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C.D. Warner, et al., comp.
The Library of the World’s Best Literature. An Anthology in Thirty Volumes. 1917.

The Two Butterflies

By Lord Byron (1788–1824)

From ‘The Giaour’

AS, rising on its purple wing,

The insect queen of eastern spring

O’er emerald meadows of Kashmeer

Invites the young pursuer near,

And leads him on from flower to flower,

A weary chase and wasted hour,

Then leaves him, as it soars on high,

With panting heart and tearful eye:

So beauty lures the full-grown child,

With hue as bright, and wing as wild,—

A chase of idle hopes and fears,

Begun in folly, closed in tears.

If won, to equal ills betrayed,

Woe waits the insect and the maid:

A life of pain, the loss of peace,

From infant’s play and man’s caprice.

The lovely toy so fiercely sought

Hath lost its charm by being caught,

For every touch that wooed its stay

Hath brushed its brightest hues away,

Till, charm and hue and beauty gone,

’Tis left to fly or fall alone.

With wounded wing or bleeding breast,

Ah, where shall either victim rest?

Can this with faded pinion soar

From rose to tulip as before?

Or Beauty, blighted in an hour,

Find joy within her broken bower?

No: gayer insects fluttering by

Ne’er droop the wing o’er those that die,

And lovelier things have mercy shown

To every failing but their own,

And every woe a tear can claim,

Except an erring sister’s shame.