“What Is Hell To One Like Me...?”

PrintPrintEmailEmail

The following lines were said to have been found near the bones of a man supposed to have committed suicide, in a deep forest, on the Flat Branch of the Sangamon, some time ago.

Here, where the lonely hooting owl Sends forth his midnight moans, Pierce wolves shall o‘er my carcase growl, Or buzzards pick my bones. No fellow-man shall learn my fate, Or where my ashes lie; Unless by beasts drawn round their bait, Or by the ravens’ cry. Yes! I’ve resolved the deed to do, And this the place to do it: This heart I’ll rush a dagger through, Though I in hell should rue it! Hell! What is hell to one like me Who pleasures never knew; By friends consigned to misery, By hope deserted too? To ease me of this power to think, That through my bosom raves, I’ll headlong leap from hell’s high brink, And wallow in its waves. Though devils yells, and burning chains May waken long regret; Their frightful screams, and piercing pains, Will help me to forget. Yes! I’m prepared, through endless night, To take that fiery berth! Think not with tales of hell to fright Me, who am damn’d on earth! Sweet steel! come forth from out your sheath, And glist’ning, speak your powers; Rip up the organs of my breath, And draw my blood in showers! I strike! It quivers in that heart Which drives me to this end; I draw and kiss the bloody dart, My last—my only friend!