Page:The Works of Lord Byron (ed. Coleridge, Prothero) - Volume 2.djvu/261

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CANTO III.]
227
CHILDE HAROLD’S PILGRIMAGE.

Pierced by the shaft of banded nations through;
Ambition's life and labours all were vain—
He wears the shattered links of the World's broken chain.[1]


XIX.

Fit retribution! Gaul may champ the bit

And foam in fetters;—but is Earth more free?[2]

    all birds of prey attack with their talons and not with their beaks, and I have altered the line thus—

    "'Then tore with bloody talon the rent plain.'"

    (See Personal Memoirs of Pryse Lockhart Gordon, 1830, ii. 327, 328.)]

  1. And Gaul must wear the links of her own broken chain.—[MS.]
  2. [With this "obstinate questioning" of the final import and outcome of "that world-famous Waterloo," compare the Ode from the French, "We do not curse thee, Waterloo," written in 1815, and published by John Murray in Poems (1816). Compare, too, The Age of Waterloo, v. 93, "Oh, bloody and most bootless Waterloo!" and Don Juan, Canto VIII. stanzas xlviii.-l., etc. Shelley, too, in his sonnet on the Feelings of a Republican on the Fall of Bonaparte (1816), utters a like lament (Shelley's Works, 1895, ii. 385)—

    "I know
    Too late, since thou and France are in the dust,
    That Virtue owns a more eternal foe
    Than Force or Fraud: old Custom, legal Crime,
    And bloody Faith, the foulest birth of Time."

    Even Wordsworth, after due celebration of this "victory sublime," in his sonnet Emperors and Kings, etc. (Works, 1889, p. 557), solemnly admonishes the "powers"—

    "Be just, be grateful; nor, the oppressor's creed
    Reviving heavier chastisement deserve
    Than ever forced unpitied hearts to bleed."

    But the Laureate had no misgivings, and in The Poet's Pilgrimage, iv. 60, celebrates the national apotheosis—

    {{block center|"Peace hath she won ... with her victorious hand
    Hath won thro' rightful war auspicious peace;