Page:The Works of Lord Byron (ed. Coleridge, Prothero) - Volume 2.djvu/440

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398
[CANTO IV.
CHILDE HAROLD’S PILGRIMAGE.

Like a trained falcon, in the Gallic van,[1]
Which he, in sooth, long led to Victory,
With a deaf heart which never seemed to be
A listener to itself, was strangely framed;
With but one weakest weakness—Vanity—[2]
Coquettish in ambition—still he aimed—
And what? can he avouch, or answer what he claimed?[3]


XCII.

And would be all or nothing—nor could wait
For the sure grave to level him; few years
Had fixed him with the Cæsars in his fate
On whom we tread: For this the conqueror rears
The Arch of Triumph! and for this the tears
And blood of earth flow on as they have flowed,
An universal Deluge, which appears
Without an Ark for wretched Man's abode,
And ebbs but to reflow!—Renew thy rainbow, God![4]


    Vidi, Vici, were blazoned on litters in the triumphal procession which celebrated Cæsar's victory over Pharnaces II., after the battle of Zela (B.C. 47).]

  1. [By "flee" in the "Gallic van," Byron means "fly towards, not away from, the foe." He was, perhaps, thinking of the Biblical phrases, "flee like a bird" (Ps. xi. 1), and "flee upon horses" (Isa. xxx. 16); but he was not careful to "tame down" words to his own use and purpose.]
  2. Of pettier passions which raged angrily.—[MS. M. erased.]
  3. At what? can he reply? his lusting is unnamed.—[MS. M. erased.]
  4. ——How oft—how long, oh God!—[MS. M. erased.]