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Page:The Works of Lord Byron (ed. Coleridge, Prothero) - Volume 4.djvu/88

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58
POEMS OF JULY—SEPTEMBER, 1816.

III.

If my inheritance of storms hath been
In other elements, and on the rocks
Of perils, overlooked or unforeseen,
I have sustained my share of worldly shocks,
The fault was mine; nor do I seek to screen
My errors with defensive paradox;[1]
I have been cunning in mine overthrow,
The careful pilot of my proper woe.


IV.

Mine were my faults, and mine be their reward.
My whole life was a contest, since the day
That gave me being, gave me that which marred
The gift,—a fate, or will, that walked astray;[2]
And I at times have found the struggle hard,
And thought of shaking off my bonds of clay:
But now I fain would for a time survive,
If but to see what next can well arrive.


V.

Kingdoms and Empires in my little day
I have outlived, and yet I am not old;
And when I look on this, the petty spray
Of my own years of trouble, which have rolled
Like a wild bay of breakers, melts away:

Something—I know not what—does still uphold

    without a tempest. He was known to the sailors by the facetious name of 'Foul-weather Jack' [or 'Hardy Byron'].

    "'But, though it were tempest-toss'd,
    Still his bark could not be lost.'

    He returned safely from the wreck of the Wager (in Anson's voyage), and many years after circumnavigated the world, as commander of a similar en)edition." (Moore). Admiral the Hon. John Byron (1723-1786), next brother to William, fifth Lord Byron, published his Narrative of his shipwreck in the Wager in 1768, and his Voyage round the World in the Dolphin, in 1767 (Letters, 1898, i. 3).]

  1. I am not yet o'erwhelmed that I shall ever lean
    A thought upon such Hope as daily mocks.—[MS. erased.]

  2. [For Byron's belief in predestination, compare Childe Harold, Canto I. stanza lxxxiii. line 9, Poetical Works, 1899, ii. 74, note 1.]