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Page:The Works of Lord Byron (ed. Coleridge, Prothero) - Volume 1.djvu/508

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464
THE CURSE OF MINERVA.

"Daughter of Jove! in Britain's injured name,[1]
A true-born Briton may the deed disclaim.
Frown not on England; England owns him not:
Athena, no! thy plunderer was a Scot.
Ask'st thou the difference? From fair Phyles' towers
Survey Bœotia;—Caledonia's ours.130
And well I know within that bastard land[2]
Hath Wisdom's goddess never held command;
A barren soil, where Nature's germs, confined
To stern sterility, can stint the mind;
Whose thistle well betrays the niggard earth,
Emblem of all to whom the Land gives birth;
Each genial influence nurtured to resist;
A land of meanness, sophistry, and mist.[3]
Each breeze from foggy mount and marshy plain
Dilutes with drivel every drizzly brain,140
Till, burst at length, each wat'ry head o'erflows,
Foul as their soil, and frigid as their snows:
Then thousand schemes of petulance and pride
Despatch her scheming children far and wide;
Some East, some West, some—everywhere but North!
In quest of lawless gain, they issue forth.
And thus—accursed be the day and year!

She sent a Pict to play the felon here.
  1. —— guilty name.—[MS.]
  2. "Irish bastards," according to Sir Callaghan O'Brallaghan. ["A wild Irish soldier in the Prussian Army," in Macklin's Love-à-la-Mode (first played December 12, 1759).]
  3. A land of liars, mountebanks, and Mist.—[MS.]