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Page:The Works of Lord Byron (ed. Coleridge, Prothero) - Volume 3.djvu/579

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541
A SKETCH.

Raised from the toilet to the table,—where
Her wondering betters wait behind her chair.
With eye unmoved, and forehead unabashed,
She dines from off the plate she lately washed.
Quick with the tale, and ready with the lie,
The genial confidante, and general spy—10
Who could, ye gods! her next employment guess—
An only infant's earliest governess![1]
She taught the child to read, and taught so well,
That she herself, by teaching, learned to spell.
An adept next in penmanship she grows,
As many a nameless slander deftly shows:
What she had made the pupil of her art,
None know—but that high Soul secured the heart,[2]
And panted for the truth it could not hear,
With longing breast and undeluded ear.20
Foiled was perversion by that youthful mind,[3]
Which Flattery fooled not, Baseness could not blind,
Deceit infect not, near Contagion soil,
Indulgence weaken, nor Example spoil,[4]
Nor mastered Science tempt her to look down
On humbler talents with a pitying frown,
Nor Genius swell, nor Beauty render vain,
Nor Envy ruffle to retaliate pain,[5]
Nor Fortune change, Pride raise, nor Passion bow,
Nor Virtue teach austerity—till now.30

Serenely purest of her sex that live,[6]
  1. —— early governess.—[MS. M.]
  2. —— but that pure spirit saved her heart.—[MS. M. erased.]
  3. Vain was each effort ——.—[MS. M.]
  4. Much Learning madden—when with scarce a peer
    She soared through science with a bright career
    Nor talents swell ——.—[MS. M.]

  5. —— bigotry provoke.—[MS. M. erased.]
  6. Serenely purest of the things that live.—[MS. M.]