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Page:The Works of Lord Byron (ed. Coleridge, Prothero) - Volume 5.djvu/647

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CANTO II.]
607
THE ISLAND.

But grant his vices, grant them all his own,
How small their theatre without a throne!


IX.

Thou smilest:—these comparisons seem high
To those who scan all things with dazzled eye;
Linked with the unknown name of one whose doom
Has nought to do with glory or with Rome,
With Chili, Hellas, or with Araby;—200
Thou smilest?—Smile; 'tis better thus than sigh;
Yet such he might have been; he was a man,
A soaring spirit, ever in the van,
A patriot hero or despotic chief,[1]
To form a nation's glory or its grief,
Born under auspices which make us more
Or less than we delight to ponder o'er.
But these are visions; say, what was he here?
A blooming boy, a truant mutineer.
The fair-haired Torquil, free as Ocean's spray,210
The husband of the bride of Toobonai.


X.

By Neuha's side he sate, and watched the waters,—
Neuha, the sun-flower of the island daughters,
Highborn, (a birth at which the herald smiles,
Without a scutcheon for these secret isles,)
Of a long race, the valiant and the free,
The naked knights of savage chivalry,
Whose grassy cairns ascend along the shore;
And thine—I've seen—Achilles! do no more.[2]
She, when the thunder-bearing strangers came,220
In vast canoes, begirt with bolts of flame,
Topped with tall trees, which, loftier than the palm,
Seemed rooted in the deep amidst its calm:

But when the winds awakened, shot forth wings

    such are human things! [For Hannibal's cry of despair, "Agnoscere se fortunam Carthaginis!" see Livy, lib. xxvii. cap. li. s.f.]

  1. Tyrant or hero—patriot or a chief.—[MS. erased.]
  2. [Compare Childe Harold, Canto II. stanza v. line 1, see Poetical Works, 1899, ii. 102, and 99, note 1.]