The Sonnet-Rack by Henry Ellison

Poor Thought! stretched on Rime’s Procrustean bed,
And threatened, saving that it doth not kill
Outright, with every mortal ache and ill
By Thought, Thought in the flesh, inherited,
Clothed on with Words, its mortal weeds. First head
And neck must crane and stretch; then feet, until
Of prescribed length, or lopped, sometimes with skill
Surgeonly, oftener hacked, till well-nigh dead.
So liest thou on the rack, Body and Soul,
At odds, in dread of rimed Death, who waits
At every turn, and mocks each twist and roll,
While words unsesquipedalian curse thy Fates!
Now ’tis thy racked brain can’t the thought control,
Now thy lame feet won’t go; curs’d in both states!


Date: 1833

By: Henry Ellison (1811-1880)

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