The Condemned.

Child of guilt !  thou art destined to die1
Far away from the good and the brave ;2
Ev’n thy limbs shall not mouldering lie3
In the dark silent depths of the grave.4
I can number the threads of thy fate,5
And the moments thy life has to run ;6
Short the space from thy slumbering state,7
To the sleep which no mortal can shun.8
Thou shalt wake to thy funeral knell9
When it vibrates around thy lone bed ;10
Thou shalt cling to each note of the bell11
As it tolls to the living and dead.12
What to thee !  that on high the sun beams,13
Shedding gladness with freshness and light ;14
That the day through thy prison grate streams15
To thy cell’s dreary moisture and night !16
What to thee !  that all Nature is gay17
From the kiss of the morn’s fragrant breath ;18
What to thee !  that the season is May,—19
Thou art bound as a bridegroom to death !20
If the meadows are blooming in pride,21
And the groves rich in foliage and song,22
To thy soul ev’ry charm is denied,23
To thine eye all in Nature is wrong.24
All the space of creation’s domain25
Could to thee not a refuge impart,26
From the shame and the merciless pain27
Of thine outcast and desolate heart.28
See the tears deeply furrow thy face,29
While thy thoughts wild and feverish roam30
Through the deep burning tracks of disgrace,31
O’er the past, to thine infancy’s home.32
To that home, where true happiness flow’d33
Almost pure, as the bliss from above ;34
Where a mother’s fond bosom bestow’d35
All the shelter of virtue and love.36
When the smile on thine innocent cheek37
Could repay her affection and care,38
As she bade thee with fervency speak39
To thy God in thanksgiving and pray’r :40
Where, at ev’ning, thy cheerful repose41
Was ensured by her care-healing kiss ;42
And the day-star in calmness arose,43
To greet freedom, contentment, and bliss :44
Yes !  thy heart it must bitterly weep45
At the change thus created by time ;46
From the child’s to the murderer’s sleep,47
From peace to the frenzy of crime.48
Son of guilt ! may thy sins be forgiv’n !49
Soon thy woe and thy slumber will cease.50
Fare thee well! may the Father of heav’n51
To thy soul whisper pardon and peace !52