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Page:The Works of Lord Byron (ed. Coleridge, Prothero) - Volume 3.djvu/458

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POEMS 1814-1816.


Then the few whose spirits float above the wreck of happiness
Are driven o'er the shoals of guilt or ocean of excess:
The magnet of their course is gone, or only points in vain
The shore to which their shivered sail shall never stretch again.


Then the mortal coldness of the soul like Death itself comes down;
It cannot feel for others' woes, it dare not dream its own;
That heavy chill has frozen o'er the fountain of our tears,
And though the eye may sparkle still, 'tis where the ice appears.


Though wit may flash from fluent lips, and mirth distract the breast,
Through midnight hours that yield no more their former hope of rest;
'Tis but as ivy-leaves around the ruined turret wreath,[1][2]
All green and wildly fresh without, but worn and grey beneath.

  1. As ivy o'er the mouldering wall that heavily hath crept.—[MS.]
  2. [Compare—

    "And oft we see gay ivy's wreath
    The tree with brilliant bloom o'erspread,
    When, part its leaves and gaze beneath,
    We find the hidden tree is dead."

    "To Anna," The Warrior's Return, etc. by
    Mrs. Opie, 1808, p. 144.]