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Page:The Works of Lord Byron (ed. Coleridge, Prothero) - Volume 3.djvu/345

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313
ODE TO NAPOLEON BUONAPARTE.

And that last act, though not thy worst,
The very Fiend's arch mock;[1]
He in his fall preserved his pride,
And, if a mortal, had as proudly died![2][3]


XVII.

There was a day—there was an hour,
While earth was Gaul's—Gaul thine—[4]
When that immeasurable power
Unsated to resign
Had been an act of purer fame
Than gathers round Marengo's name
And gilded thy decline,
Through the long twilight of all time,
Despite some passing clouds of crime.


  1. "O! 'tis the spite of hell, the fiend's arch-mock,
    To lip a wanton in a secure couch,
    And to suppose her chaste!"

    Othello, act iv. sc. 1, lines 69-71.

    [We believe there is no doubt of the truth of the anecdote here alluded to—of Napoleon's having found leisure for an unworthy amour, the very evening of his arrival at Fontainebleau.—Note to Edition 1832.

    A consultation of numerous lives and memoirs of Napoleon has not revealed the particulars of this "unworthy amour." It is possible that Murray may have discovered the source of Byron's allusion among the papers "in the possession of one of Napoleon's generals, a friend of Miss Waldie," which were offered him "for purchase and publication," in 1815.—See Memoir of John Murray, 1891, i. 279.]

  2. And—were he mortal had as proudly died.—[Alteration in First Proof.]
  3. [Of Prometheus—

    "Unlike the offence, though like would be the fate—
    His to give life, but thine to desolate;
    He stole from Heaven the flame for which he fell,
    Whilst thine be stolen from thy native Hell."

    —Attached to Proof v., April 25.]

  4. While earth was Gallia's, Gallia thine.—[MS.]