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In this second extract from The Corsair, we hear the corsair’s love, Medora, singing whilst he (unbeknownst to her) listens on from the bushes.

As background, although the corsair (a pirate) is “lone, wild, and strange” and stands “exempt/ From all affection and from all contempt” and is quite happy to prey off the weak (he “spurns the worm, but pauses ere he wake/ The slumbering venom of the folded snake”), he has one humanising and tender quality:

 

None are all evil – clinging round his heart,

One softer feeling would not yet depart;

Oft could he sneer at others as beguil’d

By passions worthy of a fool or child –

Yet ‘gainst that passion vainly still he stove,

And even in him it asks the name of Love!

So basically he is a rugged, handsome, fearsome brute, yet soft and squishy on the inside. One would never of guessed that Byron was a fan of that unspeakable sin of the Greeks would you? Now for Medora’s song:

 

 

 

Deep in my soul that tender secret dwells,

Lonely and lost to light for evermore.

Save when to thine my heart responsive swells,

Then trembles into silence as before.

 

There in its centre – a sepulchral lamp

Burns the slow flame eternal – but unseen;

Which not the darkness of despair can damp,

Though vain its ray as it had never been.

 

Remember me – Oh! Pass not thou my grave

Without one thought whose relics the recline;

The only pang my bosom dare not brave,

Must be to find forgetfulness in thine.

 

My fondest – faintest – latest – accents hear:

Grief for the dead not Virtue can reprove;

Then give me all I ever asked – a tear,

The first – last – sole reward of so much love.

 

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