Page:The Works of Lord Byron (ed. Coleridge, Prothero) - Volume 2.djvu/496

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452
[CANTO IV.
CHILDE HAROLD’S PILGRIMAGE.

CLXX.

Of sackcloth was thy wedding garment made;
Thy bridal's fruit is ashes:[1] in the dust
The fair-haired Daughter of the Isles is laid,
The love of millions! How we did entrust
Futurity to her! and, though it must
Darken above our bones, yet fondly deemed
Our children should obey her child, and blessed
Her and her hoped-for seed, whose promise seemed
Like stars to shepherd's eyes:—'twas but a meteor beamed.[2]


CLXXI.

Woe unto us—not her—for she sleeps well:[3]
The fickle reek of popular breath,[4] the tongue
Of hollow counsel, the false oracle,

Which from the birth of Monarchy hath rung
  1. [Compare Canto III. stanza xxxiv. lines 6, 7—

    "Like to the apples on the Dead Sea's shore,
    All ashes to the taste."]

  2. [Mr. Tozer traces the star simile to Homer (Iliad, viii. 559)—

    Πάντα δέ τ' εἴδεται ἄστρα γέγηθε δέ τε φρένα ποιμήν.]

  3. [Compare Macbeth, act iii. sc. 2, lines 22, 23—

    "Duncan is in his grave;
    After life's fitful fever he sleeps well."]

  4. [Compare Coriolanus, act iii. sc. 3, lines 121, 122—

    "You common cry of curs! whose breath I hate
    As reek o' the rotten fens."]