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Page:The Works of Lord Byron (ed. Coleridge, Prothero) - Volume 6.djvu/362

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[CANTO VIII.
DON JUAN.

CANTO THE EIGHTH.

I. Oh, blood and thunder ! and oh, blood and wounds ! These are but vulgar oaths, as you may deem, Too gentle reader ! and most shocking sounds : — • And so they are ; yet thus is Glory's dream Unriddled, and as my true Muse expounds At present such things, since they are her theme, So be they her inspirers ! Call them Mars, Bellona, what you will — they mean but wars. II. All was prepared — the fire, the sword, the men To wield them in their terrible array, — The army, like a lion from his den. Marched forth with nerve and sinews bent to slay,- A human Hydra, issuing from its fen To breathe destruction on its winding way, Whose heads were heroes, which cut off in vain Immediately in others grew again. III. History can only take things in the gross ; But could we know them in detail, perchance In balancing the profit and the loss. War's merit it by no means might enhance, To waste so much gold for a little dross. As hath been done, mere conquest to advance. The drying up a single tear has more

Of honest fame, than shedding seas of gore.