Fear

A poem by John Frederick Freeman

Surely I must have ailed
On that dark night,
Or my childish courage failed
Because there was no light;
Or terror must have come
With his chill wing,
And made my angel dumb,
Or found him slumbering.
Because I could not sleep
Terror began to wake,
Close at my side to creep
And sting me like a snake.
And I was afraid of death,
But when I thought of pain--
O, language no word hath
To recall that thought again!
Into my heart fear crawled
And wreathed close around,
Mortal, convulsive, cold,
And I lay bound.
Fear set before my eyes
Unimaginable pain;
Approaching agonies
Sprang nimbly into my brain.
Just as a thrilling wind
Plucks every mournful wire,
So terror on my wild mind
Fingered, with ice and fire.
O, not death I feared,
But the anguish of the body;
My dizzying passions heard,
Saw my own bosom bloody.
I thought of years of woe,
Moments prolonged to years,
Heard my heart racing so,
Redoubling all those fears.
Yet still I could not cry,
Not a sound the stillness broke;
But the dark stirred, and my
Negligent angel woke.

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