THE PRISONER'S ROAD - Oliver Goldsmith Poems


Poems » oliver goldsmith » the prisoner s road


There is a road where silence stalks,
Where man, since his first dawn arose,
Out as upon an ocean walks
Into the desert, where who goes
As one of a long captive train,
May share the thoughts of them that wept
By Babylonian waters, and again
Bow down in sorrow where they slept.

The bitter waters of the Assyrian waste
Still mock the prisoners' raging thirst,
After three thousand years their taste
Is not less bitter and accurst.
All is as yesterday where time
Makes no account of years, and change
Is only marked where bricks and lime
Record long gaps in history's range.

Only the road remains, as where
The corpse is dragged aside and lies
Unburied to pollute the air,
Luring no vulture with its eyes.
Woe to the sick or weakling then
Who falls away in grim despair
Behind the moving line of men!
For none rejoins who lingers there.