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Page:The Works of Lord Byron (ed. Coleridge, Prothero) - Volume 1.djvu/447

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Still to the "midst of things" he hastens on,
As if we witnessed all already done;[1]
Leaves on his path whatever seems too mean
To raise the subject, or adorn the scene;
Gives, as each page improves upon the sight,
Not smoke from brightness, but from darkness—light;210
And truth and fiction with such art compounds,
We know not where to fix their several bounds.

If you would please the Public, deign to hear
What soothes the many-headed monster's ear:[2]
If your heart triumph when the hands of all
Applaud in thunder at the curtain's fall,
Deserve those plaudits—study Nature's page,
And sketch the striking traits of every age;
While varying Man and varying years unfold
Life's little tale, so oft, so vainly told;220
Observe his simple childhood's dawning days,
His pranks, his prate, his playmates, and his plays:
Till time at length the mannish tyro weans,
And prurient vice outstrips his tardy teens![3]

Behold him Freshman! forced no more to groan[4]

O'er Virgil's[5] devilish verses and his own;
  1. Through deeds we know not, though already done.—[MS. L. (a).]
  2. What soothes the people's, Peer's, and Critic's ear. — [MS. L. (a).]
  3. And Vice buds forth developed with his Teens.—[MS. M.]
  4. The beardless Tyro freed at length from school.—[MSS. L. (b), M. erased.]
    And blushing Birch disdains all College rule.—[MS. M. erased.]
    And dreaded Birch.—[MS. L. (a and b).]
  5. Harvey, the circulator of the circulation of the blood,