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Page:The Works of Lord Byron (ed. Coleridge, Prothero) - Volume 3.djvu/266

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234
[CANTO I.
THE CORSAIR.

'Tis Nature's doom—but let the wretch who toils,
Accuse not—hate not—him who wears the spoils.190
Oh! if he knew the weight of splendid chains,
How light the balance of his humbler pains!


IX.

Unlike the heroes of each ancient race,
Demons in act, but Gods at least in face,
In Conrad's form seems little to admire,
Though his dark eyebrow shades a glance of fire:
Robust but not Herculean—to the sight
No giant frame sets forth his common height;
Yet, in the whole, who paused to look again,
Saw more than marks the crowd of vulgar men;200
They gaze and marvel how—and still confess
That thus it is, but why they cannot guess.
Sun-burnt his cheek, his forehead high and pale
The sable curls in wild profusion veil;
And oft perforce his rising lip reveals
The haughtier thought it curbs, but scarce conceals.[1]
Though smooth his voice, and calm his general mien,
Still seems there something he would not have seen:
His features' deepening lines and varying hue
At times attracted, yet perplexed the view,210
As if within that murkiness of mind
Worked feelings fearful, and yet undefined;
Such might it be—that none could truly tell—
Too close inquiry his stern glance would quell.
There breathe but few whose aspect might defy
The full encounter of his searching eye;

He had the skill, when Cunning's gaze would seek[2]
  1. The haughtier thought his bosom ill conceals.—[MS.]
  2. He had the skill when prying souls would seek,
    To watch his words and trace his pensive cheek.—[MS.]
    His was the skill when prying, etc.—[Revise.]