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Page:The Works of Lord Byron (ed. Coleridge, Prothero) - Volume 1.djvu/153

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Did the Senate or Camp my exertions require,
Ambition might prompt me, at once, to go forth;
When Infancy's years of probation expire,
Perchance, I may strive to distinguish my birth.


The fire, in the cavern of Etna, conceal'd,
Still mantles unseen in its secret recess;
At length, in a volume terrific, reveal'd,
No torrent can quench it, no bounds can repress.


Oh! thus, the desire, in my bosom, for fame[1]
Bids me live, but to hope for Posterity's praise.
Could I soar with the Phœnix on pinions of flame,
With him I would wish to expire in the blaze.


For the life of a Fox, of a Chatham the death,
What censure, what danger, what woe would I brave!
Their lives did not end, when they yielded their breath,
Their glory illumines the gloom of their grave.[2]


Yet why should I mingle in Fashion's full herd?
Why crouch to her leaders, or cringe to her rules?
Why bend to the proud, or applaud the absurd?
Why search for delight, in the friendship of fools?

  1. Oh! such the desire.—[P. on V. Occasions.]
  2. —— the gloom of the grave.—[P. on V. Occasions.]