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Page:The Works of Lord Byron (ed. Coleridge, Prothero) - Volume 3.djvu/310

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278
[CANTO III.
THE CORSAIR.

His doubts appeared to wrong—nor yet she knew
How deep the root from whence Compassion grew—
She was a slave—from such may captives claim1379
A fellow-feeling, differing but in name;
Still half unconscious—heedless of his wrath,
Again she ventured on the dangerous path,
Again his rage repelled—until arose
That strife of thought, the source of Woman's woes!


VI.

Meanwhile—long—anxious—weary—still the same
Rolled day and night: his soul could Terror tame—
This fearful interval of doubt and dread,
When every hour might doom him worse than dead;[1]
When every step that echoed by the gate,1380
Might entering lead where axe and stake await;
When every voice that grated on his ear
Might be the last that he could ever hear;
Could Terror tame—that Spirit stern and high
Had proved unwilling as unfit to die;
'Twas worn—perhaps decayed—yet silent bore
That conflict, deadlier far than all before:
The heat of fight, the hurry of the gale,
Leave scarce one thought inert enough to quail:
But bound and fixed in fettered solitude,1390
To pine, the prey of every changing mood;
To gaze on thine own heart—and meditate
Irrevocable faults, and coming fate—
Too late the last to shun—the first to mend—
To count the hours that struggle to thine end,
With not a friend to animate and tell
To other ears that Death became thee well;

  1. When every coming hour might view him dead.—[MS.]