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Page:The Works of Lord Byron (ed. Coleridge, Prothero) - Volume 3.djvu/267

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CANTO I.]
235
THE CORSAIR.

To probe his heart and watch his changing cheek,
At once the observer's purpose to espy,
And on himself roll back his scrutiny,220
Lest he to Conrad rather should betray
Some secret thought, than drag that Chief's to day.
There was a laughing Devil in his sneer,
That raised emotions both of rage and fear;
And where his frown of hatred darkly fell,
Hope withering fled—and Mercy sighed farewell![1]


X.[2]

Slight are the outward signs of evil thought,
Within—within—'twas there the spirit wrought!
Love shows all changes—Hate, Ambition, Guile,
Betray no further than the bitter smile;230
The lip's least curl, the lightest paleness thrown

Along the governed aspect, speak alone
  1. That Conrad is a character not altogether out of nature, I shall attempt to prove by some historical coincidences which I have met with since writing The Corsair. "Eccelin, prisonnier," dit Rolandini, "s'enfermoit dans un silence menaçant; il fixoit sur la terre son visage féroce, et ne donnoit point d'essor à sa profonde indignation. De toutes partes cependant les soldats et les peuples accouroient; ils vouloient voir cet homme, jadis si puissant . . . et la joie universelle éclatoit de toutes partes. . . . Eccelino étoit d'une petite taille; mais tout l'aspect de sa personne, tous ses mouvemens, indiquoient un soldat. Son langage étoit amer, son déportement superbe, et par son seul regard, il faisoit trembler les plus hardis."—Simonde de Sismondi, Histoire des Républiques Italiennes du Moyen Age, 1809, iii. 219. Again, "Gizericus [Genseric, king of the Vandals, the conqueror of both Carthage and Rome] . . . staturâ mediocris, et equi casu claudicans, animo profundus, sermone ratus, luxuriæ contemptor, irâ turbidus, habendi cupidus, ad sollicitandas gentes providentissimus," etc., etc.—Jornandes, De Getarum Origine ("De Rebus Geticis"), cap. 33, ed. 1597, p. 92. I beg leave to quote those gloomy realities to keep in countenance my Giaour and Corsair.—[Added to the Ninth Edition.]
  2. [Stanza x. was an after-thought. It is included in a sixth revise, in which lines 244-246 have been erased, and the present reading superscribed. A seventh revise gives the text as above.]