THE BYRONIC HERO Childe Harold / Canto the Third XLII But quiet to quick bosoms is a hell, 370 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, 380 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 bigotted to strife, 390 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. 8
He who surpasses or subdues mankind, Must look down on the hate of those below. 400 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. MANFRED / Act I, Scene 1 MANFRED The lamp must be replenish'd, but even then It will not burn so long as I must watch: My slumbers -- if I slumber -- are not sleep, But a continuance of enduring thought, Which then I can resist not: in my heart 5 There is a vigil, and these eyes but close To look within; and yet I live, and bear The aspect and the form of breathing men. But grief should be the instructor of the wise; Sorrow is knowledge: they who know the most 10 Must mourn the deepest o'er the fatal truth, The Tree of Knowledge is not that of Life. Philosophy and science, and the springs Of wonder, and the wisdom of the world, I have essayed, and in my mind there is 15 A power to make these subject to itself-- But they avail not: I have done men good, And I have met with good even among men-- But this avail'd not: I have had my foes, And none have baffled, many fallen before me-- 20 But this avail'd not: -- Good, or evil, life, Powers, passions, all I see in other beings, Have been to me as rain unto the sands, Since that all-nameless hour. I have no dread, And feel the curse to have no natural fear, 25 Nor fluttering throb, that beats with hopes or wishes, Or lurking love of something on the earth.-- Now to my task.-- 9
The SEVEN SPIRITS Earth, ocean, air, night, mountains, winds, thy star, Are at thy beck and bidding, Child of Clay!