Page:The Works of Lord Byron (ed. Coleridge, Prothero) - Volume 2.djvu/464

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422
[CANTO IV.
CHILDE HAROLD’S PILGRIMAGE.

CXXVI.

Our life is a false nature—'tis not in
The harmony of things,—this hard decree,
This uneradicable taint of Sin,
This boundless Upas, this all-blasting tree,
Whose root is Earth—whose leaves and branches be
The skies which rain their plagues on men like dew—
Disease, death, bondage—all the woes we see,
And worse, the woes we see not—which throb through
The immedicable soul,[1] with heart-aches ever new.


CXXVII.

Yet let us ponder boldly—'tis a base

Abandonment of reason[2] to resign
  1. [Compare Milton's Samson Agonistes, lines 617-621—

    "My griefs not only pain me
    As a lingering disease,
    But, finding no redress, ferment and rage;
    Nor less than wounds immedicable
    Rankle."]

  2. "At all events," says the author of the Academical Questions [Sir William Drummond], "I trust, whatever may be the fate of my own speculations, that philosophy will regain that estimation which it ought to possess. The free and philosophic spirit of our nation has been the theme of admiration to the world. This was the proud distinction of Englishmen, and the luminous source of all their glory. Shall we then forget the manly and dignified sentiments of our ancestors, to prate in the language of the mother or the nurse about our good old prejudices? This is not the way to defend the cause of truth. It was not thus that our fathers maintained it in the brilliant periods of our history. Prejudice may be trusted to guard the outworks for a short space of time, while reason slumbers in the citadel; but if the latter sink into a lethargy, the former will quickly erect