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Lord Byron (1788–1824). Poetry of Byron. 1881.

I. Personal, Lyric, and Elegiac

The Poet and the World

(Childe Harold, Canto iii. Stanzas 113, 114.)

I HAVE not loved the world, nor the world me;

I have not flatter’d its rank breath, nor bow’d

To its idolatries a patient knee,—

Nor coin’d my cheek to smiles,—nor cried aloud

In worship of an echo; in the crowd

They could not deem me one of such; I stood

Among them, but not of them; in a shroud

Of thoughts which were not their thoughts, and still could,

Had I not filed my mind, which thus itself subdued.

I have not loved the world, nor the world me,—

But let us part fair foes; I do believe,

Though I have found them not, that there may be

Words which are things,—hopes which will not deceive,

And virtues which are merciful, nor weave

Snares for the failing: I would also deem

O’er others’ griefs that some sincerely grieve;

That two, or one, are almost what they seem,—

That goodness is no name, and happiness no dream.