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The Prisoner of Chillon: A Fable

The Prisoner of Chillon: A Fable


by George Gordon, Lord Byron

Stanza 13 Summary

Get out the microscope, because we’re going through this poem line-by-line.

Lines 332-340

  • The mountains look the same as the speaker remembers – they haven't changed the way he has.
  • He can see the heavy snow on their tops, and the huge lake (Lake Geneva) below.
  • He sees the Rhone River flowing out of the lake and can hear the rush of the water.
  • He can see the "white wall[s]" of the town in the distance, and the white sails of boats on the lake and river.

Lines 341-350

  • There's a little island on the lake that the speaker can see – the only one in view.
  • The island doesn't look any bigger than his own dungeon cell, but it has three big trees growing on it.
  • It's possible that those three trees might represent the speaker and his two brothers in their dungeon cell.
  • He watches the breeze from the mountains blow through those trees.
  • There are flowers growing on the island.

Lines 351-365

  • There are fish swimming around in the lake under the speaker's window, and they all seem so happy!
  • He sees eagles flying around, and starts to get teary eyed.
  • He almost wishes that he hadn't broken free of his chain – seeing all these happy and free animals makes his own captivity much harder to bear.
  • So he climbs down from his window and almost wishes he could die.

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