Long absent Harold re-appears at last;
He of the breast which fain no more would feel,
Wrung with the wounds which kill not, but ne'er heal;
Yet Time, who changes all, had altered him
In soul and aspect as in age: years steal
Fire from the mind as vigour from the limb;
And Life's enchanted cup but sparkles near the brim.
His had been quaffed too quickly, and he found
The dregs were wormwood; but he filled again,
And from a purer fount, on holier ground,
And deemed its spring perpetual—but in vain!
Still round him clung invisibly a chain
Which galled for ever, fettering though unseen,
And heavy though it clanked not; worn with pain,
Which pined although it spoke not, and grew keen,
Entering with every step he took through many a scene.
He of the breast that strove no more to feel,
Scarred with the wounds ——.—[MS.]
development of thought and feeling which had befallen the Pilgrim since last they had journeyed together. The youthful Harold had sounded the depth of joy and woe. Man delighted him not—no, nor woman neither. For a time, however, he had cured himself of this trick of sadness. He had drunk new life from the fountain of natural beauty and antique lore, and had returned to take his part in the world, inly armed against dangers and temptations. And in the world he had found beauty, and fame had found him. What wonder that he had done as others use, and then discovered that he could not fare as others fared? Henceforth there remained no comfort but in nature, no refuge but in exile!]