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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.
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