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Page:The Works of Lord Byron (ed. Coleridge, Prothero) - Volume 3.djvu/290

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[CANTO II.
THE CORSAIR.

Alla il Alla! Vengeance swells the cry—
Shame mounts to rage that must atone or die!
And flame for flame and blood for blood must tell,
The tide of triumph ebbs that flowed too well—
When Wrath returns to renovated strife,
And those who fought for conquest strike for life.
Conrad beheld the danger—he beheld
His followers faint by freshening foes repelled:
"One effort—one—to break the circling host!"
They form—unite—charge—waver—all is lost!850
Within a narrower ring compressed, beset,
Hopeless, not heartless, strive and struggle yet—
Ah! now they fight in firmest file no more,
Hemmed in—cut off—cleft down and trampled o'er;
But each strikes singly—silently—and home,
And sinks outwearied rather than o'ercome—
His last faint quittance rendering with his breath,
Till the blade glimmers in the grasp of Death!


VII.

But first, ere came the rallying host to blows,
And rank to rank, and hand to hand oppose,860
Gulnare and all her Haram handmaids freed,
Safe in the dome of one who held their creed,
By Conrad's mandate safely were bestowed,
And dried those tears for life and fame that flowed:
And when that dark-eyed lady, young Gulnare,
Recalled those thoughts late wandering in despair,
Much did she marvel o'er the courtesy
That smoothed his accents, softened in his eye—
'Twas strange—that robber thus with gore bedewed,
Seemed gentler then than Seyd in fondest mood.870
The Pacha wooed as if he deemed the slave
Must seem delighted with the heart he gave;