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Page:The Works of Lord Byron (ed. Coleridge, Prothero) - Volume 4.djvu/585

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543
THE DUEL.

'Tis fifty years, and three to boot,
Since, hand to hand, and foot to foot,
And heart to heart, and sword to sword,
One of our Ancestors was gored.
I've seen the sword that slew him;[1] he,
The slain, stood in a like degree
To thee, as he, the Slayer, stood
(Oh had it been but other blood!)
In kin and Chieftainship to me.
Thus came the Heritage to thee.


2.

To me the Lands of him who slew
Came through a line of yore renowned;
For I can boast a race as true
To Monarchs crowned, and some discrowned,
As ever Britain's Annals knew:
For the first Conqueror gave us Ground,[2]
And the last Conquered owned the line
Which was my mother's, and is mine.


3.

I loved thee—I will not say how,

Since things like these are best forgot:

    sneering at his cousin's absurd and disastrous leniency towards poachers. It was Chaworth who insisted on an interview, not on the stairs, but in a private room, who locked the door, and whose demeanour made a challenge "to draw" inevitable. The room was dimly lit, and when the table was pushed back, the space for the combatants was but twelve feet by five. After two thrusts had been parried, and Lord Byron's shirt had been torn, he shifted a little to the right, to take advantage of such light as there was, came to close quarters with his adversary and, "as he supposed, gave the unlucky wound which he would ever reflect upon with the utmost regret." If there was any truth in his plea, the "wicked Lord Byron" has been misjudged, and, at least in the matter of the duel, was not so black as he has been painted. For Byron's defence of his grand-uncle, see letter to M. J. J. Coulmann, Genoa, July 12, 1823, Life, by Karl Elze, 1872, pp. 443-446.]

  1. [In the coroner's "Inquisition," the sword is described as being "made of iron and steel, of the value of five shillings." Byron says that "so far from feeling any remorse for having killed Mr. Chaworth, who was a fire-eater (spadassin), ... he always kept the sword ... in his bed-chamber, where it still was when he died."—Ibid., p. 445.]
  2. [Ralph de Burun held Horestan Castle and other manors from the Conqueror. Byron's mother was descended from James I. of Scotland.]