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The Poet and the World

by George Gordon Byron, 1881

(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.

Published in Poetry of Byron

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