The Complete Poetical Works of Lord Byron

By George Gordon Byron | Go to book overview
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Who bears the golden horn, and wears such bright
And blooming aspect, Huon; for he looks
Like to the lovely boy lost in the forest,
And never found till now. And for the other
And darker, and more thoughtful, who

smiles not, 529
But looks as serious though serene as night,
He shall be Memnon, from the Ethiop king
Whose statue turns a harper once a day.
And you?

Stran. I have ten thousand names, and twice
As many attributes; but as I wear
A human shape, will take a human name.

Arn. More human than the shape (though it was mine once)
I trust.

Stran. Then call me Cæsar.

Arn. Why, that name
Belongs to empires, and has been but borne
By the world's lords.

Stran. And therefore fittest for
The devil in disguise -- since so you deem

me, 540
Unless you call me pope instead.

Arn. Well, then,
Cæsar thou shalt be. For myself, my name
Shall be plain Arnold still.
Cœs. We'll add a title -
'Count Arnold:' it hath no ungracious sound,
And will look well upon a billet-doux.

Arn. Or in an order for a battle-field.
Cœs.(sings). To horse! to horse! my coal-black steed
Paws the ground and snuffs the air!
There's not a foal of Arab's breed

More knows whom he must bear; 550
On the hill he will not tire,
Swifter as it waxes higher;
In the marsh he will not slacken,
On the plain be overtaken;
In the wave he will not sink,
Nor pause at the brook's side to drink;
In the race he will not pant,
In the combat he'll not faint;
On the stones he will not stumble,
Time nor toil shall make him humble; 560
In the stall he will not stiffen,
But be wingèd as a griffin,
Only flying with his feet:
And will not such a voyage be sweet?
Merrily! merrily! never unsound,
Shall our bonny black horses skim over the ground!
From the Alps to the Caucasus ride we, or fly!
For we'll leave them behind in the glance of an eye.
[They mount their horses, and disappear.


SCENE II

A Camp before the Walls of Rome.

ARNOLD and Cæsar.

Cces. You are well enter'd now.

Arn. Ay; but my path
Has been o'er carcasses: mine eyes are full
Of blood.

Cœs. Then wipe them, and see clearly.

Why! 571
Thou art a conqueror; the chosen knight
And free companion of the gallant Bourbon,
Late constable of France: and now to be
Lord of the city which hath been earth's lord
Under its emperors, and -- changing sex,
Not sceptre, an hermaphrodite of empire --
Lady of the old world.

Arn.How old ? What! are there
New worlds?

Cœs. To you. You'll find there are such shortly,
By its rich harvests, new disease, and gold;
From one half of the world named a whole

new one, 581
. Because you know no better than the dull
And dubious notice of your eyes and ears.

Arn. I'll trust them.

Cœs. Do! They will deceive you sweetly,
And that is better than the bitter truth.

Arn. Dog!
Cœs. Man!

Arn. Devil!
Cœs. Your obedient humble servant.

Arn. Say master rather. Thou hast lured me on,
Through scenes of blood and lust, till I am here.

Cces. And where wouldst thou be?

Arn. Oh, at peace -- in peace!

Cœs. And where is that which is so?

From the star 590
To the winding worm, all life is motion; and
In life commotion is the extremest point
Of life. The planet wheels till it becomes
A comet, and destroying as it sweeps

-730-

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