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Page:The Works of Lord Byron (ed. Coleridge, Prothero) - Volume 3.djvu/562

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Meekly had he bowed and prayed,
As not disdaining priestly aid,
Nor desperate of all hope on high.
And while before the Prior kneeling,
His heart was weaned from earthly feeling;
His wrathful Sire—his Paramour—
What were they in such an hour?470
No more reproach,—no more despair,—
No thought but Heaven,—no word but prayer—
Save the few which from him broke,
When, bared to meet the headsman's stroke
He claimed to die with eyes unbound,
His sole adieu to those around.


Still as the lips that closed in death,
Each gazer's bosom held his breath;
But yet, afar, from man to man,
A cold electric[1] shiver ran,480
As down the deadly blow descended
On him whose life and love thus ended;
And, with a hushing sound compressed,
A sigh shrunk back on every breast;
But no more thrilling noise rose there,[2]
Beyond the blow that to the block
Pierced through with forced and sullen shock,
Save one:—what cleaves the silent air
So madly shrill, so passing wild?

That, as a mother's o'er her child,490
  1. [For the use of "electric" as a metaphor, compare Coleridge's Songs of the Pixies, v. lines 59, 60—

    "The electric flash, that from the melting eye
    Darts the fond question and the soft reply."]

  2. But no more thrilling voice rose there.—[Copy.]