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Page:The Works of Lord Byron (ed. Coleridge, Prothero) - Volume 1.djvu/255

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215
TO A KNOT OF UNGENEROUS CRITICS.

The Leader of the wrathful Band,
Behold a portly Female stand!
She raves, impelled by private pique,
This mean unjust revenge to seek;
From vice to save this virtuous Age,
Thus does she vent indecent rage!
What child has she of promise fair,
Who claims a fostering Mother's care?
Whose Innocence requires defence,
Or forms at least a smooth pretence,
Thus to disturb a harmless Boy,
His humble hope, and peace annoy?
She need not fear the amorous rhyme,
Love will not tempt her future time,
For her his wings have ceased to spread,
No more he flutters round her head;
Her day's Meridian now is past,
The clouds of Age her Sun o'ercast;
To her the strain was never sent,
For feeling Souls alone 'twas meant—
The verse she seized, unask'd, unbade,
And damn'd, ere yet the whole was read!
Yes! for one single erring verse,
Pronounced an unrelenting Curse;
Yes! at a first and transient view,
Condemned a heart she never knew.—
Can such a verdict then decide,

Which springs from disappointed pride?