Conscious Madness (Extract From Saul)

What ails me? what impels me on, until
The big drops fall from off my brow? Whence comes
This strange affliction?--Oh, thus to the driven
About!--I will stand still: no move me aught
That can. Ah, shake me, thing; shake me again
Like an old thorn i' th' blast! 'Tis leaving me;
Oh, that it were for ever! Oh, how long
Shall this fierce malady continue, these
Dread visitations? See, 'tis here again!
What's here again? Or who? Here's none save I;--
And yet there's some one here. 'Tis here, 'tis here
Within my brain:--no, it is in my heart,--
Within my soul; where rise again black thoughts
And horrible conceptions, that from hell
Might have come up. All blasphemies that my ears
Ever heard; my horridest ideas in dreams;
And impious conceits, that even a fiend
Methinks could scarcely muster, swarm within
Me, rank and black as summer flies on ordure.
Oh, what a den this moment is my breast!
How cold I feel, how cruel and invidious.
Now let no child of mine approach me; neither
Do thou come near to me, Ahinoam,
Their mother and the wife I dearly love;
For now the universe appears one field
On which to spend my rancour. Oh, disperse,
Fit, nor return with thy o'erwhelming shadows!
Oh that it would begone and leave me in
My sorrow! Surely 'tis enough to live
In lone despair. To reign is care enough,
Even in rude health; but to be harassed thus
By an unnamed affliction;--and why harassed?
Oh, why am I thus harassed? I have heard
Of wretches raging under sharp remorse;
Of cruel monarchs, in their latter days,
Falling a prey to an accusing conscience;
But why should I, whose faults smite but myself,
Be thus tormented?