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Page:The Works of Lord Byron (ed. Coleridge, Prothero) - Volume 1.djvu/394

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Truth! rouse some genuine Bard, and guide his hand
To drive this pestilence from out the land.
E'en I—least thinking of a thoughtless throng,
Just skilled to know the right and choose the wrong,690
Freed at that age when Reason's shield is lost,
To fight my course through Passion's countless host,[1]
Whom every path of Pleasure's flow'ry way
Has lured in turn, and all have led astray—
E'en I must raise my voice, e'en I must feel
Such scenes, such men, destroy the public weal:
Altho' some kind, censorious friend will say,
"What art thou better, meddling fool,[2] than they?"
And every Brother Rake will smile to see
That miracle, a Moralist in me.700
No matter—when some Bard in virtue strong,
Gifford perchance, shall raise the chastening song,
Then sleep my pen for ever! and my voice
Be only heard to hail him, and rejoice,
Rejoice, and yield my feeble praise, though I
May feel the lash that Virtue must apply.

As for the smaller fry, who swarm in shoals

From silly Hafiz up to simple Bowles,[3]

    voice and as intelligibly as the agonized state of his body and mind permitted, "I acquit Mr. Powell of all blame; in this transaction I alone am culpable.'"]

  1. "Yes: and a precious chase they led me."—B., 1816.
  2. "Fool enough, certainly, then, and no wiser since."—B., 1816.
  3. What would be the sentiments of the Persian Anacreon, Hafiz, could he rise from his splendid sepulchre at Sheeraz