I am his slave—but, in despite of pride,
'Twere worse than bondage to become his bride.1130
Oh! that this dotage of his breast would cease!
Or seek another and give mine release,
But yesterday—I could have said, to peace!
Yes, if unwonted fondness now I feign,
Remember—Captive! 'tis to break thy chain;
Repay the life that to thy hand I owe;
To give thee back to all endeared below,
Who share such love as I can never know.
Farewell—Morn breaks—and I must now away:
'Twill cost me dear—but dread no death to-day!"1140
She pressed his fettered fingers to her heart,
And bowed her head, and turned her to depart,
And noiseless as a lovely dream is gone.
And was she here? and is he now alone?
What gem hath dropped and sparkles o'er his chain?
The tear most sacred, shed for others' pain,
That starts at once—bright—pure—from Pity's mine,
Already polished by the hand divine!
Oh! too convincing—dangerously dear—
In Woman's eye the unanswerable tear!1150
That weapon of her weakness she can wield,
To save, subdue—at once her spear and shield:
Avoid it—Virtue ebbs and Wisdom errs,
I breathe but in the hope—his altered breast
May seek another—and leave mine at rest.
Or if unwonted fondness now I feign.—[MS.]
[The alteration was sent to the publishers on a separate quarto sheet, with a memorandum, "In Canto first—nearly the end," etc.—a rare instance of inaccuracy on the part of the author.]