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Page:The Works of Lord Byron (ed. Coleridge, Prothero) - Volume 1.djvu/236

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196
HOURS OF IDLENESS.

When youthful parasites, who bend the knee
To wealth, their golden idol, not to thee,—
And even in simple boyhood's opening dawn
Some slaves are found to flatter and to fawn,—20
When these declare, "that pomp alone should wait
On one by birth predestin'd to be great;
That books were only meant for drudging fools,
That gallant spirits scorn the common rules;"
Believe them not,—they point the path to shame,
And seek to blast the honours of thy name:
Turn to the few in Ida's early throng,
Whose souls disdain not to condemn the wrong;
Or if, amidst the comrades of thy youth,
None dare to raise the sterner voice of truth,30
Ask thine own heart—'twill bid thee, boy, forbear!
For well I know that virtue lingers there.
Yes! I have mark'd thee many a passing day,
But now new scenes invite me far away;
Yes! I have mark'd within that generous mind
A soul, if well matur'd, to bless mankind;
Ah! though myself, by nature haughty, wild,
Whom Indiscretion hail'd her favourite child;
Though every error stamps me for her own,
And dooms my fall, I fain would fall alone;40
Though my proud heart no precept, now, can tame
I love the virtues which I cannot claim.
'Tis not enough, with other sons of power,

To gleam the lambent meteor of an hour;