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Page:The Works of Lord Byron (ed. Coleridge, Prothero) - Volume 5.djvu/651

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CANTO II.]
611
THE ISLAND.

Roused millions do what single Brutus did—
Sweep these mere mock-birds of the Despot's song
From the tall bough where they have perched so long,—
Still are we hawked at by such mousing owls,[1]
And take for falcons those ignoble fowls,
When but a word of freedom would dispel330
These bugbears, as their terrors show too well.


XIV.

Rapt in the fond forgetfulness of life,
Neuha, the South Sea girl, was all a wife,
With no distracting world to call her off
From Love; with no Society to scoff
At the new transient flame; no babbling crowd
Of coxcombry in admiration loud,
Or with adulterous whisper to alloy
Her duty, and her glory, and her joy:
With faith and feelings naked as her form,340
She stood as stands a rainbow in a storm,
Changing its hues with bright variety,
But still expanding lovelier o'er the sky,
Howe'er its arch may swell, its colours move,
The cloud-compelling harbinger of Love.


XV.

Here, in this grotto of the wave-worn shore,
They passed the Tropic's red meridian o'er;
Nor long the hours—they never paused o'er time,
Unbroken by the clock's funereal chime,[2]
Which deals the daily pittance of our span,350
And points and mocks with iron laugh at man.[3]
What deemed they of the future or the past?
The present, like a tyrant, held them fast:
Their hour-glass was the sea-sand, and the tide,

Like her smooth billow, saw their moments glide;
  1. [Compare Macbeth, act ii. sc. 4, line 13.]
  2. [Compare—

    "The never-merry clock."

    Werner, act iii. sc. 3, line 3.]

  3. Which knolls the knell of moments out of man.—[MS. D. erased.]