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Page:The Works of Lord Byron (ed. Coleridge, Prothero) - Volume 5.djvu/673

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CANTO IV.]
633
THE ISLAND.

With each new being born or to be born:[1]
How a young Chief, a thousand moons ago,
Diving for turtle in the depths below,
Had risen, in tracking fast his ocean prey,
Into the cave which round and o'er them lay;
How, in some desperate feud of after-time,
He sheltered there a daughter of the clime,200
A foe beloved, and offspring of a foe,
Saved by his tribe but for a captive's woe;
How, when the storm of war was stilled, he led
His island clan to where the waters spread
Their deep-green shadow o'er the rocky door,
Then dived—it seemed as if to rise no more:
His wondering mates, amazed within their bark,
Or deemed him mad, or prey to the blue shark;
Rowed round in sorrow the sea-girded rock,
Then paused upon their paddles from the shock;210
When, fresh and springing from the deep, they saw
A Goddess rise—so deemed they in their awe;
And their companion, glorious by her side,
Proud and exulting in his Mermaid bride;
And how, when undeceived, the pair they bore
With sounding conchs and joyous shouts to shore;
How they had gladly lived and calmly died,—
And why not also Torquil and his bride?
Not mine to tell the rapturous caress
Which followed wildly in that wild recess220
This tale; enough diat all within that cave
Was love, though buried strong as in the grave,

Where Abelard, through twenty years of death,
  1. The reader will recollect the epigram of the Greek anthology, or its translation into most of the modern languages—

    "Whoe'er thou art, thy master see—
    He was, or is, or is to be."

    [Byron is quoting from memory an "Illustration" in the notes to Collections from the Greek Anthology, by the Rev. Robert Bland, 1813, p. 402—

    "Whoe'er thou art, thy Lord and master see.
    Thou wast my Slave, thou art, or thou shalt be."

    The couplet was written by George Granville, Lord Lansdowne (1667-1735), as an Inscription for a Figure representing the God of Love. (See The Genuine Works, etc., 1732, l. 129.)]