At which a conscious cheek would quail,
A stern and lofty bearing fail:
Then could a chieftain condescend
In me to recognize his friend!
Then could a warrior low incline
His eye, when it encounter'd mine!
A tone can make the guilty start!
A glance can pierce the conscious heart,
Encountering memory in its flight,
Most waywardly! Such wounds are slight;
But I withdraw the painful light!
"Fair lords and princes! many a time
For you I wove my pictur'd rhyme;
Refin'd new thoughts and fancies crude
In deep and careful solitude;
'And, when my task was finish'd, came
To seek the meed of praise or blame;
While, even then, untir'd I strove
To serve beneath the yoke of love.
Whene'er I mark'd a fearful look,
When pride, or when resentment, spoke,
I bent the tenor of my strain,
And trembled lest it were in vain.