The Disenthralled

A poem by John Greenleaf Whittier

He had bowed down to drunkenness,
An abject worshipper:
The pride of manhood's pulse had grown
Too faint and cold to stir;
And he had given his spirit up
To the unblessëd thrall,
And bowing to the poison cup,
He gloried in his fall!
There came a change the cloud rolled off,
And light fell on his brain
And like the passing of a dream
That cometh not again,
The shadow of the spirit fled.
He saw the gulf before,
He shuddered at the waste behind,
And was a man once more.
He shook the serpent folds away,
That gathered round his heart,
As shakes the swaying forest-oak
Its poison vine apart;
He stood erect; returning pride
Grew terrible within,
And conscience sat in judgment, on
His most familiar sin.
The light of Intellect again
Along his pathway shone;
And Reason like a monarch sat
Upon his olden throne.
The honored and the wise once more
Within his presence came;
And lingered oft on lovely lips
His once forbidden name.
There may be glory in the might,
That treadeth nations down;
Wreaths for the crimson conqueror,
Pride for the kingly crown;
But nobler is that triumph hour,
The disenthralled shall find,
When evil passion boweth down,
Unto the Godlike mind

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