Open main menu

Page:The Works of Lord Byron (ed. Coleridge, Prothero) - Volume 3.djvu/340

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.

Thou, in the sternness of thy strength,
An equal deed hast done at length,
And darker fate hast found:
He fell, the forest prowlers' prey;
But thou must eat thy heart away!


The Roman,[1] when his burning heart
Was slaked with blood of Rome,
Threw down the dagger—dared depart,
In savage grandeur, home.—
He dared depart in utter scorn
Of men that such a yoke had borne,
Yet left him such a doom!
His only glory was that hour
Of self-upheld abandoned power.


The Spaniard, when the lust of sway
Had lost its quickening spell,[2]
Cast crowns for rosaries away,

An empire for a cell;
  1. Sylla. [We find the germ of this stanza in the Diary of the evening before it was written: "I mark this day! Napoleon Buonaparte has abdicated the throne of the world. 'Excellent well.' Methinks Sylla did better; for he revenged, and resigned in the height of his sway, red with the slaughter of his foes—the finest instance of glorious contempt of the rascals upon record. Dioclesian did well too—Amurath not amiss, had he become aught except a dervise—Charles the Fifth but so so; but Napoleon worst of all."—Journal, April 9, 1814, Letters, 1898, ii. 409.]
  2. ["Alter 'potent spell' to 'quickening spell:' the first (as Polonius says) 'is a vile phrase,' and means nothing, besides being commonplace and Rosa-Matildaish."—Letter to Murray, April 11, 1814, Letters, 1899, iii. 68.]