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Page:The Works of Lord Byron (ed. Coleridge, Prothero) - Volume 1.djvu/247

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I WOULD I WERE A CARELESS CHILD.

5.

How dull! to hear the voice of those
Whom Rank or Chance, whom Wealth or Power,
Have made, though neither friends nor foes,
Associates of the festive hour.
Give me again a faithful few,
In years and feelings still the same,
And I will fly the midnight crew,
Where boist'rous Joy is but a name.


6.

And Woman, lovely Woman! thou,
My hope, my comforter, my all!
How cold must be my bosom now,
When e'en thy smiles begin to pall!
Without a sigh would I resign,
This busy scene of splendid Woe,
To make that calm contentment mine,
Which Virtue knows, or seems to know.


7.

Fain would I fly the haunts of men[1]

I seek to shun, not hate mankind;
  1. [Shyness was a family characteristic of the Byrons. The poet continued in later years to have a horror of being observed by unaccustomed eyes, and in the country would, if possible, avoid meeting strangers on the road.]