"Eternal Spirit of the chainless Mind!
Brightest in dungeons, Liberty! thou art,
For there thy habitation is the heart --
The heart which love of thee alone can bind;
And when thy sons to fetters are consign'd --
To fetters, and the damp vault's dayless gloom,
Their country conquers with their martyrdom,
And Freedom's fame finds wings on every wind.
Chillon! thy prison is a holy place,
And thy sad floor an altar -- for 'twas trod,
Until his very steps have left a trace
Worn, as if thy cold pavement were a sod,
By Bonnivard! -- May none those marks efface!
For they appeal from tyranny to God."
In the summer of 1816, Byron and Shelley sailed around Lake Leman (Lake Geneva). While on their way they stopped at the Chateau of Chillon, and deep in the dungeons, below the water-line of the lake, they visited the place where François de Bonnivard was imprisoned for four years (1532-1536). During those years, Bonnivard had worn an imprint in the stone floor from his pacing of the confined area.
Byron was so impressed with the event, he composed A Sonnet on Chillon. But, after learning more of the facts about Bonnivard, Byron expanded on this by writing the poem The Prisoner of Chillon.
Read it through. It's real Poetry! Visit the place as I did years ago in a rainy day. The Lake was rough, the wind swept the waters ... We heard voices along the columns ......Continua