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The Works of Lord Byron (ed. Coleridge, Prothero)/Poetry/Volume 7/Answer to ——'s Professions of Affection

ANSWER TO ——'S PROFESSIONS OF AFFECTION.

In hearts like thine ne'er may I hold a place
Till I renounce all sense, all shame, all grace—
That seat,—like seats, the bane of Freedom's realm
But dear to those presiding at the helm—
Is basely purchased, not with gold alone;
Add Conscience, too, this bargain is your own—
'T is thine to offer with corrupting art
The rotten borough[1] of the human heart.

? 1814.
[From an autograph MS., now for the first time printed.]

  1. [The phrase, "rotten borough," was used by Sir F. Burdett, Examiner, October 12, 1812.]