The Spoiler swept that soaring Lyre away,
Which else had sounded an immortal lay.
Oh! what a noble heart was here undone,
When Science' self destroyed her favourite son!
Yes, she too much indulged thy fond pursuit,
She sowed the seeds, but Death has reaped the fruit.
'Twas thine own Genius gave the final blow,
And helped to plant the wound that laid thee low:840
So the struck Eagle, stretched upon the plain,
No more through rolling clouds to soar again,
Viewed his own feather on the fatal dart,
And winged the shaft that quivered in his heart;
Keen were his pangs, but keener far to feel
He nursed the pinion which impelled the steel;
While the same plumage that had warmed his nest
Drank the last life-drop of his bleeding breast.
That splendid lies are all the poet's praise;850
There be who say, in these enlightened days,
The spoiler came; and all thy promise fair
Has sought the grave, to sleep for ever there.—
[First to Fourth Editions.]
- [Lines 832-834, as they stand in the text, were inserted in MS. in both the Annotated Copies of the Fourth Edition.]
in 1808. His tendency to epilepsy was increased by overwork at Cambridge. He once remarked to a friend that "were he to paint a picture of Fame, crowning a distinguished undergraduate after the Senate house examination, he would represent her as concealing a Death's head under a mask of Beauty" (Life of H. K. W., by Southey, i. 45). By "the soaring lyre, which else had sounded an immortal lay," Byron, perhaps, refers to the unfinished Christiad, which, says Southey, "Henry had most at heart."]