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"The Maniac," by Matthew Gregory Lewis
Page compiled by Anthony Tamberrino
Transcription of The Poem
Stay jailor stay and hear my woe!
She is not mad who yields to thee;
For what I’m now, too well I know,
And what I was, and what should be.
I’ll rave no more, in proud despair;
My language shall be mild, tho’ sad;
But yet I firmly truely swear
I am not mad; I am not mad.
My tyrant husband forged the tale,
Which chains one in this dismal cell;
My fate unknown, my friends bewail-
O jailor! haste that fate to tell;
O haste my father’s heart to cheer
This heart at once t’will grieve and glad
To know tho kept a captive here
I am not mad. I am not mad.
He smiles in scorn, and turns the key;
He quits the grate; I knelt in vain;
His glimmering lamp still, still I see-
‘Tis gone - and all is gloom again.
Cold bitter cold! no warmth! no light!
Life all thy comforts once I had;
Yet here I’m chained this freezing night
Although not mad; no, no, not mad.
‘Tis sure some dream some vision vain;
What! I- the child of rank and wealth,-
Am I the wretch who clanks this chain
Bereft of freedom, friends and health
Ah! while I dwell on bleſsing1 fled
Which never more any heart must glad,
How aches my heart! how burns my head!
But ‘tis not mad; no, ‘tis not mad;
Hast thou my child forgot e’er this,
A mother’s face, a mother’s tongue?
She ne’er forget your parting kiſs
Nor round her neck how fast you clung;
Nor how with her you sued to stay;
Nor how that suit your sire forbade;
Nor how- I’ll drive such thoughts away;
They’ll make me mad, they’ll make me mad.
His rosy lips how sweet they smiled!
His mild blue eyes how bright they shone!
None ever bore a lovelier child;
And art there now forever gone?
And must I never see the more,
My pretty, pretty, pretty lad?
I will be free, unbar the door!
I am not mad; I am not mad,
O, hark! what mean those yells & cries?
His chain some furious madman breaks;
He comes,- I see his glaring eyes,
Now, now my dungeon-grate he shakes
Help! help! - He’s gone! - O, fearful woe!
Such screams to hear, such sights to see!
My brain My brain- I know I know
I am not mad but soon shall be
Yes soon; for lo yon- while I speak-
Mark how yon demon’s eyeballs glare!
He sees me now with dreadful shriek,
He whirls a serpent high in air
Horror! the reptile strikes his tooth
Deep in my heart so crush’d and sad
Ah, laugh ye fiends;- I feel the truth
Your task is done- I’m mad! I’m mad!
1 The ſ is a long s.
Information About The Poem
Biography of Matthew Gregory Lewis (1775-1818)
Description of the Poem's Formal Elements
Explication of This Poem