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Page:The Works of Lord Byron (ed. Coleridge, Prothero) - Volume 3.djvu/580

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542
POEMS OF THE SEPARATION.

But wanting one sweet weakness—to forgive;
Too shocked at faults her soul can never know,
She deems that all could be like her below:
Foe to all vice, yet hardly Virtue's friend,
For Virtue pardons those she would amend.


But to the theme, now laid aside too long,
The baleful burthen of this honest song,[1]
Though all her former functions are no more,
She rules the circle which she served before.40
If mothers—none know why—before her quake;
If daughters dread her for the mothers' sake;
If early habits—those false links, which bind
At times the loftiest to the meanest mind—"[2]
Have given her power too deeply to instil
The angry essence of her deadly will;[3]
If like a snake she steal within your walls,
Till the black slime betray her as she crawls;
If like a viper to the heart she wind,
And leave the venom there she did not find;{pline|50}}
What marvel that this hag of hatred works[4]
Eternal evil latent as she lurks,
To make a Pandemonium where she dwells,
And reign the Hecate of domestic hells?
Skilled by a touch to deepen Scandal's tints
With all the kind mendacity of hints,
While mingling truth with falsehood—sneers with smiles—

A thread of candour with a web of wiles;[5]
  1. The trusty burthen of my honest song.—[MS. M.]
  2. At times the highest ——.—[MS. M.]
  3. —— of her evil will.—[MS. M.]
  4. What marvel that this mistress demon works

    Eternal evil wheresoe'er she lurks.—[MS. M.]
    when she latent works.—[Copy.]
  5. A gloss of candour of a web of wiles.—[MS. M.]