Virginia Lucas Poetry Scrapbook

"The Maniac," by Matthew Gregory Lewis

Transcription of The Poem

The Maniac
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

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