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Why then should Lord Byron force the comparison between the modern and the ancient hero? It is because the slaves of power mind the cause they have to serve, because their own interest is concerned; but the friends of liberty always sacrifice their cause, which is only the cause of humanity, to their own spleen, vanity, and self-opinion. The league between tyrants and slaves is a chain of adamant; the bond between poets and the people is a rope of sand. Is this a truth, or is it not? If it is not, let Lord Byron write no more on this subject, which is beyond his height and his depth. Let him not trample on the mighty or the fallen!
–William Hazlitt, “Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage” first published in: The Yellow Dwarf, May 2, 1818, in: The Collected Works of William Hazlitt, vol. 3, p. 423 (1912).
More from Scott Horton:
Six Questions — October 18, 2014, 8:00 pm
Nathaniel Raymond on CIA interrogation techniques.
Mark Denbeaux on the NCIS cover-up of three “suicides” at Guantánamo Bay Detention Camp
Length in days of the sentence Russian blogger Alexei Navalny served for leading an opposition rally last year:
Israeli researchers developed software that evaluates the depression of bloggers.
A teenager in Singapore was convicted of obscenity for posts critical of Lee Kuan Yew, the country’s founding father, that included an image of Lee having sex with Margaret Thatcher.
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“Shelby is waiting for something. He himself does not know what it is. When it comes he will either go back into the world from which he came, or sink out of sight in the morass of alcoholism or despair that has engulfed other vagrants.”