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Page:The Works of Lord Byron (ed. Coleridge, Prothero) - Volume 4.djvu/94

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64
POEMS OF JULY—SEPTEMBER, 1816

Mercy is for the merciful!—if thou
Hast been of such, 'twill be accorded now.
Thy nights are banished from the realms of sleep:—[1]
Yes! they may flatter thee, but thou shalt feel
A hollow agony which will not heal,
For thou art pillowed on a curse too deep;
Thou hast sown in my sorrow, and must reap
The bitter harvest in a woe as real!
I have had many foes, but none like thee;
For 'gainst the rest myself I could defend,
And be avenged, or turn them into friend;
But thou in safe implacability
Hadst nought to dread—in thy own weakness shielded,
And in my love, which hath but too much yielded,
And spared, for thy sake, some I should not spare;
And thus upon the world—trust in thy truth,
And the wild fame of my ungoverned youth—
On things that were not, and on things that are—
Even upon such a basis hast thou built
A monument, whose cement hath been guilt!
The moral Clytemnestra of thy lord,[2]
And hewed down, with an unsuspected sword,
Fame, peace, and hope—and all the better life
Which, but for this cold treason of thy heart,
Might still have risen from out the grave of strife,
And found a nobler duty than to part.
But of thy virtues didst thou make a vice,

Trafficking with them in a purpose cold,
  1. [Compare—

    "Though thy slumber may be deep,
    Yet thy Spirit shall not sleep.

    · · · · ·

    Nor to slumber nor to die,
    Shall be in thy destiny."

    The Incantation, lines 201, 202, 254, 255,
    Manfred, act i. sc. 1, vide post, pp. 92, 93.]

  2. [Compare "I suppose now I shall never be able to shake off my sables in public imagination, more particularly since my moral ... [Clytemnestra?] clove down my fame" (Letter to Moore, March 10, 1817, Letters, 1900, iv. 72). The same expression, "my moral Clytemnestra," is applied to his wife in a letter to Lord Blessington, dated April 6, 1823. It mav be noted that it was in April, 1823, that Byron presented a copy of the "Lines," etc., to Lady Blessington (Conversations, etc., 1834, p. 79).]