
Amidst the surges of this troubled sea! 
So, from the Leman Lake th' impetuous Rhone
His blue waves pushes rapid; and bears down
(Furiate to meet Saone's pellucid stream,
With roar tremendous, thro' the craggy streights
Of Alpine rocks) his freight of waters wild!
Still rushing in perturbed eddies on;
And still, from hour to hour, from age to age,
In conflux vast and unremitting, pours
His boisterous flood to old Lugdunum's walls!
Oh my rack'd brain--oh my distracted heart!
The tumult thickens: wild disorder grows
More painfully confus'd!----And can it be?
Is this the mansion--this the House ordain'd
For Recollection's solemn purpose?--This
The place from whence full many a flitting soul
(The work of deep Repentence--mighty work,
Still, still to be perform'd) must mount to God,
And give its dread account! Is this the place
Ordain'd by Justice, to confine awhile
The foe to civil order, and return
Reform'd and moraliz'd to social life!
This Den of drear confusion, wild uproar,
Of mingled Riot, and unblushing Vice!
This School of Infamy! from whence, improv'd
In every hardy villainy, returns
More harden'd, more a foe to God and Man,
The miscreant, nurs'd in its infectious lap;
All cover'd with its pestilential spots,
And breathing death and poison wheresoe'er
He stalks contagious! from the lion's den
A lion more ferocious, as confin'd!
Britons, while sailing in the golden barge
Of giddy Dissipation, on the stream,
Smooth silver stream of gorgeous Luxury,
Boast gaily--and for Ages may they boast,
And truly! for through Ages we may trust
'Twill interpose between our crimes and God,
And turn away his just avenging scourge--
"The National Humanity!" Hither then,
Ye Sons of Pity, and ye Sons of Thought!--
Whether by public zeal, and patriot love,
Or by Compassion's gentle stirrings wrought,
Oh hither come, and find sufficient scope
For all the Patriot's, all the Christian's search!
Some great, some salutary plan to frame,
Turning confinement's curses into good;
And, like the God who but rebukes to save,
Extracting comfort from Correction's stroke!
Why do we punish? Why do penal laws
Coercive, by tremendous sanctions bind
Offending Mortals?--Justice on her throne
Rigid on this hand to Example points;
More mild to Reformation upon that:
--She balances, and finds no ends but these.
Crowd then, along with yonder revel-rout,
To Exemplary Punishment! and mark
The language of the multitude, obscene,
Wild, blasphemous, and cruel! Tent their Looks
Of madding, drunken, thoughtless, ruthless gaze,
Or giddy curiosity and vain!
Their Deeds still more emphatic, note; and see,
By the sad spectacle unimpress'd, they dare
Even in the eye of death, what to their doom
Brought their expiring Fellows! Learn we hence,
How to Example's salutary end
Our Justice sagely ministers! But one,--
Should there be one--thrice hapless,--of a mind
By guilt unharden'd, and above the throng
Of desperate miscreants, thro' repeated crimes
In stupor lull'd, and lost to every sense;--
Ah me, the sad reverse!--should there be one
Of generous feelings; whom remorseless Fate,
Pallid Necessity, or chill Distress,
The Family's urgent call, or just demand
Of honest Creditor,--(solicitudes
To reckless, pamper'd worldlings all unknown)
Should there be one, whose trembling, frighted hand
Causes like these in temporary guilt,
Abhorrent to his inmost soul, have plung'd,
And made obnoxious to the rigid Law!
Sentenc'd to pay,--and, wearied with its weight,
Well-pleas'd to pay with life that Law's demand!
Awful Dispensers of strict Justice, say,
Would you have more than life? or, in an Age,
A Country, where Humanity reverts
At Torture's bare idea, would you tear
Worse than on racking wheels a Soul like This;
And make him to the stupid Crowd a gaze
For lingering hours?--drag him along to death
An useless spectacle; and more than flay
Your living victim?--Death is your demand:
Death your Law's sentence: then this Life is yours,
Take the just forfeit; you can claim no more!
Foe to thy Infidelity,--and griev'd
That He avows not, from the Christian source,
The first great Christian Duty, which so well,
So forcible He paints!--Yet let me greet
With heart-felt gratulations thy warm zeal,
Successful in that sacred duty's cause,
The cause of our Humanity, Voltaire!
Torture's vile Agents trembling at thy pen:
Intolerance and Persecution gnash
Their teeth, despairing, at the lucid rays
Of Truth all-prevalent, beaming from thy page.
The Rack, the Wheel, the Dungeon, and the Flame,
In happier Europe useless and unknown,
Shall soon,--oh speed the hour, Compassion's God!
Be seen no more; or seen as prodigies,
Scarce credited, of Gothic barbarous times.
Ah, gallant France! for milder manners fam'd;
How wrung it my sad Soul, to view expos'd
On instruments of torture mangled limbs,
And bleeding carcases, beside thy roads,
Thy beauteous woods and avenues! Fam'd works,
And worthy well the grandeur of old Rome!
We too, who boast of gentler Laws, reform'd
And civiliz'd by Liberty's kind hand;
Of Mercy boast, and mildest punishments:
Yet punishments of Torture exquisite,
And idle;--painful, ruinous parade!
We too, with Europe humaniz'ed, shall drop
The barbarous severity of Death,
Example's Bane, not Profit;--shall abridge
The savage, base Ovation; shall assign
The Wretch, whose Life is forfeit to the Laws,
With all the silent dignity of woe,
With all the mournful Majesty of Death,
Retir'd and solemn, to his awful fate!
Shall to the dreadful moment, moment still
To Souls best fitted, give distinction due;
Teach the well-order'd Sufferer to depart
With each impression serious; nor insult
With clamorous Crowds, and exultations base,
A Soul, a Fellow-Soul; which stands prepar'd
On Time's dread verge to take its wondrous flight
To Realms of Immortality! Yes, the day
--I joy in the idea,--will arrive,
When Britons philanthropic shall reject
The cruel custom, to the Sufferer cruel,
Useless and baneful to the gaping Crowd!
The day will come, when Life, the dearest Price
Man can pay down, sufficient forfeit deem'd
For guilty Man's transgression of the Law,
Shall be paid down, as meet for such a Price,
Respectful, sad; with reverence to a Soul's
Departure hence; with reverence to the Soul's
And Body's separation, much-lov'd Friends!
Without a torture to augment its loss,
Without an insult to molest its calm;
To the demanded debt no fell account
Of curious, hissing ignominy annex'd:
Anguish, beyond the bitterest torture keen;
Unparallel'd in Realms where Bigotry
Gives to the furious Sons of Dominic
Her sable flag, and marks their way with Blood.
Hail, milder Sons of Athens! civiliz'd
By Arts ingenuous, by the 'suasive power
Of humanizing Science! Well ye thought,
Like you may Britons think! that 'twas enough,
The sentence pass'd, a Socrates should die!
The Sage, obedient to the Law's decree,
Took from the weeping Executioner
The draught, resign'd: Amidst his sorrowing friends,
Full of immortal hopes convers'd sublime;
And, half in Heaven--compos'ed himself, and died!
Oh envied fate! oh happiness supreme!
So let me die; so, 'midst my weeping friends,
Resign my Life! I ask not the delay
Ev'n of a moment. Law, thou'dst have thy due!
Nor Thou, nor Justice, can have more to claim.
But equal Laws, on Truth and Reason built,
Look to Humanity with lenient eye,
And temper rigid Justice with the claims
Of heaven-descended Mercy! to condemn
Sorrowing and slow; while studious to correct,
Like Man's all-gracious Parent, with the view
Benign and laudable, of moral good,
And Reformation perfect. Hither then,
Ye Sons of Sympathy, of Wisdom; Friends
To Order, to Compassion, to the State,
And to your Fellow Beings; hither come,
To this wild Realm of Uproar! hither haste,
And see the Reformation, see the good
Wrought by Confinement in a Den like this!
View, with unblushing front, undaunted heart,
The callous Harlot in the open day
Administer her poisons 'midst a rout
Scarcely less bold or poison'd than herself!
View, and with eyes that will not hold the tear
In gentle pity gushing for such griefs,--
View, the young Wretch, as yet unfledg'd in vice,
Just shackled here, and by the veteran Throng,
In every infamy and every crime
Grey and insulting, quickly taught to dare,
Harden'd like them in Guilt's opprobrious school!
Each bashful sentiment, incipient grace,
Each yet remorseful thought of Right and Wrong
Murder'd and buried in his darken'd heart!--
Hear how those Veterans clank,--ev'n jovial clank
--Such is obduracy in vice,--their chains! 
Hear, how with Curses hoarse, and Vauntings bold,
Each spirits up, encourages and dares
His desperate Fellow to more desperate Proofs
Of future hardy enterprize; to plans
Of Death and Ruin! Not exulting more
Heroes or Chiefs for noble Acts renown'd,
Holding high converse, mutually relate
Gallant Achievements worthy; than the Sons
Of Plunder and of Rapine here recount
On peaceful life their devastations wild;
Their dangers, hair-breadth 'scapes, atrocious Feats,
Confederate, and confederating still
In schemes of deathful horror! Who, surpris'd,
Can such effects contemplate, upon minds
Estrang'd to good; fermenting on the lees
Of pregnant ill; associate and combin'd
In intercourse infernal, restless, dire;
And goading constant each to other's thoughts
To Deeds of Desperation from the Tale
Of vaunted Infamy oft told; sad fruit
Of the Mind's vacancy!----And to that Mind
Employment none is offer'd: Not an hour
To secret recollection is assign'd;
No seasonable sound instruction brought,
Food for their thoughts, self-gnawing. Not the Day
To Rest and Duty dedicate, finds here
Or Rest or Duty; revel'd off, unmark'd;
Or like the others undistinguish'd, save
By Riot's roar, and self-consuming sloth!
For useful occupation none is found,
Benevolent t' employ their listless hands,
With indolence fatigued! Thus every day
Anew they gather Guilt's corrosive rust;
Each wretched day accumulates fresh ills;
And, horribly advanc'd, flagitious grown
From faulty, they go forth, tenfold of Hell
More the devoted Children: to the State
Tenfold more dangerous and envenom'd Foes
Than first they enter'd this improving School!
So, cag'd and scanty fed, or taught to rage
By taunting insults, more ferocious burst
On Man the tiger or hyena race
From fell confinement, and with hunger ur'gd,
Gnash their dire fangs, and drench themselves in blood.
But should the Felon fierce, th' abandon'd Train
Whose inroads on the human peace forbid,
Almost forbid Compassion's mild regard;
(Yet, ah! what man with fellow-men can fall
So low, as not to claim soft Pity's care?)
Should these aught justify the rigid voice,
Which to severe confinement's durance dooms
Infallible the body and the soul
To bitterest, surest ruin: Shall we not
With generous indignation execrate
The cruel, indiscriminating Law,
Which turns Misfortune into guilt and curse;
And with the Felon hardn'd in his crimes
Ranks the poor hapless Debtor?--Debt's not guilt:
Alas! the worthiest may incur the stroke
Of worldly infelicity! What man,
How high soe'er he builds his earthly nest,
Can claim security from Fortune's change,
Or boast him of to-morrow? Of the East
Greatest and chief, lo! humbled in the dust,
Sits Job--the sport of Misery! Wealthiest late
Of all blest Araby's most wealthy sons,
He wants a potsherd now to scrape his wounds;
He wants a bed to shrowd his tortur'd limbs,
And only finds a dunghill! Creditor
Would'st thou add sorrows to this sorrowing man?
Tear him from ev'n his dunghill, and confine
'Midst recreant felons in a British Jail?--
Oh British inhumanity! Ye climes,
Ye foreign climes--Be not the truth proclaim'd
Within your streets, nor be it heard or told;
Lest ye retort the cruelty we urge,
And scorn the boasted mildness of our Laws!
Blest be the hour,--amidst my depth of woe,
Amidst this perturbation of my soul,
God of my life, I can, I will exult!--
Blest be the hour, that to my humble thought
Thy Spirit, sacred source of every good,
Brought the sublime idea, to expand
By Charity, the Angel's grace divine,
The rude, relentless, iron prison-gates,
And give the pining Debtor to the world,
His weeping family, and humble home!
Blest be the hour, when, heedful to my voice
Bearing the Prisoners' sad sighs to their ears,
Thousands, with soft commiseration touch'd,
Delighted to go forth, and visit glad
Those Prisoners in their woe, and set them free!
God of the Merciful! Thou hast announc'd
On Mercy, thy first, dearest attribute,
Chosen beatitude! Oh pour the dew,
The fostering dew of Mercy on their gifts,
Their rich donations grateful! May the prayers
Of those enfranchis'd by their bounteous zeal
Arise propitious for them! and, when hears'd
In Death's cold arms this hapless frame shall lie,
--The generous tear, perchance, not quite withheld;--
When friendly Memory to reflection brings
My humble efforts, and my mournful fate;
On stable basis founded, may the work
Diffuse its good through Ages! nor with-hold
Its rescuing influence, till the hour arrives,
When Wants, and Debts, and Sickness are no more;
And universal Freedom blesseth all!
But, till that hour, on Reformation's plan,
Ye generous Sons of Sympathy, intent,
Boldly stand forth! The cause may well demand,
And justify full well your noblest zeal.
Religion, Policy, your Country's good,
And Christian Pity for the souls of men,
To Prisons call you; call to cleanse away
The filth of these foul dens; to purge from guilt,
And turn them to Morality's fair school.
Nor deem impossible the great attempt,
Augean tho' it seem: yet not beyond
The strength of those, that, like Alcides, aim
High to be rank'd amidst the godlike Few,
Who shine eternal on Fame's amplest roll:
Honour'd with Titles, far beyond the first
Which proudest Monarchs of the Globe can give:
"Saviours and Benefactors of Mankind!"
Hail generous Hanway! To thy noble plan,
Sage sympathetic, 
let the Muse subscribe
Rejoicing! In the kind pursuit, good luck
She wisheth thee, and honour! Could her strain
Embellish aught, or aught assist thy toils
Benevolent, 'twould cheer her lonely hours,
And ma[k]e the dungeon smile. But toils like thine
Need no embellishment; need not the aid
Of Muse or feeble Verse. Reason-approv'd
And Charity-sustain'd, firm will they stand,
Under His sanction, who on Mercy's works
E'er looks complacent; and his sons on earth,
His chosen sons, with angel-zeal inspires
To plan, and to support. And thine, well-planned,
Shall be supported. Pity for thy brow,
With Policy the sage, shall shortly twine
The garland, worthier far than that of oak,
So fam'd in ancient Rome--the meed of him
Who sav'd a single citizen. More bless'd
Religion mild, with gentle Mercy join'd,
Shall hail thee--for the Citizens, the Souls
Innumerous restor'd to God, the State,
Themselves, and social life, by Solitude;
Devotion's parent, Recollection's nurse,
Source of Repentance true; of the Mind's wounds
The deepest prober, but the fastest cure! 
Hail, sacred Solitude! These are thy works,
True source of good supreme! Thy blest effects
Already on my Mind's delighted eye
Open beneficent. Ev'n now I view
The revel-rout dispers'd; each to his cell
Admitted, silent! The obstreperous cries,
Worse than infernal yells; the clank of chains--
Opprobrious chains, to Man severe disgrace,
Hush'd in calm order, vex the ears no more!
While, in their stead, Reflection's deep-drawn sighs,
And prayers of humble penitence are heard,
To Heaven well-pleasing, in soft whispers round!
No more, 'midst wanton idleness, the hours
Drag wearisome and slow: Kind Industry
Gives wings and weight to every moment's speed;
Each minute marking with a golden thread
Of moral profit. Harden'd Vice no more
Communicates its poison to the souls
Of young associates, nor diffuses wide
A pestilential taint. Still Thought pervades
The inmost heart: Instruction aids the Thought;
And blest Religion with life-giving ray
Shines on the mind sequester'd in its gloom;
Disclosing glad the golden gates, thro' which
Repentance, led by Faith, may tread the courts
Of Peace and Reformation! Cheer'd and chang'd,
--His happy days of quarantine perform'd--
Lo! from his solitude the Captive comes
New-born, and opes once more his grateful eyes
On day, on life, on man! a fellow man!
Hail, sacred Solitude! From thee alone
Flow these high blessings. Nor be't deem'd severe,--
Such sequestration; destin'd to retrieve
The mental lapse; and to its powers restore
The Heaven-born Soul, encrusted with foul guilt:
'Tis tenderest Mercy, 'tis Humanity
Yearning with kindliest softness: while her arm
From ruin plucks, effectuates the release,
And gives a ranson'd Man to Earth--to Heaven!
To the sick Patient, struggling in the jaws
Of obstinate Disease, e'er knew we yet
Grateful and pleasing from Physician's hand
The rough, but salutary Draught?--For That
Do we withhold the Draught? and, falsely kind,
Hang sighing o'er our Friend,--allow'd to toss
On the hot Fever's bed, rave on, and die,
Unmedicined, unreliev'd? But, Sages, say,
Where is the Medicine! Who will prescribe a cure,
Or adequate to this corroding ill,
Or in its operation milder found?
See, on old Thame's waves indignant ride,
In sullen terror, yonder sable Bark,
By State-Physicians lately launch'd, and hight
Dove-eyed Pity, if thou
That Bark ascend with me; and let us learn
How, temper'd with her Sister Mercy, there
Reigns Justice; and, effective to the ill
Inveterate grown, her lenient aid supplies.
And rolls this Bark on Thames's generous Flood--
Flood that wafts Freedom, wafts the high-born Sons
Of gallant Liberty to every Land?
See the chain'd Britons, fetter'd Man by Man!
See, in the stifled Hold--excluded whence
Man's common blessing, Air, ne'er freely breathes--
They mingle, crowded!--To our pamper'd steeds
Inferior how in Lodging! Tainted food
And poison'd fumes their life-springs stagnate rank;
They reel aloft for breath: Their tottering limbs
Bend weak beneath the burden of a frame
Corrupted, burning; with blue feverous spots
Contagious; and, unequal to the toil,
Urg'd by Task-masters vehement, severe,
On the chill Sand-bank!--by despair and pain
Worn down and wearied, Some their Being curse,
And die, devoting to destruction's rage
Society's whole race detested! Some,
More mild, gasp out in agonies of soul
Their loath'd existence; which nor Physick's aid,
Nor sweet Religion's interposing smile,
Soothes with one ray of Comfort! Gracious God!
And this is Mercy!--Thus, from sentenc'd death
Britons in pity respite, to restore
And moralize Mankind! Correction this,
Just Heaven! design'd for Reformation's end!
Ye Slaves, that bred in Tyranny's Domains
Toil at the Gallies, how supremely blest,
How exquisite your Lot (so much deplor'd
By haughty Sons of Freedom) to the fate
Experienc'd hourly by her free-born Sons,
In our Britannia's vaunted residence; 
Sole, chosen Residence of Faith refin'd,
And genuine Liberty! Ye Senators,
Ye venerable Sages of the Law,
In just resentment for your Country's fame,
Wipe off this contradictory reproach
To manners, and to policy like yours!
Correct, but to amend: 'Tis God's own plan.
Correct, but to reform; then give to Men
The means of Reformation! Then, restor'd
To Recollection, to Himself, to God,
The Criminal will bless your saving hand;
And, brought to Reason, to Religion brought,
Will own that Solitude, as solely apt
For work so solemn, has that work achiev'd,
Miraculous, and perfect of his cure.
Ah me!--to sentiments like these estrang'd,
Estrang'd, as ignorant,--and never pent
Till this sad chance within a Prison's wall;
With what deep force, experienc'd, can I urge
The truths momentous! How their power I feel
In this My Solitude, in this lone hour,
This melancholy midnight hour of thought,
Encircled with th' unhappy! firmly clos'd
Each barricaded door; and left, just God!
Oh Blessing--left to pensiveness and Thee!
To Me how high a Blessing! Nor contains
Seclusion aught of punishment: To mix
With Wretches here were punishment indeed!
How dread a punishment!--In Life's best days,
Of all most chosen, valued and belov'd,
Was soft Retirement's season! From Youth's dawn
To solitude inur'd, "Ne'er less alone
"Than when alone," with Him so truly fam'd
In Wisdom's School, my Heart could ever beat
Glad unison. To Meditation's charms,
Pleas'd Votary, how have pass'd my sweetest Hours
In her secrete and calm society!
Still Meditation! Solitude's fair Child,
Man's dearest Friend!--O happy be the time
That introduc'd me to the hallow'd Train;
That taught me, thro' thy genial Lessons sage,
My best, my truest Dignity to place
In Thought, Reflection deep, and studious Search,
Divinest Recreations of the Mind!
Oh, happy be the Day, which gave that Mind
Learning's first tincture! Blest thy fostering care,
Thou most belov'd of Parents, worthiest Sire!
Which, taste-inspiring, made the letter'd Page
My favourite companion: most esteem'd,
And most improving! Almost from the Day
Of earliest Childhood to the present Hour
Of gloomy, black misfortune, Books, dear Books,
Have been, and are, my comforts. Morn and Night,
Adversity, Prosperity, at Home,
Abroad, Health, Sickness,--good or ill Report,
The same firm Friends; the same refreshment rich,
And source of consolation! Nay, ev'n here
Their magic power they lose not: Still the same,
Of matchless influence in this Prison-house,
Unutterably horrid; in an Hour
Of Woe, beyond all Fancy's fictions drear!
Drear Hour!--What is it?--Lost in poignant thought,
Lost in the Retrospection manifold
Of thee, lov'd Study!--and of thee, my Sire,
Who, to the fountain fair of Science led
My infant feet,--I lose all count of Time,
I lose myself. List! 'Tis dread Midnight's hour!
When waking Fancy (with invention wild
By Ages hallow'd) hath to Spirits assign'd
--Spirits of dear departed Friends--to walk
The silent gloom; and bring us from the Dead
Tales harrowing up the Soul aghast!--And, hark!
Solemn and slow the iron tongue of Night
Resounds alarming!--My o'er-harass'd Soul,
Confus'd, is lost in sorrows: Down mine Eyes
Stream the full Tears,! Distress is all alive,
And quick Imagination's pulse beats high!
"Dear Father! is it thou?" Methought his ghost
Glided in silence by me! Not a word,--
While mournfully he shakes his dear pale face!
O stay, thou much lov'd parent! stay, and give
One word of consolation; if allow'd
To Son, like whom so Son hath ever lov'd,
None ever suffer'd! See, it comes again:
August it flits across th' astonish'd room!
I know thee well, thy beauteous image know:
Dear Spirit! stay; and take me to the world
Where thou art! And where thou art, oh my Father!
I must, I must be happy.--Every day
Thou know'st, remembrance hath embalm'd thy love,
And wish'd thy presence. Melancholy thought!
At last to meet thee in a place like this:
Oh stay, and waft me instant--But, 'tis gone,
The dear delusion! He nor hears my words,
My filial anxiety, nor regards
My pleading tears. 'Twas but a coinage vain
Of the distemper'd fancy! Gone, 'tis gone!
And here I'm left a trembling wretch, to weep
Unheard, unpitied left, to weep alone!
Nor thou, Maria, with me! Oh, my Wife!
And is this bitter with the bitterest mix'd;
That I must lose thy heavenly company,
And consolation soothing! Yet, 'tis best:
Thy tenderness, thy presence, doth but wound
And stab to the keenest quick my bursting heart!
"I have undone thee!" Can I then sustain
Thy killing aspect, and that tender tear,
Which secret steals a-down thy lovely face,
Dissembling smiles, to cheer me!--Cheer me, Heavens!
Look on the mighty ruin I have pluck'd,
Pluck'd instant, unsuspected, in the hour
Of Peace and dear Security on her head!
And where--O where can Cheefulness be found?
Mine must be Mourning ever. Oh my Wife,
"I have undone thee!"--What th' infuriate hand
Of foes vindictive could not have achiev'd,
In mercy would not, I have wrought! Thy Husband!
Thy Husband, lov'd with such unshaken truth,
Thy Husband, lov'd with such a steady flame,
From Youth's first hour!--Ev'n He hath on thee pluck'd,
On thee, his Soul's Companion, Life's best Friend,
Such desolation, as to view would draw
From the wild Savage Pity's deepest groan!
Yes, yes, thou coward Mimic! pamper'd Vice!
High praise be sure is thine! Thou hast obtain'd
A worthy triumph! 
Thou hast pierc'd to the quick
A weak, an amiable female heart,
A conjugal heart most faithful, most attach'd:
--Yet can I pardon thee: for, poor Buffoon!
Thy vices must be fed; and thou must live,
Luxurious live, a foe to God and Man;
Commission'd live, thy poison to diffuse,
And taint the Public Virtue with thy Crimes.
Yes, I can pardon thee--low as thou art,
And far too mean an object ev'n of scorn:
For thou her merits knew'st not. Hadst thou known,
Thou,--callous as thou art to every sense
Of human feeling, every nobler touch
Of generous sensibility:--even thou
Could'st not have wanton pierc'd her gentle breast;
But at a distance awful wouldst have stood,
And, like thy Prototype of oldest time,
View'd her just virtues pass in triumph by,
And own'd, howe'er reluctant-----
March 30, 1777
2. END of the THIRD WEEK
 Frederick Bull, Esq. Alderman of London; to
whose kindness and humanity the Author has expressed the highest obligations. BACK
 It is but a just tribute to Mr. Akerman, the
Keeper of this dismal place, to observe, that all the evils here enumerated are the immediate consequences of promiscuous
confinement, and no way chargeable to Mr. A's account. It is from the strictest observation, I am persuaded, that no man
could do more in the present circumstances. His attention is great, and his kindness and humanity to those in sickness or
affliction peculiarly pleasing. I can bear testimony to many signal instances, which I have remarked since my sad
 This circumstance is slightly mentioned Page
; and alludes to a fact equally singular and disgustful. The rattling of their fetters is frequently, and in a wanton
manner, practised amongst some of the worst offenders; as if an amusement, or to shew their insensibility to shame. How
shocking to see Human Nature thus in Ruins! Here it is emphatically so, worse than in Bedlam, as Madness with Reason is
more dreadful than without it! BACK
 See Mr. Hanway's pamphlet, entitled, "Solitude in Imprisonment." BACK
 Vide Taylor's Holy Living and Dying, Part ii,
p. 42. BACK
 The Author seems chiefly to have formed his ideas of the mode of treating
Convicts on the Thames from a late Pamphlet published by Dr. Smith: But we are informed that the evils here complained of
have been already, in a great measure, and we trust will soon be wholly, removed. BACK
 There is a thought in Lucan to the same purpose
"Felices Arabes, Medique, Eoaque Tellus,
"Quam sub perpetuis
tenuerunt Fata tyrannis.
"Ex populis, qui Regna ferunt, Sors ultima nostra est,
Pharsal. Lib. 7. BACK
 Alluding to the character of Mrs. Simony, introduced by Mr. Foote in
his play of The Cozeners. BACK