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Page:The Works of Lord Byron (ed. Coleridge, Prothero) - Volume 1.djvu/202

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162
HOURS OF IDLENESS.

In slaughter'd folds, the keepers lost in sleep,[1]
His hungry fangs a lion thus may steep;260
'Mid the sad flock, at dead of night he prowls,
With murder glutted, and in carnage rolls
Insatiate still, through teeming herds he roams;[2]
In seas of gore, the lordly tyrant foams.


Nor less the other's deadly vengeance came,
But falls on feeble crowds without a name;
His wound unconscious Fadus scarce can feel,
Yet wakeful Rhæsus sees the threatening steel;
His coward breast behind a jar he hides,
And, vainly, in the weak defence confides;270
Full in his heart, the falchion search'd his veins,
The reeking weapon bears alternate stains;
Through wine and blood, commingling as they flow,
One feeble spirit seeks the shades below.
Now where Messapus dwelt they bend their way,
Whose fires emit a faint and trembling ray;
There, unconfin'd, behold each grazing steed,
Unwatch'd, unheeded, on the herbage feed:[3]
Brave Nisus here arrests his comrade's arm,
Too flush'd with carnage, and with conquest warm:280

"Hence let us haste, the dangerous path is pass'd;
  1. By hunger prest, the keeper lull'd to sleep
    In slaughter thus a Lyon's fangs may steep.—[MS. Newstead.]

  2. Through teeming herds unchecked, unawed, he roams.—[MS. Newstead.]
  3. Heedless of danger on the herbage feed.—[MS. Newstead.]