Page:The Corsair (Byron).djvu/29

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15
THE CORSAIR.


His name could sadden, and his acts surprize;
But they that fear'd him dared not to despise:
Man spurns the worm, but pauses ere he wake
The slumbering venom of the folded snake:
The first may turn—but not avenge the blow;
The last expires—but leaves no living foe—
Fast to the doomed offender's form it clings—
And he may crush—not conquer—still it stings!


XII.

None are all evil—clinging round his heart,
One softer feeling would not yet depart; 280
Oft could he sneer at others as beguil'd
By passions worthy of a fool or child—
Yet 'gainst that passion vainly still he strove,
And even in him it asks the name of Love!
Yes, it was love—unchangeable—unchanged—
Felt but for one from whom he never ranged;
Though fairest captives daily met his eye,
He shunn'd, nor sought, but coldly pass'd them by;
Though many a beauty droop'd in prison'd bower,
None ever sooth'd his most unguarded hour. 290
Yes—it was Love—if thoughts of tenderness,
Tried in temptation, strengthen'd by distress,