On the Castle of Chillon

Our next selection is a poem chosen by Lou Hinman.




On the Castle of Chillon is my favorite poem by Byron.  It was written in 1816 (or there abouts).

 It is a Petrarchan sonnet.  A sonnet is poem of 14 lines written in iambic pentameter.  In a Petrarchan sonnet, the lines are divided into 8 lines (an octave) that rhyme ABBAABBA, followed by 6 lines (a sestet) that rhyme CDCDCD.


Byron also wrote a longer narrative poem called The Prisoner of Chillon.  They are both profound and moving expressions of Byron’s humanity, and his hatred of cruelty, tyranny, and oppression.”


On the Castle of Chillon

ETERNAL Spirit of the chainless Mind!
Brightest in dungeons, Liberty, thou art–
For there thy habitation is the heart–
The heart which love of Thee alone can bind;
And when thy sons to fetters are consign’d,
To fetters, and the damp vault’s dayless gloom,
Their country conquers with their martyrdom
And Freedom’s fame finds wings on every wind.
Chillon! thy prison is a holy place
And thy sad floor an altar, for ’twas trod
Until his very steps have left a trace
Worn as if thy cold pavement were a sod,
By Bonnivard! May none those marks efface!
For they appeal from tyranny to God.

-Lord Byron


Our celebration of National Poetry month continues throughout April with poems chosen by P4P members.  


Founder of the Politics for the People free educational series and book club for independent voters. Chair of the New York County Independence Party.

One thought on “On the Castle of Chillon

  1. Although universally known as Byron, his real name was George Gordon. That may not sound as classy, but he was a real person like you and me!

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