In the Prison Pen

Author: Herman Melville  | Date: 1864

In the Prison Pen

LISTLESS he eyes the palisades

And sentries in the glare;

’Tis barren as a pelican-beach,

But his world is ended there.

Nothing to do; and vacant hands

Bring on the idiot-pain;

He tries to think-to recollect,

But the blur is on his brain.

Around him swarm the plaining ghosts

Like those on Virgil’s shore-

A wilderness of faces dim,

And pale ones gashed and hoar.

A smiting sun. No shed, no tree;

He totters to his lair-

A den that sick hands dug in earth

Ere famine wasted there;

Or, dropping in his place, he swoons,

Walled in by throngs that press,

Till forth from the throngs they bear him dead-

Dead in his meagreness.

Related Resources

Herman Melville

Download Options


Title: In the Prison Pen

Select an option:

*Note: A download may not start for up to 60 seconds.

Email Options


Title: In the Prison Pen

Select an option:

Email addres:

*Note: It may take up to 60 seconds for for the email to be generated.

Chicago: Herman Melville, In the Prison Pen Original Sources, accessed February 25, 2021, http://www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=3IIPS7SPLI1EPG2.

MLA: Melville, Herman. In the Prison Pen, Original Sources. 25 Feb. 2021. www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=3IIPS7SPLI1EPG2.

Harvard: Melville, H, In the Prison Pen. Original Sources, retrieved 25 February 2021, from http://www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=3IIPS7SPLI1EPG2.