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Page:The Works of Lord Byron (ed. Coleridge, Prothero) - Volume 3.djvu/289

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CANTO II.]
257
THE CORSAIR.

Man is our foe, and such 'tis ours to slay:
But still we spared—must spare the weaker prey.
Oh! I forgot—but Heaven will not forgive
If at my word the helpless cease to live;
Follow who will—I go—we yet have time
Our souls to lighten of at least a crime."
He climbs the crackling stair—he bursts the door,
Nor feels his feet glow scorching with the floor;
His breath choked gasping with the volumed smoke,
But still from room to room his way he broke.820
They search—they find—they save: with lusty arms
Each bears a prize of unregarded charms;
Calm their loud fears; sustain their sinking frames
With all the care defenceless Beauty claims:
So well could Conrad tame their fiercest mood,
And check the very hands with gore imbrued.
But who is she? whom Conrad's arms convey,
From reeking pile and combat's wreck, away—
Who but the love of him he dooms to bleed?
The Haram queen—but still the slave of Seyd!830


VI.

Brief time had Conrad now to greet Gulnare,[1]
Few words to reassure the trembling Fair;
For in that pause Compassion snatched from War,
The foe before retiring, fast and far,
With wonder saw their footsteps unpursued,
First slowlier fled—then rallied—then withstood.
This Seyd perceives, then first perceives how few,
Compared with his, the Corsair's roving crew,
And blushes o'er his error, as he eyes

The ruin wrought by Panic and Surprise.840
  1. Gulnare, a female name; it means, literally, the flower of the pomegranate.