Page:The Works of Lord Byron (ed. Coleridge, Prothero) - Volume 3.djvu/271

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CANTO I.]
239
THE CORSAIR.


Aye, let them slumber—peaceful be their dreams!
Morn ne'er awoke them with such brilliant beams 320
As kindle high to-night (but blow, thou breeze!)
To warm these slow avengers of the seas.
Now to Medora—Oh! my sinking heart,[1]
Long may her own be lighter than thou art!
Yet was I brave—mean boast where all are brave!
Ev'n insects sting for aught they seek to save.
This common courage which with brutes we share,
That owes its deadliest efforts to Despair,
Small merit claims—but 'twas my nobler hope
To teach my few with numbers still to cope; 330
Long have I led them—not to vainly bleed:
No medium now—we perish or succeed!
So let it be—it irks not me to die;
But thus to urge them whence they cannot fly.
My lot hath long had little of my care,
But chafes my pride thus baffled in the snare:
Is this my skill? my craft? to set at last
Hope, Power and Life upon a single cast?
Oh, Fate!—accuse thy folly—not thy fate;
She may redeem thee still—nor yet too late." 340


XIV.

Thus with himself communion held he, till
He reached the summit of his tower-crowned hill:
There at the portal paused—for wild and soft
He heard those accents never heard too oft!
Through the high lattice far yet sweet they rung,
And these the notes his Bird of Beauty sung:

  1. Now to Francesca.—[MS.]
    Now to Ginevra.—[Revise of January 6, 1814.]
    Now to Medora.—[Revise of January 15, 1814.]