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XLI.

If, like a tower upon a headlong rock,

Thou hadst been made to stand or fall alone,

Such scorn of man had help'd to brave the shock;
But men's thoughts were the steps which paved thy
Their admiration thy best weapon shone; [throne,
The part of Philip's son was thine, not then
(Unless aside thy purple had been thrown)
Like stern Diogenes to mock at men;

For sceptred cynics earth were far too wide a den. (9)

XLII.

But quiet to quick bosoms is a hell,

And there hath been thy bane; there is a fire
And motion of the soul which will not dwell
In its own narrow being, but aspire
Beyond the fitting medium of desire;
And, but once kindled, quenchless evermore,
Preys upon high adventure, nor can tire
Of aught but rest; a fever at the core,
Fatal to him who bears, to all who ever bore.

XLIII.

This makes the madmen who have made men mad By their contagion; Conquerors and Kings, Founders of sects and systems, to whom add Sophists, Bards, Statesmen, all unquiet things Which stir too strongly the soul's secret springs, And are themselves the fools to those they fool; Envied, yet how unenviable! what stings

Are theirs! One breast laid open were a school Which would unteach mankind the lust to shine or rule:

XLIV.

Their breath is agitation, and their life
A storm whereon they ride, to sink at last,
And yet so nursed and bigoted to strife,
That should their days, surviving perils past,
Melt to calm twilight, they feel overcast
With sorrow and supineness, and so die;
Even as a flame unfed, which runs to waste
With its own flickering, or a sword laid by
Which eats into itself, and rusts ingloriously.

XLV.

He who ascends to mountain-tops, shall find
The loftiest peaks most wrapt in clouds and snow;
He who surpasses or subdues mankind,
Must look down on the hate of those below.
Though high above the sun of glory glow,
And far beneath the earth and ocean spread,
Round him are icy rocks, and loudly blow
Contending tempests on his naked head,

And thus reward the toils which to those summits led.

XLVI.

Away with these! true Wisdom's world will be
Within its own creation, or in thine,

Maternal Nature! for who teems like thee,
Thus on the banks of thy majestic Rhine?
There Harold gazes on a work divine,

A blending of all beauties; streams and dells,
Fruit, foliage, crag, wood, cornfield, mountain, vine,
And chiefless castles breathing stern farewells
From gray but leafy walls, where Ruin greenly dwells.

XLVII.

And there they stand, as stands a lofty mind,
Worn, but unstooping to the baser crowd,
All tenantless, save to the crannying wind,
Or holding dark communion with the cloud.
There was a day when they were young and proud,
Banners on high, and battles pass'd below;

But they who fought are in a bloody shroud,
And those which waved are shredless dust ere now,
And the bleak battlements shall bear no future blow.

XLVIII.

Beneath these battlements, within those walls,
Power dwelt amidst her passions; in proud state
Each robber chief upheld his armed halls,
Doing his evil will, nor less elate

Than mightier heroes of a longer date.

What want these outlaws (10) conquerors should have?
But History's purchased page to call them great?
A wider space, an ornamented grave?

Their hopes were not less warm, their souls were full as brave.

XLIX.

In their baronial feuds and single fields,
What deeds of prowess unrecorded died!

And Love, which lent a blazon to their shields,
With emblems well devised by amorous pride,
Through all the mail of iron hearts would glide;
But still their flame was fierceness, and drew on
Keen contest and destruction near allied,
And many a tower for some fair mischief won,
Saw the discolour'd Rhine beneath its ruin run.

L.

But Thou, exulting and abounding river!
Making thy waves a blessing as they flow
Through banks whose beauty would endure for ever
Could man but leave thy bright creation so,
Nor its fair promise from the surface mow
With the sharp scythe of conflict, then to see
Thy valley of sweet waters, were to know

Earth paved like Heaven; and to seem such to me, Even now what wants thy stream?-that it should Lethe be.

LI.

A thousand battles have assail'd thy banks, But these and half their fame have pass'd away, And Slaughter heap'd on high his weltering ranks; Their very graves are gone, and what are they? Thy tide wash'd down the blood of yesterday, And all was stainless, and on thy clear stream Glass'd with its dancing light the sunny ray; But o'er the blacken'd memory's blighting dream Thy waves would vainly roll, all sweeping as they seem.

LII.

Thus Harold inly said, and pass'd along,
Yet not insensibly to all which here

Awoke the jocund birds to early song

In glens which might have made even exile dear: Though on his brow were graven lines austere, And tranquil sternness which had ta’en the place Of feelings fierier far but less severe,

Joy was not always absent from his face,

But o'er it in such scenes would steal with transient trace.

LIII.

Nor was all love shut from him, though his days Of passion had consumed themselves to dust. It is in vain that we would coldly gaze On such as smile upon us; the heart must Leap kindly back to kindness, though disgust Hath wean'd it from all worldlings: thus he felt, For there was soft remembrance, and sweet trust In one fond breast, to which his own would melt, And in its tenderer hour on that his bosom dwelt.

LIV.

And he had learn'd to love,-I know not why,
For this in such as him seems strange of mood,-
The helpless looks of blooming infancy,
Even in its earliest nurture; what subdued,
To change like this, a mind so far imbued
With scorn of man, it little boots to know;
But thus it was; and though in solitude

Small power the nipp'd affections have to grow,
In him this glow'd when all beside had ceased to glow.

LV.

And there was one soft breast, as hath been said,
Which unto his was bound by stronger ties
Than the church links withal; and, though unwed,
That love was pure, and, far above disguise,

Had stood the test of mortal enmities

Still undivided, and cemented more
By peril, dreaded most in female eyes;
But this was firm, and from a foreign shore

Well to that heart might his these absent greetings pour!

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