The Works of Lord Byron (ed. Coleridge, Prothero)/Poetry/Volume 1/Damætas


In law an infant,[2] and in years a boy,
In mind a slave to every vicious joy;
From every sense of shame and virtue wean'd,
In lies an adept, in deceit a fiend;
Vers'd in hypocrisy, while yet a child;
Fickle as wind, of inclinations wild;
Woman his dupe, his heedless friend a tool;
Old in the world, though scarcely broke from school;
Damœtas ran through all the maze of sin,
And found the goal, when others just begin:
Ev'n still conflicting passions shake his soul,
And bid him drain the dregs of Pleasure's bowl;
But, pall'd with vice, he breaks his former chain,
And what was once his bliss appears his bane.

  1. [Moore appears to have regarded these lines as applying to Byron himself. It is, however, very unlikely that, with all his passion for painting himself in the darkest colours, he would have written himself down "a hypocrite." Damœtas is, probably, a satirical sketch of a friend or acquaintance. (Compare the solemn denunciation of Lord Falkland in English Bards, and Scotch Reviewers, lines 668-686.)]
  2. In law, every person is an infant who has not attained the age of twenty-one.