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Page:The Works of Lord Byron (ed. Coleridge, Prothero) - Volume 4.djvu/293

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CANTO II.]
255
THE PROPHECY OF DANTE.

CANTO THE SECOND.

The Spirit of the fervent days of Old,
When words were things that came to pass, and Thought
Flashed o'er the future, bidding men behold
Their children's children's doom already brought
Forth from the abyss of Time which is to be,
The Chaos of events, where lie half-wrought
Shapes that must undergo mortality;
What the great Seers of Israel wore within,
That Spirit was on them, and is on me,
And if, Cassandra-like, amidst the din10
Of conflict none will hear, or hearing heed
This voice from out the Wilderness, the sin
Be theirs, and my own feelings be my meed,
The only guerdon I have ever known.
Hast thou not bled? and hast thou still to bleed,
Italia? Ah! to me such things, foreshown
With dim sepulchral light, bid me forget
In thine irreparable wrongs my own;
We can have but one Country, and even yet
Thou'rt mine—my bones shall be within thy breast,20
My Soul within thy language, which once set
With our old Roman sway in the wide West;
But I will make another tongue arise
As lofty and more sweet, in which expressed
The hero's ardour, or the lover's sighs,
Shall find alike such sounds for every theme
That every word, as brilliant as thy skies,

Shall realise a Poet's proudest dream,