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Page:The Works of Lord Byron (ed. Coleridge, Prothero) - Volume 3.djvu/269

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CANTO I.]
237
THE CORSAIR.

Feared—shunned—belied—ere Youth had lost her force,
He hated Man too much to feel remorse,
And thought the voice of Wrath a sacred call,
To pay the injuries of some on all.
He knew himself a villain—but he deemed
The rest no better than the thing he seemed;
And scorned the best as hypocrites who hid
Those deeds the bolder spirit plainly did.
He knew himself detested, but he knew
The hearts that loathed him, crouched and dreaded too.
Lone, wild, and strange, he stood alike exempt271
From all affection and from all contempt:
His name could sadden, and his acts surprise;
But they that feared him dared not to despise:
Man spurns the worm, but pauses ere he wake
The slumbering venom of the folded snake:
The first may turn, but not avenge the blow;
The last expires, but leaves no living foe;
Fast to the doomed offender's form it clings,
And he may crush—not conquer—still it stings![1]280


XII.

None are all evil—quickening round his heart,
One softer feeling would not yet depart;
Oft could he sneer at others as beguiled
By passions worthy of a fool or child;
Yet 'gainst that passion vainly still he strove,
And even in him it asks the name of Love!
Yes, it was love—unchangeable—unchanged,
Felt but for one from whom he never ranged;

  1. [Lines 277-280 are not in the MS. They were inserted on a detached printed sheet, with a view to publication in the Seventh Edition.]