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Page:The Works of Lord Byron (ed. Coleridge, Prothero) - Volume 4.djvu/236

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198
ODE ON VENICE.

May strike to those whose red right hands have bought
Rights cheaply earned with blood.—Still, still, for ever
Better, though each man's life-blood were a river,
That it should flow, and overflow, than creep150
Through thousand lazy channels in our veins,
Dammed like the dull canal with locks and chains,
And moving, as a sick man in his sleep,
Three paces, and then faltering:—better be
Where the extinguished Spartans still are free,
In their proud charnel of Thermopylæ,
Than stagnate in our marsh,—or o'er the deep
Fly, and one current to the ocean add,
One spirit to the souls our fathers had,
One freeman more, America, to thee![1]160

    war Wasp captured and burned the sloop Reindeer, and on September 11, 1814, the Confiance, commanded by Commodore Downie, and other vessels surrendered."—History of America, by Justin Winsor, 1888, vii. 380, seq.]

  1. [Byron repented, or feigned to repent, this somewhat provocative eulogy of the Great Republic: "Somebody has sent me some American abuse of Mazeppa and 'the Ode;' in future I will compliment nothing but Canada, and desert to the English."—Letter to Murray, February 21, 1820, Letters, 1900, iv. 410. It is possible that the allusion is to an article, "Mazeppa and Don Juan," in the Analectic Magazine, November, 1819, vol. xiv. pp. 405-410.]