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Page:The Works of Lord Byron (ed. Coleridge, Prothero) - Volume 5.djvu/660

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[CANTO III.
THE ISLAND.

III.

Beside the jutting rock the few appeared,
Like the last remnant of the red-deer's herd;60
Their eyes were feverish, and their aspect worn,
But still the hunter's blood was on their horn.
A little stream came tumbling from the height,
And straggling into ocean as it might,
Its bounding crystal frolicked in the ray,
And gushed from cliff to crag with saltless spray;
Close on the wild, wide ocean, yet as pure
And fresh as Innocence, and more secure,
Its silver torrent glittered o'er the deep,
As the shy chamois' eye overlooks the steep,70
While far below the vast and sullen swell
Of Ocean's alpine azure rose and fell.
To this young spring they rushed,—all feelings first
Absorbed in Passion's and in Nature's thirst,—
Drank as they do who drink their last, and threw
Their arms aside to revel in its dew;
Cooled their scorched throats, and washed the gory stains
From wounds whose only bandage might be chains;
Then, when their drought was quenched, looked sadly round,
As wondering how so many still were found80
Alive and fetterless:—but silent all,
Each sought his fellow's eyes, as if to call
On him for language which his lips denied,
As though their voices with their cause had died.


IV.

Stern, and aloof a little from the rest,
Stood Christian, with his arms across his chest.
The ruddy, reckless, dauntless hue once spread
Along his cheek was livid now as lead;
His light-brown locks, so graceful in their flow,
Now rose like startled vipers o'er his brow.90
Still as a statue, with his lips comprest
To stifle even the breath within his breast,
Fast by the rock, all menacing, but mute,

He stood; and, save a slight beat of his foot,