Wilfrid Scawen Blunt was an English poet who was imprisoned for taking part in independence meetings and demonstrations in Ireland. This poem was praised by the Irish critic, Oscar Wilde. In Vinculis means ‘in chains’ as both Peter and Paul were, more than once. Their joint feast falls tomorrow. Let us pray for all prisoners, that in the Lord’s light their spirits may see light, in this world and the next.
Naked I came into the world of pleasure,
And naked come I to this house of pain.
Here at the gate I lay down my life’s treasure,
My pride, my garments and my name with men.
The world and I henceforth shall be as twain,
No sound of me shall pierce for good or ill
These walls of grief. Nor shall I hear the vain
Laughter and tears of those who love me still.
Within, what new life waits me! Little ease,
Cold lying, hunger, nights of wakefulness,
Harsh orders given, no voice to soothe or please,
Poor thieves for friends, for books rules meaningless;
This is the grave—nay, hell. Yet, Lord of Might,
Still in Thy light my spirit shall see light.”
(from “A Critic in Pall Mall Being Extracts from Reviews and Miscellanies” by Oscar Wilde, E. V. (Edward Verrall) Lucas)