Page:The Works of Lord Byron (ed. Coleridge, Prothero) - Volume 2.djvu/321

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The fount at which the panting Mind assuages
Her thirst of knowledge, quaffing there her fill,
Flows from the eternal source of Rome's imperial hill.


Thus far have I proceeded in a theme
Renewed with no kind auspices:—to feel
We are not what we have been, and to deem
We are not what we should be,—and to steel
The heart against itself; and to conceal,
With a proud caution, love, or hate, or aught,—
Passion or feeling, purpose, grief, or zeal,—
Which is the tyrant Spirit of our thought,
Is a stern task of soul:—No matter,—it is taught.[1]


And for these words, thus woven into song,
It may be that they are a harmless wile,—[2]
The colouring of the scenes which fleet along,[3]

Which I would seize, in passing, to beguile
  1. [The task imposed upon his soul, which dominates every other instinct, is the concealment of any and every emotion—"love, or hate, or aught," not the concealment of the particular emotion "love or hate," which may or may not be the "master-spirit" of his thought. He is anxious to conceal his feelings, not to keep the world in the dark as to the supreme feeling which holds the rest subject.]
  2. They are but as a self-deceiving wile.—[MS. erased.]
  3. The shadows of the things that pass along.—[MS.]