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Page:The Works of Lord Byron (ed. Coleridge, Prothero) - Volume 1.djvu/517

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473
THE CURSE OF MINERVA.

Vain is each voice where tones could once command;
E'en factions cease to charm a factious land:
Yet jarring sects convulse a sister Isle,
And light with maddening hands the mutual pile.


"'Tis done, 'tis past—since Pallas warns in vain;
The Furies seize her abdicated reign:280
Wide o'er the realm they wave their kindling brands,
And wring her vitals with their fiery hands.
But one convulsive struggle still remains,[1]
And Gaul shall weep ere Albion wear her chains,
The bannered pomp of war, the glittering files,[2]
O'er whose gay trappings stern Bellona smiles;
The brazen trump, the spirit-stirring drum,
That bid the foe defiance ere they come;
The hero bounding at his country's call,
The glorious death that consecrates his fall,290
Swell the young heart with visionary charms,
And bid it antedate the joys of arms.
But know, a lesson you may yet be taught,
With death alone are laurels cheaply bought;
Not in the conflict Havoc seeks delight,
His day of mercy is the day of fight.
But when the field is fought, the battle won,

Though drenched with gore, his woes are but begun:
  1. Fallen is each dear bought friend on Foreign Coast
    Or leagued to add you to the world you lost
    .—[MS.]

  2. —— the glittering file
    The martial sounds that animate the while
    .—[MS.]