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Page:The Works of Lord Byron (ed. Coleridge, Prothero) - Volume 5.djvu/633

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CANTO I.]
593
THE ISLAND.

Heard through Gain's silence, and o'er Glory's din:
Whatever creed be taught, or land be trod,
Man's conscience is the Oracle of God.[1]


VII.

The launch is crowded with the faithful few
Who wait their Chief, a melancholy crew:
But some remained reluctant on the deck
Of that proud vessel—now a moral wreck—
And viewed their Captain's fate with piteous eyes;
While others scoffed his augured miseries,130
Sneered at the prospect of his pigmy sail,
And the slight bark so laden and so frail.
The tender nautilus, who steers his prow,
The sea-born sailor of his shell canoe,
The ocean Mab, the fairy of the sea,
Seems far less fragile, and, alas! more free.
He, when the lightning-winged Tornados sweep
The surge, is safe—his port is in the deep—
And triumphs o'er the armadas of Mankind,
Which shake the World, yet crumble in the wind.140


VIII.

When all was now prepared, the vessel clear
Which hailed her master in the mutineer,
A seaman, less obdurate than his mates,
Showed the vain pity which but irritates;
Watched his late Chieftain with exploring eye,
And told, in signs, repentant sympathy;
Held the moist shaddock to his parchéd mouth,
Which felt Exhaustion's deep and bitter drouth.
But soon observed, this guardian was withdrawn,

Nor further Mercy clouds Rebellion's dawn.[2]150
  1. [A variant of Pope's lines—

    "For modes of faith let graceless zealots fight,
    His can't be wrong, whose life is in the right."

    Essay on Man. iii. 305, 306.]

  2. ["Isaac Martin, one of the guard over me, I saw, had an inclination to assist me: and as he fed me with shaddock (my lips being quite parched with my endeavours to bring about a change), we explained our wishes to each other by our looks; but this being observed, Martin was instantly removed from me."—A Narrative, etc., 1790, p. 4.]