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The Prisoner of Chillon: A Fable

The Prisoner of Chillon: A Fable


by George Gordon, Lord Byron

Stanza 14 Summary

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

Lines 366-374

  • Sometime later – the speaker has no clue how long, since he'd stopped counting when he'd lost hope – some men come to set him free.
  • He doesn't ask them why, or where they've come from.
  • At this point, it's all the same to him whether he's imprisoned ("fetter'd") or not.
  • He's fallen in love with his own despair.

Lines 375-384

  • So when these men appeared and set him free, the speaker isn't actually all that happy about it.
  • The prison is so familiar to him, it's like his own private "hermitage," or sanctuary.
  • He feels as though these people were tearing him from his "second home."
  • He's friends with all the spiders and mice! He's watched them for years. The prison is as much his home as it is theirs.

Lines 385-392

  • He and the mice and spiders were all "inmates" together.
  • Even though the speaker had the power to kill the mice and spiders, he hadn't – they'd learned to live in peace together.
  • He has even learned to be at peace with his chains and his captivity – so much so, that he gains his "freedom with a sigh."

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