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George Gordon Byron




 

 


George Gordon, 6th Lord Byron

(Encyclopaedia Britannica)

born January 22, 1788, London, England
died April 19, 1824, Missolonghi,Greece





byname Lord Byron English Romantic poet and satirist whose poetry and personality captured the imagination of Europe. Renowned as the “gloomy egoist” of his autobiographical poem Childe Harold's Pilgrimage (1812–18) in the 19th century, he is now more generallyesteemed for the satiric realism of Don Juan (1819–24).

Life and career

Byron was the son of the handsome and profligate Captain John “Mad Jack” Byron and his second wife, Catherine Gordon, a Scots heiress. After her husband had squandered most of her fortune, Mrs. Byron took her infant son to Aberdeen, Scotland, where they lived in lodgings on a meagre income; the captain died in France in 1791. George Gordon Byron had been born with a clubfoot and early developed an extreme sensitivity to his lameness. In 1798, at age 10, he unexpectedly inherited the title and estates of his great-uncle William, the 5th Baron Byron. His mother proudly took him to England, where the boy fell in love with the ghostly halls and spacious ruins of Newstead Abbey, which had been presented to the Byrons by Henry VIII. Afterliving at Newstead for a while, Byron was sent to school in London, and in 1801 he went to Harrow, one of England's most prestigious schools. In 1803 he fell in love with his distant cousin, Mary Chaworth, who was older and already engaged, and when she rejected him she became the symbolfor Byron of idealized and unattainable love. He probably met Augusta Byron, his half sister from his father's first marriage, that same year.

In 1805 Byron entered Trinity College, Cambridge, where he piled up debts at an alarming rate and indulged in the conventional vices of undergraduates there. The signs of his incipient sexual ambivalence became more pronounced in what he later described as “a violent, though pure, love and passion” for a young chorister, John Edleston. Despite Byron's strong attachment to boys, often idealized as in the case of Edleston, his attachment to women throughout his life is sufficient indication of the strength of his heterosexual drive. In 1806 Byron had his early poems privately printed in a volume entitled Fugitive Pieces, and that same year he formed at Trinity what was to be a close, lifelong friendship with John Cam Hobhouse, who stirred his interest in liberal Whiggism.

Byron's first published volume of poetry, Hours of Idleness, appeared in 1807. A sarcastic critique of the book in The Edinburgh Review provoked his retaliation in 1809 with a couplet satire, English Bards and Scotch Reviewers, in which he attacked the contemporary literary scene. This work gained him his first recognition.

On reaching his majority in 1809, Byron took his seat in the House of Lords, and then embarked with Hobhouse on a grand tour. They sailed to Lisbon, crossed Spain, and proceeded by Gibraltar and Malta to Greece, where they ventured inland to Ioánnina and to Tepelene in Albania. In Greece Byron began Childe Harolde's Pilgrimage , which he continued in Athens. In March 1810 he sailed with Hobhouse for Constantinople (now Istanbul, Turkey), visited the site of Troy, and swam the Hellespont (present-day Dardanelles) in imitation of Leander. Byron's sojourn in Greece made a lasting impression on him. The Greeks' free and open frankness contrasted strongly with English reserve and hypocrisy and served to broaden his views of men and manners. He delighted in the sunshine and the moral tolerance of the people.

Byron arrived back in London in July 1811, and his mother died before he could reach her at Newstead. In February 1812 he made his first speech in the House of Lords, a humanitarian plea opposing harsh Tory measures against riotous Nottingham weavers. At the beginning of March, the first two cantos of Childe Harold's Pilgrimage were publishedby John Murray, and Byron “woke to find himself famous.” The poem describes the travels and reflections of a young man who, disillusioned with a life of pleasure and revelry, looks for distraction in foreign lands. Besides furnishing a travelogue of Byron's own wanderings through the Mediterranean, the first two cantos express the melancholy and disillusionment felt by a generation weary of the wars of the post-Revolutionary and Napoleonic eras. In the poem Byron reflects upon the vanity of ambition, the transitory nature of pleasure, and the futility of the search for perfection in the course of a “pilgrimage” through Portugal, Spain, Albania, and Greece. In the wake of Childe Harold's enormous popularity, Byron was lionized in Whig society. The handsome poet was swept into a liaison with the passionate and eccentric Lady Caroline Lamb, and the scandal of an elopement was barely prevented by his friend Hobhouse. She was succeeded as his lover by Lady Oxford, who encouraged Byron's radicalism.







During the summer of 1813, Byron apparently entered into intimate relations with his half sister Augusta, now married to Colonel George Leigh. He then carried on a flirtation with Lady Frances Webster as a diversion from this dangerous liaison. The agitations of these two love affairs and the sense of mingled guilt and exultation they aroused in Byron are reflected in the series of gloomy and remorseful Oriental verse tales he wrote at this time: The Giaour (1813); The Bride of Abydos (1813); The Corsair (1814), which sold 10,000 copies on the day of publication; and Lara (1814).

Seeking to escape his love affairs in marriage, Byron proposed in September 1814 to Anne Isabella (Annabella) Milbanke. The marriage took place in January 1815, and Lady Byron gave birth to a daughter, Augusta Ada, in December 1815. From the start the marriage was doomed by the gulf between Byron and his unimaginative and humorless wife; and in January 1816 Annabella left Byron to live with her parents, amid swirling rumours centring on his relations with Augusta Leigh and his bisexuality. The couple obtained a legal separation. Wounded by the general moral indignation directed at him, Byron went abroad in April 1816, never to return to England.

Byron sailed up the Rhine River into Switzerland and settledat Geneva, near Percy Bysshe Shelley and Mary Godwin, whohad eloped, and Godwin's stepdaughter by a second marriage, Claire Clairmont, with whom Byron had begun an affair in England. In Geneva he wrote the third canto of Childe Harold (1816), which follows Harold from Belgium up the Rhine River to Switzerland. It memorably evokes the historical associations of each place Harold visits, giving pictures of the Battle of Waterloo (whose site Byron visited),of Napoleon and Jean-Jacques Rousseau, and of the Swiss mountains and lakes, in verse that expresses both the most aspiring and most melancholy moods. A visit to the Bernese Oberland provided the scenery for the Faustian poetic dramaManfred (1817), whose protagonist reflects Byron's own brooding sense of guilt and the wider frustrations of the Romantic spirit doomed by the reflection that man is “half dust, half deity, alike unfit to sink or soar.”

At the end of the summer the Shelley party left for England, where Claire gave birth to Byron's illegitimate daughter Allegra in January 1817. In October Byron and Hobhouse departed for Italy. They stopped in Venice, where Byron enjoyed the relaxed customs and morals of the Italians and carried on a love affair with Marianna Segati, his landlord's wife. In May he joined Hobhouse in Rome, gathering impressions that he recorded in a fourth canto of Childe Harold (1818). He also wrote Beppo, a poem in ottava rima that satirically contrasts Italian with English manners in the story of a Venetian menage-à-trois. Back in Venice, Margarita Cogni, a baker's wife, replaced Segati as his mistress, and his descriptions of the vagaries of this “gentle tigress” are among the most entertaining passages in his letters describing life in Italy. The sale of Newstead Abbey in the autumn of 1818 for £94,500 cleared Byron of his debts, which had risen to £34,000, and left him with a generous income.

In the light, mock-heroic style of Beppo Byron found the form in which he would write his greatest poem, Don Juan , a satire in the form of a picaresque verse tale. The first two cantos of Don Juan were begun in 1818 and published in July 1819. Byron transformed the legendary libertine Don Juan into an unsophisticated, innocent young man who, though hedelightedly succumbs to the beautiful women who pursue him, remains a rational norm against which to view the absurdities and irrationalities of the world. Upon being sent abroad by his mother from his native Sevilla (Seville), Juan survives a shipwreck en route and is cast up on a Greek island, whence he is sold into slavery in Constantinople. He escapes to the Russian army, participates gallantly in the Russians' siege of Ismail, and is sent to St. Petersburg, wherehe wins the favour of the empress Catherine the Great and issent by her on a diplomatic mission to England. The poem's story, however, remains merely a peg on which Byron could hang a witty and satirical social commentary. His most consistent targets are, first, the hypocrisy and cant underlying various social and sexual conventions, and, second, the vain ambitions and pretenses of poets, lovers, generals, rulers, and humanity in general. Don Juan remains unfinished; Byron completed 16 cantos and had begun the 17th before his own illness and death. In Don Juan he was able to free himself from the excessive melancholy of ChildeHarold and reveal other sides of his character and personality—his satiric wit and his unique view of the comic rather than the tragic discrepancy between reality and appearance.

Shelley and other visitors in 1818 found Byron grown fat, with hair long and turning gray, looking older than his years, and sunk in sexual promiscuity. But a chance meeting with Countess Teresa Gamba Guiccioli, who was only 19 years old and married to a man nearly three times her age, reenergized Byron and changed the course of his life. Byron followed her to Ravenna, and she later accompanied him back to Venice. Byron returned to Ravenna in January 1820 as Teresa's cavalier servente (gentleman-in-waiting) and won the friendship of her father and brother, Counts Ruggero and Pietro Gamba, who initiated him into the secret society of the Carbonari and its revolutionary aims to free Italy from Austrian rule. In Ravenna Byron wrote The Prophecy of Dante; cantos III, IV, and V of Don Juan; the poetic dramas Marino Faliero, Sardanapalus, The Two Foscari, and Cain (all published in 1821); and a satire on the poet Robert Southey, The Vision of Judgment , which contains a devastating parody of that poet laureate's fulsome eulogy of King George III.

Byron arrived in Pisa in November 1821, having followed Teresa and the Counts Gamba there after the latter had beenexpelled from Ravenna for taking part in an abortive uprising. He left his daughter Allegra, who had been sent to him by her mother, to be educated in a convent near Ravenna, where she died the following April. In Pisa Byron again became associated with Shelley, and in early summer of 1822 Byron went to Leghorn (Livorno), where he rented a villa not far from the sea. There in July the poet and essayist Leigh Hunt arrived from England to help Shelley and Byron edit a radical journal, The Liberal. Byron returned to Pisa and housed Hunt and his family in his villa. Despite the drowning of Shelley on July 8, the periodical went forward, and its first number contained The Vision of Judgment. At the end of September Byron moved to Genoa, where Teresa's family had found asylum.

Byron's interest in the periodical gradually waned, but he continued to support Hunt and to give manuscripts to The Liberal. After a quarrel with his publisher, John Murray, Byron gave all his later work, including cantos VI to XVI of Don Juan (1823–24), to Leigh Hunt's brother John, publisher of The Liberal.

By this time Byron was in search of new adventure. In April 1823 he agreed to act as agent of the London Committee, which had been formed to aid the Greeks in their struggle for independence from the Turks. In July 1823 Byron left Genoa for Cephalonia. He sent £4,000 of his own money to prepare the Greek fleet for sea service and then sailed for Missolonghi on December 29 to join Prince Aléxandros Mavrokordátos, leader of the forces in western Greece.

Byron made efforts to unite the various Greek factions and took personal command of a brigade of Souliot soldiers, reputedly the bravest of the Greeks. But a serious illness in February 1824 weakened him, and in April he contracted the fever from which he died at Missolonghi on April 19. Deeply mourned, he became a symbol of disinterested patriotism and a Greek national hero. His body was brought back to England and, refused burial in Westminster Abbey, was placed in the family vault near Newstead. Ironically, 145 years after his death, a memorial to Byron was finally placed on the floor of the Abbey.




Assessment

Lord Byron's writings are more patently autobiographic thaneven those of his fellow self-revealing Romantics. Upon close examination, however, the paradox of his complex character can be resolved into understandable elements. Byron early became aware of reality's imperfections, but the skepticism and cynicism bred of his disillusionment coexisted with a lifelong propensity to seek ideal perfection in all of life's experiences. Consequently, he alternated between deep-seated melancholy and humorous mockery in his reaction to the disparity between real life and his unattainable ideals. The melancholy of Childe Harold and the satiric realism of Don Juan are thus two sides of the samecoin: the former runs the gamut of the moods of Romantic despair in reaction to life's imperfections, while the latter exhibits the humorous irony attending the unmasking of the hypocritical facade of reality.

Byron was initially diverted from his satiric-realistic bent bythe success of Childe Harold. He followed this up with the Oriental tales, which reflected the gloomy moods of self-analysis and disenchantment of his years of fame. In Manfred and the third and fourth cantos of Childe Harold he projected the brooding remorse and despair that followed the debacle of his ambitions and love affairs in England. But gradually the relaxed and freer life in Italy opened up again the satiric vein, and he found his forte in the mock-heroic style of Italian verse satire. The ottava rima form, which Byron used in Beppo and Don Juan, was easily adaptable to the digressive commentary, and its final couplet was ideally suited to the deflation of sentimental pretensions:
 

Alas! for Juan and Haidée! they were
So loving and so lovely—till then never,
Excepting our first parents, such a pair
Had run the risk of being damn'd for ever;
And Haidée, being devout as well as fair
Had, doubtless, heard about the Stygian river,
And hell and purgatory—but forgot
Just in the very crisis she should not.
 

Byron's plays are not as highly regarded as his poetry. He provided Manfred, Cain, and the historical dramas with characters whose exalted rhetoric is replete with Byronic philosophy and self-confession, but these plays are truly successful only insofar as their protagonists reflect aspects of Byron's own personality.

Byron was a superb letter writer, conversational, witty, and relaxed, and the 20th-century publication of many previously unknown letters has further enhanced his literary reputation. Whether dealing with love or poetry, he cuts through to the heart of the matter with admirable incisiveness, and his apt and amusing turns of phrase make even his business letters fascinating.

Byron showed only that facet of his many-sided nature that was most congenial to each of his friends. To Hobhouse he was the facetious companion, humorous, cynical, and realistic, while to Edleston, and to most women, he could be tender, melancholy, and idealistic. But this weakness was also Byron's strength. His chameleon-like character was engendered not by hypocrisy but by sympathy and adaptability, for the side he showed was a real if only partial revelation of his true self. And this mobility of character permitted him to savour and to record the mood and thought of the moment with a sensitivity denied to those tied to the conventions of consistency.

Leslie A. Marchand
 

 

 


Lord Byron on his deathbed as depicted by Joseph-Denis Odevaere c.1826

 


DON JUAN
 

Type of work: Epic poem
Author: George Gordon, Lord Byron (1788-1824)
Type of plot: Social satire
Time of plot: Late eighteenth century
Locale: Spain, Turkey, Russia, England
First published: By cantos, 1819-1824

 

This unfinished epic satire is written in ottava rima and contains 16,000 lines in its sixteen cantos. Rather than following the epic tradition, the poem becomes a vehicle for digression on any subject; Byron, through his hero, gives his views on wealth, power, society, chastity, poets, diplomats, and England. For this reason the poem holds a high place among literary satires.
 

 

Principal Characters

Don Juan (ju'an), the young son of Donna Inez and Don Jose, a hidalgo of Seville. He is a handsome, mischief-making boy whose education, after his father's death, is carefully supervised by his mother, who insists that he read only classics expurgated in the text but with all the obscenities collected in an appendix. He is allowed to associate only with old or ugly women. At the age of sixteen he learns the art of love from Donna Julia, a young matron. The ensuing scandal causes Donna Inez to send her son to Cadiz, there to take ship for a trip abroad. The vessel on which he is a passenger sinks after a storm; he experiences a romantic interlude with the daughter of a Greek pirate and slave trader; he is sold to the Turks; he takes part in the siege of Ismail, a Turkish fort on the Danube River; he becomes the favorite of the Empress Catherine of Russia; and he is sent on a diplomatic mission to England, where he becomes a critical observer of English society.
Donna Inez, Don Juan's mother, a domineering and short-sighted woman who first tries to protect her son from the facts of life but later rejoices in his good fortune and advancement when he becomes the favorite of Empress Catherine of Russia.
Don Jose, Don Juan's father, a gallant man often unfaithful to his wife, with whom he quarrels constantly. He dies while his son is still a small boy.
Donna Julia, Don Juan's first love, a woman of twenty-three married to a fifty-year-old husband, Don Alfonso. She is forced to enter a convent after her irate husband discovers his wife and her young lover in her bedchamber. In a long letter, written on the eve of Don Juan's departure from Spain, she professes her undying love for him.
Don Alfonso, the cuckold husband who discovers Don Juan hiding in a closet in his wife's bedroom.
Haidee, the second love of Don Juan. A tall, lovely child of nature and passion, she finds him unconscious on the seashore following the sinking of the ship on which he had sailed from Spain. Filled with love and sympathy, she hides and protects him. This idyllic island romance ends when Lambro, her pirate father, returns from one of his expeditions and finds the two sleeping together after a great feast which Lambro has watched from a distance. Don Juan, wounded in a scuffle with Lambro's men, is bound and put aboard one of the pirate's ships. Shortly afterward Haidee dies lamenting her vanished lover, and his child dies with her.
Lambro, Haidee's father, "the mildest-manner'd man that ever scuttled ship or cut a throat." Returning from one of his piratical expeditions, he surprises the young lovers and sends Don Juan, wounded in a fight with Lambro's men, away on a slave ship. Later he regrets his hasty action when he watches his only child die of illness and grief.
Gulbeyaz, the sultana of Turkey. Having seen Don Juan in the slave market where he is offered for sale, along with an Italian opera troupe sold into captivity by their disgusted impresario, she orders one of the palace eunuchs to buy the young man. She has him taken to the palace and dressed in women's clothes. Even though she brings her strongest weapon, her tears, to bear, she is unable to make Don Juan her lover.
The Sultan of Turkey, the father of fifty daughters and four dozen sons. Seeing the disguised Don Juan in his wife's apartments, he orders the supposed female slave to be taken to the palace harem.
Baba, the African eunuch who buys Don Juan at the sultana's command. He later flees with Don Juan and John Johnson from Constantinople.
Lolah, Katinka, and Dudii, three girls in the sultan's harem. Dudu, lovely and languishing, has the disguised Don Juan for her bedfellow. Late in the night she awakes screaming after a dream in which she reached for a golden apple and was stung by a bee. The next morning jealous Gulbeyaz orders Dudu and Don Juan executed, but they escape in the company of Johnson and Baba.
John Johnson, a worldly Englishman fighting with the Russians in the war against the Turks. Captured, he is bought in the slave market along with Don Juan. The two escape and make their way to the Turkish lines before Ismail. Johnson is recognized by General Suwarrow, who welcomes him and Don Juan as allies in the attack on Ismail.
Leila, a ten-year-old Moslem girl whose life Don Juan saves during the capture of Ismail. He becomes her protector.
General Suwarrow (Souvaroff), the leader of the Russian forces at the siege and taking of Ismail.
Catherine, empress of Russia, to whose court Don Juan is sent with news of the Turkish victory at Ismail. Voluptuous and rapacious in love, she receives the young man with great favor and he becomes her favorite. After he becomes ill she reluctantly decides to send him on a diplomatic mission to England.
Lord Henry Amundeville, an English politician and the owner of Norman Abbey. Don Juan meets the nobleman in London and the two become friends.
Lady Adeline Amundeville, his wife, who also becomes Don Juan's friend and mentor. She advises him to marry because she is afraid that he will become seriously involved with the notorious Duchess of Fitz-Fulke. During a house party at Norman Abbey she sings a song telling of the Black Friar, a ghost often seen wandering the halls of the Abbey.
The Duchess of Fitz-Fulke, a woman of fashion notorious for her amorous intrigues. She pursues Don Juan after his arrival in England and finally, disguised as the ghostly Black Friar of Norman Abbey, succeeds in making him her lover.
Miss Aurora Raby, a young Englishwoman with whom Don Juan contemplates matrimony. Although she seems completely unimpressed by his attentions, he is piqued by her lack of interest.
Pedrillo, Don Juan's tutor. When the ship on which he and his master sail from Cadiz sinks after a storm, they are among those set adrift in a longboat. When the food runs out, the unlucky pedagogue is eaten by his famished companions. Although Don Juan considers the man an ass, he is unable to help eat the hapless fellow.
Zoe, Haidee's maid.
Lady Pinchbeck, a woman of fashion who, after Don Juan's arrival in London, takes Leila under her protection.

 

The Story

When Don Juan was a small boy, his father died, leaving the boy in the care of his mother, Donna Inez. Donna Inez was a righteous woman who had made her husband's life miserable. She had her son tutored in the arts of fencing, riding, and shooting, and she herself attempted to rear him in a moral manner. But even though young Don Juan read widely in the sermons and lives of the saints, he did not seem to absorb from his studies the qualities his mother thought essential.
At sixteen, he was a handsome lad much admired by his mother's friends. Donna Julia, in particular, often looked pensively at the youth. Donna Julia was just twenty-three and married to a man of fifty. Although she loved her husband, or so she told herself, she thought often of young Don Juan. One day, finding herself alone with him, she gave herself to the young man.
The young lovers spent long hours together during the summer, and it was not until November that Don Alfonso, her husband, discovered their intrigue. When Don Alfonso found Don Juan in his wife's bedroom, he tried to throttle him. But Don Juan overcame Don Alfonso and fled, first to his mother's home for clothes and money. Then Donna Inez sent him to Cadiz to begin a tour of Europe. The good lady prayed that the trip would mend his ways.
Before his ship reached Leghorn a storm broke it apart. Don Juan spent many days in a lifeboat without food or water. At last the boat was washed ashore, and Don Juan fell exhausted on the beach and slept. When he awoke, he saw bending over him a beautiful girl who told him that she was called Haidee and that she was the daughter of the ruler of the island, one of the Cyclades. Her father. Lambro, was a pirate, dealing in jewels and slaves. Because she knew her father would sell Don Juan to the first trader who came by, Haidee hid Don Juan in a cave and sent her maids to wait on him.
When Lambro left on another expedition, Haidee took Don Juan from the cave and they roamed together over the island. Haidee heaped jewels and fine foods and wines on Don Juan, for he was the first man she had ever known except her father and her servants. Although Don Juan still tried to think of Donna Julia, he could not resist Haidee. A child of nature and passion, she gave herself to him with complete freedom. Again Don Juan lived an idyllic existence, until Haidee's father returned unexpectedly. Don Juan again fought gallantly, but at last he was overcome by the old man's servants and put aboard a slave ship bound for a distant market. He never saw Haidee again, and he never knew that she died giving birth to his child.
The slave ship took Don Juan to a Turkish market. where he and another prisoner were purchased by a black eunuch and taken to the palace of a sultan. There Don Juan was made to dress as a dancing maiden and present himself to the sultana, the fourth and favorite wife of the sultan. She had passed by the slave market and had seen Don Juan and wanted him for a lover. In order to conceal his sex from the sultan, she forced the disguise on Don Juan. But even at the threat of death, Don Juan would not become her lover, for he still yearned for Haidee. Perhaps his constancy might have wavered, if the sultana had not been an infidel, for she was young and beautiful.
Eventually Don Juan escaped from the palace and joined the army of Catherine of Russia. The Russians were at war with the sultan from whose palace Don Juan had fled. Don Juan was such a valiant soldier that he was sent to St. Petersburg, to carry the news of a Russian victory to Empress Catherine. Catherine also cast longing eyes on the handsome stranger, and her approval soon made Don Juan the toast of her capital.
In the midst of his luxury and good fortune, Don Juan grew ill. Hoping that a change of climate would help her favorite, Catherine resolved to send him on a mission to England. When he reached London he was well received, for he was a polished young man, well versed in fashionable etiquette. His mornings were spent in business, but his afternoons and evenings were devoted to lavish entertainment. He conducted himself with such decorum, however, that he was much sought after by proper young ladies and much advised by older ones. Lady Adeline Amundeville, made him her protege, and advised him freely on affairs of the heart. Another, the Duchess of Fitz-Fulke, advised him too, but her suggestions were of a more personal nature and seemed to demand a secluded spot where there was no danger from intruders. Because of the Duchess Fitz-Fulke's attentions to Don Juan, Lady Adeline began to talk to him about selecting a bride from the chaste and suitable young ladies attentive to him.
Don Juan thought of marriage, but his interest was stirred by a girl not on Lady Adeline's list. Aurora Raby was a plain young lady, prim, dull, and seemingly unaware of Don Juan's presence. Her lack of interest served to spur him on to greater efforts, but a smile was his only reward from the cold maiden.
His attention was diverted from Aurora Raby by the appearance of the ghost of the Black Friar, who had once lived in the house of Lady Adeline, where Don Juan was a guest. The ghost was a legendary figure reported to appear before births, deaths, or marriages. To Don Juan, the ghost was an evil omen, and he could not laugh off the tightness about his heart. Lady Adeline and her husband seemed to consider the ghost a great joke. Aurora Raby appeared to be a little sympathetic with Don Juan, but the Duchess of Fitz-Fulke merely laughed at his discomfiture.
The second time the ghost appeared, Don Juan followed it out of the house and into the garden. It seemed to float before him, always just out of his reach. Once he thought he had grasped it, but his fingers touched only a cold wall. Then he seized it firmly and found that the ghost had a sweet breath and full, red lips. When the monk's cowl fell back, the Duchess of Fitz-Fulke was revealed.
On the morning after, Don Juan appeared at breakfast, wan and tired. Whether he had overcome more than the ghost, no one will ever know. The duchess, too, came down, seeming to have the air of one who had been rebuked.

 

Critical Evaluation

George Gordon Byron, who became the sixth Lord Byron by inheriting the title from his uncle, William, was born on January 22, 1788. Because his father, the notorious "Mad Jack" Byron, deserted the family, young Byron was brought up in his mother's native Scotland, where he was exposed to Presbyterian concepts of predestination which distorted his religious views throughout his life. In 1801 he entered Harrow, a public school near London; in 1808 he received the Master of Arts degree from Cambridge; in 1809 he took his seat in the House of Lords. From June 1809 to July 1811, Byron traveled in Europe in the company of his friend Hob-house. In 1812 he met Lady Caroline Lamb, who later became his mistress; in 1813 he spent several months with his half sister, Augusta Leigh, who later bore a daughter who may have been Byron's. Byron married Annabella Milbanke in 1815; she bore him a daughter, Ada, a year later and left him shortly thereafter. In 1816 Byron left England, never to return. That year found him in Switzerland with the Shelleys, where in 1817 Clare Clairmont bore his illegitimate daughter Allegra. After 1819 Countess Teresa Guicciola, who sacrificed her marriage and social position for Byron, became his lover and comforter. Byron died on April 19, 1824, in Missolon-ghi, where he had hoped to help Greece gain independence from Turkey.
Don Juan, an "epic" poem written in ottava rima, is permeated throughout with Byronic philosophy. Its episodic plot, narrated in first person by its author, tells the story of young Juan, who, victimized by a narrow-minded and hypocritical mother, an illogical educational system, and his own fallible humanity, loses his innocence and faith and becomes disillusioned with man and his institutions. The poem's rambling style allows for Byron's numerous digressions, in which he satirizes many aspects of English life: English government and its officials, religion and its confusions and hypocrisies, society and its foibles, war and its irrationality, woman and her treachery, man and his inhumanity to his fellows. Even English poets feel the fire of Byron's wrath. Thus Byron has been accused of a completely negative view in Don Juan— anti-everything and pro-nothing. Though it is true that to Byron all is relative, because there can be no absolutes in a world without reason, sanity, or justice, the philosophy of Don Juan is not wholly pessimistic. Admittedly, the undertone, especially in the digressions, is often sardonic; yet the overtone, created by a flippant refusal to take Juan's story (or life) too seriously and by extensive use of exaggerated feminine rhyme, such as "intellectual" and "hen-peck'd you all," is essentially comic. Thus the zest and the laughter in Don Juan belie the idea of total despair and lend an affirmation of life despite its ironies; the lapses into lyricism reveal a heart that sings despite the poet's attempt to stifle emotion with sophistication.
In Don Juan, Byron's philosophical confusion seems to be caused by his natural affinity for a Platonic, idealistic view, which has been crushed under the weight of a realism he is too honest and too perceptive to ignore. Though he denies that he discusses metaphysics, he comments that nothing is stable or permanent; all is mutable and subject to violent destruction. Yet Byron, in calling the world a "glorious blunder," is not totally blind to its temporary beauties. During the Juan-Haidee romance, the lovers live in an Edenic world of beautiful sunsets and warm, protective caves. Still, Juan's foreboding and Haidee's dream are reminders that nature's dangers always lurk behind its fagade of beauty. And even Haidee, "Nature's bride," pursued pleasure and passion only to be reminded that "the wages of sin is death."
Byron's view of the nature of man is closely akin to his complex view of natural objects. Man has his moments of glory, integrity, and unselfishness. For example, Juan, the novice, does not flee from the horror of battle; he shuns cannibalism even though he is starving; he refuses to be forced to love the sultana; he risks his life to save young Leila. Often Byron emphasizes man's freedom of mind and spirit. Yet he believes that man's self-deceit is the chief factor in his decadence; his false ideas of glory lead to bloodshed. Ironically, Suwarrow lectures his soldiers on "the noble art of killing"; man kills because "it brings self-approbation." In fact, Byron suggests that man is more destructive than nature or God. Still, he does not condemn man; some taint at the heart of nature and of man turns "simple instinct and passion" to guilt; besides, society's corruption in turn corrupts man. Lord Henry as the elder sophisticate is perhaps the best example of man's inability to retain his innocence; caught in the trap of his own greed and hypocrisy and of society's political game, Lord Henry finds that he cannot turn back, even though "the fatigue was greater than the profit." Byron also strikes out against political corruption. He had strong hopes for England's budding liberalism; a "king in constitutional procession" had offered great promise in leading the world to political freedom and morality. Yet Byron boldly declares England's failure to fulfill this promise.
Byron does, however, offer positive values in Don Juan. He believes that momentary happiness and glory and love are worth living for. Although "A day of gold from out an age of iron/ Is all that life allows the luckiest sinner," it is better than nothing. Man must fight, though he knows that he can never redeem the world and that defeat and death are certain. Since hypocrisy is one of the worst sins, man should be sincere. To Byron, the creative act is especially important, for it is man's only chance to transcend his mortality.
Throughout Don Juan, then, one follows man through his hapless struggle with life. Born in a fallen state, educated to hypocrisy and impracticality, cast out into a world of false values and boredom, man follows the downward path to total disillusionment. He learns, however, to protect himself from pain by insulating himself with the charred shell of burned-out passion and crushed ideals. Blindly, he stumbles toward that unknown and unknowable end—death. Yet he goes not humbly but defiantly, not grimly but with gusto.
Therefore, Byron's philosophy, despite its harshness, is one which embraces life, seeking to intensify and electrify each fleeting, irrevocable moment. It is a philosophy of tangibles, though they are inadequate; of action, though it will not cure man's ills; of honesty, though it must recognize man in his fallen state. And, though death is inevitable and no afterlife is promised, Byron maintains his comic perspective; "Carpe diem, Juan,. . . play out the play."

 

 


THE LYRIC POETRY OF LORD BYRON

 

Type of work: Poetry
Author: George Gordon, Lord Byron (1788-1824)
First published: Fugitive Pieces, 1806; Poems on Various Occasions, 1807; Hours of Idleness, 1807; Poems Original and Translated, 1808; Childe Harold's Pilgrimage III, 1812; Hebrew Melodies, 1815; Poems, 1816; The Prisoner ofChillon and Other Poems, 1816. Additional lyrics have gradually been gathered into the various collected editions, culminating in the seven-volume The Complete Poetical Works, edited by Jerome J. McGann, which began appearing in 1980.

 

Whatever other poetic forms Lord Byron eventually mastered, until the end of his career he continually returned to the short lyric, the mode with which he had begun. This most passionate of poets found the lyric capable of expressing passion, whether personal or, as in the case of Hebrew Melodies, dramatically distanced, with an unequaled clarity and intensity. In his lyrics, the sometimes unclassifiable Byron is at his most straightforwardly Romantic. His most characteristic lyric poetry is haunted by a melancholy knowledge of the fleeting nature of friendship and love and by a sensitivity to the evanescence of beauty, innocence, and joy. As many critics have pointed out, much of Byron's poetry displays a nostalgic longing for uncorrupted Paradise, and this is certainly true of the lyrics. The lyrics frequently manifest a sense of some perfection which has been lost or is about to be lost, and despite moments of exultation in things of undeniable worth which the world has not yet tarnished, the poet's common mood is weary disappointment with the fallenness of life.
Even in the poems written during Byron's teens and early twenties, not normally a period of world-weary sadness, a dominant theme is the melancholy nature of fallen mortal existence, with mortality itself the direct focus of several poems. In "On the Death of Young Lady," for example, the grieving poet returns to the tomb of a beloved cousin to "scatter flowers on the dust I love" and to lament that "not worth nor beauty have her life redeem'd" from the pitiless "King of Terrors." "Epitaph on a Friend" reiterates this conviction of the relentless-ness of death and emphasizes its blindness both to the worth of its victim and to the grief of the devoted mourner:

What fruitless tears have bathed thy honour'd bier!
What sighs re-echo'd to thy parting breath,
Whilst thou was struggling in the pangs of death!
Could tears retard the tyrant in his course;
Could sighs avert his dart's relentless force;
Could youth and virtue claim a short delay,
Or beauty charm the spectre from his prey;
Thou still hadst lived to bless my aching sight,
Thy comrade's honour and thy friend's delight.

An additional point to notice about both poems is that the one significant remnant of the lost relationship is the poet's tormenting memory of the beloved dead and his sorrow over the fact of separation—a linking of memory with sorrow which occurs throughout Byron's earliest published lyrics and, with greater sophistication, throughout much of his later poetry as well.
In this fallen world, a sorrowful separation can occur through other means than death, of course, and the young Byron rings many variations on the theme of the temporary nature of earthly love and friendship. As the opening stanza of "To D------" implies, for instance, flawed
human nature can destroy affection:

In thee I fondly hoped to clasp
A friend whom death alone could sever;
Till envy, with malignant grasp,
Detach'd thee from my breast forever.

In "To Emma," unavoidable circumstance is to blame. The loved one is leaving the hallowed place where she and the poet have known each other since childhood; as a result, their shared joys will end, and the very landscape will lose its power to please:

These times are past—our joys are gone,
You leave me, leave this happy vale;
These scenes I must retrace alone:
Without thee what will they avail?

Mutable human circumstance is also the culprit in "On a Distant View of the Village and School of Harrow on the Hill," and the sad realization of what has been lost is associated even more strongly with the landscape of the fondly remembered past. In this beloved place, Byron tells us, the "loved recollection" of "scenes of my childhood" "embitters the present, compared with the past." In "To Caroline," mutability, this time in the form of the aging process, is once more the enemy. Here, even before time's ravages have begun, the poet bemoans their inevitable effect on love and beauty:

Yet still this fond bosom regrets, while adoring,
That love, like the leaf, must fall into the sere;
That age will come on, when remembrance, deploring,
Contemplates the scenes of her youth with a tear;
That the time must arrive, when, no longer retaining
Their auburn, those locks must wave thin to the breeze,
When a few silver hairs of those tresses remaining,
Prove nature a prey to decay and disease.

If remembrance were less persistent for the Byronic persona or less often tainted by a sense of disillusionment and decline, melancholy would not so frequently pervade Byron's lyric verse. The usual pattern is for early experience, enshrined forever in idyllic memory, to outshine later events and for initial hope to give way repeatedly to disappointment. This does not imply, however, that the feeling heart, having gained and then lost some Edenic ideal, ceases thereafter to seek beauty, joy, and fulfillment; it simply means that each attempt is likely to bring defeat, whatever the momentary impression of triumph. Indeed, a general assumption in Byron's poetry, both early and late, is that one taste of Paradise inspires the doomed longing for more.
The paradisiacal quality of innocent passion which makes it one of those human experiences most worthy of repetition is directly asserted in the following lines from "The First Kiss of Love," another of Byron's early lyrics: "Some portion of paradise still is on earth,/ And Eden revives in the first kiss of love."
Unfortunately, while much of the Byronic persona's energy is dedicated to reexperiencing the intensity of this first passionate moment with an unfallen Eve, even the very young Byron expresses the worldly man's distrust of the descendants of Eve the temptress—sometimes, in fact, at the very moment when he admits their irresistible allure. In "To Woman," he writes,

Woman! experience might have told me
That all must love thee who behold thee:
Surely experience might have taught
Thy firmest promises are nought;
But, placed in all thy charms before me,
All I forget, but to adore thee.

The lessons of the past are momentarily ignored when passion reasserts its sway, but passion inevitably fails, and memory gathers in still another justification for disillusionment:

Oh memory! thou choicest blessing
When join'd with hope, when still possessing;
But how much cursed by every lover
When hope is fled and passion's over.

Contained in a poem written in late 1805 or early 1806, when Byron was about eighteen years old, these lines express sentiments which remain prominent in much of his later verse.
The persistent, if sometimes conventionally phrased, sense of loss which pervades the various poems quoted above, all of them dating from before Byron's twenty-first birthday, is intensified to a moving elegiac grief in the two poems entitled "To Thyrza," probably composed in late 1811 after Byron had learned of the death of John Edleston, a Cambridge choirboy for whom he had felt a homosexual attraction. In Edleston's youth and in the angelic beauty of his singing voice, Byron found that combination of the innocent and beautiful which always appealed to his longings for Paradise, and in the Thyrza poems, he describes a love which is both intensely private and thoroughly free of appetitive selfishness:

Ours too the glance none saw beside;
The smile none else might understand;
The whisper'd thought of hearts allied,
The pressure of the thrilling hand;
The kiss so guiltless and refin'd
That Love each warmer wish forbore;
Those eyes proclaim'd so pure a mind,
Ev'n passion blush'd to plead for more.

In the proper elegiac manner, but with overtones of a distinctively Byronic melancholy, he also portrays the burden of misery that he alone must bear as bereft survivor:

Oft have I borne the weight of ill
But never bent beneath till now!
Well hast thou left in life's best bloom
The cup of woe for me to drain.

Manifesting the Byronic stamp, too, are the following lines from the second of the poems:

Then bring me wine, the banquet bring;
Man was not form'd to live alone:
I'll be that light unmeaning thing
That smiles with all, and weeps with none.
It was not thus in days more dear,
It never would have been, but thou
Hast fled, and left me lonely here;
Thou'rt nothing, all are nothing now.

With the death of innocent love, the celebration of life continues, but with honest joy replaced by insincerity and cynical abandon.
In the Hebrew Melodies of 1815, written largely but not wholly on Old Testament themes, a different aspect of Byron's lyric gift is prominent: his capacity, reminiscent of the similar power of his friend Thomas Moore, to produce a mellifluous verbal beauty through the subtle interaction of sound, rhythm, and imagery. The best example of this capacity is the opening stanza of "She Walks in Beauty," perhaps the most widely read of Byron's poems:

She walks in beauty, like the night
Of cloudless climes and starry skies;
And all that's best of dark and bright
Meet in her aspect and her eyes:
Thus mellow'd to that tender light
Which heaven to gaudy day denies.

Despite the emphasis on an alluring verbal beauty in this and the volume's other poems—intended, in the oldest lyric tradition, for musical accompaniment—Hebrew Melodies still manifests many of the thematic concerns of the poems previously analyzed. The "cloudless climes and starry skies" of the lines above, for example, suggest that spiritual purity which Byron had long associated with true beauty and love, and the poem's final stanza makes the concern with untainted innocence explicit:

And on that cheek, and o'er that brow,
So soft, so calm, yet eloquent,
The smiles that win, the tints that glow,
But tell of days in goodness spent,
A mind at peace with all below,
A heart whose love is innocent!

Furthermore, the subject matter of many of the book's more scripturally oriented poems, the struggles and the glorious memories of an exiled people, fits perfectly with Byron's usual preoccupation with the fallen.
Although much of Byron's creative energy had been shifting, and was to shift further, toward the production of long poems and poetic dramas, the short lyric remained an important mode of immediate self-expression for him during the years following the publication of Hebrew Melodies, particularly when his emotions were stirred by some new avatar of innocent beauty and love and his sense of troubled exile from Paradise at its strongest.
For a time, his half sister Augusta came to embody such innocent perfection, and in several poems of 1816, the year when he began his exile from the false paradise of England, he addressed his passionate outpourings to her. In the first of two poems titled "Stanzas to Augusta," his half sister's "unbroken light" is said to have "watch'd" him in the troubled darkness of this world "as a seraph's eye." Elsewhere in the same poem, she is likened to "a lovely tree" remaining firmly protective in a world of chaotic storms. In the second of the two poems, he writes that "the love which my spirit hath painted/ It never hath found but in thee à She is that most unlikely of creatures in a fallen, mutable world, the loving human being who will never betray:

Though human, thou didst not deceive me,
Though woman, thou didst not forsake,
Though loved, thou forborest to grieve me,
Though slander'd, thou never couldst shake;
Though trusted, thou didst not disclaim me.
Though parted, it was not to fly,
Though watchful, 't was not to defame me,
Nor, mute, that the world might belie.

As he declares in the "Epistle to Augusta," although he may be a wanderer with "a world to roam through," he will always have "a home with thee."
From the beginning, Byron's lyrics are pervaded by this sense of the passionate exile's desire for the sanctuary of love and beauty, a sanctuary reminiscent of all that the fallen world has lost. If any element in Byron's lyrical amalgam becomes more prominent in the years of his actual exile from his homeland, it is the weariness of the passionate man's quest for an acceptable fulfillment. Anticipations of this theme occur even in the adolescent poems, but in the final decade, it receives more eloquent and more convincing expression. In the well-known "So, We'll Go No More A Roving" of 1817, for example, the poet tells us that "though the heart be still as loving,/ And the moon be still as bright," he will suspend his search for love,

For the sword outwears its sheath,
And the soul wears out the breast,
And the heart must pause to breathe,
And love itself have rest.

The weariness deepens as the years advance. In "To the Countess of Blessington," written in 1823, only a few months before his death at Missolonghi, he confesses to spiritual exhaustion:

I am ashes where once I was fire,
And the bard in my bosom is dead;
What I loved I now merely admire,
And my heart is as grey as my head.

The same exhaustion is implied in "On This Day I Complete My Thirty-sixth Year," an even later poem:

My days are in the yellow leaf;
The flowers and fruits of love are gone;
The worm, the canker, and the grief
Are mine alone!

Nevertheless, exhaustion can still give way to energy if that energy is properly redirected, if the private desires of the lover give way to the public dedication of the soldier:

Tread those reviving passions down,
Unworthy manhood!—unto thee
Indifferent should the smile or frown
Of beauty be.

Restoring the glory of Greece is an ambition superior to seeking an elusive reunion with an undiscoverable Eve, even if the only result of such heroism is "a soldier's grave."
These two ambitions are not so different, however, and in Byron's end is his beginning. The wish for a return to Paradise and the wish for a return to the glory that was Greece are both expressions of Romantic dissatisfaction with the world as it now exists and of Romantic faith that the innocent past was more perfect than the fallen present. Whatever he may be in his nonlyric moments, in his longing for some lost perfection and in his willingness to consume himself in seeking what he knows to be beyond attainment, the lyric Byron is the quintessential Romantic.


 

 

 

 




Don Juan
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

CANTO THE FIRST

I.

I WANT a hero: an uncommon want,
When every year and month sends forth a new one,
Till, after cloying the gazettes with cant,
The age discovers he is not the true one;
Of such as these I should not care to vaunt,
I'll therefore take our ancient friend Don Juan--
We all have seen him, in the pantomime,[15]
Sent to the Devil somewhat ere his time.

II.

Vernon,[16] the butcher Cumberland, Wolfe, Hawke,
Prince Ferdinand, Granby, Burgoyne, Keppel, Howe,
Evil and good, have had their tithe of talk,
And filled their sign-posts then, like Wellesley now;
Each in their turn like Banquo's monarchs stalk,
Followers of Fame, "nine farrow"[17] of that sow:
France, too, had Buonaparté[18] and Dumourier[19]
Recorded in the Moniteur and Courier.

III.

Barnave, Brissot, Condorcet, Mirabeau,
Petion, Clootz, Danton, Marat, La Fayette[20]
Were French, and famous people, as we know;
And there were others, scarce forgotten yet,
Joubert, Hoche, Marceau, Lannes, Desaix, Moreau,[21]
With many of the military set,
Exceedingly remarkable at times,
But not at all adapted to my rhymes.

IV.

Nelson was once Britannia's god of War,
And still should be so, but the tide is turned;
There's no more to be said of Trafalgar,
'T is with our hero quietly inurned;
Because the army's grown more popular,
At which the naval people are concerned;
Besides, the Prince is all for the land-service.
Forgetting Duncan, Nelson, Howe, and Jervis.

V.

Brave men were living before Agamemnon[22]
And since, exceeding valorous and sage,
A good deal like him too, though quite the same none;
But then they shone not on the poet's page,
And so have been forgotten:--I condemn none,
But can't find any in the present age
Fit for my poem (that is, for my new one);
So, as I said, I'll take my friend Don Juan.

VI.

Most epic poets plunge _"in medias res"_[23]
(Horace makes this the heroic turnpike road),
And then your hero tells, whene'er you please,
What went before--by way of episode,
While seated after dinner at his ease,
Beside his mistress in some soft abode,
Palace, or garden, paradise, or cavern,
Which serves the happy couple for a tavern.

VII.

That is the usual method, but not mine--
My way is to begin with the beginning;
The regularity of my design
Forbids all wandering as the worst of sinning,
And therefore I shall open with a line
(Although it cost me half an hour in spinning),
Narrating somewhat of Don Juan's father,
And also of his mother, if you'd rather.

VIII.

In Seville was he born, a pleasant city,
Famous for oranges and women,--he
Who has not seen it will be much to pity,
So says the proverb[24]--and I quite agree;
Of all the Spanish towns is none more pretty,
Cadiz perhaps--but that you soon may see;--
Don Juan's parents lived beside the river,
A noble stream, and called the Guadalquivir.

IX.

His father's name was José-_Don_, of course,--
A true Hidalgo, free from every stain
Of Moor or Hebrew blood, he traced his source
Through the most Gothic gentlemen of Spain;
A better cavalier ne'er mounted horse,
Or, being mounted, e'er got down again,
Than José, who begot our hero, who
Begot--but that's to come----Well, to renew:

X.[25]

His mother was a learnéd lady, famed
For every branch of every science known--
In every Christian language ever named,
With virtues equalled by her wit alone:
She made the cleverest people quite ashamed,
And even the good with inward envy groan,
Finding themselves so very much exceeded,
In their own way, by all the things that she did.

XI.

Her memory was a mine: she knew by heart
All Calderon and greater part of Lopé;
So, that if any actor missed his part,
She could have served him for the prompter's copy;
For her Feinagle's were an useless art,[26]
And he himself obliged to shut up shop--he
Could never make a memory so fine as
That which adorned the brain of Donna Inez.

XII.

Her favourite science was the mathematical,
Her noblest virtue was her magnanimity,
Her wit (she sometimes tried at wit) was Attic all,
Her serious sayings darkened to sublimity;[a]
In short, in all things she was fairly what I call
A prodigy--her morning dress was dimity,
Her evening silk, or, in the summer, muslin,
And other stuffs, with which I won't stay puzzling.

XIII.

She knew the Latin--that is, "the Lord's prayer,"
And Greek--the alphabet--I'm nearly sure;
She read some French romances here and there,
Although her mode of speaking was not pure;
For native Spanish she had no great care,
At least her conversation was obscure;
Her thoughts were theorems, her words a problem,
As if she deemed that mystery would ennoble 'em.

XIV.

She liked the English and the Hebrew tongue,
And said there was analogy between 'em;
She proved it somehow out of sacred song,
But I must leave the proofs to those who've seen 'em;
But this I heard her say, and can't be wrong,
And all may think which way their judgments lean 'em,
"'T is strange--the Hebrew noun which means 'I am,'
The English always use to govern d--n."

XV.

Some women use their tongues--she _looked_ a lecture,
Each eye a sermon, and her brow a homily,
An all-in-all sufficient self-director,
Like the lamented late Sir Samuel Romilly,[27]
The Law's expounder, and the State's corrector,
Whose suicide was almost an anomaly--
One sad example more, that "All is vanity,"--
(The jury brought their verdict in "Insanity!")

XVI.

In short, she was a walking calculation,
Miss Edgeworth's novels stepping from their covers,[28]
Or Mrs. Trimmer's books on education,[29]
Or "Coelebs' Wife"[30] set out in quest of lovers,
Morality's prim personification,
In which not Envy's self a flaw discovers;
To others' share let "female errors fall,"[31]
For she had not even one--the worst of all.

XVII.

Oh! she was perfect past all parallel--
Of any modern female saint's comparison;
So far above the cunning powers of Hell,
Her Guardian Angel had given up his garrison;
Even her minutest motions went as well
As those of the best time-piece made by Harrison:[32]
In virtues nothing earthly could surpass her,
Save thine "incomparable oil," Macassar![33]

XVIII.

Perfect she was, but as perfection is
Insipid in this naughty world of ours,
Where our first parents never learned to kiss
Till they were exiled from their earlier bowers,
Where all was peace, and innocence, and bliss,[b]
(I wonder how they got through the twelve hours),
Don José, like a lineal son of Eve,
Went plucking various fruit without her leave.

XIX.

He was a mortal of the careless kind,
With no great love for learning, or the learned,
Who chose to go where'er he had a mind,
And never dreamed his lady was concerned;
The world, as usual, wickedly inclined
To see a kingdom or a house o'erturned,
Whispered he had a mistress, some said _two_.
But for domestic quarrels _one_ will do.

XX.

Now Donna Inez had, with all her merit,
A great opinion of her own good qualities;
Neglect, indeed, requires a saint to bear it,
And such, indeed, she was in her moralities;[c]
But then she had a devil of a spirit,
And sometimes mixed up fancies with realities,
And let few opportunities escape
Of getting her liege lord into a scrape.

XXI.

This was an easy matter with a man
Oft in the wrong, and never on his guard;
And even the wisest, do the best they can,
Have moments, hours, and days, so unprepared,
That you might "brain them with their lady's fan;"[34]
And sometimes ladies hit exceeding hard,
And fans turn into falchions in fair hands,
And why and wherefore no one understands.

XXII.

'T is pity learnéd virgins ever wed
With persons of no sort of education,
Or gentlemen, who, though well born and bred,
Grow tired of scientific conversation:
I don't choose to say much upon this head,
I'm a plain man, and in a single station,
But--Oh! ye lords of ladies intellectual,
Inform us truly, have they not hen-pecked you all?

XXIII.

Don José and his lady quarrelled--_why_,
Not any of the many could divine,
Though several thousand people chose to try,
'T was surely no concern of theirs nor mine;
I loathe that low vice--curiosity;
But if there's anything in which I shine,
'T is in arranging all my friends' affairs,
Not having, of my own, domestic cares.

XXIV.

And so I interfered, and with the best
Intentions, but their treatment was not kind;
I think the foolish people were possessed,
For neither of them could I ever find,
Although their porter afterwards confessed--
But that's no matter, and the worst's behind,
For little Juan o'er me threw, down stairs,
A pail of housemaid's water unawares.

XXV.

A little curly-headed, good-for-nothing,
And mischief-making monkey from his birth;
His parents ne'er agreed except in doting
Upon the most unquiet imp on earth;
Instead of quarrelling, had they been but both in
Their senses, they'd have sent young master forth
To school, or had him soundly whipped at home,
To teach him manners for the time to come.

XXVI.

Don José and the Donna Inez led
For some time an unhappy sort of life,
Wishing each other, not divorced, but dead;[d]
They lived respectably as man and wife,
Their conduct was exceedingly well-bred,
And gave no outward signs of inward strife,
Until at length the smothered fire broke out,
And put the business past all kind of doubt.

XXVII.

For Inez called some druggists and physicians,
And tried to prove her loving lord was _mad_,[35]
But as he had some lucid intermissions,
She next decided he was only _bad_;
Yet when they asked her for her depositions,
No sort of explanation could be had,
Save that her duty both to man and God[36]
Required this conduct--which seemed very odd.[37]

XXVIII.

She kept a journal, where his faults were noted,
And opened certain trunks of books and letters,[38]
All which might, if occasion served, be quoted;
And then she had all Seville for abettors,
Besides her good old grandmother (who doted);
The hearers of her case became repeaters,
Then advocates, inquisitors, and judges,
Some for amusement, others for old grudges.

XXIX.

And then this best and meekest woman bore
With such serenity her husband's woes,
Just as the Spartan ladies did of yore,
Who saw their spouses killed, and nobly chose
Never to say a word about them more--
Calmly she heard each calumny that rose,
And saw _his_ agonies with such sublimity,
That all the world exclaimed, "What magnanimity!"

XXX.

No doubt this patience, when the world is damning us,
Is philosophic in our former friends;
'T is also pleasant to be deemed magnanimous,
The more so in obtaining our own ends;
And what the lawyers call a _"malus animus"_
Conduct like this by no means comprehends:
Revenge in person's certainly no virtue,
But then 't is not _my_ fault, if _others_ hurt you.

XXXI.

And if our quarrels should rip up old stories,
And help them with a lie or two additional,
_I_'m not to blame, as you well know--no more is
Any one else--they were become traditional;
Besides, their resurrection aids our glories
By contrast, which is what we just were wishing all:
And Science profits by this resurrection--
Dead scandals form good subjects for dissection.

XXXII.

Their friends had tried at reconciliation,[e]
Then their relations, who made matters worse.
('T were hard to tell upon a like occasion
To whom it may be best to have recourse--
I can't say much for friend or yet relation)
The lawyers did their utmost for divorce,[f]
But scarce a fee was paid on either side
Before, unluckily, Don José died.

XXXIII.

He died: and most unluckily, because,
According to all hints I could collect
From Counsel learnéd in those kinds of laws,
(Although their talk's obscure and circumspect)
His death contrived to spoil a charming cause;
A thousand pities also with respect
To public feeling, which on this occasion
Was manifested in a great sensation.

XXXIV.

But ah! he died; and buried with him lay
The public feeling and the lawyers' fees:
His house was sold, his servants sent away,
A Jew took one of his two mistresses,
A priest the other--at least so they say:
I asked the doctors after his disease--
He died of the slow fever called the tertian,
And left his widow to her own aversion.

XXXV.

Yet José was an honourable man,
That I must say, who knew him very well;
Therefore his frailties I'll no further scan,
Indeed there were not many more to tell:
And if his passions now and then outran
Discretion, and were not so peaceable
As Numa's (who was also named Pompilius),
He had been ill brought up, and was born bilious.[g]

XXXVI.

Whate'er might be his worthlessness or worth,
Poor fellow! he had many things to wound him.
Let's own--since it can do no good on earth--[h]
It was a trying moment that which found him
Standing alone beside his desolate hearth,
Where all his household gods lay shivered round him:[39]
No choice was left his feelings or his pride,
Save Death or Doctors' Commons--so he died.[i]

XXXVII.

Dying intestate, Juan was sole heir
To a chancery suit, and messuages, and lands,
Which, with a long minority and care,
Promised to turn out well in proper hands:
Inez became sole guardian, which was fair,
And answered but to Nature's just demands;
An only son left with an only mother
Is brought up much more wisely than another.

XXXVIII.

Sagest of women, even of widows, she
Resolved that Juan should be quite a paragon,
And worthy of the noblest pedigree,
(His Sire was of Castile, his Dam from Aragon)
Then, for accomplishments of chivalry,
In case our Lord the King should go to war again,
He learned the arts of riding, fencing, gunnery,
And how to scale a fortress--or a nunnery.

XXXIX.

But that which Donna Inez most desired,
And saw into herself each day before all
The learnéd tutors whom for him she hired,
Was, that his breeding should be strictly moral:
Much into all his studies she inquired,
And so they were submitted first to her, all,
Arts, sciences--no branch was made a mystery
To Juan's eyes, excepting natural history.

XL.

The languages, especially the dead,
The sciences, and most of all the abstruse,
The arts, at least all such as could be said
To be the most remote from common use,
In all these he was much and deeply read:
But not a page of anything that's loose,
Or hints continuation of the species,
Was ever suffered, lest he should grow vicious.

XLI.

His classic studies made a little puzzle,
Because of filthy loves of gods and goddesses,
Who in the earlier ages raised a bustle,
But never put on pantaloons or bodices;[40]
His reverend tutors had at times a tussle,
And for their Æneids, Iliads, and Odysseys,[j]
Were forced to make an odd sort of apology,
For Donna Inez dreaded the Mythology.

XLII.

Ovid's a rake, as half his verses show him,
Anacreon's morals are a still worse sample,
Catullus scarcely has a decent poem,
I don't think Sappho's Ode a good example,
Although Longinus[41] tells us there is no hymn
Where the Sublime soars forth on wings more ample;
But Virgil's songs are pure, except that horrid one
Beginning with _"Formosum Pastor Corydon."_[42]

XLIII.

Lucretius' irreligion is too strong
For early stomachs, to prove wholesome food;
I can't help thinking Juvenal was wrong,
Although no doubt his real intent was good,
For speaking out so plainly in his song,
So much indeed as to be downright rude;
And then what proper person can be partial
To all those nauseous epigrams of Martial?

XLIV.

Juan was taught from out the best edition,
Expurgated by learned men, who place,
Judiciously, from out the schoolboy's vision,
The grosser parts; but, fearful to deface
Too much their modest bard by this omission,[k]
And pitying sore his mutilated case,
They only add them all in an appendix,[43]
Which saves, in fact, the trouble of an index;

XLV.

For there we have them all "at one fell swoop,"
Instead of being scattered through the pages;
They stand forth marshalled in a handsome troop,
To meet the ingenuous youth of future ages,
Till some less rigid editor shall stoop
To call them back into their separate cages,
Instead of standing staring all together,
Like garden gods--and not so decent either.

XLVI.

The Missal too (it was the family Missal)
Was ornamented in a sort of way
Which ancient mass-books often are, and this all
Kinds of grotesques illumined; and how they,
Who saw those figures on the margin kiss all,
Could turn their optics to the text and pray,
Is more than I know--But Don Juan's mother
Kept this herself, and gave her son another.

XLVII.

Sermons he read, and lectures he endured,
And homilies, and lives of all the saints;
To Jerome and to Chrysostom inured,
He did not take such studies for restraints;
But how Faith is acquired, and then insured,
So well not one of the aforesaid paints
As Saint Augustine in his fine Confessions,
Which make the reader envy his transgressions.[44]

XLVIII.

This, too, was a sealed book to little Juan--
I can't but say that his mamma was right,
If such an education was the true one.
She scarcely trusted him from out her sight;
Her maids were old, and if she took a new one,
You might be sure she was a perfect fright;
She did this during even her husband's life--
I recommend as much to every wife.

XLIX.

Young Juan waxed in goodliness and grace;
At six a charming child, and at eleven
With all the promise of as fine a face
As e'er to Man's maturer growth was given:
He studied steadily, and grew apace,
And seemed, at least, in the right road to Heaven,
For half his days were passed at church, the other
Between his tutors, confessor, and mother.

L.

At six, I said, he was a charming child,
At twelve he was a fine, but quiet boy;
Although in infancy a little wild,
They tamed him down amongst them: to destroy
His natural spirit not in vain they toiled,
At least it seemed so; and his mother's joy
Was to declare how sage, and still, and steady,
Her young philosopher was grown already.

LI.

I had my doubts, perhaps I have them still,
But what I say is neither here nor there:
I knew his father well, and have some skill
In character--but it would not be fair
From sire to son to augur good or ill:
He and his wife were an ill-sorted pair--
But scandal's my aversion--I protest
Against all evil speaking, even in jest.

LII.

For my part I say nothing--nothing--but
_This_ I will say--my reasons are my own--
That if I had an only son to put
To school (as God be praised that I have none),
'T is not with Donna Inez I would shut
Him up to learn his catechism alone,
No--no--I'd send him out betimes to college,
For there it was I picked up my own knowledge.

LIII.

For there one learns--'t is not for me to boast,
Though I acquired--but I pass over _that_,
As well as all the Greek I since have lost:
I say that there's the place--but "_Verbum sat_,"
I think I picked up too, as well as most,
Knowledge of matters--but no matter _what_--
I never married--but, I think, I know
That sons should not be educated so.

LIV.

Young Juan now was sixteen years of age,
Tall, handsome, slender, but well knit: he seemed
Active, though not so sprightly, as a page;
And everybody but his mother deemed
Him almost man; but she flew in a rage[45]
And bit her lips (for else she might have screamed)
If any said so--for to be precocious
Was in her eyes a thing the most atrocious.

LV.

Amongst her numerous acquaintance, all
Selected for discretion and devotion,
There was the Donna Julia, whom to call
Pretty were but to give a feeble notion
Of many charms in her as natural
As sweetness to the flower, or salt to Ocean,
Her zone to Venus, or his bow to Cupid,
(But this last simile is trite and stupid.)

LVI.

The darkness of her Oriental eye
Accorded with her Moorish origin;
(Her blood was not all Spanish; by the by,
In Spain, you know, this is a sort of sin;)
When proud Granada fell, and, forced to fly,
Boabdil wept:[46] of Donna Julia's kin
Some went to Africa, some stayed in Spain--
Her great great grandmamma chose to remain.

LVII.

She married (I forget the pedigree)
With an Hidalgo, who transmitted down
His blood less noble than such blood should be;
At such alliances his sires would frown,
In that point so precise in each degree
That they bred _in and in_, as might be shown,
Marrying their cousins--nay, their aunts, and nieces,
Which always spoils the breed, if it increases.

LVIII.

This heathenish cross restored the breed again,
Ruined its blood, but much improved its flesh;
For from a root the ugliest in Old Spain
Sprung up a branch as beautiful as fresh;
The sons no more were short, the daughters plain:
But there's a rumour which I fain would hush,[l]
'T is said that Donna Julia's grandmamma
Produced her Don more heirs at love than law.

LIX.

However this might be, the race went on
Improving still through every generation,
Until it centred in an only son,
Who left an only daughter; my narration
May have suggested that this single one
Could be but Julia (whom on this occasion
I shall have much to speak about), and she
Was married, charming, chaste, and twenty-three.

LX.

Her eye (I'm very fond of handsome eyes)
Was large and dark, suppressing half its fire
Until she spoke, then through its soft disguise
Flashed an expression more of pride than ire,
And love than either; and there would arise
A something in them which was not desire,
But would have been, perhaps, but for the soul
Which struggled through and chastened down the whole.

LXI.

Her glossy hair was clustered o'er a brow
Bright with intelligence, and fair, and smooth;
Her eyebrow's shape was like the aërial bow,
Her cheek all purple with the beam of youth,
Mounting, at times, to a transparent glow,
As if her veins ran lightning; she, in sooth,
Possessed an air and grace by no means common:
Her stature tall--I hate a dumpy woman.

LXII.

Wedded she was some years, and to a man
Of fifty, and such husbands are in plenty;
And yet, I think, instead of such a ONE
'T were better to have TWO of five-and-twenty,
Especially in countries near the sun:
And now I think on 't, "_mi vien in mente_",
Ladies even of the most uneasy virtue
Prefer a spouse whose age is short of thirty.[m]

LXIII.

'T is a sad thing, I cannot choose but say,
And all the fault of that indecent sun,
Who cannot leave alone our helpless clay,
But will keep baking, broiling, burning on,
That howsoever people fast and pray,
The flesh is frail, and so the soul undone:
What men call gallantry, and gods adultery,
Is much more common where the climate's sultry,

LXIV.

Happy the nations of the moral North!
Where all is virtue, and the winter season
Sends sin, without a rag on, shivering forth
('T was snow that brought St. Anthony[47] to reason);
Where juries cast up what a wife is worth,
By laying whate'er sum, in mulct, they please on
The lover, who must pay a handsome price,
Because it is a marketable vice.

LXV.

Alfonso was the name of Julia's lord,
A man well looking for his years, and who
Was neither much beloved nor yet abhorred:
They lived together as most people do,
Suffering each other's foibles by accord,
And not exactly either _one_ or _two_;
Yet he was jealous, though he did not show it,
For Jealousy dislikes the world to know it.

LXVI.

Julia was--yet I never could see why--
With Donna Inez quite a favourite friend;
Between their tastes there was small sympathy,
For not a line had Julia ever penned:
Some people whisper (but, no doubt, they lie,
For Malice still imputes some private end)
That Inez had, ere Don Alfonso's marriage,
Forgot with him her very prudent carriage;

LXVII.

And that still keeping up the old connection,
Which Time had lately rendered much more chaste,
She took his lady also in affection,
And certainly this course was much the best:
She flattered Julia with her sage protection,
And complimented Don Alfonso's taste;
And if she could not (who can?) silence scandal,
At least she left it a more slender handle.

LXVIII.

I can't tell whether Julia saw the affair
With other people's eyes, or if her own
Discoveries made, but none could be aware
Of this, at least no symptom e'er was shown;
Perhaps she did not know, or did not care,
Indifferent from the first, or callous grown:
I'm really puzzled what to think or say,
She kept her counsel in so close a way.

LXIX.

Juan she saw, and, as a pretty child,
Caressed him often--such a thing might be
Quite innocently done, and harmless styled,
When she had twenty years, and thirteen he;
But I am not so sure I should have smiled
When he was sixteen, Julia twenty-three;
These few short years make wondrous alterations,
Particularly amongst sun-burnt nations.

LXX.

Whate'er the cause might be, they had become
Changed; for the dame grew distant, the youth shy,
Their looks cast down, their greetings almost dumb,
And much embarrassment in either eye;
There surely will be little doubt with some
That Donna Julia knew the reason why,
But as for Juan, he had no more notion
Than he who never saw the sea of Ocean.

LXXI.

Yet Julia's very coldness still was kind,
And tremulously gentle her small hand
Withdrew itself from his, but left behind
A little pressure, thrilling, and so bland
And slight, so very slight, that to the mind
'T was but a doubt; but ne'er magician's wand
Wrought change with all Armida's[48] fairy art
Like what this light touch left on Juan's heart.

LXXII.

And if she met him, though she smiled no more,
She looked a sadness sweeter than her smile,
As if her heart had deeper thoughts in store
She must not own, but cherished more the while
For that compression in its burning core;
Even Innocence itself has many a wile,
And will not dare to trust itself with truth,
And Love is taught hypocrisy from youth.

LXXIII.

But Passion most dissembles, yet betrays
Even by its darkness; as the blackest sky
Foretells the heaviest tempest, it displays
Its workings through the vainly guarded eye,
And in whatever aspect it arrays
Itself, 't is still the same hypocrisy;
Coldness or Anger, even Disdain or Hate,
Are masks it often wears, and still too late.

LXXIV.

Then there were sighs, the deeper for suppression,
And stolen glances, sweeter for the theft,
And burning blushes, though for no transgression,
Tremblings when met, and restlessness when left;
All these are little preludes to possession,
Of which young Passion cannot be bereft,
And merely tend to show how greatly Love is
Embarrassed at first starting with a novice.

LXXV.

Poor Julia's heart was in an awkward state;
She felt it going, and resolved to make
The noblest efforts for herself and mate,
For Honour's, Pride's, Religion's, Virtue's sake:
Her resolutions were most truly great,
And almost might have made a Tarquin quake:
She prayed the Virgin Mary for her grace,
As being the best judge of a lady's case.[49]

LXXVI.

She vowed she never would see Juan more,
And next day paid a visit to his mother,
And looked extremely at the opening door,
Which, by the Virgin's grace, let in another;
Grateful she was, and yet a little sore--
Again it opens, it can be no other,
'T is surely Juan now--No! I'm afraid
That night the Virgin was no further prayed.[50]

LXXVII.

She now determined that a virtuous woman
Should rather face and overcome temptation,
That flight was base and dastardly, and no man
Should ever give her heart the least sensation,
That is to say, a thought beyond the common
Preference, that we must feel, upon occasion,
For people who are pleasanter than others,
But then they only seem so many brothers.

LXXVIII.

And even if by chance--and who can tell?
The Devil's so very sly--she should discover
That all within was not so very well,
And, if still free, that such or such a lover
Might please perhaps, a virtuous wife can quell
Such thoughts, and be the better when they're over;
And if the man should ask, 't is but denial:
I recommend young ladies to make trial.

LXXIX.

And, then, there are such things as Love divine,
Bright and immaculate, unmixed and pure,
Such as the angels think so very fine,
And matrons, who would be no less secure,
Platonic, perfect, "just such love as mine;"
Thus Julia said--and thought so, to be sure;
And so I'd have her think, were _I_ the man
On whom her reveries celestial ran.

LXXX.

Such love is innocent, and may exist
Between young persons without any danger.
A hand may first, and then a lip be kissed;
For my part, to such doings I'm a stranger,
But _hear_ these freedoms form the utmost list
Of all o'er which such love may be a ranger:
If people go beyond, 't is quite a crime,
But not my fault--I tell them all in time.

LXXXI.

Love, then, but Love within its proper limits,
Was Julia's innocent determination
In young Don Juan's favour, and to him its
Exertion might be useful on occasion;
And, lighted at too pure a shrine to dim its
Ethereal lustre, with what sweet persuasion
He might be taught, by Love and her together--
I really don't know what, nor Julia either.

LXXXII.

Fraught with this fine intention, and well fenced
In mail of proof--her purity of soul[51]--
She, for the future, of her strength convinced,
And that her honour was a rock, or mole,[n]
Exceeding sagely from that hour dispensed
With any kind of troublesome control;
But whether Julia to the task was equal
Is that which must be mentioned in the sequel.

LXXXIII.

Her plan she deemed both innocent and feasible,
And, surely, with a stripling of sixteen
Not Scandal's fangs could fix on much that's seizable,
Or if they did so, satisfied to mean
Nothing but what was good, her breast was peaceable--
A quiet conscience makes one so serene!
Christians have burnt each other, quite persuaded
That all the Apostles would have done as they did.

LXXXIV.

And if in the mean time her husband died,
But Heaven forbid that such a thought should cross
Her brain, though in a dream! (and then she sighed)
Never could she survive that common loss;
But just suppose that moment should betide,
I only say suppose it--_inter nos_:
(This should be _entre nous_, for Julia thought
In French, but then the rhyme would go for nought.)

LXXXV.

I only say, suppose this supposition:
Juan being then grown up to man's estate
Would fully suit a widow of condition,
Even seven years hence it would not be too late;
And in the interim (to pursue this vision)
The mischief, after all, could not be great,
For he would learn the rudiments of Love,
I mean the _seraph_ way of those above.

LXXXVI.

So much for Julia! Now we'll turn to Juan.
Poor little fellow! he had no idea
Of his own case, and never hit the true one;
In feelings quick as Ovid's Miss Medea,[52]
He puzzled over what he found a new one,
But not as yet imagined it could be a
Thing quite in course, and not at all alarming,
Which, with a little patience, might grow charming.

LXXXVII.

Silent and pensive, idle, restless, slow,
His home deserted for the lonely wood,
Tormented with a wound he could not know,
His, like all deep grief, plunged in solitude:
I'm fond myself of solitude or so,
But then, I beg it may be understood,
By solitude I mean a Sultan's (not
A Hermit's), with a haram for a grot.

LXXXVIII.

"Oh Love! in such a wilderness as this,
Where Transport and Security entwine,
Here is the Empire of thy perfect bliss,
And here thou art a God indeed divine."[53]
The bard I quote from does not sing amiss,
With the exception of the second line,
For that same twining "Transport and Security"
Are twisted to a phrase of some obscurity.

LXXXIX.

The Poet meant, no doubt, and thus appeals
To the good sense and senses of mankind,
The very thing which everybody feels,
As all have found on trial, or may find,
That no one likes to be disturbed at meals
Or love.--I won't say more about "entwined"
Or "Transport," as we knew all that before,
But beg "Security" will bolt the door.

XC.

Young Juan wandered by the glassy brooks,
Thinking unutterable things; he threw
Himself at length within the leafy nooks
Where the wild branch of the cork forest grew;
There poets find materials for their books,
And every now and then we read them through,
So that their plan and prosody are eligible,
Unless, like Wordsworth, they prove unintelligible.

XCI.

He, Juan (and not Wordsworth), so pursued
His self-communion with his own high soul,
Until his mighty heart, in its great mood,
Had mitigated part, though not the whole
Of its disease; he did the best he could
With things not very subject to control,
And turned, without perceiving his condition,
Like Coleridge, into a metaphysician.[54]

XCII.

He thought about himself, and the whole earth,
Of man the wonderful, and of the stars,
And how the deuce they ever could have birth:
And then he thought of earthquakes, and of wars,
How many miles the moon might have in girth,
Of air-balloons, and of the many bars
To perfect knowledge of the boundless skies;--
And then he thought of Donna Julia's eyes.

XCIII.

In thoughts like these true Wisdom may discern
Longings sublime, and aspirations high,
Which some are born with, but the most part learn
To plague themselves withal, they know not why:
'T was strange that one so young should thus concern
His brain about the action of the sky;[o]
If _you_ think 't was Philosophy that this did,
I can't help thinking puberty assisted.

XCIV.

He pored upon the leaves, and on the flowers,
And heard a voice in all the winds; and then
He thought of wood-nymphs and immortal bowers,
And how the goddesses came down to men:
He missed the pathway, he forgot the hours,
And when he looked upon his watch again,
He found how much old Time had been a winner--
He also found that he had lost his dinner.

XCV.

Sometimes he turned to gaze upon his book,
Boscan,[55] or Garcilasso;[56]--by the wind
Even as the page is rustled while we look,
So by the poesy of his own mind
Over the mystic leaf his soul was shook,
As if 't were one whereon magicians bind
Their spells, and give them to the passing gale,
According to some good old woman's tale.

XCVI.

Thus would he while his lonely hours away
Dissatisfied, not knowing what he wanted;
Nor glowing reverie, nor poet's lay,
Could yield his spirit that for which it panted,
A bosom whereon he his head might lay,
And hear the heart beat with the love it granted,
With----several other things, which I forget,
Or which, at least, I need not mention yet.

XCVII.

Those lonely walks, and lengthening reveries,
Could not escape the gentle Julia's eyes;
She saw that Juan was not at his ease;
But that which chiefly may, and must surprise,
Is, that the Donna Inez did not tease
Her only son with question or surmise;
Whether it was she did not see, or would not,
Or, like all very clever people, could not.

XCVIII.

This may seem strange, but yet 't is very common;
For instance--gentlemen, whose ladies take
Leave to o'erstep the written rights of Woman,
And break the----Which commandment is 't they break?
(I have forgot the number, and think no man
Should rashly quote, for fear of a mistake;)
I say, when these same gentlemen are jealous,
They make some blunder, which their ladies tell us.

XCIX.

A real husband always is suspicious,
But still no less suspects in the wrong place,[p]
Jealous of some one who had no such wishes,
Or pandering blindly to his own disgrace,
By harbouring some dear friend extremely vicious;
The last indeed's infallibly the case:
And when the spouse and friend are gone off wholly,
He wonders at their vice, and not his folly.

C.

Thus parents also are at times short-sighted:
Though watchful as the lynx, they ne'er discover,
The while the wicked world beholds delighted,
Young Hopeful's mistress, or Miss Fanny's lover,
Till some confounded escapade has blighted
The plan of twenty years, and all is over;
And then the mother cries, the father swears,
And wonders why the devil he got heirs.

CI.

But Inez was so anxious, and so clear
Of sight, that I must think, on this occasion,
She had some other motive much more near
For leaving Juan to this new temptation,
But what that motive was, I sha'n't say here;
Perhaps to finish Juan's education,
Perhaps to open Don Alfonso's eyes,
In case he thought his wife too great a prize.

CII.

It was upon a day, a summer's day;--
Summer's indeed a very dangerous season,
And so is spring about the end of May;
The sun, no doubt, is the prevailing reason;
But whatsoe'er the cause is, one may say,
And stand convicted of more truth than treason,
That there are months which nature grows more merry in,--
March has its hares, and May must have its heroine.

CIII.

'T was on a summer's day--the sixth of June:
I like to be particular in dates,
Not only of the age, and year, but moon;
They are a sort of post-house, where the Fates
Change horses, making History change its tune,[q]
Then spur away o'er empires and o'er states,
Leaving at last not much besides chronology,
Excepting the post-obits of theology.[r]

CIV.

'T was on the sixth of June, about the hour
Of half-past six--perhaps still nearer seven--
When Julia sate within as pretty a bower
As e'er held houri in that heathenish heaven
Described by Mahomet, and Anacreon Moore,[57]
To whom the lyre and laurels have been given,
With all the trophies of triumphant song--
He won them well, and may he wear them long!

CV.

She sate, but not alone; I know not well
How this same interview had taken place,
And even if I knew, I should not tell--
People should hold their tongues in any case;
No matter how or why the thing befell,
But there were she and Juan, face to face--
When two such faces are so, 't would be wise,
But very difficult, to shut their eyes.

CVI.

How beautiful she looked! her conscious heart
Glowed in her cheek, and yet she felt no wrong:
Oh Love! how perfect is thy mystic art,
Strengthening the weak, and trampling on the strong!
How self-deceitful is the sagest part
Of mortals whom thy lure hath led along!--
The precipice she stood on was immense,
So was her creed in her own innocence.[s]

CVII.

She thought of her own strength, and Juan's youth,
And of the folly of all prudish fears,
Victorious Virtue, and domestic Truth,
And then of Don Alfonso's fifty years:
I wish these last had not occurred, in sooth,
Because that number rarely much endears,
And through all climes, the snowy and the sunny,
Sounds ill in love, whate'er it may in money.

CVIII.

When people say, "I've told you _fifty_ times,"
They mean to scold, and very often do;
When poets say, "I've written _fifty_ rhymes,"
They make you dread that they 'll recite them too;
In gangs of _fifty_, thieves commit their crimes;
At _fifty_ love for love is rare, 't is true,
But then, no doubt, it equally as true is,
A good deal may be bought for _fifty_ Louis.

CIX.

Julia had honour, virtue, truth, and love
For Don Alfonso; and she inly swore,
By all the vows below to Powers above,
She never would disgrace the ring she wore,
Nor leave a wish which wisdom might reprove;
And while she pondered this, besides much more,
One hand on Juan's carelessly was thrown,
Quite by mistake--she thought it was her own;

CX.

Unconsciously she leaned upon the other,
Which played within the tangles of her hair;
And to contend with thoughts she could not smother
She seemed by the distraction of her air.
'T was surely very wrong in Juan's mother
To leave together this imprudent pair,[t]
She who for many years had watched her son so--
I'm very certain _mine_ would not have done so.

CXI.

The hand which still held Juan's, by degrees
Gently, but palpably confirmed its grasp,
As if it said, "Detain me, if you please;"
Yet there's no doubt she only meant to clasp
His fingers with a pure Platonic squeeze;
She would have shrunk as from a toad, or asp,
Had she imagined such a thing could rouse
A feeling dangerous to a prudent spouse.

CXII.

I cannot know what Juan thought of this,
But what he did, is much what you would do;
His young lip thanked it with a grateful kiss,
And then, abashed at its own joy, withdrew
In deep despair, lest he had done amiss,--
Love is so very timid when 't is new:
She blushed, and frowned not, but she strove to speak,
And held her tongue, her voice was grown so weak.

CXIII.

The sun set, and up rose the yellow moon:
The Devil's in the moon for mischief; they
Who called her CHASTE, methinks, began too soon
Their nomenclature; there is not a day,
The longest, not the twenty-first of June,
Sees half the business in a wicked way,
On which three single hours of moonshine smile--
And then she looks so modest all the while!

CXIV.

There is a dangerous silence in that hour,
A stillness, which leaves room for the full soul
To open all itself, without the power
Of calling wholly back its self-control;
The silver light which, hallowing tree and tower,
Sheds beauty and deep softness o'er the whole,
Breathes also to the heart, and o'er it throws
A loving languor, which is not repose.

CXV.

And Julia sate with Juan, half embraced
And half retiring from the glowing arm,
Which trembled like the bosom where 't was placed;
Yet still she must have thought there was no harm,
Or else 't were easy to withdraw her waist;
But then the situation had its charm,
And then--God knows what next--I can't go on;
I'm almost sorry that I e'er begun.

CXVI.

Oh Plato! Plato! you have paved the way,
With your confounded fantasies, to more
Immoral conduct by the fancied sway
Your system feigns o'er the controlless core
Of human hearts, than all the long array
Of poets and romancers:--You're a bore,
A charlatan, a coxcomb--and have been,
At best, no better than a go-between.

CXVII.

And Julia's voice was lost, except in sighs,
Until too late for useful conversation;
The tears were gushing from her gentle eyes,
I wish, indeed, they had not had occasion;
But who, alas! can love, and then be wise?
Not that Remorse did not oppose Temptation;
A little still she strove, and much repented,
And whispering "I will ne'er consent"--consented.

CXVIII.

'T is said that Xerxes offered a reward[58]
To those who could invent him a new pleasure:
Methinks the requisition's rather hard,
And must have cost his Majesty a treasure:
For my part, I'm a moderate-minded bard,
Fond of a little love (which I call leisure);
I care not for new pleasures, as the old
Are quite enough for me, so they but hold.

CXIX.

Oh Pleasure! you're indeed a pleasant thing,[59]
Although one must be damned for you, no doubt:
I make a resolution every spring
Of reformation, ere the year run out,
But somehow, this my vestal vow takes wing,
Yet still, I trust, it may be kept throughout:
I'm very sorry, very much ashamed,
And mean, next winter, to be quite reclaimed.

CXX.

Here my chaste Muse a liberty must take--
Start not! still chaster reader--she'll be nice hence-
Forward, and there is no great cause to quake;
This liberty is a poetic licence,
Which some irregularity may make
In the design, and as I have a high sense
Of Aristotle and the Rules, 't is fit
To beg his pardon when I err a bit.

CXXI.

This licence is to hope the reader will
Suppose from June the sixth (the fatal day,
Without whose epoch my poetic skill
For want of facts would all be thrown away),
But keeping Julia and Don Juan still
In sight, that several months have passed; we'll say
'T was in November, but I'm not so sure
About the day--the era's more obscure.

CXXII.

We'll talk of that anon.--'T is sweet to hear
At midnight on the blue and moonlit deep
The song and oar of Adria's gondolier,[60]
By distance mellowed, o'er the waters sweep;
'T is sweet to see the evening star appear;
'T is sweet to listen as the night-winds creep
From leaf to leaf; 't is sweet to view on high
The rainbow, based on ocean, span the sky.

CXXIII.

'T is sweet to hear the watch-dog's honest bark
Bay deep-mouthed welcome as we draw near home;
'T is sweet to know there is an eye will mark
Our coming, and look brighter when we come;[u]
'T is sweet to be awakened by the lark,
Or lulled by falling waters; sweet the hum
Of bees, the voice of girls, the song of birds,
The lisp of children, and their earliest words.

CXXIV.

Sweet is the vintage, when the showering grapes
In Bacchanal profusion reel to earth,
Purple and gushing: sweet are our escapes
From civic revelry to rural mirth;
Sweet to the miser are his glittering heaps,
Sweet to the father is his first-born's birth,
Sweet is revenge--especially to women--
Pillage to soldiers, prize-money to seamen.

CXXV.

Sweet is a legacy, and passing sweet[v]
The unexpected death of some old lady,
Or gentleman of seventy years complete,
Who've made "us youth"[61] wait too--too long already,
For an estate, or cash, or country seat,
Still breaking, but with stamina so steady,
That all the Israelites are fit to mob its
Next owner for their double-damned post-obits.[w]

CXXVI.

'T is sweet to win, no matter how, one's laurels,
By blood or ink; 't is sweet to put an end
To strife; 't is sometimes sweet to have our quarrels,
Particularly with a tiresome friend:
Sweet is old wine in bottles, ale in barrels;
Dear is the helpless creature we defend
Against the world; and dear the schoolboy spot[62]
We ne'er forget, though there we are forgot.

CXXVII.

But sweeter still than this, than these, than all,
Is first and passionate Love--it stands alone,
Like Adam's recollection of his fall;
The Tree of Knowledge has been plucked--all 's known--
And Life yields nothing further to recall
Worthy of this ambrosial sin, so shown,
No doubt in fable, as the unforgiven
Fire which Prometheus filched for us from Heaven.

CXXVIII.

Man's a strange animal, and makes strange use
Of his own nature, and the various arts,
And likes particularly to produce
Some new experiment to show his parts;
This is the age of oddities let loose,
Where different talents find their different marts;
You'd best begin with truth, and when you've lost your
Labour, there's a sure market for imposture.

CXXIX.

What opposite discoveries we have seen!
(Signs of true genius, and of empty pockets.)
One makes new noses[63], one a guillotine,
One breaks your bones, one sets them in their sockets;
But Vaccination certainly has been
A kind antithesis to Congreve's rockets,[64]
With which the Doctor paid off an old pox,
By borrowing a new one from an ox.[65]

CXXX.

Bread has been made (indifferent) from potatoes:
And Galvanism has set some corpses grinning,[66]
But has not answered like the apparatus
Of the Humane Society's beginning,
By which men are unsuffocated gratis:
What wondrous new machines have late been spinning!
I said the small-pox has gone out of late;
Perhaps it may be followed by the great.[67]

CXXXI.

'T is said the great came from America;
Perhaps it may set out on its return,--
The population there so spreads, they say
'T is grown high time to thin it in its turn,
With war, or plague, or famine--any way,
So that civilisation they may learn;
And which in ravage the more loathsome evil is--
Their real _lues,_ or our pseudo-syphilis?

CXXXII.

This is the patent age of new inventions
For killing bodies, and for saving souls,
All propagated with the best intentions:
Sir Humphry Davy's lantern,[68] by which coals
Are safely mined for in the mode he mentions,
Tombuctoo travels,[69] voyages to the Poles[70]
Are ways to benefit mankind, as true,
Perhaps, as shooting them at Waterloo.

CXXXIII.

Man's a phenomenon, one knows not what,
And wonderful beyond all wondrous measure;
'T is pity though, in this sublime world, that
Pleasure's a sin, and sometimes Sin's a pleasure;[x]
Few mortals know what end they would be at,
But whether Glory, Power, or Love, or Treasure,
The path is through perplexing ways, and when
The goal is gained, we die, you know--and then----

CXXXIV.

What then?--I do not know, no more do you--
And so good night.--Return we to our story:
'T was in November, when fine days are few,
And the far mountains wax a little hoary,
And clap a white cape on their mantles blue;[y]
And the sea dashes round the promontory,
And the loud breaker boils against the rock,
And sober suns must set at five o'clock.

CXXXV.

'T was, as the watchmen say, a cloudy night;[z]
No moon, no stars, the wind was low or loud
By gusts, and many a sparkling hearth was bright
With the piled wood, round which the family crowd;
There's something cheerful in that sort of light,
Even as a summer sky's without a cloud:
I'm fond of fire, and crickets, and all that,[aa][71]
A lobster salad[72], and champagne, and chat.

CXXXVI.

'T was midnight--Donna Julia was in bed,
Sleeping, most probably,--when at her door
Arose a clatter might awake the dead,
If they had never been awoke before,
And that they have been so we all have read,
And are to be so, at the least, once more;--
The door was fastened, but with voice and fist
First knocks were heard, then "Madam--Madam--hist!

CXXXVII.

"For God's sake, Madam--Madam--here's my master,[73]
With more than half the city at his back--Was
ever heard of such a curst disaster!
'T is not my fault--I kept good watch--Alack!
Do pray undo the bolt a little faster--
They're on the stair just now, and in a crack
Will all be here; perhaps he yet may fly--
Surely the window's not so _very_ high!"

CXXXVIII.

By this time Don Alfonso was arrived,
With torches, friends, and servants in great number;
The major part of them had long been wived,
And therefore paused not to disturb the slumber
Of any wicked woman, who contrived
By stealth her husband's temples to encumber:
Examples of this kind are so contagious,
Were _one_ not punished, _all_ would be outrageous.

CXXXIX.

I can't tell how, or why, or what suspicion
Could enter into Don Alfonso's head;
But for a cavalier of his condition
It surely was exceedingly ill-bred,
Without a word of previous admonition,
To hold a levee round his lady's bed,
And summon lackeys, armed with fire and sword,
To prove himself the thing he most abhorred.

CXL.

Poor Donna Julia! starting as from sleep,
(Mind--that I do not say--she had not slept),
Began at once to scream, and yawn, and weep;
Her maid, Antonia, who was an adept,
Contrived to fling the bed-clothes in a heap,
As if she had just now from out them crept:[ab]
I can't tell why she should take all this trouble
To prove her mistress had been sleeping double.

CXLI.

But Julia mistress, and Antonia maid,
Appeared like two poor harmless women, who
Of goblins, but still more of men afraid,
Had thought one man might be deterred by two,
And therefore side by side were gently laid,
Until the hours of absence should run through,
And truant husband should return, and say,
"My dear,--I was the first who came away."

CXLII.

Now Julia found at length a voice, and cried,
"In Heaven's name, Don Alfonso, what d' ye mean?
Has madness seized you? would that I had died
Ere such a monster's victim I had been![ac]
What may this midnight violence betide,
A sudden fit of drunkenness or spleen?
Dare you suspect me, whom the thought would kill?
Search, then, the room!"--Alfonso said, "I will."

CXLIII.

_He_ searched, _they_ searched, and rummaged everywhere,
Closet and clothes' press, chest and window-seat,
And found much linen, lace, and several pair
Of stockings, slippers, brushes, combs, complete,
With other articles of ladies fair,
To keep them beautiful, or leave them neat:
Arras they pricked and curtains with their swords,
And wounded several shutters, and some boards.

CXLIV.

Under the bed they searched, and there they found--
No matter what--it was not that they sought;
They opened windows, gazing if the ground
Had signs or footmarks, but the earth said nought;
And then they stared each others' faces round:
'T is odd, not one of all these seekers thought,
And seems to me almost a sort of blunder,
Of looking _in_ the bed as well as under.

CXLV.

During this inquisition Julia's tongue[ad]
Was not asleep--"Yes, search and search," she cried,
"Insult on insult heap, and wrong on wrong!
It was for this that I became a bride!
For this in silence I have suffered long
A husband like Alfonso at my side;
But now I'll bear no more, nor here remain,
If there be law or lawyers in all Spain.

CXLVI.

"Yes, Don Alfonso! husband now no more,
If ever you indeed deserved the name,
Is 't worthy of your years?--you have threescore--
Fifty, or sixty, it is all the same--
Is 't wise or fitting, causeless to explore
For facts against a virtuous woman's fame?
Ungrateful, perjured, barbarous Don Alfonso,
How dare you think your lady would go on so?

CXLVII.

"Is it for this I have disdained to hold
The common privileges of my sex?
That I have chosen a confessor so old
And deaf, that any other it would vex,
And never once he has had cause to scold,
But found my very innocence perplex
So much, he always doubted I was married--
How sorry you will be when I've miscarried!

CXLVIII.

"Was it for this that no Cortejo[74] e'er
I yet have chosen from out the youth of Seville?
Is it for this I scarce went anywhere,
Except to bull-fights, mass, play, rout, and revel?
Is it for this, whate'er my suitors were,
I favoured none--nay, was almost uncivil?
Is it for this that General Count O'Reilly,
Who took Algiers,[75] declares I used him vilely?

CXLIX.

"Did not the Italian _Musico_ Cazzani
Sing at my heart six months at least in vain?
Did not his countryman, Count Corniani,[76]
Call me the only virtuous wife in Spain?
Were there not also Russians, English, many?
The Count Strongstroganoff I put in pain,
And Lord Mount Coffeehouse, the Irish peer,
Who killed himself for love (with wine) last year.

CL.

"Have I not had two bishops at my feet?
The Duke of Ichar, and Don Fernan Nunez;
And is it thus a faithful wife you treat?
I wonder in what quarter now the moon is:
I praise your vast forbearance not to beat
Me also, since the time so opportune is--
Oh, valiant man! with sword drawn and cocked trigger,
Now, tell me, don't you cut a pretty figure?

CLI.

"Was it for this you took your sudden journey,
Under pretence of business indispensable
With that sublime of rascals your attorney,
Whom I see standing there, and looking sensible
Of having played the fool? though both I spurn, he
Deserves the worst, his conduct's less defensible,
Because, no doubt, 't was for his dirty fee,
And not from any love to you nor me.

CLII.

"If he comes here to take a deposition,
By all means let the gentleman proceed;
You've made the apartment in a fit condition:--
There's pen and ink for you, sir, when you need--
Let everything be noted with precision,
I would not you for nothing should be fee'd--
But, as my maid's undressed, pray turn your spies out."
"Oh!" sobbed Antonia, "I could tear their eyes out."

CLIII.

"There is the closet, there the toilet, there
The antechamber--search them under, over;
There is the sofa, there the great arm-chair,
The chimney--which would really hold a lover.[ae]
I wish to sleep, and beg you will take care
And make no further noise, till you discover
The secret cavern of this lurking treasure--
And when 't is found, let me, too, have that pleasure.

CLIV.

"And now, Hidalgo! now that you have thrown
Doubt upon me, confusion over all,
Pray have the courtesy to make it known
_Who_ is the man you search for? how d' ye call
Him? what's his lineage? let him but be shown--
I hope he's young and handsome--is he tall?
Tell me--and be assured, that since you stain
My honour thus, it shall not be in vain.

CLV.

"At least, perhaps, he has not sixty years,
At that age he would be too old for slaughter,
Or for so young a husband's jealous fears--
(Antonia! let me have a glass of water.)
I am ashamed of having shed these tears,
They are unworthy of my father's daughter;
My mother dreamed not in my natal hour,
That I should fall into a monster's power.

CLVI.

"Perhaps 't is of Antonia you are jealous,
You saw that she was sleeping by my side,
When you broke in upon us with your fellows:
Look where you please--we've nothing, sir, to hide;
Only another time, I trust, you'll tell us,
Or for the sake of decency abide
A moment at the door, that we may be
Dressed to receive so much good company.

CLVII.

"And now, sir, I have done, and say no more;
The little I have said may serve to show
The guileless heart in silence may grieve o'er[af]
The wrongs to whose exposure it is slow:--
I leave you to your conscience as before,
'T will one day ask you _why_ you used me so?
God grant you feel not then the bitterest grief!--
Antonia! where's my pocket-handkerchief?"

CLVIII.

She ceased, and turned upon her pillow; pale
She lay, her dark eyes flashing through their tears,
Like skies that rain and lighten; as a veil,
Waved and o'ershading her wan cheek, appears
Her streaming hair; the black curls strive, but fail
To hide the glossy shoulder, which uprears
Its snow through all;--her soft lips lie apart,
And louder than her breathing beats her heart.

CLIX.

The Senhor Don Alfonso stood confused;
Antonia bustled round the ransacked room,
And, turning up her nose, with looks abused
Her master, and his myrmidons, of whom
Not one, except the attorney, was amused;
He, like Achates, faithful to the tomb,
So there were quarrels, cared not for the cause,
Knowing they must be settled by the laws.

CLX.

With prying snub-nose, and small eyes, he stood,
Following Antonia's motions here and there,
With much suspicion in his attitude;
For reputations he had little care;
So that a suit or action were made good,
Small pity had he for the young and fair,
And ne'er believed in negatives, till these
Were proved by competent false witnesses.

CLXI.

But Don Alfonso stood with downcast looks,
And, truth to say, he made a foolish figure;
When, after searching in five hundred nooks,
And treating a young wife with so much rigour,
He gained no point, except some self-rebukes,
Added to those his lady with such vigour
Had poured upon him for the last half-hour,
Quick, thick, and heavy--as a thunder-shower.

CLXII.

At first he tried to hammer an excuse,
To which the sole reply was tears, and sobs,
And indications of hysterics, whose
Prologue is always certain throes, and throbs,
Gasps, and whatever else the owners choose:
Alfonso saw his wife, and thought of Job's;[77]
He saw too, in perspective, her relations,
And then he tried to muster all his patience.

CLXIII.

He stood in act to speak, or rather stammer,
But sage Antonia cut him short before
The anvil of his speech received the hammer,
With "Pray, sir, leave the room, and say no more,
Or madam dies."--Alfonso muttered, "D--n her,"[78]
But nothing else, the time of words was o'er;
He cast a rueful look or two, and did,
He knew not wherefore, that which he was bid.

CLXIV.

With him retired his _"posse comitatus,"_
The attorney last, who lingered near the door
Reluctantly, still tarrying there as late as
Antonia let him--not a little sore
At this most strange and unexplained "_hiatus_"
In Don Alfonso's facts, which just now wore
An awkward look; as he revolved the case,
The door was fastened in his legal face.

CLXV.

No sooner was it bolted, than--Oh Shame!
Oh Sin! Oh Sorrow! and Oh Womankind!
How can you do such things and keep your fame,
Unless this world, and t' other too, be blind?
Nothing so dear as an unfilched good name!
But to proceed--for there is more behind:
With much heartfelt reluctance be it said,
Young Juan slipped, half-smothered, from the bed.

CLXVI.

He had been hid--I don't pretend to say
How, nor can I indeed describe the where--
Young, slender, and packed easily, he lay,
No doubt, in little compass, round or square;
But pity him I neither must nor may
His suffocation by that pretty pair;
'T were better, sure, to die so, than be shut
With maudlin Clarence in his Malmsey butt.[ag]

CLXVII.

And, secondly, I pity not, because
He had no business to commit a sin,
Forbid by heavenly, fined by human laws;--
At least 't was rather early to begin,
But at sixteen the conscience rarely gnaws
So much as when we call our old debts in
At sixty years, and draw the accompts of evil,
And find a deuced balance with the Devil.[ah]

CLXVIII.

Of his position I can give no notion:
'T is written in the Hebrew Chronicle,
How the physicians, leaving pill and potion,
Prescribed, by way of blister, a young belle,
When old King David's blood grew dull in motion,
And that the medicine answered very well;
Perhaps 't was in a different way applied,
For David lived, but Juan nearly died.

CLXIX.

What's to be done? Alfonso will be back
The moment he has sent his fools away.
Antonia's skill was put upon the rack,
But no device could be brought into play--
And how to parry the renewed attack?
Besides, it wanted but few hours of day:
Antonia puzzled; Julia did not speak,
But pressed her bloodless lip to Juan's cheek.

CLXX.

He turned his lip to hers, and with his hand
Called back the tangles of her wandering hair;
Even then their love they could not all command,
And half forgot their danger and despair:
Antonia's patience now was at a stand--
"Come, come, 't is no time now for fooling there,"
She whispered, in great wrath--"I must deposit
This pretty gentleman within the closet:

CLXXI.

"Pray, keep your nonsense for some luckier night--
_Who_ can have put my master in this mood?
What will become on 't--I'm in such a fright,
The Devil's in the urchin, and no good--
Is this a time for giggling? this a plight?
Why, don't you know that it may end in blood?
You'll lose your life, and I shall lose my place,
My mistress all, for that half-girlish face.

CLXXII.

"Had it but been for a stout cavalier[79]
Of twenty-five or thirty--(come, make haste)
But for a child, what piece of work is here!
I really, madam, wonder at your taste--
(Come, sir, get in)--my master must be near:
There, for the present, at the least, he's fast,
And if we can but till the morning keep
Our counsel--(Juan, mind, you must not sleep.)"

CLXXIII.

Now, Don Alfonso entering, but alone,
Closed the oration of the trusty maid:
She loitered, and he told her to be gone,
An order somewhat sullenly obeyed;
However, present remedy was none,
And no great good seemed answered if she staid:
Regarding both with slow and sidelong view,
She snuffed the candle, curtsied, and withdrew.

CLXXIV.

Alfonso paused a minute--then begun
Some strange excuses for his late proceeding;
He would not justify what he had done,
To say the best, it was extreme ill-breeding;
But there were ample reasons for it, none
Of which he specified in this his pleading:
His speech was a fine sample, on the whole,
Of rhetoric, which the learned call "_rigmarole._"

CLXXV.

Julia said nought; though all the while there rose
A ready answer, which at once enables
A matron, who her husband's foible knows,
By a few timely words to turn the tables,
Which, if it does not silence, still must pose,--
Even if it should comprise a pack of fables;
'T is to retort with firmness, and when he
Suspects with _one_, do you reproach with _three_.

CLXXVI.

Julia, in fact, had tolerable grounds,--
Alfonso's loves with Inez were well known;
But whether 't was that one's own guilt confounds--
But that can't be, as has been often shown,
A lady with apologies abounds;--
It might be that her silence sprang alone
From delicacy to Don Juan's ear,
To whom she knew his mother's fame was dear.

CLXXVII.

There might be one more motive, which makes two;
Alfonso ne'er to Juan had alluded,--
Mentioned his jealousy, but never who
Had been the happy lover, he concluded,
Concealed amongst his premises; 't is true,
His mind the more o'er this its mystery brooded;
To speak of Inez now were, one may say,
Like throwing Juan in Alfonso's way.

CLXXVIII.

A hint, in tender cases, is enough;
Silence is best: besides, there is a _tact_[80]--
(That modern phrase appears to me sad stuff,
But it will serve to keep my verse compact)--
Which keeps, when pushed by questions rather rough,
A lady always distant from the fact:
The charming creatures lie with such a grace,
There's nothing so becoming to the face.

CLXXIX.

They blush, and we believe them; at least I
Have always done so; 't is of no great use,
In any case, attempting a reply,
For then their eloquence grows quite profuse;
And when at length they're out of breath, they sigh,
And cast their languid eyes down, and let loose
A tear or two, and then we make it up;
And then--and then--and then--sit down and sup.

CLXXX.

Alfonso closed his speech, and begged her pardon,
Which Julia half withheld, and then half granted,
And laid conditions he thought very hard on,
Denying several little things he wanted:
He stood like Adam lingering near his garden,
With useless penitence perplexed and haunted;[ai]
Beseeching she no further would refuse,
When, lo! he stumbled o'er a pair of shoes.

CLXXXI.

A pair of shoes![81]--what then? not much, if they
Are such as fit with ladies' feet, but these
(No one can tell how much I grieve to say)
Were masculine; to see them, and to seize,
Was but a moment's act.--Ah! well-a-day!
My teeth begin to chatter, my veins freeze!
Alfonso first examined well their fashion,
And then flew out into another passion.

CLXXXII.

He left the room for his relinquished sword,
And Julia instant to the closet flew.
"Fly, Juan, fly! for Heaven's sake--not a word--
The door is open--you may yet slip through
The passage you so often have explored--
Here is the garden-key--Fly--fly--Adieu!
Haste--haste! I hear Alfonso's hurrying feet--
Day has not broke--there's no one in the street."

CLXXXIII.

None can say that this was not good advice,
The only mischief was, it came too late;
Of all experience 't is the usual price,
A sort of income-tax laid on by fate:
Juan had reached the room-door in a trice,
And might have done so by the garden-gate,
But met Alfonso in his dressing-gown,
Who threatened death--so Juan knocked him down.

CLXXXIV.

Dire was the scuffle, and out went the light;
Antonia cried out "Rape!" and Julia "Fire!"
But not a servant stirred to aid the fight.
Alfonso, pommelled to his heart's desire,
Swore lustily he'd be revenged this night;
And Juan, too, blasphemed an octave higher;
His blood was up: though young, he was a Tartar,
And not at all disposed to prove a martyr.

CLXXXV.

Alfonso's sword had dropped ere he could draw it,
And they continued battling hand to hand,
For Juan very luckily ne'er saw it;
His temper not being under great command,
If at that moment he had chanced to claw it,
Alfonso's days had not been in the land
Much longer.--Think of husbands', lovers' lives!
And how ye may be doubly widows--wives!

CLXXXVI.

Alfonso grappled to detain the foe,
And Juan throttled him to get away,
And blood ('t was from the nose) began to flow;
At last, as they more faintly wrestling lay,
Juan contrived to give an awkward blow,
And then his only garment quite gave way;
He fled, like Joseph, leaving it; but there,
I doubt, all likeness ends between the pair.

CLXXXVII.

Lights came at length, and men, and maids, who found
An awkward spectacle their eyes before;
Antonia in hysterics, Julia swooned,
Alfonso leaning, breathless, by the door;
Some half-torn drapery scattered on the ground,
Some blood, and several footsteps, but no more:
Juan the gate gained, turned the key about,
And liking not the inside, locked the out.

CLXXXVIII.

Here ends this canto.--Need I sing, or say,
How Juan, naked, favoured by the night,
Who favours what she should not, found his way,[aj]
And reached his home in an unseemly plight?
The pleasant scandal which arose next day,
The nine days' wonder which was brought to light,
And how Alfonso sued for a divorce,
Were in the English newspapers, of course.

CLXXXIX.

If you would like to see the whole proceedings,
The depositions, and the Cause at full,
The names of all the witnesses, the pleadings
Of Counsel to nonsuit, or to annul,
There's more than one edition, and the readings
Are various, but they none of them are dull:
The best is that in short-hand ta'en by Gurney,[82]
Who to Madrid on purpose made a journey.[83]

CXC.

But Donna Inez, to divert the train
Of one of the most circulating scandals
That had for centuries been known in Spain,
At least since the retirement of the Vandals,
First vowed (and never had she vowed in vain)
To Virgin Mary several pounds of candles;
And then, by the advice of some old ladies,
She sent her son to be shipped off from Cadiz.

CXCI.

She had resolved that he should travel through
All European climes, by land or sea,
To mend his former morals, and get new,
Especially in France and Italy--
(At least this is the thing most people do.)
Julia was sent into a convent--she
Grieved--but, perhaps, her feelings may be better[ak]
Shown in the following copy of her Letter:--

CXCII.

"They tell me 't is decided you depart:
'T is wise--'t is well, but not the less a pain;
I have no further claim on your young heart,
Mine is the victim, and would be again:
To love too much has been the only art
I used;--I write in haste, and if a stain
Be on this sheet, 't is not what it appears;
My eyeballs burn and throb, but have no tears.

CXCIII.

"I loved, I love you, for this love have lost
State, station, Heaven, Mankind's, my own esteem,
And yet can not regret what it hath cost,
So dear is still the memory of that dream;
Yet, if I name my guilt, 't is not to boast,
None can deem harshlier of me than I deem:
I trace this scrawl because I cannot rest--
I've nothing to reproach, or to request.

CXCIV.

"Man's love is of man's life a thing apart,[al]
'T is a Woman's whole existence; Man may range
The Court, Camp, Church, the Vessel, and the Mart;
Sword, Gown, Gain, Glory, offer in exchange
Pride, Fame, Ambition, to fill up his heart,
And few there are whom these can not estrange;
Men have all these resources, We but one,[84]
To love again, and be again undone."[am]

CXCV.

"You will proceed in pleasure, and in pride,[an]
Beloved and loving many; all is o'er
For me on earth, except some years to hide
My shame and sorrow deep in my heart's core:
These I could bear, but cannot cast aside
The passion which still rages as before,--
And so farewell--forgive me, love me--No,
That word is idle now--but let it go.[ao]

CXCVI.

"My breast has been all weakness, is so yet;
But still I think I can collect my mind;[ap]
My blood still rushes where my spirit's set,
As roll the waves before the settled wind;
My heart is feminine, nor can forget--
To all, except one image, madly blind;
So shakes the needle, and so stands the pole,
As vibrates my fond heart to my fixed soul.[aq]

CXCVII.

"I have no more to say, but linger still,
And dare not set my seal upon this sheet,
And yet I may as well the task fulfil,
My misery can scarce be more complete;
I had not lived till now, could sorrow kill;
Death shuns the wretch who fain the blow would meet,
And I must even survive this last adieu,
And bear with life, to love and pray for you!"

CXCVIII.

This note was written upon gilt-edged paper
With a neat little crow-quill, slight and new;[ar]
Her small white hand could hardly reach the taper,
It trembled as magnetic needles do,
And yet she did not let one tear escape her;
The seal a sun-flower; _"Elle vous suit partout,"_[85]
The motto cut upon a white cornelian;
The wax was superfine, its hue vermilion.

CXCIX.

This was Don Juan's earliest scrape; but whether
I shall proceed with his adventures is
Dependent on the public altogether;
We'll see, however, what they say to this:
Their favour in an author's cap's a feather,
And no great mischief's done by their caprice;
And if their approbation we experience,
Perhaps they'll have some more about a year hence.

CC.

My poem's epic, and is meant to be
Divided in twelve books; each book containing,
With Love, and War, a heavy gale at sea,
A list of ships, and captains, and kings reigning,
New characters; the episodes are three:[as]
A panoramic view of Hell's in training,
After the style of Virgil and of Homer,
So that my name of Epic's no misnomer.

CCI.

All these things will be specified in time,
With strict regard to Aristotle's rules,
The _Vade Mecum_ of the true sublime,
Which makes so many poets, and some fools:
Prose poets like blank-verse, I'm fond of rhyme,
Good workmen never quarrel with their tools;
I've got new mythological machinery,
And very handsome supernatural scenery.

CCII.

There's only one slight difference between
Me and my epic brethren gone before,
And here the advantage is my own, I ween
(Not that I have not several merits more,
But this will more peculiarly be seen);
They so embellish, that 't is quite a bore
Their labyrinth of fables to thread through,
Whereas this story's actually true.

CCIII.

If any person doubt it, I appeal
To History, Tradition, and to Facts,
To newspapers, whose truth all know and feel,
To plays in five, and operas in three acts;[at]
All these confirm my statement a good deal,
But that which more completely faith exacts
Is, that myself, and several now in Seville,
_Saw_ Juan's last elopement with the Devil.

CCIV.

If ever I should condescend to prose,
I'll write poetical commandments, which
Shall supersede beyond all doubt all those
That went before; in these I shall enrich
My text with many things that no one knows,
And carry precept to the highest pitch:
I'll call the work "Longinus o'er a Bottle,[au]
Or, Every Poet his _own_ Aristotle."

CCV.

Thou shalt believe in Milton, Dryden, Pope;
Thou shalt not set up Wordsworth, Coleridge, Southey;
Because the first is crazed beyond all hope,
The second drunk,[86] the third so quaint and mouthy:
With Crabbe it may be difficult to cope,
And Campbell's Hippocrene is somewhat drouthy:
Thou shalt not steal from Samuel Rogers, nor
Commit--flirtation with the muse of Moore.

CCVI.

Thou shalt not covet Mr. Sotheby's Muse,
His Pegasus, nor anything that's his;
Thou shalt not bear false witness like "the Blues"--
(There's _one_, at least, is very fond of this);
Thou shalt not write, in short, but what I choose:
This is true criticism, and you may kiss--
Exactly as you please, or not,--the rod;
But if you don't, I'll lay it on, by G--d!

CCVII.

If any person should presume to assert
This story is not moral, first, I pray,
That they will not cry out before they're hurt,
Then that they'll read it o'er again, and say
(But, doubtless, nobody will be so pert)
That this is not a moral tale, though gay:
Besides, in Canto Twelfth, I mean to show
The very place where wicked people go.

CCVIII.

If, after all, there should be some so blind
To their own good this warning to despise,
Led by some tortuosity of mind,
Not to believe my verse and their own eyes,
And cry that they "the moral cannot find,"
I tell him, if a clergyman, he lies;
Should captains the remark, or critics, make,
They also lie too--under a mistake.

CCIX.

The public approbation I expect,
And beg they'll take my word about the moral,
Which I with their amusement will connect
(So children cutting teeth receive a coral);
Meantime they'll doubtless please to recollect
My epical pretensions to the laurel:
For fear some prudish readers should grow skittish,
I've bribed my Grandmother's Review--the British.[87]

CCX.

I sent it in a letter to the Editor,
Who thanked me duly by return of post--
I'm for a handsome article his creditor;
Yet, if my gentle Muse he please to roast,
And break a promise after having made it her,
Denying the receipt of what it cost,
And smear his page with gall instead of honey,
All I can say is--that he had the money.

CCXI.

I think that with this holy _new_ alliance
I may ensure the public, and defy
All other magazines of art or science,
Daily, or monthly, or three monthly; I
Have not essayed to multiply their clients,
Because they tell me 't were in vain to try,
And that the Edinburgh Review and Quarterly
Treat a dissenting author very martyrly.

CCXII.

"_Non ego hoc ferrem calidus juventâ
Consule Planco_"[88] Horace said, and so
Say I; by which quotation there is meant a
Hint that some six or seven good years ago
(Long ere I dreamt of dating from the Brenta)
I was most ready to return a blow,
And would not brook at all this sort of thing
In my hot youth--when George the Third was King.

CCXIII.

But now at thirty years my hair is grey--
(I wonder what it will be like at forty?
I thought of a peruke the other day--)[av]
My heart is not much greener; and, in short, I
Have squandered my whole summer while 't was May,
And feel no more the spirit to retort; I
Have spent my life, both interest and principal,
And deem not, what I deemed--my soul invincible.

CCXIV.

No more--no more--Oh! never more on me
The freshness of the heart can fall like dew,
Which out of all the lovely things we see
Extracts emotions beautiful and new,
Hived[89] in our bosoms like the bag o' the bee.
Think'st thou the honey with those objects grew?
Alas! 't was not in them, but in thy power
To double even the sweetness of a flower.

CCXV.

No more--no more--Oh! never more, my heart,
Canst thou be my sole world, my universe!
Once all in all, but now a thing apart,
Thou canst not be my blessing or my curse:
The illusion's gone for ever, and thou art
Insensible, I trust, but none the worse,
And in thy stead I've got a deal of judgment,
Though Heaven knows how it ever found a lodgment.

CCXVI.

My days of love are over; me no more[90]
The charms of maid, wife, and still less of widow,
Can make the fool of which they made before,--
In short, I must not lead the life I did do;
The credulous hope of mutual minds is o'er,
The copious use of claret is forbid too,
So for a good old-gentlemanly vice,
I think I must take up with avarice.

CCXVII.

Ambition was my idol, which was broken
Before the shrines of Sorrow, and of Pleasure;
And the two last have left me many a token
O'er which reflection may be made at leisure:
Now, like Friar Bacon's Brazen Head, I've spoken,
"Time is, Time was, Time's past:"[91]--a chymic treasure
Is glittering Youth, which I have spent betimes--
My heart in passion, and my head on rhymes.

CCXVIII.

What is the end of Fame? 't is but to fill
A certain portion of uncertain paper:
Some liken it to climbing up a hill,
Whose summit, like all hills, is lost in vapour;[92]
For this men write, speak, preach, and heroes kill,
And bards burn what they call their "midnight taper,"
To have, when the original is dust,
A name, a wretched picture and worse bust.[aw][93]

CCXIX.

What are the hopes of man? Old Egypt's King
Cheops erected the first Pyramid
And largest, thinking it was just the thing
To keep his memory whole, and mummy hid;
But somebody or other rummaging,
Burglariously broke his coffin's lid:
Let not a monument give you or me hopes,
Since not a pinch of dust remains of Cheops.[94]

CCXX.

But I, being fond of true philosophy,
Say very often to myself, "Alas!
All things that have been born were born to die,
And flesh (which Death mows down to hay) is grass;
You've passed your youth not so unpleasantly,
And if you had it o'er again--'t would pass--
So thank your stars that matters are no worse,
And read your Bible, sir, and mind your purse."

CCXXI.

But for the present, gentle reader! and
Still gentler purchaser! the Bard--that's I--
Must, with permission, shake you by the hand,[ax]
And so--"your humble servant, and Good-bye!"
We meet again, if we should understand
Each other; and if not, I shall not try
Your patience further than by this short sample--
'T were well if others followed my example.

CCXXII.

"Go, little Book, from this my solitude!
I cast thee on the waters--go thy ways!
And if, as I believe, thy vein be good,
The World will find thee after many days."[95]
When Southey's read, and Wordsworth understood,
I can't help putting in my claim to praise--
The four first rhymes are Southey's every line:
For God's sake, reader! take them not for mine.

Nov. 1, 1818.
 

 

 


FOOTNOTES:

{11}[14] [Begun at Venice, September 6; finished November 1, 1818.]

[15] [The pantomime which Byron and his readers "all had seen," was an
abbreviated and bowdlerized version of Shadwell's _Libertine_. "First
produced by Mr. Garrick on the boards of Drury Lane Theatre," it was
recomposed by Charles Anthony Delpini, and performed at the Royalty
Theatre, in Goodman's Fields, in 1787. It was entitled _Don Juan; or,
The Libertine Destroyed_: A Tragic Pantomimical Entertainment, In Two
Acts. Music Composed by Mr. Gluck. "Scaramouch," the "Sganarelle" of
Molière's _Festin de Pierre_, was a favourite character of Joseph
Grimaldi. He was cast for the part, in 1801, at Sadler's Wells, and,
again, on a memorable occasion, November 28, 1809, at Covent Garden
Theatre, when the O.P. riots were in full swing, and (see the _Morning
Chronicle_, November 29, 1809) "there was considerable tumult in the
pit." According to "Boz" (_Memoirs of Joseph Grimaldi_, 1846, ii. 81,
106, 107), Byron patronized Grimaldi's "benefits at Covent Garden," was
repeatedly in his company, and when he left England, in 1816, "presented
him with a valuable silver snuff-box." At the end of the pantomime "the
Furies gather round him [Don Juan], and the Tyrant being bound in chains
is hurried away and thrown into flames." The Devil is conspicuous by his
absence.]

{12}[16] [Edward Vernon, Admiral (1684-1757), took Porto Bello in 1739.

William Augustus, second son of George II. (1721-1765), fought at the
battles of Dettingen, 1743; Fontenoy, 1745; and at Culloden, 1746. For
the "severity of the Duke of Cumberland," see Scott's _Tales of a
Grandfather_, _Prose Works_, 1830, vii. 852, _sq_.

James Wolfe, General, born January 2, 1726, was killed at the siege of
Quebec, September 13, 1759.

Edward, Lord Hawke, Admiral (1715-1781), totally defeated the French
fleet in Quiberon Bay, November 20, 1759.

Ferdinand, Duke of Brunswick (1721-1792), gained the victory at Minden,
August 1, 1759.

John Manners, Marquess of Granby (1721-1790), commanded the British
forces in Germany (1766-1769).

John Burgoyne, General, defeated the Americans at Germantown, October 3,
1777, but surrendered to General Gates at Saratoga, October 17, 1778. He
died in 1792.

Augustus, Viscount Keppel, Admiral (1725-1786), was tried by
court-martial, January-February, 1779, for allowing the French fleet off
Ushant to escape, July, 1778. He was honourably acquitted.

Richard, Earl Howe, Admiral (1725-1799), known by the sailors as "Black
Dick," defeated the French off Ushant, June 1, 1794.]

[17] [Compare _Macbeth_, act iv. sc. i, line 65.]

[18] ["In the eighth and concluding lecture of Mr. Hazlitt's canons of
criticism, delivered at the Surrey Institution (_The English Poets_,
1870, pp. 203, 204), I am accused of having 'lauded Buonaparte to the
skies in the hour of his success, and then peevishly wreaking my
disappointment on the god of my idolatry.' The first lines I ever wrote
upon Buonaparte were the 'Ode to Napoleon,' after his abdication in
1814. All that I have ever written on that subject has been done since
his decline;--I never 'met him in the hour of his success.' I have
considered his character at different periods, in its strength and in
its weakness: by his zealots I am accused of injustice--by his enemies
as his warmest partisan, in many publications, both English and foreign.

"For the accuracy of my delineation I have high authority. A year and
some months ago, I had the pleasure of seeing at Venice my friend the
honourable Douglas Kinnaird. In his way through Germany, he told me that
he had been honoured with a presentation to, and some interviews with,
one of the nearest family connections of Napoleon (Eugène Beauharnais).
During one of these, he read and translated the lines alluding to
Buonaparte, in the Third Canto of _Childe Harold_. He informed me, that
he was authorized by the illustrious personage--(still recognized as
such by the Legitimacy in Europe)--to whom they were read, to say, _that
'the delineation was complete,'_ or words to this effect. It is no
puerile vanity which induces me to publish this fact;--but Mr. Hazlitt
accuses my inconsistency, and infers my inaccuracy. Perhaps he will
admit that, with regard to the latter, one of the most intimate family
connections of the Emperor may be equally capable of deciding on the
subject. I tell Mr. Hazlitt that I never flattered Napoleon on the
throne, nor maligned him since his fall. I wrote what I think are the
incredible antitheses of his character.

"Mr. Hazlitt accuses me further of delineating _myself_ in _Childe
Harold_, etc., etc. I have denied this long ago--but, even were it true,
Locke tells us, that all his knowledge of human understanding was
derived from studying his own mind. From Mr. Hazlitt's opinion of my
poetry I do not appeal; but I request that gentleman not to insult me by
imputing the basest of crimes,--viz. 'praising publicly the same man
whom I wished to depreciate in his adversity:'--the _first_ lines I ever
wrote on Buonaparte were in his dispraise, in 1814,--the _last_, though
not at all in his favour, were more impartial and discriminative, in
1818. Has he become more fortunate since 1814?" For Byron's various
estimates of Napoleon's character and career, see _Childe Harold_, Canto
III, stanza xxxvi. line 7, _Poetical Works_, 1899, ii. 238, note 1.]

{13}[19] [Charles François Duperier Dumouriez (1739-1823) defeated the
Austrians at Jemappes, November 6, 1792, etc. He published his
_Mémoires_ (Hamburg et Leipsic), 1794. For the spelling, see _Memoirs of
General Dumourier_, written by himself, translated by John Fenwick.
London, 1794. See, too, _Lettre de Joseph Servan_, Ex-ministre de la
Guerre, _Sur le mémoire lu par M. Dumourier le 13 Juin à l'Assemblée
Nationale; Bibiothèque Historique de la Révolution_, "Justifications,"
7, 8, 9.]

[20] [Antoine Pierre Joseph Barnave, born 1761, was appointed President
of the Constituent Assembly in 1790. He was guillotined November 30,
1793.

Jean Pierre Brissot de Warville, philosopher and politician, born
January 14, 1754, was one of the principal instigators of the revolt of
the Champ de Mars, July, 1789. He was guillotined October 31, 1793.

Marie Jean Antoine, Marquis de Condorcet, born September 17, 1743, was
appointed President of the Legislative Assembly in 1792. Proscribed by
the Girondins, he poisoned himself to escape the guillotine, March 28,
1794.

Honoré Gabriel Riquetti, Comte de Mirabeau, born March 9, 1749, died
April 2, 1791.

Jérôme Petion de Villeneuve, born 1753, Mayor of Paris in 1791, took an
active part in the imprisonment of the king. In 1793 he fell under
Robespierre's displeasure, and to escape proscription took refuge in the
department of Calvados. In 1794 his body was found in a field, half
eaten by wolves.

Jean Baptiste, Baron de Clootz (better known as Anacharsis Clootz), was
born in 1755. In 1790, at the bar of the National Convention, he
described himself as the "Speaker of Mankind." Being suspected by
Robespierre, he was condemned to death, March 24, 1794. On the scaffold
he begged to be executed last, "in order to establish certain
principles." (See Carlyle's _French Revolution_, 1839, iii. 315.)

Georges Jacques Danton, born October 28, 1759, helped to establish the
Revolutionary Tribunal, March 10, and the Committee of Public Safety,
April 6, 1793; agreed to proscription of the Girondists, June, 1793; was
executed with Camille Desmoulins and others, April 5, 1794.

Jean Paul Marat, born May 24, 1744, physician and man of science,
proposed and carried out the wholesale massacre of September 2-5, 1792;
was denounced to, but acquitted by, the Revolutionary Tribunal, May,
1793; assassinated by Charlotte Corday, July 13, 1793.

Marie Jean Paul, Marquis de La Fayette, born September 6, 1757, died May
19, 1834.

With the exception of La Fayette, who outlived Byron by ten years, and
Lord St. Vincent, all "the famous persons" mentioned in stanzas ii.-iv.
had passed away long before the First Canto of _Don Juan_ was written.]

{14}[21] [Barthélemi Catherine Joubert, born April 14, 1769,
distinguished himself at the engagements of Cava, Montebello, Rivoli,
and in the Tyrol. He was afterwards sent to oppose Suvóroff, and was
killed at Novi, August 15, 1799.

For Hoche and Marceau, _vide ante, Poetical Works_, 1899, ii. 296.

Jean Lannes, Duke of Montebello, born April 11, 1769, distinguished
himself at Lodi, Aboukir, Acre, Austerlitz, Jena and, lastly, at
Essling, where he was mortally wounded. He died May 31, 1809.

Louis Charles Antoine Desaix de Voygoux, born August 27, 1768, won the
victory at the Pyramids, July 21, 1798. He was mortally wounded at
Marengo, June 14, 1800.

Jean Victor Moreau, born August 11, 1763, was victorious at Engen, May
3, and at Hohenlinden, December 3, 1800. He was struck by a cannon-ball
at the battle of Dresden, August 27, and died September 2, 1813.]

{15}[22] [Hor., _Od._, iv. c. ix. 1. 25--
"Vixere fortes ante Agamemnona," etc.]

[23] [Hor., _Epist. Ad Pisones_, lines 148, 149--
"Semper ad eventum festinat, et in medias res,
Non secus ac notas, auditorem rapit--"]

[24] ["Quien no ha visto Sevilla, no ha visto maravilla."]

{16}[25] [In his reply to _Blackwood_ (No. xxix. August, 1819), Byron
somewhat disingenuously rebuts the charge that _Don Juan_ contained "an
elaborate satire on the character and manners of his wife." "If," he
writes, "in a poem by no means ascertained to be my production there
appears a disagreeable, casuistical, and by no means respectable female
pedant, it is set down for my wife. Is there any resemblance? If there
be, it is in those who make it--I can see none."--Letters, 1900, iv.
477. The allusions in stanzas xii.-xiv., and, again, in stanzas
xxvii.-xxix., are, and must have been meant to be, unmistakable.]

[26] [Gregor von Feinagle, born? 1765, was the inventor of a system of
mnemonics, "founded on the topical memory of the ancients," as described
by Cicero and Quinctilian. He lectured, in 1811, at the Royal
Institution and elsewhere. When Rogers was asked if he attended the
lectures, he replied, "No; I wished to learn the Art of Forgetting"
(_Table-Talk of Samuel Rogers_, 1856, p. 42).]

{17}[a]
_Little she spoke--but what she spoke was Attic all_,
_With words and deeds in perfect unanimity._--[MS.]

[27] [Sir Samuel Romilly, born 1757, lost his wife on the 29th of
October, and committed suicide on the 2nd of November, 1818.--"But there
will come a day of reckoning, even if I should not live to see it. I
have at least seen Romilly shivered, who was one of the assassins. When
that felon or lunatic ... was doing his worst to uproot my whole family,
tree, branch, and blossoms--when, after taking my retainer, he went over
to them [see _Letters_, 1899, iii. 324]--when he was bringing desolation
... on my household gods--did he think that, in less than three years, a
natural event--a severe, domestic, but an unexpected and common
calamity--would lay his carcase in a cross-road, or stamp his name in a
verdict of Lunacy! Did he (who in his drivelling sexagenary dotage had
not the courage to survive his Nurse--for what else was a wife to him at
his time of life?)--reflect or consider what _my_ feelings must have
been, when wife, and child, and sister, and name, and fame, and country,
were to be my sacrifice on his legal altar,--and this at a moment when
my health was declining, my fortune embarrassed, and my mind had been
shaken by many kinds of disappointment--while I was yet young, and might
have reformed what might be wrong in my conduct, and retrieved what was
perplexing in my affairs! But the wretch is in his grave," etc.-Letter
to Murray, June 7, 1819, _Letters_, 1900, iv. 316.]

[28] [Maria Edgeworth (1767-1849) published _Castle Rackrent_, etc.,
etc., etc., in 1800. "In 1813," says Byron, "I recollect to have met
them [the Edgeworths] in the fashionable world of London.... She was a
nice little unassuming 'Jeannie Deans-looking body,' as we Scotch say;
and if not handsome, certainly not ill-looking" (_Diary_, January 19,
1821, _Letters_, 1901, v. 177-179).]

[29] [Sarah Trimmer (1741-1810) published, in 1782, _Easy Introduction
to the Study of Nature_; _History of the Robins_ (dedicated to the
Princess Sophia) in 1786, etc.]

[30] [Hannah More (1745-1833) published _Coelebs in Search of a Wife_ in
1809.]

[31] [Pope, _Rape of the Lock_, Canto II, line 17.]

{19}[32] [John Harrison (1693-1776), known as "Longitude" Harrison, was
the inventor of watch compensation. He received, in slowly and
reluctantly paid instalments, a sum of £20,000 from the Government, for
producing a chronometer which should determine the longitude within half
a degree. A watch which contained his latest improvements was worn by
Captain Cook during his three years' circumnavigation of the globe.]

[33] "Description des _vertus incomparables_ de l'Huile de Macassar."
See the Advertisement. [_An Historical, Philosophical and Practical
Essay on the Human Hair_, was published by Alexander Rowland, jun., in
1816. It was inscribed, "To her Royal Highness the Princess Charlotte of
Wales and Cobourg."]

[b] _Where all was innocence and quiet bliss_.--[MS.]

[c] _And so she seemed, in all outside formalities_.--[MS.]

[34] ["'Zounds, an I were now by this rascal, I could brain him with his
lady's fan."--I _Henry IV._, act ii, sc 3, lines 19, 20.]

{21}[d] _Wishing each other damned, divorced, or dead_.--[MS.]

[35] [According to Medwin (_Conversations_, 1824, p. 55), Byron "was
surprised one day by a Doctor and a Lawyer almost forcing themselves at
the same time into my room. I did not know," he adds, "till afterwards
the real object of their visit. I thought their questions singular,
frivolous, and somewhat importunate, if not impertinent: but what should
I have thought, if I had known that they were sent to provide proofs of
my insanity?" Lady Byron, in her _Remarks on Mr. Moore's Life, etc_.
(_Life_, pp. 661-663), says that Dr. Baillie (_vide post_, p. 412, note
2), whom she consulted with regard to her husband's supposed insanity,
"not having had access to Lord Byron, could not pronounce a positive
opinion on this point." It appears, however, that another doctor, a Mr.
Le Mann (see _Letters_, 1899, iii. 293, note 1, 295, 299, etc.), visited
Byron professionally, and reported on his condition to Lady Byron.
Hence, perhaps, the mention of "druggists."]

{22}[36] ["I deem it _my duty to God_ to act as I am acting."--Letter of
Lady Byron to Mrs. Leigh, February 14, 1816, _Letters_, 1899, iii. 311.]

[37] ["This is so very pointed."--[?Hobhouse.] "If people make
application, it is their own fault."--[B.].--[_Revise._]

[38] ["There is some doubt about this."--[H.] "What has the 'doubt' to
do with the poem? it is, at least, poetically true. Why apply everything
to that absurd woman? I have no reference to living
characters."--[B.].--[_Revise._] Medwin (_Conversations_, 1824, p. 54)
attributes the "breaking open my writing-desk" to Mrs. Charlment (i.e.
Mrs. Clermont) the original of "A Sketch," _Poetical Works_, 1900, iii.
540-544. It is evident from Byron's reply to Hobhouse's remonstrance
that Medwin did not invent this incident, but that some one, perhaps
Fletcher's wife, had told him that his papers had been overhauled.]

{23}[e] _First their friends tried at reconciliation_.--[MS.]

[f] _The lawyers recommended a divorce_.--[MS.]
 


{24}[g]
                              / besides was   \
_He had been ill brought up, <                 > bilious_.
                              \ besides being /

 

or, _The reason was, perhaps, that he was bilious_.--[MS.]

[h]
/ now but \
_And we may own--since he is < > earth_.--[MS.]
\ laid in /
 

 

[39] ["I could have forgiven the dagger or the bowl,--any thing but the
deliberate desolation piled upon me, when I stood alone upon my hearth,
with my household gods shivered around me.... Do you suppose I have
forgotten it? It has, comparatively swallowed up in me every other
feeling, and I am only a spectator upon earth till a tenfold opportunity
offers."--Letter to Moore, September 19, 1818, _Letters_, 1900, iv, 262,
263. Compare, too--
 

    "I had one only fount of quiet left,
    And _that_ they poisoned! My pure household gods
    Were shivered on my hearth, and o'er their shrine
    Sate grinning Ribaldry and sneering Scorn."

_Marino Faliero_, act iii. sc. II, lines 361-364.]
 

{25}[i]
                / litigation--\
_Save death or <                > so he died_.--[MS.]
                \ banishment--/

{26}[40] [Compare Leigh Hunt on the illustrations to Andrew Tooke's
_Pantheon_: "I see before me, as vividly now as ever, his Mars and
Apollo ... and Venus very handsome, we thought, and not looking too
modest in a 'light cymar.'"--_Autobiography_, 1860, p. 75.]

 

[j] _Defending still their Iliads and Odysseys_.--[MS.]

[41] See Longinus, Section 10, [Greek: "I/na mê\ e(/n ti peri\ au)tê\n
pa/thos phai/nêtai, pathôn de\ sy/nodos."]

["The effect desired is that not one passion only should be seen in her,
but a concourse of passions" (_Longinis on the Sublime_, by W. Rhys
Roberts, 1899, pp. 70, 71).

The Ode alluded to is the famous [Greek: Phai/netai/ moi kênos i(/sos
theisin, k.t.l.]

"Him rival to the gods I place;
Him loftier yet, if loftier be,
Who, Lesbia, sits before thy face,
Who listens and who looks on thee."

W.E. Gladstone.

"I do not think you are quite held out by the quotation. Longinus says
the circumstantial assemblage of the passions makes the sublime; he does
not talk of the sublime being soaring and ample."--[H.] "I do not care
for this--it must stand."--[B.]--[_Marginal notes in Revise._]]

[42] [_Bucol._, Ecl. ii. "Alexis."]
 


{27}[k]
                /  antique  \               /  elision  \
Too much their <    modest   > bard by the <             >--[MS.]
                \ downright /               \  omission /

[43] Fact! There is, or was, such an edition, with all the obnoxious
epigrams of Martial placed by themselves at the end.

 

[In the Delphin _Martial_ (Amsterdam, 1701) the _Epigrammata Obscaena_
are printed as an Appendix (pp. 2-56), "[Ne] quiequam desideraretur a
morosis quibusdam hominibus."]

{28}[44] See his _Confessions_, lib. i. cap. ix.; [lib. ii. cap. ii.,
_et passim_]. By the representation which Saint Augustine gives of
himself in his youth, it is easy to see that he was what we should call
a rake. He avoided the school as the plague; he loved nothing but gaming
and public shows; he robbed his father of everything he could find; he
invented a thousand lies to escape the rod, which they were obliged to
make use of to punish his irregularities.

{30}[45] [Byron's early letters are full of complaints of his mother's
violent temper. See, for instance, letter to the Hon. Augusta Byron,
April 23, 1805. In another letter to John M.B. Pigot, August 9, 1806, he
speaks of her as "Mrs. Byron '_furiosa_'" (_Letters_, 1898, i. 60,
101).]

[46] ["Having surrendered the last symbol of power, the unfortunate
Boabdil continued on towards the Alpuxarras, that he might not behold
the entrance of the Christians into his capital.... Having ascended an
eminence commanding the last view of Granada, the Moors paused
involuntarily to take a farewell gaze at their beloved city, which a few
steps more would shut from their sight for ever.... The heart of
Boabdil, softened by misfortunes, and overcharged with grief, could no
longer contain itself. 'Allah achbar! God is great!' said he; but the
words of resignation died upon his lips, and he burst into a flood of
tears."--_Chronicle of the Conquest of Granada_, by Washington Irving,
1829, ii. 379-381.]
 


{31}[l]
                           /  silence! hush!_   \
_I'll tell you a secret--<                        >--[MS.]
                           \ which you'll hush_ /

 

{32}[m]
_Spouses from twenty years of age to thirty_
/ strict \
_Are most admired by women of < > virtue_.--[MS.]
\ staid /
 

 

[47] For the particulars of St. Anthony's recipe for hot blood in cold
weather, see Mr. Alban Butler's _Lives of the Saints_.

 

["I am not sure it was not St. Francis who had the wife of snow--in that
case the line must run, 'St. Francis back to reason.'"--[_MS. M._]

For the seven snow-balls, of which "the greatest" was his wife, see Life
of "St. Francis of Assisi" (_The Golden Legend_ (edited by F.S. Ellis),
1900, v. 221). See, too, _the Lives of the Saints, etc._, by the Rev.
Alban Butler, 1838, ii. 574.]

{34}[48] [The sorceress in Tasso's _Gerusalemme Liberata_. The story of
Armida and Rinaldo forms the plot of operas by Glück and Rossini.]

[49]§35§ _Thinking God might not understand the case_.--[MS. M.,
Revise.]

{36}[50] ["Quel giorno più non vi leggemmo avante." Dante, _Inferno_,
canto v. line 138.]

{37}[51]

["Conscienzia m'assicura,
La buona compagnia che l'uom francheggia
Sotto l'osbergo del sentirsi pura."

_Inferno_, canto xxviii, lines 115-117.]

[n] _Deemed that her thoughts no more required control_.--[MS.]

{38}[52] [See Ovid, _Metamorph_., vii. 9, sq.]

{39}[53] Campbell's _Gertrude of Wyoming_--(I think)--the opening of
Canto Second [Part III. stanza i. lines 1-4]--but quote from memory.

[54] [See Coleridge's _Biographia Literaria_, chap. i. (ed. 1847, i. 14,
15); and _Dejection: An Ode_, lines 86-93.]

{40}[o]
_I say this by the way--so don't look stern_.
_But if you're angry, reader, pass it by_.--[MS.]

[55] [Juan Boscan, of Barcelona (1500-1544), in concert with his friend
Garcilasso, Italianized Castilian poetry. He was the author of the
_Leandro_, a poem in blank verse, of canzoni, and sonnets after the
model of Petrarch, and of _The Allegory_.--_History of Spanish
Literature_, by George Ticknor, 1888, i. 513.]

[56] [Garcias Lasso or Garcilasso de la Vega (1503-1536), of a noble
family at Toledo, was a warrior as well as a poet, "now seizing on the
sword and now the pen." After serving with distinction in Germany,
Africa, and Provence, he was killed at Muy, near Frejus, in 1536, by a
stone, thrown from a tower, which fell on his head as he was leading on
his battalion. He was the author of thirty-seven sonnets, five canzoni,
and three pastorals.--_Vide ibidem_, pp. 522-535.]

{42}[p]
_A real wittol always is suspicious_,
_But always also hunts in the wrong place_.--[MS.]

{43}[q] _Change horses every hour from night till noon_.--[MS.]

[r] _Except the promises of true theology_.--[MS.]

[57]

["Oh, Susan! I've said, in the moments of mirth,
What's devotion to thee or to me?
I devoutly believe there's a heaven on earth,
And believe that _that_ heaven's in _thee._"

"The Catalogue," _Poetical Works of the late Thomas Little_, 1803, p.
128.]

{44}[s]
_She stood on Guilt's steep brink, in all the sense_
_And full security of Innocence_.--[MS.]

{45}[t] _To leave these two young people then and there.--[MS.]_

{46}[58] ["Age Xerxes.. eo usque luxuria gaudens, ut edicto præmium ei
proponeret, qui novum voluptatis genus reperisset."--Val. Max, _De
Dictis, etc._, lib. ix. cap. 1, ext. 3.]

[59] ["You certainly will be damned for all this scene."--[H.]]

{48}[60] [Compare _Childe Harold_, Canto IV. stanza iii. line 2,
_Poetical Works_, ii. 329, note 3.]

[u] _Our coming, nor look brightly till we come_.--[MS.]

[v] _Sweet is a lawsuit to the attorney--sweet, etc_.--[MS.]

[61] [So, too, Falstaff, _Henry IV._, act ii. sc. 2, lines 79, 80.]

{49}[w]
_Who've made us wait--God knows how long already,_
_For an entailed estate, or country-seat,_
_Wishing them not exactly damned, but dead--he_
_Knows nought of grief, who has not so been worried--_
_'T is strange old people don't like to be buried_.--[MS.]

[62] [Byron has not been forgotten at Harrow, though it is a bend of the
Cam (Byron's Pool), not his favourite Duck Pool (now "Ducker") which
bears his name.]

{50}[63] [The reference is to the metallic tractors of Benjamin Charles
Perkins, which were advertised as a "cure for all disorders, Red Noses,"
etc. Compare _English Bards, etc._, lines 131, 132--

"What varied wonders tempt us as they pass!
The Cow-pox, Tractors, Galvanism, and Gas."

See _Poetical Works_, 1898, i. 307, note 3.]

[64] [Edward Jenner (1749-1823) made his first experiments in
vaccination, May 14, 1796. Napoleon caused his soldiers to be
vaccinated, and imagined that the English would be gratified by his
recognition of Jenner's discovery.

Sir William Congreve (1772-1828) invented "Congreve rockets" or shells
in 1804. They were used with great effect at the battle of Leipzig, in
1813.]

[65] ["Mon cher ne touchez pas à la petite Vérole."--[H.]--[Revise.]]

[66] [Experiments in galvanism were made on the body of Forster the
murderer, by Galvani's nephew, Professor Aldini, January and February,
1803.]

[67] ["Put out these lines, and keep the others."--[H.]--[_Revise._]]

{51}[68] [Sir Humphry Davy, P.R.S. (1778-1829), invented the safety-lamp
in 1815.]

[69] [In a critique of _An Account of the Empire of Marocco_.... _To
which is added an_ ... _account of Tombuctoo, the great Emporium of
Central Africa,_ by James Grey Jackson, London, 1809, the reviewer
comments on the author's pedantry in correcting "the common orthography
of African names." "We do not," he writes, "greatly object to ... _Fas_
for _Fez,_ or even _Timbuctoo_ for _Tombuctoo,_ but _Marocco_ for
_Morocco_ is a little too much."--_Edinburgh Review_, July, 1809 vol.
xiv. p. 307.]

[70] [Sir John Ross (1777-1856) published _A Voyage of Discovery_ ...
_for the purpose of Exploring Baffin's Bay, etc.,_ in 1819; Sir W.E.
Parry (1790-1855) published his _Journal of a Voyage of Discovery to the
Arctic Regions between 4th April and 18th November_, 1818, in 1820.]

[x] _Not only pleasure's sin, but sin's a pleasure_.--[MS.]

[y] _And lose in shining snow their summits blue_.--[MS.]

[z] _'Twas midnight--dark and sombre was the night, etc_.--[MS.]

[aa] _And supper, punch, ghost-stories, and such chat_.--[MS.]

[71] ["'All that, Egad,' as Bayes says" [in the Duke of Buckingham's
play _The Rehearsal_].--Letter to Murray, September 28, 1820, _Letters_,
1901, v. 80.]

[72] ["Lobster-sallad, _not_ a lobster-salad. Have you been at a London
_ball_, and not known a Lobster-_sallad?_"--[H.]--[_Revise._] ]

[73] ["To-night, as Countess Guiccioli observed me poring over _Don
Juan_, she stumbled by mere chance on the 137th stanza of the First
Canto, and asked me what it meant. I told her, 'Nothing,--but your
husband is coming.' As I said this in Italian with some emphasis, she
started up in a fright, and said, _'Oh, my God, is_ he _coming?'_
thinking it was _her own_....You may suppose we laughed when she found
out the mistake. You will be amused, as I was;--it happened not three
hours ago."--Letter to Murray, November 8, 1819, _Letters_, 1900, iv.
374.

It should be borne in mind that the loves of Juan and Julia, the
irruption of Don Alfonso, etc., were rather of the nature of prophecy
than of reminiscence. The First Canto had been completed before the
Countess Guiccioli appeared on the scene.]

[ab] _And thus as 'twere herself from out them crept_.--[MS. M.]

{54}[ac] _Ere I the wife of such a man had been!_--[MS.]

{55}[ad] _But while this search was making, Julia's tongue_.--[MS.]

[74] The Spanish "Cortejo" is much the same as the Italian "Cavalier
Servente."

{56}[75] Donna Julia here made a mistake. Count O'Reilly did not take
Algiers--but Algiers very nearly took him: he and his army and fleet
retreated with great loss, and not much credit, from before that city,
in the year 1775.

[Alexander O'Reilly, born 1722, a Spanish general of Irish extraction,
failed in an expedition against Algiers in 1775, in which the Spaniards
lost four thousand men. In 1794 he was appointed commander-in-chief of
the forces equipped against the army of the French National Convention.
He died March 23, 1794.]

[76] [The Italian names have an obvious signification.]

[ae] _The chimney--fit retreat for any lover!_--[MS.]

{58}[af] ---- _may deplore_.--[Alternative reading. MS. M.]

{59}[77] ["Thou speakest as one of the foolish women speaketh" (_Job_
ii. 10).]

[78] ["Don't be read aloud."--[H.]--[_Revise._]]

{60}[ag]
---- _than be put_
_To drown with Clarence in his Malmsey butt_.--[MS.]

[ah] _And reckon up our balance with the devil_.--[MS.]

{62}[79] ["Carissimo, do review the whole scene, and think what you
would say of it, if written by another."--[H.] "I would say, read 'The
Miracle' ['A Tale from Boccace'] in Hobhouse's poems, and 'January and
May,' and 'Paulo Purganti,' and 'Hans Carvel,' and 'Joconde.' _These_
are laughable: it is the _serious_--Little's poems and _Lalla
Rookh_--that affect seriously. Now Lust is a serious passion, and cannot
be excited by the ludicrous."--[B.]--_Marginal Notes in Revise_.]

For the "Miracle," see _Imitations and Translations_, 1809, pp.
111--128. "January and May" is Pope's version of Chaucer's _Merchant's
Tale_. "Paulo Purganti" and "Hans Carvel" are by Matthew Prior; and for
"Joconde" (_Nouvelle Tirée de L'Ariosto_, canto xxviii.) see _Contes et
Nouvelles en Vers_, de Mr. de la Fontaine, 1691, i. 1-19.]

{63}[80] [Compare "The use made in the French tongue of the word _tact_,
to denote that delicate sense of propriety, which enables a man to _feel
his way_ in the difficult intercourse of polished society, seems to have
been suggested by similar considerations (i.e. similar to those which
suggested the use of the word _taste_)."--_Outlines of Moral
Philosophy_, by Dugald Stewart, Part I. sect. x. ed. 1855, p. 48. For
D'Alembert's use of _tact_, to denote "that peculiar delicacy of
perception (which, like the nice touch of a blind man) arises from
habits of close attention to those slighter feelings which escape
general notice," see _Philosophical Essays_, by Dugald Stewart, 1818, p.
603.]

{64}[ai] _With base suspicion now no longer haunted._--[MS.]

[81] [For the incident of the shoes, Lord Byron was probably indebted to
the Scottish ballad--

 

 

"Our goodman came hame at e'en, and hame came he;
He spy'd a pair of jack-boots, where nae boots should be,
What's this now, goodwife? What's this I see?
How came these boots there, without the leave o' me!
Boots! quo' she:
Ay, boots, quo' he.
Shame fa' your cuckold face, and ill mat ye see,
It's but a pair of water stoups the cooper sent to me," etc.
 

 

See James Johnson's _Musical Museum_, 1787, etc., v. 466.]

 

{66}[aj] _Found--heaven knows how--his solitary way._--[MS.]

[82] [William Brodie Gurney (1777-1855), the son and grandson of eminent
shorthand writers, "reported the proceedings against the Duke of York in
1809, the trials of Lord Cochrane in 1814, and of Thistlewood in 1820,
and the proceedings against Queen Caroline."--_Dict. of Nat. Biog_.,
art. "Gurney."]

{67}[83] ["Venice, December 7, 1818.

"After _that stanza_ in the first canto of _Don Juan_ (sent by Lord
Lauderdale) towards the _conclusion_ of the canto--I speak of the stanza
whose two last lines are--

"'The best is that in short-hand ta'en by Gurney,
Who to Madrid on purpose made a journey,'

insert the following stanzas, 'But Donna Inez,' etc."--B.

The text is based on a second or revised copy of stanzas cxc.-cxcviii.
Many of the corrections and emendations which were inserted in the first
draft are omitted in the later and presumably improved version. Byron's
first intention was to insert seven stanzas after stanza clxxxix.,
descriptive and highly depreciatory of Brougham, but for reasons of
"fairness" (_vide infra_) he changed his mind. The casual mention of
"blundering Brougham" in _English Bards, etc._ (line 524, _Poetical
Works_, 1898, i. 338, note 2), is a proof that his suspicions were not
aroused as to the authorship of the review of _Hours of Idleness_
(_Edin. Rev._, January, 1808), and it is certain that Byron's animosity
was due to the part played by Brougham at the time of the Separation.
(In a letter to Byron, dated February 18, 1817, Murray speaks of a
certain B. "as your incessant persecutor--the source of all affected
public opinion respecting you.") The stanzas, with the accompanying
notes, are not included in the editions of 1833 or 1837, and are now
printed for the first time.

 


                      I.

 

"'Twas a fine cause for those in law delighting--
'Tis pity that they had no Brougham in Spain,
Famous for always talking, and ne'er fighting,
For calling names, and taking them again;
For blustering, bungling, trimming, wrangling, writing,
Groping all paths to power, and all in vain--
Losing elections, character, and temper,
A foolish, clever, fellow--_Idem semper!_

II.

"Bully in Senates, skulker in the Field,[*A]
The Adulterer's advocate when duly feed,
The libeller's gratis Counsel, dirty shield
Which Law affords to many a dirty deed;
A wondrous Warrior against those who yield--
A rod to Weakness, to the brave a reed--
The People's sycophant, the Prince's foe,
And serving him the more by being so.

III.

"Tory by nurture, Whig by Circumstance,
A Democrat some once or twice a year,
Whene'er it suits his purpose to advance
His vain ambition in its vague career:
A sort of Orator by sufferance,
Less for the comprehension than the ear;
With all the arrogance of endless power,
Without the sense to keep it for an hour.

IV.

"The House-of-Commons Damocles of words--
Above him, hanging by a single hair,
On each harangue depend some hostile Swords;
And deems he that we _always_ will forbear?
Although Defiance oft declined affords
A blotted shield no Shire's true knight would wear:
Thersites of the House. Parolles[*B] of Law,
The double Bobadill[*C] takes Scorn for Awe.

V.

"How noble is his language--never pert--
How grand his sentiments which ne'er run riot!
As when he swore 'by God he'd sell his shirt
To head the poll!' I wonder who would buy it
The skin has passed through such a deal of dirt
In grovelling on to power--such stains now dye it--
So black the long-worn Lion's hide in hue,
You'd swear his very heart had sweated through.

VI.

"Panting for power--as harts for cooling streams--
Yet half afraid to venture for the draught;
A go-between, yet blundering in extremes,
And tossed along the vessel fore and aft;
Now shrinking back, now midst the first he seems,
Patriot by force, and courtisan[*D] by craft;
Quick without wit, and violent without strength--
A disappointed Lawyer, at full length.

VII.

"A strange example of the force of Law,
And hasty temper on a kindling mind--
Are these the dreams his young Ambition saw?
Poor fellow! he had better far been blind!
I'm sorry thus to probe a wound so raw--
But, then, as Bard my duty to Mankind,
For warning to the rest, compels these raps--
As Geographers lay down a Shoal in Maps."

 

 

 

[[*A] For Brougham's Fabian tactics with regard to duelling, _vide
post_, Canto XIII. stanza lxxxiv. line 1, p. 506, note 1.]

[[*B] Vide post, Canto XIII. stanza lxxxiv. line 1, p. 506, note 1.]

[[*C] For "Captain Bobadill, a Paul's man," see Ben Jonson's _Every Man
in his Humour_, act iv. sc. 5, et passim.]

[[*D] The _N. Eng. Dict._, quotes a passage in _Phil. Trans._, iv. 286
(1669), as the latest instance of "courtisan" for "courtier."]


NOTE TO THE ANNEXED STANZAS ON BROUGHAM.

"Distrusted by the Democracy, disliked by the Whigs, and detested
by the Tories, too much of a lawyer for the people, and too much of
a demagogue for Parliament, a contestor of counties, and a
Candidate for cities, the refuse of half the Electors of England,
and representative at last upon sufferance of the proprietor of
some rotten borough, which it would have been more independent to
have purchased, a speaker upon all questions, and the outcast of
all parties, his support has become alike formidable to all his
enemies (for he has no friends), and his vote can be only valuable
when accompanied by his Silence. A disappointed man with a bad
temper, he is endowed with considerable but not first-rate
abilities, and has blundered on through life, remarkable only for a
fluency, in which he has many rivals at the bar and in the Senate,
and an eloquence in which he has several Superiors. 'Willing to
wound and _not_ afraid to strike, until he receives a blow in
return, he has not yet betrayed any illegal ardour, or Irish
alacrity, in accepting the defiances, and resenting the disgraceful
terms which his proneness to evil-speaking have (sic) brought upon
him. In the cases of Mackinnon and Manners,[*E] he sheltered
himself behind those parliamentary privileges, which Fox, Pitt,
Canning, Castlereagh, Tierney, Adam, Shelburne, Grattan, Corry,
Curran, and Clare disdained to adopt as their buckler. The House of
Commons became the Asylum of his Slander, as the Churches of Rome
were once the Sanctuary of Assassins.

"His literary reputation (with the exception of one work of his
early career) rests upon some anonymous articles imputed to him in
a celebrated periodical work; but even these are surpassed by the
Essays of others in the same Journal. He has tried every thing and
succeeded in nothing; and he may perhaps finish as a Lawyer without
practice, as he has already been occasionally an orator without an
audience, if not soon cut short in his career.

"The above character is _not_ written impartially, but by one who
has had occasion to know some of the baser parts of it, and regards
him accordingly with shuddering abhorrence, and just so much fear
as he deserves. In him is to be dreaded the crawling of the
centipede, not the spring of the tiger--the venom of the reptile,
not the strength of the animal--the rancour of the miscreant, not
the courage of the Man.

"In case the prose or verse of the above should be actionable, I
put my name, that the man may rather proceed against me than the
publisher--not without some faint hope that the brand with which I
blast him may induce him, however reluctantly, to a manlier
revenge."

[*E] [Possibly George Manners (1778-1853), editor of _The Satirist_,
whose appointment to a foreign consulate Brougham sharply criticized in
the House of Commons, July 9, 1817 (_Parl. Deb._, vol. xxxvi. pp. 1320,
1321); and Daniel Mackinnon (1791-1836), the nephew of Henry Mackinnon,
who fell at Ciudad Rodrigo. Byron met "Dan" Mackinnon at Lisbon in 1809,
and (Gronow, _Reminiscences_, 1889, ii. 259, 260) was amused by his
"various funny stories."]

EXTRACT FROM LETTER TO MURRAY.

"I enclose you the stanzas which were intended for 1st Canto, after
the line

'Who to Madrid on purpose made a journey:'

but I do not mean them for present publication, because I will not,
at this distance, publish _that_ of a Man, for which he has a claim
upon another too remote to give him redress.

"With regard to the Miscreant Brougham, however, it was only long
after the fact, and I was made acquainted with the language he had
held of me on my leaving England (with regard to the D^ss^ of D.'s
house),[*F] and his letter to Me. de Staël, and various matters for
all of which the first time he and I foregather--be it in England,
be it on earth--he shall account, and one of the two be carried
home.

"As I have no wish to have mysteries, I merely prohibit the
_publication_ of these stanzas in _print_, for the reasons of
fairness mentioned; but I by no means wish _him not_ to _know_
their existence or their tenor, nor my intentions as to himself: he
has shown no forbearance, and he shall find none. You may show them
to _him_ and to all whom it may concern, with the explanation that
the only reason that I have not had satisfaction of this man has
been, that I have never had an opportunity since I was aware of the
facts, which my friends had carefully concealed from me; and it was
only by slow degrees, and by piecemeal, that I got at them. I have
not sought him, nor gone out of my way for him; but I will _find_
him, and then we can have it out: he has shown so little courage,
that he _must_ fight at last in his absolute necessity to escape
utter degradation.

"I send you the stanzas, which (except the last) have been written
nearly two years, merely because I have been lately copying out
most of the MSS. which were in my drawers."

[*F] [Byron's town-house, in 1815-1816, No. 13, Piccadilly, belonged to
the Duchess of Devonshire. When he went abroad in April, 1816, the rent
was still unpaid. The duchess, through her agent, distrained, but was
unable to recover the debt. See Byron's "Letter to Elizabeth, Duchess of
Devonshire," November 3, 1817, _Letters_, 1900, iv. 178.]


{71}[ak]
_Julia was sent into a nunnery_,
_And there, perhaps, her feelings may be better_.--[MS. M.]

[al] _Man's love is of his life_----.--[MS. M.]

[84] ["Que les hommes sont heureux d'aller à la guerre, d'exposer leur
vie, de se livrer à l'enthousiasme de l'honneur et du danger! Mais il
n'y a rien au-dehors qui soulage les femmes."--_Corinne, ou L'Italie_,
Madame de Staël, liv., xviii. chap. v. ed. 1835, iii. 209.]

[am]
_To mourn alone the love which has undone._
or, _To lift our fatal love to God from man._

Take that which, of these three, seems the best prescription.--B.

{72}[an]
_You will proceed in beauty and in pride_,
_You will return_----.--[MS. M.]
 


[ao]
                    / fatal now   \
Or, _That word is <   lost for me   >--but let it go_.--[MS. M.]
                    \ deadly now  /

[ap] _I struggle, but can not collect my mind_.--[MS.]

 

[aq]
_As turns the needle trembling to the pole_
_It ne'er can reach--so turns to you my soul_.--[MS.]

[ar] _With a neat crow-quill, rather hard, but new_.--[MS.]

{73}[85] [Byron had a seal bearing this motto.]

[as]
_And there are other incidents remaining_
_Which shall be specified in fitting time,_
_With good discretion, and in current rhyme_.--[MS.]

{74}[at]
_To newspapers, to sermons, which the zeal_
_Of pious men have published on his acts_.--[MS.]

[au] _I'll call the work "Reflections o'er a Bottle_."--[MS.]

[86] [Here, and elsewhere in _Don Juan_, Byron attacked Coleridge
fiercely and venomously, because he believed that his _protégé_ had
accepted patronage and money, and, notwithstanding, had retailed
scandalous statements to the detriment and dishonour of his advocate and
benefactor (see letter to Murray, November 24, 1818, _Letters_, 1900,
iv. 272; and "Introduction to the _Vision of Judgment," Poetical Works_,
1901, iv. 475). Byron does not substantiate his charge of ingratitude,
and there is nothing to show whether Coleridge ever knew why a once
friendly countenance was changed towards him. He might have asked, with
the Courtenays, _Ubi lapsus, quid feci?_ If Byron had been on his mind
or his conscience he would have drawn up an elaborate explanation or
apology; but nothing of the kind is extant. He took the abuse as he had
taken the favours--for the unmerited gifts of the blind goddess Fortune.
(See, too, _Letter_ ..., by John Bull, 1821, p. 14.)]

{76}[87] [Compare Byron's "Letter to the Editor of My Grandmother's
Review," _Letters_, 1900, iv. Appendix VII. 465-470; and letter to
Murray, August 24, 1819, ibid., p. 348: "I wrote to you by last post,
enclosing a buffooning letter for publication, addressed to the buffoon
Roberts, who has thought proper to tie a canister to his own tail. It
was written off-hand, and in the midst of circumstances not very
favourable to facetiousness, so that there may, perhaps, be more
bitterness than enough for that sort of small acid punch." The letter
was in reply to a criticism of _Don Juan_ (Cantos I., II.) in the
_British Review_ (No. xxvii., 1819, vol. 14, pp. 266-268), in which the
Editor assumed, or feigned to assume, that the accusation of bribery was
to be taken _au grand sérieux_.]

{77}[88] [Hor., _Od._ III. C. xiv. lines 27, 28.]

[av] _I thought of dyeing it the other day_.--[MS.]

[89] [Compare _Childe Harold_, Canto III. stanza cvii. line 2.]

{78}[90]

"Me nec femina, nec puer
Jam, nec spes animi credula mutui,
Nec certare juvat mero;
Nec vincire novis tempora floribus."

Hor., _Od._ IV. i. 30.

[In the revise the words _nec puer Jam_ were omitted. On this Hobhouse
comments, "Better add the whole or scratch out all after
femina."--"Quote the whole then--it was only in compliance with your
_settentrionale_ notions that I left out the remnant of the
line."--[B.]]

[91] [For "How Fryer Bacon made a Brazen head to speak," see _The Famous
Historie of Fryer Bacon_ (Reprint, London, 1815, pp. 13-18); see, too,
_Friar Bacon and Friar Bungay_, by Robert Greene, ed. Rev. Alexander
Dyce, 1861, pp. 153-181.]

[92]

["Ah! who can tell how hard it is to climb
The steep where Fame's proud temple shines afar?" etc.

Beattie's _Minstrel_, Bk. I. stanza i. lines 1, 2.]

{79}[aw] _A book--a damned bad picture--and worse bust_.--[MS.]

["Don't swear again--the third 'damn.'"--[H.]--[_Revise._]]

[93] [Byron sat for his bust to Thorwaldsen, in May, 1817.]

[94] [This stanza appears to have been suggested by the following
passage in the _Quarterly Review_, April, 1818, vol. xix. p. 203: "[It
was] the opinion of the Egyptians, that the soul never deserted the body
while the latter continued in a perfect state. To secure this union,
King Cheops is said, by Herodotus, to have employed three hundred and
sixty thousand of his subjects for twenty years in raising over the
'angusta domus' destined to hold his remains, a pile of stone equal in
weight to six millions of tons, which is just three times that of the
vast Breakwater thrown across Plymouth Sound; and, to render this
precious dust still more secure, the narrow chamber was made accessible
only by small, intricate passages, obstructed by stones of an enormous
weight, and so carefully closed externally as not to be
perceptible.--Yet, how vain are all the precautions of man! Not a bone
was left of Cheops, either in the stone coffin, or in the vault, when
Shaw entered the gloomy chamber.]

{80}[ax] _Must bid you both farewell in accents bland_.--[MS.]

[95] [Lines 1-4 are taken from the last stanza of the _Epilogue to the
Lay of the Laureate_, entitled "L'Envoy." (See _Poetical Works_ of
Robert Southey, 1838, x. 174.)]

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

CANTO THE SECOND

I.

OH ye! who teach the ingenuous youth of nations,
Holland, France, England, Germany, or Spain,
I pray ye flog them upon all occasions--
It mends their morals, never mind the pain:
The best of mothers and of educations
In Juan's case were but employed in vain,
Since, in a way that's rather of the oddest, he
Became divested of his native modesty.[ay]

II.

Had he but been placed at a public school,
In the third form, or even in the fourth,
His daily task had kept his fancy cool,
At least, had he been nurtured in the North;
Spain may prove an exception to the rule,
But then exceptions always prove its worth--
A lad of sixteen causing a divorce
Puzzled his tutors very much, of course.

III.

I can't say that it puzzles me at all,
If all things be considered: first, there was
His lady-mother, mathematical,
A----never mind;--his tutor, an old ass;
A pretty woman--(that's quite natural,
Or else the thing had hardly come to pass)
A husband rather old, not much in unity
With his young wife--a time, and opportunity.

IV.

Well--well; the World must turn upon its axis,
And all Mankind turn with it, heads or tails,
And live and die, make love and pay our taxes,
And as the veering wind shifts, shift our sails;
The King commands us, and the Doctor quacks us,
The Priest instructs, and so our life exhales,
A little breath, love, wine, ambition, fame,
Fighting, devotion, dust,--perhaps a name.

V.

I said that Juan had been sent to Cadiz--
A pretty town, I recollect it well--
'T is there the mart of the colonial trade is,
(Or was, before Peru learned to rebel),
And such sweet girls![97]--I mean, such graceful ladies,
Their very walk would make your bosom swell;
I can't describe it, though so much it strike,
Nor liken it--I never saw the like:[az]

VI.

An Arab horse, a stately stag, a barb
New broke, a camelopard, a gazelle,
No--none of these will do;--and then their garb,
Their veil and petticoat--Alas! to dwell
Upon such things would very near absorb
A canto--then their feet and ankles,--well,
Thank Heaven I've got no metaphor quite ready,
(And so, my sober Muse--come, let's be steady--

VII.

Chaste Muse!--well,--if you must, you must)--the veil
Thrown back a moment with the glancing hand,
While the o'erpowering eye, that turns you pale,
Flashes into the heart:--All sunny land
Of Love! when I forget you, may I fail
To----say my prayers--but never was there planned
A dress through which the eyes give such a volley,
Excepting the Venetian Fazzioli.[98]
VIII.

But to our tale: the Donna Inez sent
Her son to Cadiz only to embark;
To stay there had not answered her intent,
But why?--we leave the reader in the dark--
'T was for a voyage the young man was meant,
As if a Spanish ship were Noah's ark,
To wean him from the wickedness of earth,
And send him like a Dove of Promise forth.

IX.

Don Juan bade his valet pack his things
According to direction, then received
A lecture and some money: for four springs
He was to travel; and though Inez grieved
(As every kind of parting has its stings),
She hoped he would improve--perhaps believed:
A letter, too, she gave (he never read it)
Of good advice--and two or three of credit.

X.

In the mean time, to pass her hours away,
Brave Inez now set up a Sunday school
For naughty children, who would rather play
(Like truant rogues) the devil, or the fool;
Infants of three years old were taught that day,
Dunces were whipped, or set upon a stool:
The great success of Juan's education
Spurred her to teach another generation.[ba]

XI.

Juan embarked--the ship got under way,
The wind was fair, the water passing rough;
A devil of a sea rolls in that bay,
As I, who've crossed it oft, know well enough;
And, standing on the deck, the dashing spray
Flies in one's face, and makes it weather-tough:
And there he stood to take, and take again,
His first--perhaps his last--farewell of Spain.

XII.

I can't but say it is an awkward sight
To see one's native land receding through
The growing waters; it unmans one quite,
Especially when life is rather new:
I recollect Great Britain's coast looks white,[99]
But almost every other country's blue,
When gazing on them, mystified by distance,
We enter on our nautical existence.

XIII.

So Juan stood, bewildered on the deck:
The wind sung, cordage strained, and sailors swore,
And the ship creaked, the town became a speck,
From which away so fair and fast they bore.
The best of remedies is a beef-steak
Against sea-sickness: try it, Sir, before
You sneer, and I assure you this is true,
For I have found it answer--so may you.

XIV.

Don Juan stood, and, gazing from the stern,
Beheld his native Spain receding far:
First partings form a lesson hard to learn,
Even nations feel this when they go to war;
There is a sort of unexpressed concern,
A kind of shock that sets one's heart ajar,
At leaving even the most unpleasant people
And places--one keeps looking at the steeple.

XV.

But Juan had got many things to leave,
His mother, and a mistress, and no wife,
So that he had much better cause to grieve
Than many persons more advanced in life:
And if we now and then a sigh must heave
At quitting even those we quit in strife,
No doubt we weep for those the heart endears--
That is, till deeper griefs congeal our tears.

XVI.

So Juan wept, as wept the captive Jews
By Babel's waters, still remembering Sion:
I'd weep,--but mine is not a weeping Muse,
And such light griefs are not a thing to die on;
Young men should travel, if but to amuse
Themselves; and the next time their servants tie on
Behind their carriages their new portmanteau,
Perhaps it may be lined with this my canto.

XVII.

And Juan wept, and much he sighed and thought,
While his salt tears dropped into the salt sea,
"Sweets to the sweet;" (I like so much to quote;
You must excuse this extract,--'t is where she,
The Queen of Denmark, for Ophelia brought
Flowers to the grave;) and, sobbing often, he
Reflected on his present situation,
And seriously resolved on reformation.

XVIII.

"Farewell, my Spain! a long farewell!" he cried,
"Perhaps I may revisit thee no more,
But die, as many an exiled heart hath died,
Of its own thirst to see again thy shore:
Farewell, where Guadalquivir's waters glide!
Farewell, my mother! and, since all is o'er,
Farewell, too, dearest Julia!--(here he drew
Her letter out again, and read it through.)

XIX.

"And oh! if e'er I should forget, I swear--
But that's impossible, and cannot be--
Sooner shall this blue Ocean melt to air,
Sooner shall Earth resolve itself to sea,
Than I resign thine image, oh, my fair!
Or think of anything, excepting thee;
A mind diseased no remedy can physic--
(Here the ship gave a lurch, and he grew sea-sick.)

XX.

"Sooner shall Heaven kiss earth--(here he fell sicker)
Oh, Julia! what is every other woe?--
(For God's sake let me have a glass of liquor;
Pedro, Battista, help me down below.)
Julia, my love!--(you rascal, Pedro, quicker)--
Oh, Julia!--(this curst vessel pitches so)--
Belovéd Julia, hear me still beseeching!"
(Here he grew inarticulate with retching.)

XXI.

He felt that chilling heaviness of heart,
Or rather stomach, which, alas! attends,
Beyond the best apothecary's art,
The loss of Love, the treachery of friends,
Or death of those we dote on, when a part
Of us dies with them as each fond hope ends:
No doubt he would have been much more pathetic,
But the sea acted as a strong emetic.

XXII.

Love's a capricious power: I've known it hold
Out through a fever caused by its own heat,
But be much puzzled by a cough and cold,
And find a quinsy very hard to treat;
Against all noble maladies he's bold,
But vulgar illnesses don't like to meet,
Nor that a sneeze should interrupt his sigh,
Nor inflammations redden his blind eye.

XXIII.

But worst of all is nausea, or a pain
About the lower region of the bowels;
Love, who heroically breathes a vein,[100]
Shrinks from the application of hot towels,
And purgatives are dangerous to his reign,
Sea-sickness death: his love was perfect, how else[bb]
Could Juan's passion, while the billows roar,
Resist his stomach, ne'er at sea before?

XXIV.

The ship, called the most holy "Trinidada,"[101]
Was steering duly for the port Leghorn;
For there the Spanish family Moncada
Were settled long ere Juan's sire was born:
They were relations, and for them he had a
Letter of introduction, which the morn
Of his departure had been sent him by
His Spanish friends for those in Italy.

XXV.

His suite consisted of three servants and
A tutor, the licentiate Pedrillo,
Who several languages did understand,
But now lay sick and speechless on his pillow
And, rocking in his hammock, longed for land,
His headache being increased by every billow;
And the waves oozing through the port-hole made
His berth a little damp, and him afraid.

XXVI.

'T was not without some reason, for the wind
Increased at night, until it blew a gale;
And though 't was not much to a naval mind,
Some landsmen would have looked a little pale,
For sailors are, in fact, a different kind:
At sunset they began to take in sail,
For the sky showed it would come on to blow,
And carry away, perhaps, a mast or so.

XXVII.

At one o'clock the wind with sudden shift
Threw the ship right into the trough of the sea,
Which struck her aft, and made an awkward rift,
Started the stern-post, also shattered the
Whole of her stern-frame, and, ere she could lift
Herself from out her present jeopardy,
The rudder tore away: 't was time to sound
The pumps, and there were four feet water found.

XXVIII.

One gang of people instantly was put
Upon the pumps, and the remainder set
To get up part of the cargo, and what not;
But they could not come at the leak as yet;
At last they did get at it really, but
Still their salvation was an even bet:
The water rushed through in a way quite puzzling,
While they thrust sheets, shirts, jackets, bales of muslin,

XXIX.

Into the opening; but all such ingredients
Would have been vain, and they must have gone down,
Despite of all their efforts and expedients,
But for the pumps: I'm glad to make them known
To all the brother tars who may have need hence,
For fifty tons of water were upthrown
By them per hour, and they had all been undone,
But for the maker, Mr. Mann, of London.[102]

XXX.

As day advanced the weather seemed to abate,
And then the leak they reckoned to reduce,
And keep the ship afloat, though three feet yet
Kept two hand--and one chain-pump still in use.
The wind blew fresh again: as it grew late
A squall came on, and while some guns broke loose,
A gust--which all descriptive power transcends--
Laid with one blast the ship on her beam ends.

XXXI.

There she lay, motionless, and seemed upset;
The water left the hold, and washed the decks,
And made a scene men do not soon forget;
For they remember battles, fires, and wrecks,
Or any other thing that brings regret
Or breaks their hopes, or hearts, or heads, or necks:
Thus drownings are much talked of by the divers,
And swimmers, who may chance to be survivors.

XXXII.

Immediately the masts were cut away,
Both main and mizen; first the mizen went,
The main-mast followed: but the ship still lay
Like a mere log, and baffled our intent.
Foremast and bowsprit were cut down, and they
Eased her at last (although we never meant
To part with all till every hope was blighted),
And then with violence the old ship righted.[103]

XXXIII.

It may be easily supposed, while this
Was going on, some people were unquiet,
That passengers would find it much amiss
To lose their lives, as well as spoil their diet;
That even the able seaman, deeming his
Days nearly o'er, might be disposed to riot,
As upon such occasions tars will ask
For grog, and sometimes drink rum from the cask.

XXXIV.

There's nought, no doubt, so much the spirit calms
As rum and true religion: thus it was,
Some plundered, some drank spirits, some sung psalms,
The high wind made the treble, and as bass
The hoarse harsh waves kept time; fright cured the qualms
Of all the luckless landsmen's sea-sick maws:
Strange sounds of wailing, blasphemy, devotion,
Clamoured in chorus to the roaring Ocean.

XXXV.

Perhaps more mischief had been done, but for[bc]
Our Juan, who, with sense beyond his years,
Got to the spirit-room, and stood before
It with a pair of pistols;[104] and their fears,
As if Death were more dreadful by his door
Of fire than water, spite of oaths and tears,
Kept still aloof the crew, who, ere they sunk,
Thought it would be becoming to die drunk.

XXXVI.

"Give us more grog," they cried, "for it will be
All one an hour hence." Juan answered, "No!
'T is true that Death awaits both you and me,
But let us die like men, not sink below
Like brutes:"--and thus his dangerous post kept he,
And none liked to anticipate the blow;
And even Pedrillo, his most reverend tutor,
Was for some rum a disappointed suitor.

XXXVII.

The good old gentleman was quite aghast,
And made a loud and pious lamentation;
Repented all his sins, and made a last
Irrevocable vow of reformation;
Nothing should tempt him more (this peril past)
To quit his academic occupation,
In cloisters of the classic Salamanca,
To follow Juan's wake, like Sancho Panca.

XXXVIII.

But now there came a flash of hope once more;
Day broke, and the wind lulled: the masts were gone
The leak increased; shoals round her, but no shore,
The vessel swam, yet still she held her own.[105]
They tried the pumps again, and though before
Their desperate efforts seemed all useless grown,
A glimpse of sunshine set some hands to bale--
The stronger pumped, the weaker thrummed a sail.

XXXIX.

Under the vessel's keel the sail was passed,
And for the moment it had some effect;
But with a leak, and not a stick of mast,
Nor rag of canvas, what could they expect?
But still 't is best to struggle to the last,
'T is never too late to be wholly wrecked:
And though 't is true that man can only die once,
'T is not so pleasant in the Gulf of Lyons.[bd]

XL.

There winds and waves had hurled them, and from thence,
Without their will, they carried them away;
For they were forced with steering to dispense,
And never had as yet a quiet day
On which they might repose, or even commence
A jurymast or rudder, or could say
The ship would swim an hour, which, by good luck,
Still swam--though not exactly like a duck.

XLI.

The wind, in fact, perhaps, was rather less,
But the ship laboured so, they scarce could hope
To weather out much longer; the distress
Was also great with which they had to cope
For want of water, and their solid mess
Was scant enough: in vain the telescope
Was used--nor sail nor shore appeared in sight,
Nought but the heavy sea, and coming night.

XLII.

Again the weather threatened,--again blew
A gale, and in the fore and after hold
Water appeared; yet, though the people knew
All this, the most were patient, and some bold,
Until the chains and leathers were worn through
Of all our pumps:--a wreck complete she rolled,
At mercy of the waves, whose mercies are
Like human beings during civil war.

XLIII.

Then came the carpenter, at last, with tears
In his rough eyes, and told the captain, he
Could do no more: he was a man in years,
And long had voyaged through many a stormy sea,
And if he wept at length they were not fears
That made his eyelids as a woman's be,
But he, poor fellow, had a wife and children,--
Two things for dying people quite bewildering.

XLIV.

The ship was evidently settling now
Fast by the head; and, all distinction gone,
Some went to prayers again, and made a vow
Of candles to their saints[106]--but there were none
To pay them with; and some looked o'er the bow;
Some hoisted out the boats; and there was one
That begged Pedrillo for an absolution,
Who told him to be damned--in his confusion.[107]

XLV.

Some lashed them in their hammocks; some put on
Their best clothes, as if going to a fair;
Some cursed the day on which they saw the Sun,
And gnashed their teeth, and, howling, tore their hair;
And others went on as they had begun,
Getting the boats out, being well aware
That a tight boat will live in a rough sea,
Unless with breakers close beneath her lee.[108]

XLVI.

The worst of all was, that in their condition,
Having been several days in great distress,
'T was difficult to get out such provision
As now might render their long suffering less:
Men, even when dying, dislike inanition;[be]
Their stock was damaged by the weather's stress:
Two casks of biscuit, and a keg of butter,
Were all that could be thrown into the cutter.

XLVII.

But in the long-boat they contrived to stow
Some pounds of bread, though injured by the wet;
Water, a twenty-gallon cask or so;
Six flasks of wine; and they contrived to get
A portion of their beef up from below,[109]
And with a piece of pork, moreover, met,
But scarce enough to serve them for a luncheon--
Then there was rum, eight gallons in a puncheon.

XLVIII.

The other boats, the yawl and pinnace, had
Been stove in the beginning of the gale;[110]
And the long-boat's condition was but bad,
As there were but two blankets for a sail,[111]
And one oar for a mast, which a young lad
Threw in by good luck over the ship's rail;
And two boats could not hold, far less be stored,
To save one half the people then on board.

XLIX.

'T was twilight, and the sunless day went down
Over the waste of waters; like a veil,
Which, if withdrawn, would but disclose the frown[bf]
Of one whose hate is masked but to assail.
Thus to their hopeless eyes the night was shown,
And grimly darkled o'er the faces pale,
And the dim desolate deep: twelve days had Fear[bg]
Been their familiar, and now Death was here.

L.

Some trial had been making at a raft,
With little hope in such a rolling sea,
A sort of thing at which one would have laughed,[112]
If any laughter at such times could be,
Unless with people who too much have quaffed,
And have a kind of wild and horrid glee,
Half epileptical, and half hysterical:--
Their preservation would have been a miracle.

LI.

At half-past eight o'clock, booms, hencoops, spars,
And all things, for a chance, had been cast loose,
That still could keep afloat the struggling tars,[113]
For yet they strove, although of no great use:
There was no light in heaven but a few stars,
The boats put off o'ercrowded with their crews;
She gave a heel, and then a lurch to port,
And, going down head foremost--sunk, in short.[114]

LII.

Then rose from sea to sky the wild farewell--
Then shrieked the timid, and stood still the brave,--
Then some leaped overboard with dreadful yell,[115]
As eager to anticipate their grave;
And the sea yawned around her like a hell,
And down she sucked with her the whirling wave,
Like one who grapples with his enemy,
And strives to strangle him before he die.

LIII.

And first one universal shriek there rushed,
Louder than the loud Ocean, like a crash
Of echoing thunder; and then all was hushed,
Save the wild wind and the remorseless dash
Of billows; but at intervals there gushed,
Accompanied by a convulsive splash,
A solitary shriek, the bubbling cry
Of some strong swimmer in his agony.

LIV.

The boats, as stated, had got off before,
And in them crowded several of the crew;
And yet their present hope was hardly more
Than what it had been, for so strong it blew
There was slight chance of reaching any shore;
And then they were too many, though so few--
Nine in the cutter, thirty in the boat,
Were counted in them when they got afloat.

LV.

All the rest perished; near two hundred souls
Had left their bodies; and what's worse, alas!
When over Catholics the Ocean rolls,
They must wait several weeks before a mass
Takes off one peck of purgatorial coals,
Because, till people know what's come to pass,
They won't lay out their money on the dead--
It costs three francs for every mass that's said.

LVI.

Juan got into the long-boat, and there
Contrived to help Pedrillo to a place;
It seemed as if they had exchanged their care,
For Juan wore the magisterial face
Which courage gives, while poor Pedrillo's pair
Of eyes were crying for their owner's case:
Battista, though, (a name called shortly Tita),
Was lost by getting at some aqua-vita.

LVII.

Pedro, his valet, too, he tried to save,
But the same cause, conducive to his loss,
Left him so drunk, he jumped into the wave,
As o'er the cutter's edge he tried to cross,
And so he found a wine-and-watery grave;
They could not rescue him although so close,
Because the sea ran higher every minute,
And for the boat--the crew kept crowding in it.

LVIII.

A small old spaniel,--which had been Don José's,
His father's, whom he loved, as ye may think,
For on such things the memory reposes
With tenderness--stood howling on the brink,
Knowing, (dogs have such intellectual noses!)
No doubt, the vessel was about to sink;
And Juan caught him up, and ere he stepped
Off threw him in, then after him he leaped.[116]

LIX.

He also stuffed his money where he could
About his person, and Pedrillo's too,
Who let him do, in fact, whate'er he would,
Not knowing what himself to say, or do,
As every rising wave his dread renewed;
But Juan, trusting they might still get through,
And deeming there were remedies for any ill,
Thus re-embarked his tutor and his spaniel.

LX.

'T was a rough night, and blew so stiffly yet,
That the sail was becalmed between the seas,[117]
Though on the wave's high top too much to set,
They dared not take it in for all the breeze:
Each sea curled o'er the stern, and kept them wet,
And made them bale without a moment's ease,[118]
So that themselves as well as hopes were damped,
And the poor little cutter quickly swamped.

LXI.

Nine souls more went in her: the long-boat still
Kept above water, with an oar for mast,
Two blankets stitched together, answering ill
Instead of sail, were to the oar made fast;
Though every wave rolled menacing to fill,
And present peril all before surpassed,[119]
They grieved for those who perished with the cutter,
And also for the biscuit-casks and butter.

LXII.

The sun rose red and fiery, a sure sign
Of the continuance of the gale: to run
Before the sea until it should grow fine,
Was all that for the present could be done:
A few tea-spoonfuls of their rum and wine
Were served out to the people, who begun[120]
To faint, and damaged bread wet through the bags,
And most of them had little clothes but rags.

LXIII.

They counted thirty, crowded in a space
Which left scarce room for motion or exertion;
They did their best to modify their case,
One half sate up, though numbed with the immersion,
While t' other half were laid down in their place,
At watch and watch; thus, shivering like the tertian
Ague in its cold fit, they filled their boat,
With nothing but the sky for a great coat.[121]

LXIV.

'T is very certain the desire of life
Prolongs it: this is obvious to physicians,
When patients, neither plagued with friends nor wife,
Survive through very desperate conditions,
Because they still can hope, nor shines the knife
Nor shears of Atropos before their visions:
Despair of all recovery spoils longevity,
And makes men's misery of alarming brevity.

LXV.

'T is said that persons living on annuities
Are longer lived than others,--God knows why,
Unless to plague the grantors,--yet so true it is,
That some, I really think, _do_ never die:
Of any creditors the worst a Jew it is,
And _that's_ their mode of furnishing supply:
In my young days they lent me cash that way,
Which I found very troublesome to pay.[122]

LXVI.

'T is thus with people in an open boat,
They live upon the love of Life, and bear
More than can be believed, or even thought,
And stand like rocks the tempest's wear and tear;
And hardship still has been the sailor's lot,
Since Noah's ark went cruising here and there;
She had a curious crew as well as cargo,
Like the first old Greek privateer, the Argo.

LXVII.

But man is a carnivorous production,
And must have meals, at least one meal a day;
He cannot live, like woodcocks, upon suction,
But, like the shark and tiger, must have prey;
Although his anatomical construction
Bears vegetables, in a grumbling way,
Your labouring people think, beyond all question,
Beef, veal, and mutton, better for digestion.

LXVIII.

And thus it was with this our hapless crew;
For on the third day there came on a calm,
And though at first their strength it might renew,
And lying on their weariness like balm,
Lulled them like turtles sleeping on the blue
Of Ocean, when they woke they felt a qualm,
And fell all ravenously on their provision,
Instead of hoarding it with due precision.

LXIX.

The consequence was easily foreseen--
They ate up all they had, and drank their wine,
In spite of all remonstrances, and then
On what, in fact, next day were they to dine?
They hoped the wind would rise, these foolish men!
And carry them to shore; these hopes were fine,
But as they had but one oar, and that brittle,
It would have been more wise to save their victual.

LXX.

The fourth day came, but not a breath of air,
And Ocean slumbered like an unweaned child:
The fifth day, and their boat lay floating there,
The sea and sky were blue, and clear, and mild--
With their one oar (I wish they had had a pair)
What could they do? and Hunger's rage grew wild:
So Juan's spaniel, spite of his entreating,
Was killed, and portioned out for present eating.[123]

LXXI.


On the sixth day they fed upon his hide,
And Juan, who had still refused, because
The creature was his father's dog that died,
Now feeling all the vulture in his jaws,
With some remorse received (though first denied)
As a great favour one of the fore-paws,[124]
Which he divided with Pedrillo, who
Devoured it, longing for the other too.

LXXII.

The seventh day, and no wind--the burning sun
Blistered and scorched, and, stagnant on the sea,
They lay like carcasses; and hope was none,
Save in the breeze that came not: savagely
They glared upon each other--all was done,
Water, and wine, and food,--and you might see
The longings of the cannibal arise
(Although they spoke not) in their wolfish eyes.

LXXIII.

At length one whispered his companion, who
Whispered another, and thus it went round,
And then into a hoarser murmur grew,
An ominous, and wild, and desperate sound;
And when his comrade's thought each sufferer knew,
'T was but his own, suppressed till now, he found:
And out they spoke of lots for flesh and blood,
And who should die to be his fellow's food.

LXXIV.

But ere they came to this, they that day shared
Some leathern caps, and what remained of shoes;
And then they looked around them, and despaired,
And none to be the sacrifice would choose;
At length the lots were torn up,[125] and prepared,
But of materials that must shock the Muse--
Having no paper, for the want of better,
They took by force from Juan Julia's letter.

LXXV.

The lots were made, and marked, and mixed, and handed,
In silent horror,[126] and their distribution
Lulled even the savage hunger which demanded,
Like the Promethean vulture, this pollution;
None in particular had sought or planned it,
'T was Nature gnawed them to this resolution,
By which none were permitted to be neuter--
And the lot fell on Juan's luckless tutor.

LXXVI.

He but requested to be bled to death:
The surgeon had his instruments, and bled[127]
Pedrillo, and so gently ebbed his breath,
You hardly could perceive when he was dead.
He died as born, a Catholic in faith,
Like most in the belief in which they're bred,
And first a little crucifix he kissed,
And then held out his jugular and wrist.

LXXVII.

The surgeon, as there was no other fee,
Had his first choice of morsels for his pains;
But being thirstiest at the moment, he
Preferred a draught from the fast-flowing veins:[128]
Part was divided, part thrown in the sea,
And such things as the entrails and the brains
Regaled two sharks, who followed o'er the billow--
The sailors ate the rest of poor Pedrillo.

LXXVIII.

The sailors ate him, all save three or four,
Who were not quite so fond of animal food;
To these was added Juan, who, before
Refusing his own spaniel, hardly could
Feel now his appetite increased much more;
'T was not to be expected that he should,
Even in extremity of their disaster,
Dine with them on his pastor and his master.

LXXIX.

'T was better that he did not; for, in fact,
The consequence was awful in the extreme;
For they, who were most ravenous in the act,
Went raging mad[129]--Lord! how they did blaspheme!
And foam, and roll, with strange convulsions racked,
Drinking salt-water like a mountain-stream,
Tearing, and grinning, howling, screeching, swearing,
And, with hyæna-laughter, died despairing.

LXXX.

Their numbers were much thinned by this infliction,
And all the rest were thin enough, Heaven knows;
And some of them had lost their recollection,
Happier than they who still perceived their woes;
But others pondered on a new dissection,
As if not warned sufficiently by those
Who had already perished, suffering madly,
For having used their appetites so sadly.

LXXXI.

And next they thought upon the master's mate,
As fattest; but he saved himself, because,
Besides being much averse from such a fate,
There were some other reasons: the first was,
He had been rather indisposed of late;
And--that which chiefly proved his saving clause--
Was a small present made to him at Cadiz,
By general subscription of the ladies.

LXXXII.

Of poor Pedrillo something still remained,
But was used sparingly,--some were afraid,
And others still their appetites constrained,
Or but at times a little supper made;
All except Juan, who throughout abstained,
Chewing a piece of bamboo, and some lead:[130]
At length they caught two Boobies, and a Noddy,[131]
And then they left off eating the dead body.

LXXXIII.

And if Pedrillo's fate should shocking be,
Remember Ugolino[132] condescends
To eat the head of his arch-enemy
The moment after he politely ends
His tale: if foes be food in Hell, at sea
'T is surely fair to dine upon our friends,
When Shipwreck's short allowance grows too scanty,
Without being much more horrible than Dante.

LXXXIV.

And the same night there fell a shower of rain,
For which their mouths gaped, like the cracks of earth
When dried to summer dust; till taught by pain,
Men really know not what good water's worth;
If you had been in Turkey or in Spain,
Or with a famished boat's-crew had your berth,
Or in the desert heard the camel's bell,
You'd wish yourself where Truth is--in a well.

LXXXV.

It poured down torrents, but they were no richer
Until they found a ragged piece of sheet,
Which served them as a sort of spongy pitcher,
And when they deemed its moisture was complete,
They wrung it out, and though a thirsty ditcher[133]
Might not have thought the scanty draught so sweet
As a full pot of porter, to their thinking
They ne'er till now had known the joys of drinking.

LXXXVI.

And their baked lips, with many a bloody crack,[134]
Sucked in the moisture, which like nectar streamed;
Their throats were ovens, their swoln tongues were black,
As the rich man's in Hell, who vainly screamed
To beg the beggar, who could not rain back
A drop of dew, when every drop had seemed
To taste of Heaven--If this be true, indeed,
Some Christians have a comfortable creed.

LXXXVII.

There were two fathers in this ghastly crew,
And with them their two sons, of whom the one
Was more robust and hardy to the view,
But he died early; and when he was gone,
His nearest messmate told his sire, who threw
One glance at him, and said, "Heaven's will be done!
I can do nothing," and he saw him thrown
Into the deep without a tear or groan.[135]

LXXXVIII.

The other father had a weaklier child,
Of a soft cheek, and aspect delicate;[136]
But the boy bore up long, and with a mild
And patient spirit held aloof his fate;
Little he said, and now and then he smiled,
As if to win a part from off the weight
He saw increasing on his father's heart,
With the deep deadly thought, that they must part.

LXXXIX.

And o'er him bent his sire, and never raised
His eyes from off his face, but wiped the foam
From his pale lips, and ever on him gazed,
And when the wished-for shower at length was come,
And the boy's eyes, which the dull film half glazed,
Brightened, and for a moment seemed to roam,
He squeezed from out a rag some drops of rain
Into his dying child's mouth--but in vain.[137]

XC.

The boy expired--the father held the clay,
And looked upon it long, and when at last
Death left no doubt, and the dead burthen lay
Stiff on his heart, and pulse and hope were past,
He watched it wistfully, until away
'T was borne by the rude wave wherein't was cast;[138]
Then he himself sunk down all dumb and shivering,
And gave no sign of life, save his limbs quivering.

XCI.

Now overhead a rainbow, bursting through
The scattering clouds, shone, spanning the dark sea,
Resting its bright base on the quivering blue;
And all within its arch appeared to be
Clearer than that without, and its wide hue
Waxed broad and waving, like a banner free,
Then changed like to a bow that's bent, and then
Forsook the dim eyes of these shipwrecked men.

XCII.

It changed, of course; a heavenly Chameleon,
The airy child of vapour and the sun,
Brought forth in purple, cradled in vermilion,
Baptized in molten gold, and swathed in dun,
Glittering like crescents o'er a Turk's pavilion,
And blending every colour into one,
Just like a black eye in a recent scuffle
(For sometimes we must box without the muffle).

XCIII.

Our shipwrecked seamen thought it a good omen--
It is as well to think so, now and then;
'T was an old custom of the Greek and Roman,
And may become of great advantage when
Folks are discouraged; and most surely no men
Had greater need to nerve themselves again
Than these, and so this rainbow looked like Hope--
Quite a celestial Kaleidoscope.

XCIV.

About this time a beautiful white bird,
Webfooted, not unlike a dove in size
And plumage (probably it might have erred
Upon its course), passed oft before their eyes,
And tried to perch, although it saw and heard
The men within the boat, and in this guise
It came and went, and fluttered round them till
Night fell:--this seemed a better omen still.[139]

XCV.

But in this case I also must remark,
'T was well this bird of promise did not perch,
Because the tackle of our shattered bark
Was not so safe for roosting as a church;
And had it been the dove from Noah's ark,
Returning there from her successful search,
Which in their way that moment chanced to fall,
They would have eat her, olive-branch and all.

XCVI.

With twilight it again came on to blow,
But not with violence; the stars shone out,
The boat made way; yet now they were so low,
They knew not where nor what they were about;
Some fancied they saw land, and some said "No!"
The frequent fog-banks gave them cause to doubt--
Some swore that they heard breakers, others guns,[140]
And all mistook about the latter once.

XCVII.

As morning broke, the light wind died away,
When he who had the watch sung out and swore,
If 't was not land that rose with the Sun's ray,
He wished that land he never might see more;[141]
And the rest rubbed their eyes and saw a bay,
Or thought they saw, and shaped their course for shore;
For shore it was, and gradually grew
Distinct, and high, and palpable to view.

XCVIII.

And then of these some part burst into tears,
And others, looking with a stupid stare,[142]
Could not yet separate their hopes from fears,
And seemed as if they had no further care;
While a few prayed--(the first time for some years)--
And at the bottom of the boat three were
Asleep: they shook them by the hand and head,
And tried to awaken them, but found them dead.

XCIX.

The day before, fast sleeping on the water,
They found a turtle of the hawk's-bill kind,
And by good fortune, gliding softly, caught her,[143]
Which yielded a day's life, and to their mind
Proved even still a more nutritious matter,
Because it left encouragement behind:
They thought that in such perils, more than chance
Had sent them this for their deliverance.

C.

The land appeared a high and rocky coast,
And higher grew the mountains as they drew,
Set by a current, toward it: they were lost
In various conjectures, for none knew
To what part of the earth they had been tost,
So changeable had been the winds that blew;
Some thought it was Mount Ætna, some the highlands
Of Candia, Cyprus, Rhodes, or other islands.

CI.

Meantime the current, with a rising gale,
Still set them onwards to the welcome shore,
Like Charon's bark of spectres, dull and pale:
Their living freight was now reduced to four,
And three dead, whom their strength could not avail
To heave into the deep with those before,
Though the two sharks still followed them, and dashed
The spray into their faces as they splashed.

CII.

Famine--despair--cold--thirst and heat, had done
Their work on them by turns, and thinned them to
Such things a mother had not known her son
Amidst the skeletons of that gaunt crew;[144]
By night chilled, by day scorched, thus one by one
They perished, until withered to these few,
But chiefly by a species of self-slaughter,
In washing down Pedrillo with salt water.

CII.

As they drew nigh the land, which now was seen
Unequal in its aspect here and there,
They felt the freshness of its growing green,
That waved in forest-tops, and smoothed the air,
And fell upon their glazed eyes like a screen
From glistening waves, and skies so hot and bare--
Lovely seemed any object that should sweep
Away the vast--salt--dread--eternal Deep.

CIV.

The shore looked wild, without a trace of man,
And girt by formidable waves; but they
Were mad for land, and thus their course they ran,
Though right ahead the roaring breakers lay:
A reef between them also now began
To show its boiling surf and bounding spray,
But finding no place for their landing better,
They ran the boat for shore,--and overset her.[145]

CV.

But in his native stream, the Guadalquivir,
Juan to lave his youthful limbs was wont;
And having learnt to swim in that sweet river,
Had often turned the art to some account:
A better swimmer you could scarce see ever,
He could, perhaps, have passed the Hellespont,
As once (a feat on which ourselves we prided)
Leander, Mr. Ekenhead, and I did.[146]

CVI.

So here, though faint, emaciated, and stark,
He buoyed his boyish limbs, and strove to ply
With the quick wave, and gain, ere it was dark,
The beach which lay before him, high and dry:
The greatest danger here was from a shark,
That carried off his neighbour by the thigh;
As for the other two, they could not swim,
So nobody arrived on shore but him.

CVII.

Nor yet had he arrived but for the oar,
Which, providentially for him, was washed
Just as his feeble arms could strike no more,
And the hard wave o'erwhelmed him as 't was dashed
Within his grasp; he clung to it, and sore
The waters beat while he thereto was lashed;
At last, with swimming, wading, scrambling, he
Rolled on the beach, half-senseless, from the sea:

CVIII.

There, breathless, with his digging nails he clung
Fast to the sand, lest the returning wave,
From whose reluctant roar his life he wrung,
Should suck him back to her insatiate grave:
And there he lay, full length, where he was flung,
Before the entrance of a cliff-worn cave,
With just enough of life to feel its pain,
And deem that it was saved, perhaps, in vain.

CIX.

With slow and staggering effort he arose,
But sunk again upon his bleeding knee
And quivering hand; and then he looked for those
Who long had been his mates upon the sea;
But none of them appeared to share his woes,
Save one, a corpse, from out the famished three,
Who died two days before, and now had found
An unknown barren beach for burial ground.

CX.

And as he gazed, his dizzy brain spun fast,
And down he sunk; and as he sunk, the sand
Swam round and round, and all his senses passed:
He fell upon his side, and his stretched hand
Drooped dripping on the oar (their jury-mast),
And, like a withered lily, on the land
His slender frame and pallid aspect lay,
As fair a thing as e'er was formed of clay.

CXI.

How long in his damp trance young Juan lay[147]
He knew not, for the earth was gone for him,
And Time had nothing more of night nor day
For his congealing blood, and senses dim;
And how this heavy faintness passed away
He knew not, till each painful pulse and limb,
And tingling vein, seemed throbbing back to life,
For Death, though vanquished, still retired with strife.

CXII.

His eyes he opened, shut, again unclosed,
For all was doubt and dizziness; he thought
He still was in the boat, and had but dozed,
And felt again with his despair o'erwrought,
And wished it Death in which he had reposed,
And then once more his feelings back were brought,
And slowly by his swimming eyes was seen
A lovely female face of seventeen.

CXIII.

'T was bending close o'er his, and the small mouth
Seemed almost prying into his for breath;
And chafing him, the soft warm hand of youth
Recalled his answering spirits back from Death:
And, bathing his chill temples, tried to soothe
Each pulse to animation, till beneath
Its gentle touch and trembling care, a sigh
To these kind efforts made a low reply.

CXIV.

Then was the cordial poured, and mantle flung
Around his scarce-clad limbs; and the fair arm
Raised higher the faint head which o'er it hung;
And her transparent cheek, all pure and warm,
Pillowed his death-like forehead; then she wrung
His dewy curls, long drenched by every storm;
And watched with eagerness each throb that drew
A sigh from his heaved bosom--and hers, too.

CXV.

And lifting him with care into the cave,
The gentle girl, and her attendant,--one
Young, yet her elder, and of brow less grave,
And more robust of figure,--then begun
To kindle fire, and as the new flames gave
Light to the rocks that roofed them, which the sun
Had never seen, the maid, or whatsoe'er
She was, appeared distinct, and tall, and fair.

CXVI.

Her brow was overhung with coins of gold,
That sparkled o'er the auburn of her hair--
Her clustering hair, whose longer locks were rolled
In braids behind; and though her stature were
Even of the highest for a female mould,
They nearly reached her heel; and in her air
There was a something which bespoke command,
As one who was a Lady in the land.

CXVII.

Her hair, I said, was auburn; but her eyes
Were black as Death, their lashes the same hue,
Of downcast length, in whose silk shadow lies
Deepest attraction; for when to the view
Forth from its raven fringe the full glance flies,
Ne'er with such force the swiftest arrow flew;
'T is as the snake late coiled, who pours his length,
And hurls at once his venom and his strength.

CXVIII.

Her brow was white and low, her cheek's pure dye
Like twilight rosy still with the set sun;
Short upper lip--sweet lips! that make us sigh
Ever to have seen such; for she was one[bh]
Fit for the model of a statuary
(A race of mere impostors, when all's done--
I've seen much finer women, ripe and real,
Than all the nonsense of their stone ideal).[bi][148]

CXIX.

I'll tell you why I say so, for 't is just
One should not rail without a decent cause:
There was an Irish lady,[149] to whose bust
I ne'er saw justice done, and yet she was
A frequent model; and if e'er she must
Yield to stern Time and Nature's wrinkling laws,
They will destroy a face which mortal thought
Ne'er compassed, nor less mortal chisel wrought.

CXX.

And such was she, the lady of the cave:
Her dress was very different from the Spanish,
Simpler, and yet of colours not so grave;
For, as you know, the Spanish women banish
Bright hues when out of doors, and yet, while wave
Around them (what I hope will never vanish)
The basquiña and the mantilla, they
Seem at the same time mystical and gay.[150]

CXXI.

But with our damsel this was not the case:
Her dress was many-coloured, finely spun;
Her locks curled negligently round her face,
But through them gold and gems profusely shone:
Her girdle sparkled, and the richest lace
Flowed in her veil, and many a precious stone
Flashed on her little hand; but, what was shocking,
Her small snow feet had slippers, but no stocking.

CXXII.

The other female's dress was not unlike,
But of inferior materials: she
Had not so many ornaments to strike,
Her hair had silver only, bound to be
Her dowry; and her veil, in form alike,
Was coarser; and her air, though firm, less free;
Her hair was thicker, but less long; her eyes
As black, but quicker, and of smaller size.

CXXIII.

And these two tended him, and cheered him both
With food and raiment, and those soft attentions,
Which are--as I must own--of female growth,
And have ten thousand delicate inventions:
They made a most superior mess of broth,
A thing which poesy but seldom mentions,
But the best dish that e'er was cooked since Homer's
Achilles ordered dinner for new comers.[151]

CXXIV.

I'll tell you who they were, this female pair,
Lest they should seem Princesses in disguise;
Besides, I hate all mystery, and that air
Of clap-trap, which your recent poets prize;
And so, in short, the girls they really were
They shall appear before your curious eyes,
Mistress and maid; the first was only daughter
Of an old man, who lived upon the water.

CXXV.

A fisherman he had been in his youth,
And still a sort of fisherman was he;
But other speculations were, in sooth,
Added to his connection with the sea,
Perhaps not so respectable, in truth:
A little smuggling, and some piracy,
Left him, at last, the sole of many masters
Of an ill-gotten million of piastres.

CXXVI.

A fisher, therefore, was he,--though of men,
Like Peter the Apostle, and he fished
For wandering merchant-vessels, now and then,
And sometimes caught as many as he wished;
The cargoes he confiscated, and gain
He sought in the slave-market too, and dished
Full many a morsel for that Turkish trade,
By which, no doubt, a good deal may be made.

CXXVII.

He was a Greek, and on his isle had built
(One of the wild and smaller Cyclades)
A very handsome house from out his guilt,
And there he lived exceedingly at ease;
Heaven knows what cash he got, or blood he spilt,
A sad old fellow was he, if you please;
But this I know, it was a spacious building,
Full of barbaric carving, paint, and gilding.

CXXVIII.

He had an only daughter, called Haidée,
The greatest heiress of the Eastern Isles;
Besides, so very beautiful was she,
Her dowry was as nothing to her smiles:
Still in her teens, and like a lovely tree
She grew to womanhood, and between whiles
Rejected several suitors, just to learn
How to accept a better in his turn.

CXXIX.

And walking out upon the beach, below
The cliff, towards sunset, on that day she found,
Insensible,--not dead, but nearly so,--
Don Juan, almost famished, and half drowned;
But being naked, she was shocked, you know,
Yet deemed herself in common pity bound,
As far as in her lay, "to take him in,
A stranger" dying--with so white a skin.

CXXX.

But taking him into her father's house
Was not exactly the best way to save,
But like conveying to the cat the mouse,
Or people in a trance into their grave;
Because the good old man had so much [Greek: "nous"],
Unlike the honest Arab thieves so brave,
He would have hospitably cured the stranger,
And sold him instantly when out of danger.

CXXXI.

And therefore, with her maid, she thought it best
(A virgin always on her maid relies)
To place him in the cave for present rest:
And when, at last, he opened his black eyes,
Their charity increased about their guest;
And their compassion grew to such a size,
It opened half the turnpike-gates to Heaven--
(St. Paul says, 't is the toll which must be given).

CXXXII.

They made a fire,--but such a fire as they
Upon the moment could contrive with such
Materials as were cast up round the bay,--
Some broken planks, and oars, that to the touch
Were nearly tinder, since, so long they lay,
A mast was almost crumbled to a crutch;
But, by God's grace, here wrecks were in such plenty,
That there was fuel to have furnished twenty.

CXXXIII.

He had a bed of furs, and a pelisse,[bj]
For Haidée stripped her sables off to make
His couch; and, that he might be more at ease,
And warm, in case by chance he should awake,
They also gave a petticoat apiece,
She and her maid,--and promised by daybreak
To pay him a fresh visit, with a dish
For breakfast, of eggs, coffee, bread, and fish.

CXXXIV.

And thus they left him to his lone repose:
Juan slept like a top, or like the dead,
Who sleep at last, perhaps (God only knows),
Just for the present; and in his lulled head
Not even a vision of his former woes
Throbbed in accurséd dreams, which sometimes spread[bk]
Unwelcome visions of our former years,
Till the eye, cheated, opens thick with tears.

CXXXV.

Young Juan slept all dreamless:--but the maid,
Who smoothed his pillow, as she left the den
Looked back upon him, and a moment stayed,
And turned, believing that he called again.
He slumbered; yet she thought, at least she said
(The heart will slip, even as the tongue and pen),
He had pronounced her name--but she forgot
That at this moment Juan knew it not.

CXXXVI.

And pensive to her father's house she went,
Enjoining silence strict to Zoe, who
Better than her knew what, in fact, she meant,
She being wiser by a year or two:
A year or two's an age when rightly spent,
And Zoe spent hers, as most women do,
In gaining all that useful sort of knowledge
Which is acquired in Nature's good old college.

CXXXVII.

The morn broke, and found Juan slumbering still
Fast in his cave, and nothing clashed upon
His rest; the rushing of the neighbouring rill,
And the young beams of the excluded Sun,
Troubled him not, and he might sleep his fill;
And need he had of slumber yet, for none
Had suffered more--his hardships were comparative[bl]
To those related in my grand-dad's "Narrative."[152]

CXXXVIII.

Not so Haidée: she sadly tossed and tumbled,
And started from her sleep, and, turning o'er,
Dreamed of a thousand wrecks, o'er which she stumbled,
And handsome corpses strewed upon the shore;
And woke her maid so early that she grumbled,
And called her father's old slaves up, who swore
In several oaths--Armenian, Turk, and Greek--
They knew not what to think of such a freak.

CXXXIX.

But up she got, and up she made them get,
With some pretence about the Sun, that makes
Sweet skies just when he rises, or is set;
And 't is, no doubt, a sight to see when breaks
Bright Phoebus, while the mountains still are wet
With mist, and every bird with him awakes,
And night is flung off like a mourning suit
Worn for a husband,--or some other brute.[bm]

CXL.

I say, the Sun is a most glorious sight,
I've seen him rise full oft, indeed of late
I have sat up on purpose all the night,[bn][153]
Which hastens, as physicians say, one's fate;
And so all ye, who would be in the right
In health and purse, begin your day to date
From daybreak, and when coffined at fourscore,
Engrave upon the plate, you rose at four.

CXLI.

And Haidée met the morning face to face;
Her own was freshest, though a feverish flush
Had dyed it with the headlong blood, whose race
From heart to cheek is curbed into a blush,
Like to a torrent which a mountain's base,
That overpowers some Alpine river's rush,
Checks to a lake, whose waves in circles spread;
Or the Red Sea--but the sea is not red.[154]

CXLII.

And down the cliff the island virgin came,
And near the cave her quick light footsteps drew,
While the Sun smiled on her with his first flame,
And young Aurora kissed her lips with dew,
Taking her for a sister; just the same
Mistake you would have made on seeing the two,
Although the mortal, quite as fresh and fair,
Had all the advantage, too, of not being air.[bo]

CXLIII.

And when into the cavern Haidée stepped
All timidly, yet rapidly, she saw
That like an infant Juan sweetly slept;
And then she stopped, and stood as if in awe
(For sleep is awful), and on tiptoe crept
And wrapped him closer, lest the air, too raw,
Should reach his blood, then o'er him still as Death
Bent, with hushed lips, that drank his scarce-drawn breath.

CXLIV.

And thus like to an Angel o'er the dying
Who die in righteousness, she leaned; and there
All tranquilly the shipwrecked boy was lying,
As o'er him lay the calm and stirless air:
But Zoe the meantime some eggs was frying,
Since, after all, no doubt the youthful pair
Must breakfast--and, betimes, lest they should ask it,
She drew out her provision from the basket.

CXLV.

She knew that the best feelings must have victual,
And that a shipwrecked youth would hungry be;
Besides, being less in love, she yawned a little,
And felt her veins chilled by the neighbouring sea;
And so, she cooked their breakfast to a tittle;
I can't say that she gave them any tea,
But there were eggs, fruit, coffee, bread, fish, honey,
With Scio wine,--and all for love, not money.

CXLVI.

And Zoe, when the eggs were ready, and
The coffee made, would fain have wakened Juan;
But Haidée stopped her with her quick small hand,
And without word, a sign her finger drew on
Her lip, which Zoe needs must understand;
And, the first breakfast spoilt, prepared a new one,
Because her mistress would not let her break
That sleep which seemed as it would ne'er awake.

CXLVII.

For still he lay, and on his thin worn cheek
A purple hectic played like dying day
On the snow-tops of distant hills; the streak
Of sufferance yet upon his forehead lay,
Where the blue veins looked shadowy, shrunk, and weak;
And his black curls were dewy with the spray,
Which weighed upon them yet, all damp and salt,
Mixed with the stony vapours of the vault.

CXLVIII.

And she bent o'er him, and he lay beneath,
Hushed as the babe upon its mother's breast,
Drooped as the willow when no winds can breathe,
Lulled like the depth of Ocean when at rest,
Fair as the crowning rose of the whole wreath,
Soft as the callow cygnet in its nest;[bp]
In short, he was a very pretty fellow,
Although his woes had turned him rather yellow.

CXLIX.

He woke and gazed, and would have slept again,
But the fair face which met his eyes forbade
Those eyes to close, though weariness and pain
Had further sleep a further pleasure made:
For Woman's face was never formed in vain
For Juan, so that even when he prayed
He turned from grisly saints, and martyrs hairy,
To the sweet portraits of the Virgin Mary.

CL.

And thus upon his elbow he arose,
And looked upon the lady, in whose cheek
The pale contended with the purple rose,
As with an effort she began to speak;
Her eyes were eloquent, her words would pose,
Although she told him, in good modern Greek,
With an Ionian accent, low and sweet,
That he was faint, and must not talk, but eat.

CLI.

Now Juan could not understand a word,
Being no Grecian; but he had an ear,
And her voice was the warble of a bird,[155]
So soft, so sweet, so delicately clear,
That finer, simpler music ne'er was heard;[bq]
The sort of sound we echo with a tear,
Without knowing why--an overpowering tone,
Whence Melody descends as from a throne.

CLII.

And Juan gazed as one who is awoke
By a distant organ, doubting if he be
Not yet a dreamer, till the spell is broke
By the watchman, or some such reality,
Or by one's early valet's curséd knock;
At least it is a heavy sound to me,
Who like a morning slumber--for the night
Shows stars and women in a better light.

CLIII.

And Juan, too, was helped out from his dream,
Or sleep, or whatsoe'er it was, by feeling
A most prodigious appetite; the steam
Of Zoe's cookery no doubt was stealing
Upon his senses, and the kindling beam
Of the new fire, which Zoe kept up, kneeling,
To stir her viands, made him quite awake
And long for food, but chiefly a beef-steak.

CLIV.

But beef is rare within these oxless isles;
Goat's flesh there is, no doubt, and kid, and mutton,
And, when a holiday upon them smiles,
A joint upon their barbarous spits they put on:
But this occurs but seldom, between whiles,
For some of these are rocks with scarce a hut on;
Others are fair and fertile, among which
This, though not large, was one of the most rich.

CLV.

I say that beef is rare, and can't help thinking
That the old fable of the Minotaur--From
which our modern morals, rightly shrinking,
Condemn the royal lady's taste who wore
A cow's shape for a mask--was only (sinking
The allegory) a mere type, no more,
That Pasiphae promoted breeding cattle,
To make the Cretans bloodier in battle.

CLVI.

For we all know that English people are
Fed upon beef--I won't say much of beer,
Because 't is liquor only, and being far
From this my subject, has no business here;
We know, too, they are very fond of war,
A pleasure--like all pleasures--rather dear;
So were the Cretans--from which I infer,
That beef and battles both were owing to her.

CLVII.

But to resume. The languid Juan raised
His head upon his elbow, and he saw
A sight on which he had not lately gazed,
As all his latter meals had been quite raw,
Three or four things, for which the Lord he praised,
And, feeling still the famished vulture gnaw,
He fell upon whate'er was offered, like
A priest, a shark, an alderman, or pike.

CLVIII.

He ate, and he was well supplied; and she,
Who watched him like a mother, would have fed
Him past all bounds, because she smiled to see
Such appetite in one she had deemed dead:
But Zoe, being older than Haidée,
Knew (by tradition, for she ne'er had read)
That famished people must be slowly nurst,
And fed by spoonfuls, else they always burst.

CLIX.

And so she took the liberty to state,
Rather by deeds than words, because the case
Was urgent, that the gentleman, whose fate
Had made her mistress quit her bed to trace
The sea-shore at this hour, must leave his plate,
Unless he wished to die upon the place--
She snatched it, and refused another morsel,
Saying, he had gorged enough to make a horse ill.

CLX.

Next they--he being naked, save a tattered
Pair of scarce decent trowsers--went to work,
And in the fire his recent rags they scattered,
And dressed him, for the present, like a Turk,
Or Greek--that is, although it not much mattered,
Omitting turban, slippers, pistol, dirk,--
They furnished him, entire, except some stitches,
With a clean shirt, and very spacious breeches.

CLXI.

And then fair Haidée tried her tongue at speaking,
But not a word could Juan comprehend,
Although he listened so that the young Greek in
Her earnestness would ne'er have made an end;
And, as he interrupted not, went eking
Her speech out to her protégé and friend,
Till pausing at the last her breath to take,
She saw he did not understand Romaic.

CLXII.

And then she had recourse to nods, and signs,
And smiles, and sparkles of the speaking eye,
And read (the only book she could) the lines
Of his fair face, and found, by sympathy,
The answer eloquent, where the Soul shines
And darts in one quick glance a long reply;
And thus in every look she saw expressed
A world of words, and things at which she guessed.

CLXIII.

And now, by dint of fingers and of eyes,
And words repeated after her, he took
A lesson in her tongue; but by surmise,
No doubt, less of her language than her look:
As he who studies fervently the skies
Turns oftener to the stars than to his book,
Thus Juan learned his _alpha beta_ better
From Haidée's glance than any graven letter.

CLXIV.

'T is pleasing to be schooled in a strange tongue
By female lips and eyes--that is, I mean,
When both the teacher and the taught are young,
As was the case, at least, where I have been;[156]
They smile so when one's right, and when one's wrong
They smile still more, and then there intervene
Pressure of hands, perhaps even a chaste kiss;--[br]
I learned the little that I know by this:

CLXV.

That is, some words of Spanish, Turk, and Greek,
Italian not at all, having no teachers;[bs]
Much English I cannot pretend to speak,
Learning that language chiefly from its preachers,
Barrow, South, Tillotson, whom every week
I study, also Blair--the highest reachers
Of eloquence in piety and prose--
I hate your poets, so read none of those.

CLXVI.

As for the ladies, I have nought to say,
A wanderer from the British world of Fashion,[157]
Where I, like other "dogs, have had my day,"
Like other men, too, may have had my passion--
But that, like other things, has passed away,
And all her fools whom I _could_ lay the lash on:
Foes, friends, men, women, now are nought to me
But dreams of what has been, no more to be.[bt]

CLXVII.

Return we to Don Juan. He begun[158]
To hear new words, and to repeat them; but
Some feelings, universal as the Sun,
Were such as could not in his breast be shut
More than within the bosom of a nun:
He was in love,--as you would be, no doubt,
With a young benefactress,--so was she,
Just in the way we very often see.

CLXVIII.

And every day by daybreak--rather early
For Juan, who was somewhat fond of rest--
She came into the cave, but it was merely
To see her bird reposing in his nest;[159]
And she would softly stir his locks so curly,
Without disturbing her yet slumbering guest,
Breathing all gently o'er his cheek and mouth,[bu]
As o'er a bed of roses the sweet South.

CLXIX.

And every morn his colour freshlier came,
And every day helped on his convalescence;
'T was well, because health in the human frame
Is pleasant, besides being true Love's essence,
For health and idleness to Passion's flame
Are oil and gunpowder; and some good lessons
Are also learnt from Ceres and from Bacchus,
Without whom Venus will not long attack us.[160]

CLXX.

While Venus fills the heart, (without heart really
Love, though good always, is not quite so good,)
Ceres presents a plate of vermicelli,--
For Love must be sustained like flesh and blood,--While
Bacchus pours out wine, or hands a jelly:
Eggs, oysters, too, are amatory food;[bv]
But who is their purveyor from above
Heaven knows,--it may be Neptune, Pan, or Jove.

CLXXI.

When Juan woke he found some good things ready,
A bath, a breakfast, and the finest eyes
That ever made a youthful heart less steady,
Besides her maid's, as pretty for their size;
But I have spoken of all this already--
A repetition's tiresome and unwise,--
Well--Juan, after bathing in the sea,
Came always back to coffee and Haidée.

CLXXII.

Both were so young, and one so innocent,
That bathing passed for nothing; Juan seemed
To her, as 't were, the kind of being sent,
Of whom these two years she had nightly dreamed,
A something to be loved, a creature meant
To be her happiness, and whom she deemed
To render happy; all who joy would win
Must share it,--Happiness was born a Twin.

CLXXIII.

It was such pleasure to behold him, such
Enlargement of existence to partake
Nature with him, to thrill beneath his touch,
To watch him slumbering, and to see him wake:
To live with him for ever were too much;
But then the thought of parting made her quake;
He was her own, her ocean-treasure, cast
Like a rich wreck--her first love, and her last.[bw]

CLXXIV.

And thus a moon rolled on, and fair Haidée
Paid daily visits to her boy, and took
Such plentiful precautions, that still he
Remained unknown within his craggy nook;
At last her father's prows put out to sea,
For certain merchantmen upon the look,
Not as of yore to carry off an Io,
But three Ragusan vessels, bound for Scio.

CLXXV.

Then came her freedom, for she had no mother,
So that, her father being at sea, she was
Free as a married woman, or such other
Female, as where she likes may freely pass,
Without even the encumbrance of a brother,
The freest she that ever gazed on glass:
I speak of Christian lands in this comparison,
Where wives, at least, are seldom kept in garrison.

CLXXVI.

Now she prolonged her visits and her talk
(For they must talk), and he had learnt to say
So much as to propose to take a walk,--
For little had he wandered since the day
On which, like a young flower snapped from the stalk,
Drooping and dewy on the beach he lay,--
And thus they walked out in the afternoon,
And saw the sun set opposite the moon.[bx]

CLXXVII.

It was a wild and breaker-beaten coast,
With cliffs above, and a broad sandy shore,
Guarded by shoals and rocks as by an host,
With here and there a creek, whose aspect wore
A better welcome to the tempest-tost;
And rarely ceased the haughty billow's roar,
Save on the dead long summer days, which make
The outstretched Ocean glitter like a lake.

CLXXVIII.

And the small ripple spilt upon the beach
Scarcely o'erpassed the cream of your champagne,
When o'er the brim the sparkling bumpers reach,
That spring-dew of the spirit! the heart's rain!
Few things surpass old wine; and they may preach
Who please,--the more because they preach in vain,--
Let us have Wine and Woman,[161] Mirth and Laughter,
Sermons and soda-water the day after.

CLXXIX.

Man, being reasonable, must get drunk;
The best of Life is but intoxication:
Glory, the Grape, Love, Gold, in these are sunk
The hopes of all men, and of every nation;
Without their sap, how branchless were the trunk
Of Life's strange tree, so fruitful on occasion!
But to return,--Get very drunk, and when
You wake with headache--you shall see what then!

CLXXX.

Ring for your valet--bid him quickly bring
Some hock and soda-water,[162] then you'll know
A pleasure worthy Xerxes the great king;
For not the blest sherbet, sublimed with snow,[163]
Nor the first sparkle of the desert-spring,
Nor Burgundy in all its sunset glow,[by]
After long travel, Ennui, Love, or Slaughter,
Vie with that draught of hock and soda-water!

CLXXXI.

The coast--I think it was the coast that I
Was just describing--Yes, it _was_ the coast--
Lay at this period quiet as the sky,
The sands untumbled, the blue waves untossed,
And all was stillness, save the sea-bird's cry,
And dolphin's leap, and little billow crossed
By some low rock or shelve, that made it fret
Against the boundary it scarcely wet.

CLXXXII.

And forth they wandered, her sire being gone,
As I have said, upon an expedition;
And mother, brother, guardian, she had none,
Save Zoe, who, although with due precision
She waited on her lady with the Sun,
Thought daily service was her only mission,
Bringing warm water, wreathing her long tresses,
And asking now and then for cast-off dresses.

CLXXXIII.

It was the cooling hour, just when the rounded
Red sun sinks down behind the azure hill,
Which then seems as if the whole earth it bounded,
Circling all Nature, hushed, and dim, and still,
With the far mountain-crescent half surrounded
On one side, and the deep sea calm and chill
Upon the other, and the rosy sky
With one star sparkling through it like an eye.

CLXXXIV.

And thus they wandered forth, and hand in hand,
Over the shining pebbles and the shells,
Glided along the smooth and hardened sand,
And in the worn and wild receptacles
Worked by the storms, yet worked as it were planned
In hollow halls, with sparry roofs and cells,
They turned to rest; and, each clasped by an arm,
Yielded to the deep Twilight's purple charm.

CLXXXV.

They looked up to the sky, whose floating glow
Spread like a rosy Ocean, vast and bright;[bz]
They gazed upon the glittering sea below,
Whence the broad Moon rose circling into sight;
They heard the waves' splash, and the wind so low,
And saw each other's dark eyes darting light
Into each other--and, beholding this,
Their lips drew near, and clung into a kiss;

CLXXXVI.

A long, long kiss, a kiss of Youth, and Love,
And Beauty, all concentrating like rays
Into one focus, kindled from above;
Such kisses as belong to early days,
Where Heart, and Soul, and Sense, in concert move,
And the blood's lava, and the pulse a blaze,
Each kiss a heart-quake,--for a kiss's strength,
I think, it must be reckoned by its length.

CLXXXVII.

By length I mean duration; theirs endured
Heaven knows how long--no doubt they never reckoned;
And if they had, they could not have secured
The sum of their sensations to a second:
They had not spoken, but they felt allured,
As if their souls and lips each other beckoned,
Which, being joined, like swarming bees they clung--
Their hearts the flowers from whence the honey sprung.[ca]

CLXXXVIII.

They were alone, but not alone as they
Who shut in chambers think it loneliness;
The silent Ocean, and the starlight bay,
The twilight glow, which momently grew less,
The voiceless sands, and dropping caves, that lay
Around them, made them to each other press,
As if there were no life beneath the sky
Save theirs, and that their life could never die.

CLXXXIX.

They feared no eyes nor ears on that lone beach;
They felt no terrors from the night; they were
All in all to each other: though their speech
Was broken words, they _thought_ a language there,--
And all the burning tongues the Passions teach[cb]
Found in one sigh the best interpreter
Of Nature's oracle--first love,--that all
Which Eve has left her daughters since her fall.

CXC.

Haidée spoke not of scruples, asked no vows,
Nor offered any; she had never heard
Of plight and promises to be a spouse,
Or perils by a loving maid incurred;
She was all which pure Ignorance allows,
And flew to her young mate like a young bird;
And, never having dreamt of falsehood, she
Had not one word to say of constancy.

CXCI.

She loved, and was belovéd--she adored,
And she was worshipped after Nature's fashion--
Their intense souls, into each other poured,
If souls could die, had perished in that passion,--
But by degrees their senses were restored,
Again to be o'ercome, again to dash on;
And, beating 'gainst _his_ bosom, Haidée's heart
Felt as if never more to beat apart.

CXCII.

Alas! they were so young, so beautiful,
So lonely, loving, helpless, and the hour
Was that in which the Heart is always full,
And, having o'er itself no further power,
Prompts deeds Eternity can not annul,
But pays off moments in an endless shower
Of hell-fire--all prepared for people giving
Pleasure or pain to one another living.

CXCIII.

Alas! for Juan and Haidée! they were
So loving and so lovely--till then never,
Excepting our first parents, such a pair
Had run the risk of being damned for ever:
And Haidée, being devout as well as fair,
Had, doubtless, heard about the Stygian river,
And Hell and Purgatory--but forgot
Just in the very crisis she should not.

CXCIV.

They look upon each other, and their eyes
Gleam in the moonlight; and her white arm clasps
Round Juan's head, and his around her lies
Half buried in the tresses which it grasps;
She sits upon his knee, and drinks his sighs,
He hers, until they end in broken gasps;
And thus they form a group that's quite antique,
Half naked, loving, natural, and Greek.

CXCV.

And when those deep and burning moments passed,
And Juan sunk to sleep within her arms,
She slept not, but all tenderly, though fast,
Sustained his head upon her bosom's charms;
And now and then her eye to Heaven is cast,
And then on the pale cheek her breast now warms,
Pillowed on her o'erflowing heart, which pants
With all it granted, and with all it grants.[cc]

CXCVI.

An infant when it gazes on a light,
A child the moment when it drains the breast,
A devotee when soars the Host in sight,
An Arab with a stranger for a guest,
A sailor when the prize has struck in fight,
A miser filling his most hoarded chest,
Feel rapture; but not such true joy are reaping
As they who watch o'er what they love while sleeping.

CXCVII.

For there it lies so tranquil, so beloved,
All that it hath of Life with us is living;
So gentle, stirless, helpless, and unmoved,
And all unconscious of the joy 't is giving;
All it hath felt, inflicted, passed, and proved,
Hushed into depths beyond the watcher's diving:
There lies the thing we love with all its errors
And all its charms, like Death without its terrors.

CXCVIII.

The Lady watched her lover--and that hour
Of Love's, and Night's, and Ocean's solitude
O'erflowed her soul with their united power;
Amidst the barren sand and rocks so rude
She and her wave-worn love had made their bower,
Where nought upon their passion could intrude,
And all the stars that crowded the blue space
Saw nothing happier than her glowing face.

CXCIX.

Alas! the love of Women! it is known
To be a lovely and a fearful thing;
For all of theirs upon that die is thrown,
And if 't is lost, Life hath no more to bring
To them but mockeries of the past alone,
And their revenge is as the tiger's spring,
Deadly, and quick, and crushing; yet, as real
Torture is theirs--what they inflict they feel.

CC.

They are right; for Man, to man so oft unjust,
Is always so to Women: one sole bond
Awaits them--treachery is all their trust;
Taught to conceal their bursting hearts despond
Over their idol, till some wealthier lust
Buys them in marriage--and what rests beyond?
A thankless husband--next, a faithless lover--
Then dressing, nursing, praying--and all's over.

CCI.

Some take a lover, some take drams or prayers,
Some mind their household, others dissipation,
Some run away, and but exchange their cares,
Losing the advantage of a virtuous station;
Few changes e'er can better their affairs,
Theirs being an unnatural situation,
From the dull palace to the dirty hovel:[cd]
Some play the devil, and then write a novel.[164]

CCII.

Haidée was Nature's bride, and knew not this;
Haidée was Passion's child, born where the Sun
Showers triple light, and scorches even the kiss
Of his gazelle-eyed daughters; she was one
Made but to love, to feel that she was his
Who was her chosen: what was said or done
Elsewhere was nothing. She had nought to fear,
Hope, care, nor love, beyond,--her heart beat _here_.

CCIII.

And oh! that quickening of the heart, that beat!
How much it costs us! yet each rising throb
Is in its cause as its effect so sweet,
That Wisdom, ever on the watch to rob
Joy of its alchemy, and to repeat
Fine truths; even Conscience, too, has a tough job
To make us understand each good old maxim,
So good--I wonder Castlereagh don't tax 'em.

CCIV.

And now 't was done--on the lone shore were plighted
Their hearts; the stars, their nuptial torches, shed
Beauty upon the beautiful they lighted:
Ocean their witness, and the cave their bed,
By their own feelings hallowed and united,
Their priest was Solitude, and they were wed:[ce]
And they were happy--for to their young eyes
Each was an angel, and earth Paradise.

CCV.

Oh, Love! of whom great Cæsar was the suitor,
Titus the master,[165] Antony the slave,
Horace, Catullus, scholars--Ovid tutor--
Sappho the sage blue-stocking, in whose grave
All those may leap who rather would be neuter--
(Leucadia's rock still overlooks the wave)--
Oh, Love! thou art the very God of evil,
For, after all, we cannot call thee Devil.

CCVI.

Thou mak'st the chaste connubial state precarious,
And jestest with the brows of mightiest men:
Cæsar and Pompey, Mahomet, Belisarius,[166]
Have much employed the Muse of History's pen:
Their lives and fortunes were extremely various,
Such worthies Time will never see again;
Yet to these four in three things the same luck holds,
They all were heroes, conquerors, and cuckolds.

CCVII.

Thou mak'st philosophers; there's Epicurus
And Aristippus, a material crew!
Who to immoral courses would allure us
By theories quite practicable too;
If only from the Devil they would insure us,
How pleasant were the maxim (not quite new),
"Eat, drink, and love, what can the rest avail us?"
So said the royal sage Sardanapalus.[167]

CCVIII.

But Juan! had he quite forgotten Julia?
And should he have forgotten her so soon?
I can't but say it seems to me most truly a
Perplexing question; but, no doubt, the moon
Does these things for us, and whenever newly a
Strong palpitation rises, 't is her boon,
Else how the devil is it that fresh features
Have such a charm for us poor human creatures?

CCIX.

I hate inconstancy--I loathe, detest,
Abhor, condemn, abjure the mortal made
Of such quicksilver clay that in his breast
No permanent foundation can be laid;
Love, constant love, has been my constant guest,
And yet last night, being at a masquerade,
I saw the prettiest creature, fresh from Milan,
Which gave me some sensations like a villain.

CCX.

But soon Philosophy came to my aid,
And whispered, "Think of every sacred tie!"
"I will, my dear Philosophy!" I said,
"But then her teeth, and then, oh, Heaven! her eye!
I'll just inquire if she be wife or maid,
Or neither--out of curiosity."
"Stop!" cried Philosophy, with air so Grecian,
(Though she was masqued then as a fair Venetian;)

CCXI.

"Stop!" so I stopped.--But to return: that which
Men call inconstancy is nothing more
Than admiration due where Nature's rich
Profusion with young beauty covers o'er
Some favoured object; and as in the niche
A lovely statue we almost adore,
This sort of adoration of the real
Is but a heightening of the _beau ideal_.

CCXII.

'T is the perception of the Beautiful,
A fine extension of the faculties,
Platonic, universal, wonderful,
Drawn from the stars, and filtered through the skies,
Without which Life would be extremely dull;
In short, it is the use of our own eyes,
With one or two small senses added, just
To hint that flesh is formed of fiery dust.[cf]

CCXIII.

Yet 't is a painful feeling, and unwilling,
For surely if we always could perceive
In the same object graces quite as killing
As when she rose upon us like an Eve,
'T would save us many a heartache, many a shilling,
(For we must get them anyhow, or grieve),
Whereas if one sole lady pleased for ever,
How pleasant for the heart, as well as liver!

CCXIV.

The Heart is like the sky, a part of Heaven,
But changes night and day, too, like the sky;
Now o'er it clouds and thunder must be driven,
And Darkness and Destruction as on high:
But when it hath been scorched, and pierced, and riven,
Its storms expire in water-drops; the eye
Pours forth at last the Heart's blood turned to tears,
Which make the English climate of our years.

CCXV.

The liver is the lazaret of bile,
But very rarely executes its function,
For the first passion stays there such a while,
That all the rest creep in and form a junction,
Like knots of vipers on a dunghill's soil--[168]
Rage, fear, hate, jealousy, revenge, compunction--
So that all mischiefs spring up from this entrail,
Like Earthquakes from the hidden fire called "central."

CCXVI.

In the mean time, without proceeding more
In this anatomy, I've finished now
Two hundred and odd stanzas as before,[cg]
That being about the number I'll allow
Each canto of the twelve, or twenty-four;
And, laying down my pen, I make my bow,
Leaving Don Juan and Haidée to plead
For them and theirs with all who deign to read.

 

 

FOOTNOTES:

 

[96] Begun at Venice, December 13, 1818,-finished January 20, 1819.

{81}[ay] _Lost that most precious stone of stones--his modesty_.--[MS.]

{82}[97] [Compare "The Girl of Cadiz," _Poetical Works_, 1900, iii. 1,
and note 1.

[az] _But d----n me if I ever saw the like_.--[MS.]

{83}[98] _Fazzioli_--literally, little handkerchiefs--the veils most
availing of St. Mark.

["_I fazzioli_, or kerchiefs (a white kind of veil which the lower orders
wear upon their heads)."--Letter to Rogers, March 3, 1818, _Letters,_ 1900,
iv. 208.]

[ba]
_Their manners mending, and their morals curing.
She taught them to suppress their vice--and urine_.--[MS.]

{84}[99] [Compare--

"And fast the white rocks faded from his view
* * * * *
And then, it may be, of his wish to roam
Repented he."

_Childe Harold_, Canto I. stanza xii. lines 3-6,
_Poetical Works_, 1898, i. 24.]

{87}[100] ["To breathe a vein ... to lance it so as to let blood."
Compare--

"_Rosalind_. Is the fool sick?
_Biron_. Sick at heart.
_Ros_. Alack, let it blood."
_Love's Labour's Lost_, act ii. sc. I, line 185.]

[bb]
_Sea-sickness death; then pardon Juan--how else_
_Keep down his stomach ne'er at sea before_?--[MS. M.]

[101] ["With regard to the charges about the Shipwreck, I think that I
told you and Mr. Hobhouse, years ago, that there was not a _single
circumstance_ of it _not_ taken from _fact_: not, indeed, from any
_single_ shipwreck, but all from _actual_ facts of different
wrecks."---Letter to Murray, August 23, 1821. In the _Monthly Magazine_,
vol. liii. (August, 1821, pp. 19-22, and September, 1821, pp. 105-109),
Byron's indebtedness to Sir G. Dalzell's _Shipwrecks and Disasters at
Sea_ (1812, 8vo) is pointed out, and the parallel passages are printed
in full.]

[102] ["Night came on worse than the day had been; and a _sudden shift
of wind,_ about midnight, _threw the ship into the trough of the sea,
which struck her aft, tore away the rudder, started the stern-post, and
shattered the whole of her stern-frame. The pumps_ were _immediately
sounded,_ and in the course of a few minutes the water had increased to
_four feet_....

_"One gang was instantly put on them, and the remainder of the people
employed in getting up_ rice from the run of the ship, and heaving it
over, _to come at the leak,_ if possible. After three or four hundred
bags were thrown into the sea, _we did get at it,_ and found _the water
rushing_ into the ship with astonishing rapidity; therefore we _thrust
sheets, shirts, jackets, tales of muslin,_ and everything of the like
description that could be got, _into the opening._

"Notwithstanding the pumps _discharged fifty tons of water an hour,_ the
ship certainly _must have gone down,_ had not our _expedients_ been
attended with some success. _The pumps,_ to the excellent construction
of which I owe the preservation of my life, _were made by Mr. Mann of
London. As the next day advanced, the weather appeared to moderate,_ the
men continued incessantly at the pumps, and every exertion was made to
_keep the ship afloat._"--See "Loss of the American ship _Hercules,_
Captain Benjamin Stout, June 16, 1796," _Shipwrecks and Disasters at
Sea,_ 1812, iii. 316, 317.]

{90}[103] ["Scarce was this done, when _a gust, exceeding in violence
everything of the kind I had ever seen, or could conceive, laid the ship
on her beam ends_....

"The ship _lay motionless_, and, to all appearance, irrevocably
overset.... _The water forsook the hold_, and appeared between decks....

"Immediate directions were given _to cut away the main and mizen masts_,
trusting when the ship righted, to be able to wear her. On cutting one
or two lanyards, the _mizen-mast went first over_, but without producing
the smallest effect on the ship, and, on cutting the lanyard of one
shroud, the _main-mast followed_. I had next the mortification to see
the _foremast and bowsprit also go over_. On this, _the ship immediately
righted with great violence_."--"Loss of the _Centaur_ Man-of-War, 1782,
by Captain Inglefield," _Shipwrecks and Disasters at Sea_, 1812, iii.
41.]

[bc] _Perhaps the whole would have got drunk, but for_.--[MS.]

{91}[104] ["A midshipman was appointed to guard the spirit-room, to
repress that unhappy desire of a devoted crew _to die in a state of
intoxication._ The sailors, though in other respects orderly in conduct,
here pressed eagerly upon him.

"_'Give us some grog,'_ they exclaimed, _'it will be all one an hour
hence.'--'I know we must die,'_ replied the gallant officer, coolly,
_'but let us die like men!'--Armed with a brace of pistols,_ he kept his
post, even while the ship was sinking."--"Loss of the _Earl of
Abergavenny,_ February 5, 1805," _Shipwrecks and Disasters at Sea_,
1812, iii. 418. John Wordsworth, the poet's brother, was captain of the
_Abergavenny_. See _Life of William Wordsworth_, by Professor Knight,
1889, i. 370-380; see, too, Coleridge's _Anima Poetæ_, 1895, p. 132. For
a contemporary report, see a Maltese paper, _Il Cartaginense_, April 17,
1805.]

[105] ["However, by great exertions of the chain-pumps, we _held our
own_.... All who were not seamen by profession, had been employed in
_thrumming a sail which was passed under the ship's bottom, and I
thought_ had some effect....

"_The Centaur laboured so much_, that I _could scarce hope she would
swim_ till morning: ... our sufferings _for want of water_ were very
great....

"_The weather again threatened_, and by noon _it blew a storm_. The ship
laboured greatly; _the water appeared in the fore and after-hold_. I was
informed by the carpenter also that _the leathers_ were nearly consumed,
and the _chains of the pumps_, by constant exertion, and friction of the
coils, were rendered almost useless....

"At this period the carpenter acquainted me that the well was stove
in.... and the chain-pumps displaced and totally useless.... Seeing
their efforts useless, many of them [the people] burst into tears, and
wept like children....

"I perceived _the ship settling by the head._"--"Loss of the _Centaur_,"
_Shipwrecks and Disasters at Sea_, 1812, iii. pp. 45-49.]

{92}[bd] _'T is ugly dying in the Gulf of Lyons_.--[MS.]

{93}[106] [Byron may have had in mind the story of the half-inaudible
vow of a monster wax candle, to be offered to St. Christopher of Paris,
which Erasmus tells in his _Naufragium_. The passage is scored with a
pencil-mark in his copy of the _Colloquies_.]

[107] [Stanza xliv. recalls Cardinal de Retz's description of the storm
at sea in the Gulf of Lyons: "Everybody were at their prayers, or were
confessing themselves.... The private captain of the galley caused, in
the greatest height of the danger, _his embroidered coat and his red
scarf_ to be brought to him, saying, that a true Spaniard ought to die
bearing his King's Marks of distinction. He sat himself down in a great
elbow chair, and with his foot struck a poor Neapolitan in the chops,
who, not being able to stand upon the Coursey of the Galley, was
crawling along, crying out aloud, _'Sennor Don Fernando, por l'amor de
Dios, Confession.'_ The captain, when he struck him, said to him,
_'Inimigo de Dios piedes Confession!'_ And as I was representing to him,
that his inference was not right, he said that that old man gave offence
to the whole galley. You can't imagine the horror of a great storm; you
can as little imagine the Ridicule mixed with it. A Sicilian
Observantine monk was preaching at the foot of the great mast, that St.
Francis had appeared to him, and had assured him that we should not
perish. I should never have done, should I undertake to describe all the
ridiculous frights that are seen on these occasions."--_Memoirs of
Cardinal de Retz_, 1723, iii. 353.]

{94}[108] ["Some appeared perfectly resigned, _went to their hammocks,_
and desired their messmates _to lash them in_; others were securing
themselves to gratings and small rafts; but the most predominant idea
was that _of putting on their best_ and _cleanest clothes_. The boats
... were got over the side."--"Loss of the _Centaur_," _Shipwrecks and
Disasters at Sea_, 1812, iii. 49, 50.]

[be] _Men will prove hungry, even when next perdition_.--[MS.]

{95}[109] ["Eight bags of rice, _six casks of water_, and a _small
quantity of salted beef and pork_, were put into the long-boat, as
provisions for the whole."--"Wreck of the _Sidney_, 1806," _Shipwrecks
and Disasters at Sea_, 1812, iii. 434.]

[110] ["The _yawl was stove_ alongside and sunk."--"Loss of the
_Centaur_," _ibid._, iii. 50.]

[111] ["_One oar_ was erected for a _main-mast_, and the other broke to
the breadth of the _blankets for a yard_."--"Loss of the _Duke William_
Transport, 1758," _ibid_., ii. 387.]

[bf] _Which being withdrawn, discloses but the frown_.--[MS. erased.]

[bg]
_Of one who hates us, so the night was shown_
_And grimly darkled o'er their faces pale_,
_And hopeless eyes, which o'er the deep alone_
_Gazed dim and desolate_----.--[MS.]

{96}[112] ["As _rafts_ had been mentioned by the carpenter, I thought it
right _to make the attempt_.... It was impossible for any man to deceive
himself with the hopes of being saved on a raft in such a sea."--"Loss
of the _Centaur_," _Shipwrecks and Disasters at Sea_, 1812, iii. 50.
51.]

[113] ["_Spars, booms, hencoops_, and _every thing_ buoyant, was
therefore _cast loose_, that the men might have some chance to save
themselves."--"Loss of the _Pandora_," ibid., iii. 197.]

[114] ["We had scarce quitted the ship, when she gave a heavy _lurch to
port_, and _then went down, head foremost._"--"Loss of the _Lady
Hobart_," ibid., iii. 378.]

[115] ["At this moment, one of the officers told the captain that she
was going down.... and bidding him farewell, leapt overboard: ... the
crew had just time to _leap overboard_, which they did, uttering _a most
dreadful yell_."--"Loss of the _Pandora_," ibid., iii. 198.]

{98}[116] ["The boat, being fastened to the rigging, was no sooner
cleared of the greatest part of the water, than a dog of mine came to me
running along the gunwale. _I took him in_."--"Shipwreck of the Sloop
_Betsy_, on the Coast of Dutch Guiana, August 5, 1756 (Philip Aubin,
Commander)," _Remarkable Shipwrecks_, Hartford, 1813, p. 175.]

[117] [Qy. "My good Sir! when the sea runs very high this is the case,
as _I know_, but if _my authority_ is not enough, see Bligh's account of
his run to Timor, after being cut adrift by the mutineers headed by
Christian."--[B.]

"Pray tell me who was the Lubber who put the query? surely not _you_,
Hobhouse! We have both of us seen too much of the sea for that. You may
rely on my using no nautical word not founded on authority, and no
circumstances not grounded in reality."]

{99}[118] ["It blew a violent storm, and the sea ran very high, so that
between the seas the sail was becalmed; and when _on the top of the sea,
it was too much to have set_, but I was obliged to carry it, for we were
now in very imminent danger and distress; _the sea curling over the
stern_ of the boat, which obliged us _to bale with all our might_."--_A
Narrative of the Mutiny of the Bounty_, by William Bligh, 1790, p. 23.]

[119] ["Before it was dark, _a blanket_ was discovered in the boat. This
was immediately bent to one of the stretchers, and under it, _as a
sail_, we scudded all night, in expectation of being _swallowed up by
every wave._"--"Loss of the _Centaur_," _Shipwrecks and Disasters at
Sea_, 1812, iii. 52.]

[120] ["_The sun rose very fiery and red, a sure indication of a severe
gale of wind_.--We could do nothing more than keep before the sea.--_I
now served a tea-spoonful of rum to each person_, ... with a quarter of
a bread-fruit, which was scarce eatable, for dinner."--_A Narrative,
etc._, by W. Bligh, 1790, pp. 23, 24.]

{100}[121] ["[As] our lodgings were very miserable and confined, I had
only in my power to remedy the latter defect, by putting ourselves _at
watch and watch_; so that _one half_ always sat up, while the other half
_lay down_ on the boat's bottom, with _nothing to cover us but the
heavens."--A Narrative of the Mutiny of the Bounty_, by William Bligh,
1790, p. 28.]

[122] [For Byron's debts to Mrs. Massingberd, "Jew" King, etc., and for
money raised on annuities, see _Letters_, 1898, ii. 174, note 2, and
letter to Hanson, December 11, 1817, _Letters_, 1900, iv. 187, "The list
of annuities sent by Mr. Kinnaird, including Jews and Sawbridge, amounts
to twelve thousand eight hundred and some odd pounds."]

{101}[123] ["The third day we began to suffer exceedingly ... from
hunger and thirst. I then seized my dog, and plunged the knife in his
throat. We caught his blood in the hat, receiving in our hands and
drinking what ran over; we afterwards drank in turn out of the hat, and
felt ourselves refreshed."--"Shipwreck of the _Betsy_," _Remarkable
Shipwrecks_, Hartford, 1813, p. 177.]

{102}[124] ["One day, when I was at home in my hut with my Indian dog, a
party came to my door, and told me their necessities were such that they
must eat the creature or starve. Though their plea was urgent, I could
not help using some arguments to endeavour to dissuade them from killing
him, as his faithful services and fondness deserved it at my hands; but,
without weighing my arguments, they took him away by force and killed
him.... Three weeks after that I was glad to make a meal of his paws and
skin which, upon recollecting the spot where they had killed him, I
found thrown aside and rotten."--_The Narrative of the Honourable John
Byron, etc._, 1768, pp. 47, 48.]

{103}[125] [Being driven to distress for want of food, "they _soaked
their shoes_, and two _hairy caps_ in water; and when sufficiently
softened ate portions of the leather." But day after day having passed,
and the cravings of hunger pressing hard upon them, they fell upon the
horrible and dreadful expedient of eating each other; and in order to
prevent any contention about who should become the food of the others,
"they cast lots to determine the sufferer."--"Sufferings of the Crew of
the _Thomas_ [Twelve Men in an Open Boat, 1797]," _Shipwrecks and
Disasters at Sea_, 1812, iii 356.]

[126] ["_The lots were drawn_: 'the captain, summoning all his strength,
wrote upon slips of paper the name of each man, folded them up, put them
into a hat, and shook them together. The crew, meanwhile, preserved _an
awful silence_; each eye was fixed and each mouth open, while terror was
strongly impressed upon every countenance.' The unhappy person, with
manly fortitude, resigned himself to his miserable associates."--"Famine
in the American Ship _Peggy_, 1765," _Remarkable Shipwrecks_, Hartford,
1813, pp. 358, 359.]

[127] ["_He requested to be bled to death, the surgeon_ being with them,
and having _his case of instruments_ in his pocket when he quitted the
vessel."--"Sufferings of the Crew of the _Thomas," Shipwrecks, etc._,
1812, iii. 357.]

{104}[128] ["Yet scarce was the vein divided when the operator, applying
his own parched lips, _drank the stream as it flowed_, and his comrades
anxiously watched the last breath of the victim, that they might prey
upon his flesh."--_Shipwrecks and Disasters at Sea_, 1812, iii. 357.]

[129] ["Those who indulged their cannibal appetite to excess speedily
perished in _raging madness_," etc.--_Ibid_.]

{105}[130] ["Another expedient we had frequent recourse to, on finding
it supplied our mouths with temporary moisture, was _chewing_ any
substance we could find, generally a bit of canvas, or even
_lead_."--"The Shipwreck of the _Juno_ on the Coast of Aracan," 1795,
_Shipwrecks and Disasters at Sea_, 1812, iii. 270.]

[131] ["At noon, some noddies came so near to us that one of them was
caught by hand.... I divided it into eighteen portions. In the evening
we saw several _boobies_."--_A Narrative of the Mutiny of the Bounty_,
by William Bligh, 1790, p. 41.]

[132]

["Quand' ebbe detto ciò, con gli occhi torti
Riprese il teschio misero coi denti,
Che furo all' osso, come d'un can forti."

Dante, _Inferno_, canto xxxiii. lines 76-78.]

{106}[133] ["Whenever a heavy shower afforded us a few mouthfuls of
fresh water, either by catching the drops as they fell or by squeezing
them out of our clothes, it infused new life and vigour into us, and for
a while we had almost forgot our misery."--_Shipwrecks and Disasters at
Sea_, 1812, iii. 270. Compare _The Island_, Canto I. stanza ix. lines
193, 194, _Poetical Works_, 1901, v. 595.]

[134] [Compare--

"With throats unslaked, with black lips baked."

_Ancient Mariner_, Part III. line 157.]

{107}[135] ["Mr. Wade's boy, a _stout healthy lad, died early_, and
almost without a groan; while another, of the same age, but of a less
promising appearance, held out much longer. Their fathers were both in
the fore-top, when the boys were taken ill. [Wade], hearing of his son's
illness, answered, with indifference, that _he could do nothing for
him_, and left him to his fate."--"Narrative of the Shipwreck of the
_Juno_, 1795," _Shipwrecks and Disasters at Sea_, 1812, iii. 273.]

[136] ["_The other [Father]_ hurried down.... By that time only three or
four planks of the quarter-deck remained, just over the quarter gallery.
To this spot the unhappy man led his son, making him fast to the rail,
to prevent his being washed away."--_Ibid_.]

[137] ["Whenever the _boy was seized_ with a fit of retching, the father
lifted him up and _wiped away the foam from his lips_; and if a _shower
came_, he made him open his mouth to _receive the drops_, or gently
_squeezed them into it from a rag."--Ibid_.]

{108}[138] ["In this affecting situation both remained four or five
days, till _the boy expired_. The unfortunate parent, as if unwilling to
believe the fact, raised the body, looked _wistfully_ at it, and when he
could no _longer entertain any doubt_, watched it in silence _until_ it
was carried _off by sea_; then wrapping himself in a piece of canvas,
_sunk down_, and rose no more; though he must have lived two days
longer, as we judged from the _quivering of his limbs_ when a wave broke
over him."--"Narrative of the Shipwreck of the _Juno_, 1795,"
_Shipwrecks and Disasters at Sea_, p. 274.]

{109}[139] [_"About this time a beautiful white bird, web-footed, and
not unlike a dove in size and plumage_, hovered over the mast-head of
the cutter, and, notwithstanding the pitching of the boat, frequently
_attempted to perch on it_, and continued _fluttering there till dark_.
Trifling as such an incident may appear, we all considered it a
_propitious omen_."--"Loss of the _Lady Hobart_, 1803," _Shipwrecks and
Disasters at Sea_, 1812, iii. 389.]

[140] ["I found it necessary to caution the people against being
deceived by the _appearance of land_, or calling out till we were quite
convinced of its reality, more especially as _fog-banks_ are often
mistaken for land: several of the poor fellows nevertheless repeatedly
exclaimed _they heard breakers_, and some the _firing of guns_."--"Loss
of the _Lady Hobart," Shipwrecks and Disasters at Sea_, 1812, iii. 391.]

{110}[141] ["_At length one of them broke out into a most immoderate
swearing fit of joy_, which I could not restrain, and declared, that _he
had never seen land in his life, if what he now saw was not so_."--"Loss
of the _Centaur," ibid_., p. 55.]

[142] ["The joy at a speedy relief affected us all in a most remarkable
way. Many _burst into tears; some looked at each other with a stupid
stare, as if doubtful_ of the reality of what they saw; while several
were in such a lethargic condition, that no animating words could rouse
them to exertion. At this affecting period, I proposed offering up our
solemn thanks to Heaven for the miraculous deliverance."--"Loss of the
_Lady Hobart," ibid_., p. 391.]

[143] [After having suffered the horrors of hunger and thirst for many
days, "they accidentally descried a _small_ turtle _floating on the
surface of the water asleep_."--"Sufferings of the Crew of the _Thomas,"
ibid_., p. 356.]

{111}[144] ["An indifferent spectator would have been at a loss which
most to admire; the eyes of famine sparkling at immediate relief, or the
horror of their preservers at the sight of so many spectres, whose
ghastly countenances, if the cause had been unknown, would rather have
excited terror than pity. Our bodies were nothing but skin and bones,
our limbs were full of sores, and we were clothed in rags."--_Narrative
of the Mutiny of the Bounty_, by William Bligh, 1790, p. 80. Compare
_The Siege of Corinth_, lines 1048, 1049, _Poetical Works_, 1900, iii.
494, note 3.]

{112}[145] ["They discovered land _right ahead_, and steered for it.
There being a very _heavy surf_, they endeavoured to turn the boat's
head to it, which, from weakness, they were unable to accomplish, and
soon afterwards _the boat upset_."--"Sufferings of Six Deserters from
St. Helena, 1799," _Shipwrecks and Disasters at Sea_, 1812, iii, 371.]

[146] [Compare lines "Written after swimming from Sestos to Abydos,"
_Poetical Works_, 1900, iii. 13, note 1; see, too, _Letters_, 1898, i.
262, 263, note 1.]

{114}[147] [Compare--

"How long in that same fit I lay
I have not to declare."

_The Ancient Mariner_, Part V. lines 393, 394.]

{115}[bh] ---- _in short she's one_.--[MS.]

{116}[bi]
_A set of humbug rascals, when all's done_--
_I've seen much finer women, ripe and real_,
_Than all the nonsense of their d----d ideal_.--[MS.]

[148] [Compare _Childe Harold_, Canto IV. stanza 1. lines 6-9, _Poetical
Works_, 1899, ii. 366, note 1.]

[149] [Probably that "Alpha and Omega of Beauty," Lady Adelaide Forbes
(daughter of George, sixth Earl of Granard), whom Byron compared to the
Apollo Belvidere. See _Letters_, 1898, ii. 230, note 3.]

[150] ["The _saya_ or _basquiña_ ... the outer petticoat ... is always
black, and is put over the indoor dress on going out." Compare [Greek:
Melanei/mones a(/pantes t ople/on e)n sa/gois,] Strabo, lib. iii. ed.
1807, i. 210. Ford's _Handbook for Spain_, 1855, i. 111.]

{117}[151] ["When Ajax, Ulysses, and Phoenix stand before Achilles, he
rushes forth to greet them, brings them into the tent, directs Patroclus
to mix the wine, cuts up the meat, dresses it, and sets it before the
ambassadors." (_Iliad_, ix. 193, sq.)--_Study of the Classics_, by H.N.
Coleridge, 1830, p, 71]

{119}[bj] _And such a bed of furs, and a pelisse_.--[MS.]

{120}[bk]
---- _which often spread_,
_And come like opening Hell upon the mind_,
_No "baseless fabric" but "a wrack behind."_--[MS.]

{121}[bl]
_Had e'er escaped more dangers on the deep_;--
_And those who are not drowned, at least may sleep_.--[MS.]

[152] [Entitled "_A Narrative of the Honourable John Byron_ (Commodore
in a late expedition round the world), containing an account of the
great distresses suffered by himself and his companions on the coast of
Patagonia, from the year 1740, till their arrival in England, 1746.
Written by Himself," London, 1768, 40. For the Hon. John Byron, 1723-86,
younger brother of William, fifth Lord Byron, see _Letters_, 1898, i.
3.]

[bm] _Wore for a husband--or some such like brute_.--[MS.]

[bn]
---- _although of late_
_I've changed, for some few years, the day to night_.--[MS.]

[153] [The second canto of _Don Juan_ was finished in January, 1819,
when the Venetian Carnival was at its height.]

{122}[154] [Strabo (lib. xvi. ed. 1807, p. 1106) gives various
explanations of the name, assigning the supposed redness to the
refraction of the rays of the vertical sun; or to the shadow of the
scorched mountain-sides which form its shores; or, as Ctesias would have
it, to a certain fountain which discharged red oxide of lead into its
waters. "Abyssinian" Bruce had no doubt that "large trees or plants of
coral spread everywhere over the bottom," made the sea "red," and
accounted for the name. But, according to Niebuhr, the Red Sea is the
Sea of Edom, which, being interpreted, is "Red."]

[bo]
---- _just the same_
_As at this moment I should like to do;--_
_But I have done with kisses--having kissed_
_All those that would--regretting those I missed_.--[MS.]

{124}[bp]
_Fair as the rose just plucked to crown the wreath_,
_Soft as the unfledged birdling when at rest_.--[MS.]

[155] [Compare _Mazeppa_, lines 829, sq., _Poetical Works_, 1901, iv.
232.]

{125}[bq]
_That finer melody was never heard_,
_The kind of sound whose echo is a tear_,
_Whose accents are the steps of Music's throne_.[*]--[MS.]

[*] ["To the Publisher. Take of these varieties which is thought best. I
have no choice."]

{128}[156] [Moore, quoting from memory from one of Byron's MS. journals,
says that he speaks of "making earnest love to the younger of his fair
hostesses at Seville, with the help of a dictionary."--_Life,_ p. 93.
See, too, letter to his mother, August 11, 1809, _Letters,_ 1898, i.
240.]

[br] _Pressure of hands, et cetera--or a kiss_.--[MS. Alternative
reading.]

[bs] _Italian rather more, having more teachers_.--[MS. erased.]

[157] ["In 1813 ... in the fashionable world of London, of which I then
formed an item, a fraction, the segment of a circle, the unit of a
million, the nothing of something.... I had been the lion of
1812."--Extracts from a Diary, January 19, 1821, _Letters_, 1901, v.
177, 178.]

[bt]
_foes, friends, sex, kind, are nothing more to me_
_Than a mere dream of something o'er the sea_.--[MS.]

{129}[158] [For the same archaism or blunder, compare _Manfred_, act i.
sc. 4, line 19, _Poetical Works_, 1901, iv. 132.]

[159] [Compare _The Prisoner of Chillon_, line 78, _ibid_., p. 16.]

[bu]
_Holding her sweet breath o'er his cheek and mouth_,
_As o'er a bed of roses, etc_.--[MS.]

[160] [_Vide post_, Canto XVI. stanza lxxxvi. line 6, p. 598, note 1.]

{130}[bv]
_For without heart Love is not quite so good_;
_Ceres is commissary to our bellies_,
_And Love, which also much depends on food_:
_While Bacchus will provide with wine and jellies_--
_Oysters and eggs are also living food_.--[MS.]

[bw]
_He was her own, her Ocean lover, cast_
_To be her soul's first idol, and its last_.--[MS.]

{131}[bx] _And saw the sunset and the rising moon_.--[MS.]

{132}[161] [The MS. and the editions of 1819, 1823, 1828, read "woman."
The edition of 1833 reads "women." The text follows the MS. and the
earlier editions.]

[162] [Compare stanza prefixed to Dedication, vide ante, p. 2.]

[163] [Compare--

"Yes! thy Sherbet to-night will sweetly flow,
See how it sparkles in its vase of snow!"

_Corsair_, Canto I. lines 427, 428, _Poetical Works_, 1900, iii. 242.]

[by]
_A pleasure naught but drunkenness can bring:_
_For not the blest sherbet all chilled with snow._
_Nor the full sparkle of the desert-spring,_
_Nor wine in all the purple of its glow_.--[MS.]

{134}[bz] _Spread like an Ocean, varied, vast, and bright._--[MS.]

[ca]
_---- I'm sure they never reckoned;_
_And being joined--like swarming bees they clung,_
_And mixed until the very pleasure stung._

or,

_And one was innocent, but both too young,_
_Their hearts the flowers, etc_.--[MS.]

{135}[cb]
_In all the burning tongues the Passions teach_
_They had no further feeling, hope, nor care_
_Save one, and that was Love_.--[MS. erased.]

{136}[cc]
_Pillowed upon her beating heart--which panted
With the sweet memory of all it granted_.--[MS.]

{138}[cd] _Some drown themselves, some in the vices grovel_.--[MS.]

[164] [Lady Caroline Lamb's _Glenarvon_ was published in 1816. For
Byron's farewell letter of dismissal, which Lady Caroline embodied in
her novel (vol. iii. chap. ix.), see _Letters_, 1898, ii. 135, note 1.
According to Medwin (_Conversations_, 1824, p. 274), Madame de Staël
catechized Byron with regard to the relation of the story to fact.]

{139}[ce]
_In their sweet feelings holily united,_
_By Solitude (soft parson) they were wed_.--[MS.]

[165] [Titus forebore to marry "Incesta" Berenice (see Juv., _Sat_. vi.
158), the daughter of Agrippa I., and wife of Herod, King of Chalcis,
out of regard to the national prejudice against intermarriage with an
alien.]

[166] [Cæsar's third wife, Pompeia, was suspected of infidelity with
Clodius (see Langhorne's _Plutarch_, 1838, p. 498); Pompey's third wife,
Mucia, intrigued with Cæsar (_vide ibid_., p. 447); Mahomet's favourite
wife, Ayesha, on one occasion incurred suspicion; Antonina, the wife of
Belisarius, was notoriously profligate (see Gibbon's _Decline and Fall_,
1825, iii. 432, 102).]

{140}[167] [Compare _Sardanapalus_, act i. sc. 2, line 252, _Poetical
Works_, 1901, v. 23, note 1.]

{141}[cf] _--of ticklish dust_.--[MS. Alternative reading.]

{142}[168] ["Mr. Hobhouse is at it again about indelicacy. There is _no
indelicacy_. If he wants _that_, let him read Swift, his great idol; but
his imagination must be a dunghill, with a viper's nest in the middle,
to engender such a supposition about this poem."--Letter to Murray, May
15, 1819, _Letters_, 1900, iv. 295.]

[cg] _Two hundred stanzas reckoned as before._--[MS.]

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

CANTO THE THIRD

I.

HAIL, Muse! _et cetera._--We left Juan sleeping,
Pillowed upon a fair and happy breast,
And watched by eyes that never yet knew weeping,
And loved by a young heart, too deeply blest
To feel the poison through her spirit creeping,
Or know who rested there, a foe to rest,
Had soiled the current of her sinless years,
And turned her pure heart's purest blood to tears!

II.

Oh, Love! what is it in this world of ours
Which makes it fatal to be loved? Ah why
With cypress branches hast thou wreathed thy bowers,
And made thy best interpreter a sigh?
As those who dote on odours pluck the flowers,
And place them on their breast--but place to die--
Thus the frail beings we would fondly cherish
Are laid within our bosoms but to perish.

III.

In her first passion Woman loves her lover,
In all the others all she loves is Love,
Which grows a habit she can ne'er get over,
And fits her loosely--like an easy glove,[ch]
As you may find, whene'er you like to prove her:
One man alone at first her heart can move;
She then prefers him in the plural number,
Not finding that the additions much encumber.

IV.

I know not if the fault be men's or theirs;
But one thing's pretty sure; a woman planted
(Unless at once she plunge for life in prayers)--
After a decent time must be gallanted;
Although, no doubt, her first of love affairs
Is that to which her heart is wholly granted;
Yet there are some, they say, who have had _none_,
But those who have ne'er end with only _one_.[170]

V.

'T is melancholy, and a fearful sign
Of human frailty, folly, also crime,
That Love and Marriage rarely can combine,
Although they both are born in the same clime;
Marriage from Love, like vinegar from wine--
A sad, sour, sober beverage--by Time
Is sharpened from its high celestial flavour
Down to a very homely household savour.

VI.

There's something of antipathy, as 't were,
Between their present and their future state;
A kind of flattery that's hardly fair
Is used until the truth arrives too late--
Yet what can people do, except despair?
The same things change their names at such a rate;
For instance--Passion in a lover's glorious,
But in a husband is pronounced uxorious.

VII.

Men grow ashamed of being so very fond;
They sometimes also get a little tired
(But that, of course, is rare), and then despond:
The same things cannot always be admired,
Yet 't is "so nominated in the bond,"[171]
That both are tied till one shall have expired.
Sad thought! to lose the spouse that was adorning
Our days, and put one's servants into mourning.

VIII.

There's doubtless something in domestic doings
Which forms, in fact, true Love's antithesis;
Romances paint at full length people's wooings,
But only give a bust of marriages;
For no one cares for matrimonial cooings,
There's nothing wrong in a connubial kiss:
Think you, if Laura had been Petrarch's wife,
He would have written sonnets all his life?[ci]

IX.

All tragedies are finished by a death,
All comedies are ended by a marriage;
The future states of both are left to faith,
For authors fear description might disparage
The worlds to come of both, or fall beneath,
And then both worlds would punish their miscarriage;
So leaving each their priest and prayer-book ready,
They say no more of Death or of the Lady.[172]

X.

The only two that in my recollection,
Have sung of Heaven and Hell, or marriage, are
Dante[173] and Milton,[174] and of both the affection
Was hapless in their nuptials, for some bar
Of fault or temper ruined the connection
(Such things, in fact, it don't ask much to mar);
But Dante's Beatrice and Milton's Eve
Were not drawn from their spouses, you conceive.

XI.

Some persons say that Dante meant Theology
By Beatrice, and not a mistress--I,
Although my opinion may require apology,
Deem this a commentator's phantasy,
Unless indeed it was from his own knowledge he
Decided thus, and showed good reason why;
I think that Dante's more abstruse ecstatics
Meant to personify the Mathematics.[175]

XII.

Haidée and Juan were not married, but
The fault was theirs, not mine: it is not fair,
Chaste reader, then, in any way to put
The blame on me, unless you wish they were;
Then if you'd have them wedded, please to shut
The book which treats of this erroneous pair,
Before the consequences grow too awful;
'T is dangerous to read of loves unlawful.

XIII.

Yet they were happy,--happy in the illicit
Indulgence of their innocent desires;
But more imprudent grown with every visit,
Haidée forgot the island was her Sire's;
When we have what we like 't is hard to miss it,
At least in the beginning, ere one tires;
Thus she came often, not a moment losing,
Whilst her piratical papa was cruising.

XIV.

Let not his mode of raising cash seem strange,
Although he fleeced the flags of every nation,
For into a Prime Minister but change
His title, and 't is nothing but taxation;
But he, more modest, took an humbler range
Of Life, and in an honester vocation
Pursued o'er the high seas his watery journey,[cj]
And merely practised as a sea-attorney.

XV.

The good old gentleman had been detained
By winds and waves, and some important captures;
And, in the hope of more, at sea remained,
Although a squall or two had damped his raptures,
By swamping one of the prizes; he had chained
His prisoners, dividing them like chapters
In numbered lots; they all had cuffs and collars,
And averaged each from ten to a hundred dollars.

XVI.

Some he disposed of off Cape Matapan,
Among his friends the Mainots; some he sold
To his Tunis correspondents, save one man
Tossed overboard unsaleable (being old);
The rest--save here and there some richer one,
Reserved for future ransom--in the hold,
Were linked alike, as, for the common people, he
Had a large order from the Dey of Tripoli.

XVII.

The merchandise was served in the same way,
Pieced out for different marts in the Levant,
Except some certain portions of the prey,
Light classic articles of female want,
French stuffs, lace, tweezers, toothpicks, teapot, tray,[ck]
Guitars and castanets from Alicant,
All which selected from the spoil he gathers,
Robbed for his daughter by the best of fathers.

XVIII.

A monkey, a Dutch mastiff, a mackaw,[176]
Two parrots, with a Persian cat and kittens,
He chose from several animals he saw--
A terrier, too, which once had been a Briton's,
Who dying on the coast of Ithaca,
The peasants gave the poor dumb thing a pittance:
These to secure in this strong blowing weather,
He caged in one huge hamper altogether.

XIX.

Then, having settled his marine affairs,
Despatching single cruisers here and there,
His vessel having need of some repairs,
He shaped his course to where his daughter fair
Continued still her hospitable cares;
But that part of the coast being shoal and bare,
And rough with reefs which ran out many a mile,
His port lay on the other side o' the isle.

XX.

And there he went ashore without delay,
Having no custom-house nor quarantine
To ask him awkward questions on the way,
About the time and place where he had been:
He left his ship to be hove down next day,
With orders to the people to careen;
So that all hands were busy beyond measure,
In getting out goods, ballast, guns, and treasure.

XXI.

Arriving at the summit of a hill
Which overlooked the white walls of his home,
He stopped.--What singular emotions fill
Their bosoms who have been induced to roam!
With fluttering doubts if all be well or ill--
With love for many, and with fears for some;
All feelings which o'erleap the years long lost,
And bring our hearts back to their starting-post.

XXII.

The approach of home to husbands and to sires,
After long travelling by land or water,
Most naturally some small doubt inspires--
A female family's a serious matter,
(None trusts the sex more, or so much admires--
But they hate flattery, so I never flatter);
Wives in their husbands' absences grow subtler,
And daughters sometimes run off with the butler.

XXIII.

An honest gentleman at his return
May not have the good fortune of Ulysses;
Not all lone matrons for their husbands mourn,
Or show the same dislike to suitors' kisses;
The odds are that he finds a handsome urn
To his memory--and two or three young misses
Born to some friend, who holds his wife and riches--
And that _his_ Argus[177]--bites him by the breeches.

XXIV.

If single, probably his plighted Fair
Has in his absence wedded some rich miser;
But all the better, for the happy pair
May quarrel, and, the lady growing wiser,
He may resume his amatory care
As cavalier servente, or despise her;
And that his sorrow may not be a dumb one,
Writes odes on the Inconstancy of Woman.

XXV.

And oh! ye gentlemen who have already
Some chaste _liaison_ of the kind--I mean
An honest friendship with a married lady--
The only thing of this sort ever seen
To last--of all connections the most steady,
And the true Hymen, (the first's but a screen)--
Yet, for all that, keep not too long away--
I've known the absent wronged four times a day.[cl]

XXVI.

Lambro, our sea-solicitor, who had
Much less experience of dry land than Ocean,
On seeing his own chimney-smoke, felt glad;
But not knowing metaphysics, had no notion
Of the true reason of his not being sad,
Or that of any other strong emotion;
He loved his child, and would have wept the loss of her,
But knew the cause no more than a philosopher.

XXVII.

He saw his white walls shining in the sun,
His garden trees all shadowy and green;
He heard his rivulet's light bubbling run,
The distant dog-bark; and perceived between
The umbrage of the wood, so cool and dun,
The moving figures, and the sparkling sheen
Of arms (in the East all arm)--and various dyes
Of coloured garbs, as bright as butterflies.

XXVIII.

And as the spot where they appear he nears,
Surprised at these unwonted signs of idling,
He hears--alas! no music of the spheres,
But an unhallowed, earthly sound of fiddling!
A melody which made him doubt his ears,
The cause being past his guessing or unriddling;
A pipe, too, and a drum, and shortly after--
A most unoriental roar of laughter.

XXIX.

And still more nearly to the place advancing,
Descending rather quickly the declivity,
Through the waved branches o'er the greensward glancing,
'Midst other indications of festivity,
Seeing a troop of his domestics dancing
Like Dervises, who turn as on a pivot, he
Perceived it was the Pyrrhic dance[178] so martial,
To which the Levantines are very partial.

XXX.

And further on a troop of Grecian girls,[179]
The first and tallest her white kerchief waving,
Were strung together like a row of pearls,
Linked hand in hand, and dancing; each too having
Down her white neck long floating auburn curls--
(The least of which would set ten poets raving);[cm]
Their leader sang--and bounded to her song
With choral step and voice the virgin throng.

XXXI.

And here, assembled cross-legged round their trays,
Small social parties just begun to dine;
Pilaus and meats of all sorts met the gaze,
And flasks of Samian and of Chian wine,
And sherbet cooling in the porous vase;
Above them their dessert grew on its vine;--
The orange and pomegranate nodding o'er,
Dropped in their laps, scarce plucked, their mellow store.

XXXII.

A band of children, round a snow-white ram,[180]
There wreathe his venerable horns with flowers;
While peaceful as if still an unweaned lamb,
The patriarch of the flock all gently cowers
His sober head, majestically tame,
Or eats from out the palm, or playful lowers
His brow, as if in act to butt, and then
Yielding to their small hands, draws back again.

XXXIII.

Their classical profiles, and glittering dresses,
Their large black eyes, and soft seraphic cheeks,
Crimson as cleft pomegranates, their long tresses,
The gesture which enchants, the eye that speaks,
The innocence which happy childhood blesses,
Made quite a picture of these little Greeks;
So that the philosophical beholder
Sighed for their sakes--that they should e'er grow older.

XXXIV.

Afar, a dwarf buffoon stood telling tales
To a sedate grey circle of old smokers,
Of secret treasures found in hidden vales,
Of wonderful replies from Arab jokers,
Of charms to make good gold and cure bad ails,
Of rocks bewitched that open to the knockers,
Of magic ladies who, by one sole act,
Transformed their lords to beasts (but that's a fact).

XXXV.

Here was no lack of innocent diversion
For the imagination or the senses,
Song, dance, wine, music, stories from the Persian,
All pretty pastimes in which no offence is;
But Lambro saw all these things with aversion,
Perceiving in his absence such expenses,
Dreading that climax of all human ills,
The inflammation of his weekly bills.

XXXVI.

Ah! what is man? what perils still environ[181]
The happiest mortals even after dinner!
A day of gold from out an age of iron
Is all that Life allows the luckiest sinner;
Pleasure (whene'er she sings, at least) 's a Siren,
That lures, to flay alive, the young beginner;
Lambro's reception at his people's banquet
Was such as fire accords to a wet blanket.

XXXVII.

He--being a man who seldom used a word
Too much, and wishing gladly to surprise
(In general he surprised men with the sword)
His daughter--had not sent before to advise
Of his arrival, so that no one stirred;
And long he paused to re-assure his eyes,
In fact much more astonished than delighted,
To find so much good company invited.

XXXVIII.

He did not know (alas! how men will lie)
That a report (especially the Greeks)
Avouched his death (such people never die),
And put his house in mourning several weeks,--
But now their eyes and also lips were dry;
The bloom, too, had returned to Haidée's cheeks:
Her tears, too, being returned into their fount,
She now kept house upon her own account.

XXXIX.

Hence all this rice, meat, dancing, wine, and fiddling,
Which turned the isle into a place of pleasure;
The servants all were getting drunk or idling,
A life which made them happy beyond measure.
Her father's hospitality seemed middling,
Compared with what Haidée did with his treasure;
'T was wonderful how things went on improving,
While she had not one hour to spare from loving.[cn]

XL.

Perhaps you think, in stumbling on this feast,
He flew into a passion, and in fact
There was no mighty reason to be pleased;
Perhaps you prophesy some sudden act,
The whip, the rack, or dungeon at the least,
To teach his people to be more exact,
And that, proceeding at a very high rate,
He showed the royal _penchants_ of a pirate.

XLI.

You're wrong.--He was the mildest mannered man
That ever scuttled ship or cut a throat;
With such true breeding of a gentleman,
You never could divine his real thought;
No courtier could, and scarcely woman can
Gird more deceit within a petticoat;
Pity he loved adventurous life's variety,
He was so great a loss to good society.

XLII.

Advancing to the nearest dinner tray,
Tapping the shoulder of the nighest guest,
With a peculiar smile, which, by the way,
Boded no good, whatever it expressed,
He asked the meaning of this holiday;
The vinous Greek to whom he had addressed
His question, much too merry to divine
The questioner, filled up a glass of wine,

XLIII.

And without turning his facetious head,
Over his shoulder, with a Bacchant air,
Presented the o'erflowing cup, and said,
"Talking's dry work, I have no time to spare."
A second hiccuped, "Our old Master's dead,
You'd better ask our Mistress who's his heir."
"Our Mistress!" quoth a third: "Our Mistress!--pooh!--
You mean our Master--not the old, but new."

XLIV.

These rascals, being new comers, knew not whom
They thus addressed--and Lambro's visage fell--
And o'er his eye a momentary gloom
Passed, but he strove quite courteously to quell
The expression, and endeavouring to resume
His smile, requested one of them to tell
The name and quality of his new patron,
Who seemed to have turned Haidée into a matron.

XLV.

"I know not," quoth the fellow, "who or what
He is, nor whence he came--and little care;
But this I know, that this roast capon's fat,
And that good wine ne'er washed down better fare;
And if you are not satisfied with that,
Direct your questions to my neighbour there;
He'll answer all for better or for worse,
For none likes more to hear himself converse."[182]

XLVI.

I said that Lambro was a man of patience,
And certainly he showed the best of breeding,
Which scarce even France, the Paragon of nations,
E'er saw her most polite of sons exceeding;
He bore these sneers against his near relations,
His own anxiety, his heart, too, bleeding,
The insults, too, of every servile glutton,
Who all the time was eating up his mutton.

XLVII.

Now in a person used to much command--
To bid men come, and go, and come again--
To see his orders done, too, out of hand--
Whether the word was death, or but the chain--
It may seem strange to find his manners bland;
Yet such things are, which I cannot explain,
Though, doubtless, he who can command himself
Is good to govern--almost as a Guelf.

XLVIII.

Not that he was not sometimes rash or so,
But never in his real and serious mood;
Then calm, concentrated, and still, and slow,
He lay coiled like the Boa in the wood;
With him it never was a word and blow,
His angry word once o'er, he shed no blood,
But in his silence there was much to rue,
And his _one_ blow left little work for _two_.

XLIX.

He asked no further questions, and proceeded
On to the house, but by a private way,
So that the few who met him hardly heeded,
So little they expected him that day;
If love paternal in his bosom pleaded
For Haidée's sake, is more than I can say,
But certainly to one deemed dead returning,
This revel seemed a curious mode of mourning.

L.

If all the dead could now return to life,
(Which God forbid!) or some, or a great many,
For instance, if a husband or his wife[co]
(Nuptial examples are as good as any),
No doubt whate'er might be their former strife,
The present weather would be much more rainy--
Tears shed into the grave of the connection
Would share most probably its resurrection.

LI.

He entered in the house no more his home,
A thing to human feelings the most trying,
And harder for the heart to overcome,
Perhaps, than even the mental pangs of dying;
To find our hearthstone turned into a tomb,
And round its once warm precincts palely lying
The ashes of our hopes, is a deep grief,
Beyond a _single gentleman's_ belief.

LII.

He entered in the house--his home no more,
For without hearts there is no home;--and felt
The solitude of passing his own door
Without a welcome: _there_ he long had dwelt,
There his few peaceful days Time had swept o'er,
There his worn bosom and keen eye would melt
Over the innocence of that sweet child,
His only shrine of feelings undefiled.

LIII.

He was a man of a strange temperament,
Of mild demeanour though of savage mood,
Moderate in all his habits, and content
With temperance in pleasure, as in food,
Quick to perceive, and strong to bear, and meant
For something better, if not wholly good;
His Country's wrongs and his despair to save her
Had stung him from a slave to an enslaver.

LIV.

The love of power, and rapid gain of gold,
The hardness by long habitude produced,
The dangerous life in which he had grown old,
The mercy he had granted oft abused,
The sights he was accustomed to behold,
The wild seas, and wild men with whom he cruised,
Had cost his enemies a long repentance,
And made him a good friend, but bad acquaintance.

LV.

But something of the spirit of old Greece
Flashed o'er his soul a few heroic rays,
Such as lit onward to the Golden Fleece
His predecessors in the Colchian days;
'T is true he had no ardent love for peace--
Alas! his country showed no path to praise:
Hate to the world and war with every nation
He waged, in vengeance of her degradation.

LVI.

Still o'er his mind the influence of the clime
Shed its Ionian elegance, which showed
Its power unconsciously full many a time,--
A taste seen in the choice of his abode,
A love of music and of scenes sublime,
A pleasure in the gentle stream that flowed
Past him in crystal, and a joy in flowers,
Bedewed his spirit in his calmer hours.

LVII.

But whatsoe'er he had of love reposed
On that belovéd daughter; she had been
The only thing which kept his heart unclosed
Amidst the savage deeds he had done and seen,
A lonely pure affection unopposed:
There wanted but the loss of this to wean
His feelings from all milk of human kindness,
And turn him like the Cyclops mad with blindness.[cp]

LVIII.

The cubless tigress in her jungle raging
Is dreadful to the shepherd and the flock;
The Ocean when its yeasty war is waging
Is awful to the vessel near the rock;
But violent things will sooner bear assuaging,
Their fury being spent by its own shock,
Than the stern, single, deep, and wordless ire[cq]
Of a strong human heart, and in a Sire.

LIX.

It is a hard although a common case
To find our children running restive--they
In whom our brightest days we would retrace,
Our little selves re-formed in finer clay,
Just as old age is creeping on apace,
And clouds come o'er the sunset of our day,
They kindly leave us, though not quite alone,
But in good company--the gout or stone.

LX.

Yet a fine family is a fine thing
(Provided they don't come in after dinner);
'T is beautiful to see a matron bring
Her children up (if nursing them don't thin her);
Like cherubs round an altar-piece they cling
To the fire-side (a sight to touch a sinner).
A lady with her daughters or her nieces
Shine like a guinea and seven-shilling pieces.

LXI.

Old Lambro passed unseen a private gate,
And stood within his hall at eventide;
Meantime the lady and her lover sate
At wassail in their beauty and their pride:
An ivory inlaid table spread with state
Before them, and fair slaves on every side;[183]
Gems, gold, and silver, formed the service mostly,
Mother of pearl and coral the less costly.

LXII.

The dinner made about a hundred dishes;
Lamb and pistachio nuts--in short, all meats,
And saffron soups, and sweetbreads; and the fishes
Were of the finest that e'er flounced in nets,
Dressed to a Sybarite's most pampered wishes;
The beverage was various sherbets
Of raisin, orange, and pomegranate juice,
Squeezed through the rind, which makes it best for use.

LXIII.

These were ranged round, each in its crystal ewer,
And fruits, and date-bread loaves closed the repast,
And Mocha's berry, from Arabia pure,
In small fine China cups, came in at last;
Gold cups of filigree, made to secure
The hand from burning, underneath them placed;
Cloves, cinnamon, and saffron too were boiled
Up with the coffee, which (I think) they spoiled.

LXIV.

The hangings of the room were tapestry, made
Of velvet panels, each of different hue,
And thick with damask flowers of silk inlaid;
And round them ran a yellow border too;
The upper border, richly wrought, displayed,
Embroidered delicately o'er with blue,
Soft Persian sentences, in lilac letters,
From poets, or the moralists their betters.

LXV.

These Oriental writings on the wall,
Quite common in those countries, are a kind
Of monitors adapted to recall,
Like skulls at Memphian banquets, to the mind,
The words which shook Belshazzar in his hall,
And took his kingdom from him: You will find,
Though sages may pour out their wisdom's treasure,
There is no sterner moralist than Pleasure.

LXVI.

A Beauty at the season's close grown hectic,
A Genius who has drunk himself to death,
A Rake turned methodistic, or Eclectic--[184]
(For that's the name they like to pray beneath)--[cr]
But most, an Alderman struck apoplectic,
Are things that really take away the breath,--
And show that late hours, wine, and love are able
To do not much less damage than the table.

LXVII.

Haidée and Juan carpeted their feet
On crimson satin, bordered with pale blue;
Their sofa occupied three parts complete
Of the apartment--and appeared quite new;
The velvet cushions (for a throne more meet)
Were scarlet, from whose glowing centre grew
A sun embossed in gold, whose rays of tissue,
Meridian-like, were seen all light to issue.[cs]

LXVIII.

Crystal and marble, plate and porcelain,
Had done their work of splendour; Indian mats
And Persian carpets, which the heart bled to stain,
Over the floors were spread; gazelles and cats,
And dwarfs and blacks, and such like things, that gain
Their bread as ministers and favourites (that's
To say, by degradation) mingled there
As plentiful as in a court, or fair.

LXIX.

There was no want of lofty mirrors, and
The tables, most of ebony inlaid
With mother of pearl or ivory, stood at hand,
Or were of tortoise-shell or rare woods made,
Fretted with gold or silver:--by command
The greater part of these were ready spread
With viands and sherbets in ice--and wine--
Kept for all comers at all hours to dine.

LXX.

Of all the dresses I select Haidée's:
She wore two jelicks--one was of pale yellow;
Of azure, pink, and white was her chemise--
'Neath which her breast heaved like a little billow:
With buttons formed of pearls as large as peas,
All gold and crimson shone her jelick's fellow,
And the striped white gauze baracan that bound her,
Like fleecy clouds about the moon, flowed round her.

LXXI.

One large gold bracelet clasped each lovely arm,
Lockless--so pliable from the pure gold
That the hand stretched and shut it without harm,
The limb which it adorned its only mould;
So beautiful--its very shape would charm,
And clinging, as if loath to lose its hold,
The purest ore enclosed the whitest skin
That e'er by precious metal was held in.[185]

LXXII.

Around, as Princess of her father's land,
A like gold bar above her instep rolled[186]
Announced her rank; twelve rings were on her hand;
Her hair was starred with gems; her veil's fine fold
Below her breast was fastened with a band
Of lavish pearls, whose worth could scarce be told;
Her orange silk full Turkish trousers furled
About the prettiest ankle in the world.

LXXIII.

Her hair's long auburn waves down to her heel
Flowed like an Alpine torrent which the sun
Dyes with his morning light,--and would conceal
Her person[187] if allowed at large to run,
And still they seemed resentfully to feel
The silken fillet's curb, and sought to shun
Their bonds whene'er some Zephyr caught began
To offer his young pinion as her fan.

LXXIV.

Round her she made an atmosphere of life,[188]
The very air seemed lighter from her eyes,
They were so soft and beautiful, and rife
With all we can imagine of the skies,
And pure as Psyche ere she grew a wife--
Too pure even for the purest human ties;
Her overpowering presence made you feel
It would not be idolatry to kneel.[189]

LXXV.

Her eyelashes, though dark as night, were tinged
(It is the country's custom, but in vain),
For those large black eyes were so blackly fringed,
The glossy rebels mocked the jetty stain,
And in their native beauty stood avenged:
Her nails were touched with henna; but, again,
The power of Art was turned to nothing, for
They could not look more rosy than before.

LXXVI.

The henna should be deeply dyed to make
The skin relieved appear more fairly fair;
She had no need of this, day ne'er will break
On mountain tops more heavenly white than her:
The eye might doubt if it were well awake,
She was so like a vision; I might err,
But Shakespeare also says, 't is very silly
"To gild refinéd gold, or paint the lily."[190]

LXXVII.

Juan had on a shawl of black and gold,
But a white baracan, and so transparent
The sparkling gems beneath you might behold,
Like small stars through the milky way apparent;
His turban, furled in many a graceful fold,
An emerald aigrette, with Haidée's hair in 't,
Surmounted as its clasp--a glowing crescent,
Whose rays shone ever trembling, but incessant.

LXXVIII.

And now they were diverted by their suite,
Dwarfs, dancing girls, black eunuchs, and a poet,
Which made their new establishment complete;
The last was of great fame, and liked to show it;
His verses rarely wanted their due feet--
And for his theme--he seldom sung below it,
He being paid to satirise or flatter,
As the Psalm says, "inditing a good matter."

LXXIX.

He praised the present, and abused the past,
Reversing the good custom of old days,
An Eastern anti-jacobin at last
He turned, preferring pudding to _no_ praise--
For some few years his lot had been o'ercast
By his seeming independent in his lays,
But now he sung the Sultan and the Pacha--
With truth like Southey, and with verse[191] like Crashaw.[ct]

LXXX.

He was a man who had seen many changes,
And always changed as true as any needle;
His Polar Star being one which rather ranges,
And not the fixed--he knew the way to wheedle:
So vile he 'scaped the doom which oft avenges;
And being fluent (save indeed when fee'd ill),
He lied with such a fervour of intention--
There was no doubt he earned his laureate pension.

LXXXI.

But _he_ had genius,--when a turncoat has it,
The _Vates irritabilis_[192] takes care
That without notice few full moons shall pass it;
Even good men like to make the public stare:--
But to my subject--let me see--what was it?--
Oh!--the third canto--and the pretty pair--
Their loves, and feasts, and house, and dress, and mode
Of living in their insular abode.

LXXXII.

Their poet, a sad trimmer, but, no less,[cu]
In company a very pleasant fellow,
Had been the favourite of full many a mess
Of men, and made them speeches when half mellow;[cv]
And though his meaning they could rarely guess,
Yet still they deigned to hiccup or to bellow
The glorious meed of popular applause,
Of which the first ne'er knows the second cause.[cw]

LXXXIII.

But now being lifted into high society,
And having picked up several odds and ends
Of free thoughts in his travels for variety,
He deemed, being in a lone isle, among friends,
That, without any danger of a riot, he
Might for long lying make himself amends;
And, singing as he sung in his warm youth,
Agree to a short armistice with Truth.

LXXXIV.

He had travelled 'mongst the Arabs, Turks, and Franks,
And knew the self-loves of the different nations;
And having lived with people of all ranks,
Had something ready upon most occasions--
Which got him a few presents and some thanks.
He varied with some skill his adulations;
To "do at Rome as Romans do,"[193] a piece
Of conduct was which _he_ observed in Greece.

LXXXV.

Thus, usually, when _he_ was asked to sing,
He gave the different nations something national;
'T was all the same to him--"God save the King,"
Or "Ça ira," according to the fashion all:
His Muse made increment of anything,
From the high lyric down to the low rational;[cx][194]
If Pindar sang horse-races, what should hinder
Himself from being as pliable as Pindar?

LXXXVI.

In France, for instance, he would write a chanson;
In England a six canto quarto tale;
In Spain he'd make a ballad or romance on
The last war--much the same in Portugal;
In Germany, the Pegasus he'd prance on
Would be old Goethe's--(see what says De Staël);[195]
In Italy he'd ape the "Trecentisti;"
In Greece, he'd sing some sort of hymn like this t' ye:[196]

1.

The Isles of Greece, the Isles of Greece!
Where burning Sappho loved and sung,
Where grew the arts of War and Peace,
Where Delos rose, and Phoebus sprung!
Eternal summer gilds them yet,
But all, except their Sun, is set.

2.

The Scian and the Teian muse,
The Hero's harp, the Lover's lute,
Have found the fame your shores refuse:
Their place of birth alone is mute
To sounds which echo further west
Than your Sires' "Islands of the Blest."[197]

3.

The mountains look on Marathon--[cy]
And Marathon looks on the sea;
And musing there an hour alone,
I dreamed that Greece might still be free;
For standing on the Persians' grave,
I could not deem myself a slave.

4.[198]

A King sate on the rocky brow
Which looks o'er sea-born Salamis;
And ships, by thousands, lay below,
And men in nations;--all were his!
He counted them at break of day--
And, when the Sun set, where were they?

5.

And where are they? and where art thou,
My Country? On thy voiceless shore
The heroic lay is tuneless now--
The heroic bosom beats no more![cz]
And must thy Lyre, so long divine,
Degenerate into hands like mine?

6.

'T is something, in the dearth of Fame,
Though linked among a fettered race,
To feel at least a patriot's shame,
Even as I sing, suffuse my face;
For what is left the poet here?
For Greeks a blush--for Greece a tear.

7.

Must _we_ but weep o'er days more blest?
Must _we_ but blush?--Our fathers bled.
Earth! render back from out thy breast
A remnant of our Spartan dead!
Of the three hundred grant but three,
To make a new Thermopylæ!

8.

What, silent still? and silent all?
Ah! no;--the voices of the dead
Sound like a distant torrent's fall,
And answer, "Let one living head,
But one arise,--we come, we come!"
'T is but the living who are dumb.

9.

In vain--in vain: strike other chords;
Fill high the cup with Samian wine!
Leave battles to the Turkish hordes,
And shed the blood of Scio's vine!
Hark! rising to the ignoble call--
How answers each bold Bacchanal!

10.

You have the Pyrrhic dance as yet,[199]
Where is the Pyrrhic phalanx gone?
Of two such lessons, why forget
The nobler and the manlier one?
You have the letters Cadmus gave--
Think ye he meant them for a slave?

11.

Fill high the bowl with Samian wine!
We will not think of themes like these!
It made Anacreon's song divine:
He served--but served Polycrates--[200]
A Tyrant; but our masters then
Were still, at least, our countrymen.

12.

The Tyrant of the Chersonese
Was Freedom's best and bravest friend;
_That_ tyrant was Miltiades!
Oh! that the present hour would lend
Another despot of the kind!
Such chains as his were sure to bind.

13.

Fill high the bowl with Samian wine!
On Suli's rock, and Parga's shore,
Exists the remnant of a line
Such as the Doric mothers bore;
And there, perhaps, some seed is sown,
The Heracleidan blood might own.[da]

14.

Trust not for freedom to the Franks--[201]
They have a king who buys and sells;
In native swords, and native ranks,
The only hope of courage dwells;
But Turkish force, and Latin fraud,
Would break your shield, however broad.

15.

Fill high the bowl with Samian wine!
Our virgins dance beneath the shade--
I see their glorious black eyes shine;
But gazing on each glowing maid,
My own the burning tear-drop laves,
To think such breasts must suckle slaves.

16.

Place me on Sunium's marbled steep,[202]
Where nothing, save the waves and I,
May hear our mutual murmurs sweep;
There, swan-like, let me sing and die:
A land of slaves shall ne'er be mine--
Dash down yon cup of Samian wine!

LXXXVII.

Thus sung, or would, or could, or should have sung,
The modern Greek, in tolerable verse;
If not like Orpheus quite, when Greece was young,
Yet in these times he might have done much worse:
His strain displayed some feeling--right or wrong;
And feeling,[203] in a poet, is the source
Of others' feeling; but they are such liars,
And take all colours--like the hands of dyers.

LXXXVIII.

But words are things,[204] and a small drop of ink,
Falling like dew, upon a thought, produces
That which makes thousands, perhaps millions, think;
'T is strange, the shortest letter which man uses
Instead of speech, may form a lasting link
Of ages; to what straits old Time reduces
Frail man, when paper--even a rag like this,
Survives himself, his tomb, and all that's his!

LXXXIX.

And when his bones are dust, his grave a blank,
His station, generation, even his nation,
Become a thing, or nothing, save to rank
In chronological commemoration,
Some dull MS. Oblivion long has sank,
Or graven stone found in a barrack's station
In digging the foundation of a closet,[db]
May turn his name up, as a rare deposit.

XC.

And Glory long has made the sages smile;
'T is something, nothing, words, illusion, wind--
Depending more upon the historian's style
Than on the name a person leaves behind:
Troy owes to Homer what whist owes to Hoyle:[205]
The present century was growing blind
To the great Marlborough's skill in giving knocks,
Until his late Life by Archdeacon Coxe.[206]

XCI.

Milton's the Prince of poets--so we say;
A little heavy, but no less divine:
An independent being in his day--
Learned, pious, temperate in love and wine;
But, his life falling into Johnson's way,
We're told this great High Priest of all the Nine
Was whipped at college--a harsh sire--odd spouse,
For the first Mrs. Milton left his house.[207]

XCII.

All these are, _certes_, entertaining facts,
Like Shakespeare's stealing deer, Lord Bacon's bribes;
Like Titus' youth, and Cæsar's earliest acts;[208]
Like Burns (whom Doctor Currie well describes);[209]
Like Cromwell's pranks;[210]--but although Truth exacts
These amiable descriptions from the scribes,
As most essential to their Hero's story,
They do not much contribute to his glory.

XCIII.

All are not moralists, like Southey, when
He prated to the world of "Pantisocracy;"[211]
Or Wordsworth unexcised,[212] unhired, who then
Seasoned his pedlar poems with Democracy;[dc]
Or Coleridge[213] long before his flighty pen
Let to the Morning Post its aristocracy;[dd]
When he and Southey, following the same path,
Espoused two partners (milliners of Bath).[214]

XCIV.

Such names at present cut a convict figure,
The very Botany Bay in moral geography;
Their loyal treason, renegado rigour,
Are good manure for their more bare biography;
Wordsworth's last quarto, by the way, is bigger
Than any since the birthday of typography;
A drowsy, frowzy poem, called the "Excursion,"
Writ in a manner which is my aversion.

XCV.

He there builds up a formidable dyke
Between his own and others' intellect;
But Wordsworth's poem, and his followers, like
Joanna Southcote's Shiloh[215] and her sect,
Are things which in this century don't strike
The public mind,--so few are the elect;
And the new births of both their stale Virginities
Have proved but Dropsies, taken for Divinities.

XCVI.

But let me to my story: I must own,
If I have any fault, it is digression,
Leaving my people to proceed alone,
While I soliloquize beyond expression:
But these are my addresses from the throne,
Which put off business to the ensuing session:
Forgetting each omission is a loss to
The world, not quite so great as Ariosto.

XCVII.

I know that what our neighbours call _"longueurs,"_
(We've not so good a _word_, but have the _thing_,
In that complete perfection which insures
An epic from Bob Southey every spring--)
Form not the true temptation which allures
The reader; but 't would not be hard to bring
Some fine examples of the _Epopée_,
To prove its grand ingredient is _Ennui_.[216]

XCVIII.

We learn from Horace, "Homer sometimes sleeps;"[217]
We feel without him,--Wordsworth sometimes wakes,--
To show with what complacency he creeps,
With his dear "_Waggoners_," around his lakes.[218]
He wishes for "a boat" to sail the deeps--
Of Ocean?--No, of air; and then he makes
Another outcry for "a little boat,"
And drivels seas to set it well afloat.[219]

XCIX.

If he must fain sweep o'er the ethereal plain,
And Pegasus runs restive in his "Waggon,"
Could he not beg the loan of Charles's Wain?
Or pray Medea for a single dragon?[220]
Or if, too classic for his vulgar brain,
He feared his neck to venture such a nag on,
And he must needs mount nearer to the moon,
Could not the blockhead ask for a balloon?

C.

"Pedlars," and "Boats," and "Waggons!" Oh! ye shades
Of Pope and Dryden, are we come to this?
That trash of such sort not alone evades
Contempt, but from the bathos' vast abyss
Floats scumlike uppermost, and these Jack Cades
Of sense and song above your graves may hiss--
The "little boatman" and his _Peter Bell_
Can sneer at him who drew "Achitophel!"[221]

CI.

T' our tale.--The feast was over, the slaves gone,
The dwarfs and dancing girls had all retired;
The Arab lore and Poet's song were done,
And every sound of revelry expired;
The lady and her lover, left alone,
The rosy flood of Twilight's sky admired;--
Ave Maria! o'er the earth and sea,
That heavenliest hour of Heaven is worthiest thee!

CII.

Ave Maria! blesséd be the hour!
The time, the clime, the spot, where I so oft
Have felt that moment in its fullest power
Sink o'er the earth--so beautiful and soft--
While swung the deep bell in the distant tower,[de]
Or the faint dying day-hymn stole aloft,
And not a breath crept through the rosy air,
And yet the forest leaves seemed stirred with prayer.

CIII.

Ave Maria! 't is the hour of prayer!
Ave Maria! 't is the hour of Love!
Ave Maria! may our spirits dare
Look up to thine and to thy Son's above!
Ave Maria! oh that face so fair!
Those downcast eyes beneath the Almighty Dove--
What though 't is but a pictured image?--strike--
That painting is no idol,--'t is too like.

CIV.

Some kinder casuists are pleased to say,
In nameless print[df]--that I have no devotion;
But set those persons down with me to pray,
And you shall see who has the properest notion
Of getting into Heaven the shortest way;
My altars are the mountains and the Ocean,
Earth--air--stars,[222]--all that springs from the great Whole,
Who hath produced, and will receive the Soul.

CV.

Sweet Hour of Twilight!--in the solitude
Of the pine forest, and the silent shore
Which bounds Ravenna's immemorial wood,
Rooted where once the Adrian wave flowed o'er,
To where the last Cæsarean fortress stood,[223]
Evergreen forest! which Boccaccio's lore
And Dryden's lay made haunted ground to me,
How have I loved the twilight hour and thee![224]

CVI.

The shrill cicalas, people of the pine,
Making their summer lives one ceaseless song,
Were the sole echoes, save my steed's and mine,
And Vesper bell's that rose the boughs along;
The spectre huntsman of Onesti's line,
His hell-dogs, and their chase, and the fair throng
Which learned from this example not to fly
From a true lover,--shadowed my mind's eye.[225]

CVII.

Oh, Hesperus! thou bringest all good things--[226]
Home to the weary, to the hungry cheer,
To the young bird the parent's brooding wings,
The welcome stall to the o'erlaboured steer;
Whate'er of peace about our hearthstone clings,
Whate'er our household gods protect of dear,
Are gathered round us by thy look of rest;
Thou bring'st the child, too, to the mother's breast.

CVIII.

Soft Hour! which wakes the wish and melts the heart
Of those who sail the seas, on the first day
When they from their sweet friends are torn apart;
Or fills with love the pilgrim on his way
As the far bell of Vesper makes him start,
Seeming to weep the dying day's decay;[227]
Is this a fancy which our reason scorns?
Ah! surely Nothing dies but Something mourns!

CIX.

When Nero perished by the justest doom
Which ever the Destroyer yet destroyed,
Amidst the roar of liberated Rome,
Of nations freed, and the world overjoyed,
Some hands unseen strewed flowers upon his tomb:[228]
Perhaps the weakness of a heart not void
Of feeling for some kindness done, when Power
Had left the wretch an uncorrupted hour.

CX.

But I'm digressing; what on earth has Nero,
Or any such like sovereign buffoons,[dg]
To do with the transactions of my hero,
More than such madmen's fellow man--the moon's?
Sure my invention must be down at zero,
And I grown one of many "Wooden Spoons"
Of verse, (the name with which we Cantabs please
To dub the last of honours in degrees).

CXI.

I feel this tediousness will never do--
T' is being _too_ epic, and I must cut down
(In copying) this long canto into two;
They'll never find it out, unless I own
The fact, excepting some experienced few;
And then as an improvement 't will be shown:
I'll prove that such the opinion of the critic is
From Aristotle _passim_.--See [Greek: POIAETIKAES].[229]
 

 

 

FOOTNOTES:

[169] [November 30, 1819. Copied in 1820 (MS.D.). Moore (_Life_, 421)
says that Byron was at work on the third canto when he stayed with him
at Venice, in October, 1819. "One day, before dinner, [he] read me two
or three hundred lines of it; beginning with the stanzas "Oh
Wellington," etc., which, at the time, formed the opening of the third
canto, but were afterwards reserved for the commencement of the ninth."
The third canto, as it now stands, was completed by November 8, 1819;
see _Letters_, 1900, iv. 375. The date on the MS. may refer to the first
fair copy.]

{144}[ch] _And fits her like a stocking or a glove_.--[MS. D.]

[170] ["On peut trouver des femmes qui n'ont jamais eu de galanterie,
mais il est rare d'en trouver qui n'en aient jamais eu
qu'une."--_Réflexions_ ... du Duc de la Rochefoucauld, No. lxxiii.

Byron prefixed the maxim as a motto to his "Ode to a Lady whose Lover
was killed by a Ball, which at the same time shivered a Portrait next
his Heart."--_Poetical Works_, 1901, iv. 552.]

{145}[171] [_Merchant of Venice_, act iv. sc. 1, line 254.]

[ci]
_Had Petrarch's passion led to Petrarch's wedding,_
_How many sonnets had ensued the bedding?_--[MS.]

[172] [The Ballad of "Death and the Lady" was printed in a small volume,
entitled _A Guide to Heaven_, 1736, 12mo. It is mentioned in _The Vicar
of Wakefield_ (chap. xvii.), _Works of Oliver Goldsmith_, 1854, i. 369.
See _Old English Popular Music_, by William Chappell, F.S.A., 1893, ii.
170, 171.]

{146}[173] [See _The Prophecy of Dante,_ Canto I. lines 172-174,
_Poetical Works,_ 1901, iv. 253, note 1.]

[174] Milton's first wife ran away from him within the first month. If
she had not, what would John Milton have done?

[Mary Powell did not "run away," but at the end of the honeymoon
obtained her husband's consent to visit her family at Shotover, "upon a
promise of returning at Michaelmas." "And in the mean while his studies
went on very vigorously; and his chief diversion, after the business of
the day, was now and then in an evening to visit the Lady Margaret
Lee.... This lady, being a woman of excellent wit and understanding, had
a particular honour for our author, and took great delight in his
conversation; as likewise did her husband, Captain Hobson." See, too,
his sonnet "To the Lady Margaret Ley."--_The Life of Milton_ (by Thomas
Newton, D.D.), _Paradise Regained,_ ed. (Baskerville), 1758, pp. xvii.,
xviii.]

[175] ["Yesterday a very pretty letter from Annabella.... She is a
poetess--a mathematician--a metaphysician."--_Journal_ November 30,
1813, _Letters_, 1898, ii. 357.]

{147}[cj]
_Displayed much more of nerve, perhaps, of wit,_
_Than any of the parodies of Pitt_.--[MS.]

{148}[ck] _---- toothpicks, a bidet_.--[MS. Alternative reading.]

"_Dr. Murray--As you are squeamish you may put 'teapot, tray,' in case
the other piece of feminine furniture frightens you.--B._"

[176] [For Byron's menagerie, see _Werner_, act i. sc. 1, line 216,
_Poetical Works_, 1902, v. 348, note 1.]

{149}[177] ["But as for canine recollections ... I had one (half a
_wolf_ by the she-side) that doted on me at ten years old, and very
nearly ate me at twenty. When I thought he was going to enact Argus, he
bit away the backside of my breeches, and never would consent to any
kind of recognition, in despite of all kinds of bones which I offered
him."--Letter to Moore, January 19, 1815, _Letters_, 1899, iii. 171,
172. Compare, too, _Childe Harold_, Canto I. Song, stanza ix., _Poetical
Works_, 1899, ii. 30.]

{150}[cl]
_Yet for all that don't stay away too long,_
_A sofa, like a bed, may come by wrong_.--[MS.]
_I've known the friend betrayed_----.--[MS. D.]

{151}[178] [The Pyrrhic war-dance represented "by rapid movements of the
body, the way in which missiles and blows from weapons were avoided, and
also the mode in which the enemy was attacked" (_Dict. of Ant._).
Dodwell (_Tour through Greece_, 1819, ii. 21, 22) observes that in
Thessaly and Macedon dances are performed at the present day by men
armed with their musket and sword. See, too, Hobhouse's description
(_Travels in Albania_, 1858, i. 166, 167) of the Albanian war-dance at
Loutráki.]

[179] ["Their manner of dancing is certainly the same that Diana is
_sung_ to have danced on the banks of Eurotas. The great lady still
leads the dance, and is followed by a troop of young girls, who imitate
her steps, and, if she sings, make up the chorus. The tunes are
extremely gay and lively, yet with something in them wonderfully soft.
The steps are varied according to the pleasure of her that leads the
dance, but always in exact time, and infinitely more agreeable than any
of our dances."--Lady M.W. Montagu to Pope, April 1, O.S., 1817,
_Letters, etc._, 1816, p. 138. The "kerchief-waving" dance is the
_Romaika_. See _The Waltz_, line 125, _Poetical Works_, 1898, i. 492,
note 1. See, too, _Voyage Pittoresque_ ... by the Comte de
Choiseul-Gouffier, 1782, vol. i. Planche 33.]

[cm] _That would have set Tom Moore, though married, raving._--[MS.]

{152}[180] ["Upon the whole, I think the part of _Don Juan_ in which
Lambro's return to his home, and Lambro himself are described, is the
best, that is, the most individual, thing in all I know of Lord B.'s
works. The festal abandonment puts one in mind of Nicholas Poussin's
pictures."--_Table Talk_ of S.T. Coleridge, June 7, 1824.]

{153}[181] [Compare _Hudibras_, Part I. canto iii. lines 1, 2--

"Ay me! what perils do environ
The man that meddles with cold iron!"

Byron's friend, C.S. Matthews, shouted these lines, _con intenzione_,
under the windows of a Cambridge tradesman named Hiron, who had been
instrumental in the expulsion from the University of Sir Henry Smyth, a
riotous undergraduate. (See letter to Murray, October 19, 1820.)]

{154}[cn]
_All had been open, heart, and open house,_
_Ever since Juan served her for a spouse._--[MS.]

{155}[182]
 


    ["Rispose allor Margutte: a dirtel tosto,
        Io non credo più al nero ch' all' azzurro;
    Ma nel cappone, o lesso, o vuogli arrosto,
    E credo alcuna volta anche nel burro;
    Nella cervogia, e quando io n' ho nel mosto,
    E molto più nell' aspro che il mangurro;
    Ma sopra tutto nel buon vino ho fede,
    E credo che sia salvo chi gli crede."

Pulci, _Morgante Maggiore_, Canto XVIII. stanza cxv.]

 

{157}[co] _For instance, if a first or second wife._--[MS.]

{159}[cp]
_And send him forth like Samson strong in blindness_.--[MS. D.]
_And make him Samson-like--more fierce with blindness_.--[MS. M.]

[cq]
_Not so the single, deep, and wordless ire,_
_Of a strong human heart_--.--[MS.]

{160}[183] ["Almost all _Don Juan_ is _real_ life, either my own, or
from people I knew. By the way, much of the description of the
_furniture_, in Canto Third, is taken from _Tully's Tripoli_ (pray _note
this_), and the rest from my own observation. Remember, I never meant to
conceal this at all, and have only not stated it, because _Don Juan_ had
no preface, nor name to it."--Letter to Murray, August 23, 1821,
_Letters_, 1901, v. 346.

The first edition of _"Tully's Tripoli"_ is entitled _Narrative of a Ten
Years' Residence in Tripoli In Africa: From the original correspondence
in the possession of the Family of the late Richard Tully, Esq., the
British Consul_, 1816, 410. The book is in the form of letters (so says
the _Preface_) written by the Consul's sister. The description of
Haidée's _dress_ is taken from the account of a visit to Lilla Kebbiera,
the wife of the Bashaw (p. 30); the description of the furniture and
refreshments from the account of a visit to "Lilla Amnani," Hadgi
Abderrahmam's Greek wife (pp. 132-137). It is evident that the "Chiel"
who took _these_ "notes" was the Consul's _sister_, not the Consul:
"Lilla Aisha, the Bey's wife, is thought to be very sensible, though
rather haughty. Her apartments were grand, and herself superbly habited.
Her chemise was covered with gold embroidery at the neck; over it she
wore a gold and silver tissue _jileck_, or jacket without sleeves, and
over that another of purple velvet richly laced with gold, with coral
and pearl buttons set quite close together down the front; it had short
sleeves finished with a gold band not far below the shoulder, and
discovered a wide loose chemise of transparent gauze, with gold, silver,
and ribband strips. She wore round her ancles ... a sort of fetter made
of a thick bar of gold so fine that they bound it round the leg with one
hand; it is an inch and a half wide, and as much in thickness: each of
these weighs four pounds. Just above this a band three inches wide of
gold thread finished the ends of a pair of trousers made of pale yellow
and white silk."

Page 132. "[Lilla] rose to take coffee, which was served in very small
china cups, placed in silver filigree cups; and gold filigree cups were
put under those presented to the married ladies. They had introduced
cloves, cinnamon, and saffron into the coffee, which was abundantly
sweetened; but this mixture was very soon changed, and replaced by
excellent simple coffee for the European ladies...."

Page 133. "The Greek then shewed us the gala furniture of her own
room.... The hangings of the room were of tapestry, made in pannels of
different coloured velvets, thickly inlaid with flowers of silk damask;
a yellow border, of about a foot in depth, finished the tapestry at top
and bottom, the upper border being embroidered with Moorish sentences
from the Koran in lilac letters. The carpet was of crimson satin, with a
deep border of pale blue quilted; this is laid over Indian mats and
other carpets. In the best part of the room the sofa is placed, which
occupies three sides in an alcove, the floor of which is raised. The
sofa and the cushions that lay around were of crimson velvet, the centre
cushions were embroidered with a sun in gold of highly embossed work,
the rest were of gold and silver tissue. The curtains of the alcove were
made to match those before the bed. A number of looking-glasses, and a
profusion of fine china and chrystal completed the ornaments and
furniture of the room, in which were neither tables nor chairs. A small
table, about six inches high, is brought in when refreshments are
served; it is of ebony, inlaid with mother-of-pearl, tortoiseshell,
ivory, gold and silver, of choice woods, or of plain mahogany, according
to the circumstances of the proprietor."

Page 136. "On the tables were placed all sorts of refreshments, and
thirty or forty dishes of meat and poultry, dressed different ways;
there were no knives nor forks, and only a few spoons of gold, silver,
ivory, or coral...."

Page 137. "The beverage was various sherbets, some composed of the juice
of boiled raisins, very sweet; some of the juice of pomegranates
squeezed through the rind; and others of the pure juice of oranges.
These sherbets were copiously supplied in high glass ewers, placed in
great numbers on the ground.... After the dishes of meat were removed, a
dessert of Arabian fruits, confectionaries, and sweetmeats was served;
among the latter was the date-bread. This sweetmeat is made in
perfection only by the blacks at Fezzan, of the ripe date of the
country.... They make it in the shape of loaves, weighing from twenty to
thirty pounds; the stones of the fruit are taken out, and the dates
simply pressed together with great weights; thus preserved, it keeps
perfectly good for a year."]

{162}[184] ["He writes like a man who has that clear perception of the
truth of things which is the result of the guilty knowledge of good and
evil; and who, by the light of that knowledge, has deliberately
preferred the evil with a proud malignity of purpose, which would seem
to leave little for the last consummating change to accomplish. When he
calculates that the reader is on the verge of pitying him, he takes care
to throw him back the defiance of laughter, as if to let him know that
all the Poet's pathos is but the sentimentalism of the drunkard between
his cups, or the relenting softness of the courtesan, who the next
moment resumes the bad boldness of her degraded character. With such a
man, who would wish either to laugh or to weep?"--_Eclectic Review_
(Lord Byron's _Mazeppa_), August, 1819, vol. xii. p. 150.]

[cr] _For that's the name they like to cant beneath._--[MS.]

{163}[cs] _The upholsterer's_ "fiat lux" _had bade to issue._--[MS.]

{164}[185] This dress is Moorish, and the bracelets and bar are worn in
the manner described. The reader will perceive hereafter, that as the
mother of Haidée was of Fez, her daughter wore the garb of the country.
[_Vide ante, p. 160, note 1._]

[186] The bar of gold above the instep is a mark of sovereign rank in
the women of the families of the Deys, and is worn as such by their
female relatives. [_Vide ibid._]

[187] This is no exaggeration: there were four women whom I remember to
have seen, who possessed their hair in this profusion; of these, three
were English, the other was a Levantine. Their hair was of that length
and quantity, that, when let down, it almost entirely shaded the person,
so as nearly to render dress a superfluity. Of these, only one had dark
hair; the Oriental's had, perhaps, the lightest colour of the four.

[188] [Compare--

"Yet there was round thee such a dawn
Of Light ne'er seen before,
As Fancy never could have drawn,
And never can restore."

Song by Rev. C. Wolfe (1791-1823).

Compare, too--

"She was a form of Life and Light
That, seen, became a part of sight."

_The Giaour_, lines 1127, 1128.]

{165}[189]

[" ... but Psyche owns no lord--
She walks a goddess from above;
All saw, all praised her, all adored,
But no one ever dared to love."

_The Golden Ass of Apuleius; in English verse, entitled Cupid and
Psyche_, by Hudson Gurney, 1799.]

[190] [_King John_, act iv. sc. 2, line 11.]

{166}[191] ["Richard Crashaw (died 1650), the friend of Cowley, was
honoured," says Warton, "with the praise of Pope; who both read his
poems and borrowed from them. After he was ejected from his Fellowship
at Peterhouse for denying the covenant, he turned Roman Catholic, and
died canon of the church at Loretto." Cowley sang his _In Memoriam_--

"_Angels_ (they say) brought the famed _Chappel_ there;
And bore the sacred Load in Triumph through the air:--
'T is surer much they brought thee there, and _They_,
And _Thou_, their charge, went _singing_ all the way."

_The Works, etc._, 1668, pp. 29, 30.]

[ct] _Believed like Southey--and perused like Crashaw._--[MS.]

{167}[192] [The second chapter of Coleridge's _Biographia Literaria_ is
on the "supposed irritability of men of genius." Ed. 1847, i. 29.]

[cu] _Their poet a sad Southey_.--[MS. D.]

[cv] _Of rogues_--.--[MS. D.]

[cw] _Of which the causers never know the cause_.--[MS. D.]

{168}[193] [_Vide St. August. Epist._, xxxvi., cap. xiv., "Ille
[Ambrosius, Mediolanensis Episcopus] adjecit; Quando hic sum, non jejuno
sabbato; quando Romae sum, jejuno sabbato."--Migne's _Patrologiæ
Cursus_, 1845, xxxiii. 151.]

[cx] _From the high lyrical to the low rational_.--[MS.D.]

[194] [The allusion is to Coleridge's eulogy of Southey in the
Biographia Literaria (ed. 1847, i. 61): "In poetry he has attempted
almost every species of composition known before, and he has added new
ones; and if we except the very highest lyric ... he has attempted every
species successfully." But the satire, primarily and ostensibly aimed at
Southey, now and again glances at Southey's eulogist.]

[195] ["Goethe pourroit représenter la littérature allemande toute
entière."--_De L'Allemagne_, par Mme. la Baronne de Staël-Holstein,
1818, i. 227.]

[196] [The poet is not "a sad Southey," but is sketched from memory.
"Lord Byron," writes Finlay (_History of Greece_, vi. 335, note), "used
to describe an evening passed in the company of Londos [a Morean
landowner, who took part in the first and second Greek Civil Wars], at
Vostitza (in 1809), when both were young men, with a spirit that
rendered the scene worthy of a place in _Don Juan_. After supper Londos,
who had the face and figure of a chimpanzee, sprang upon a table, ...
and commenced singing through his nose Rhiga's Hymn to Liberty. A new
cadi, passing near the house, inquired the cause of the discordant
hubbub. A native Mussulman replied, 'It is only the young primate
Londos, who is drunk, and is singing hymns to the new panaghia of the
Greeks, whom they call Eleutheria.'" (See letter to Andreas Londos
(undated), _Letters_, 1901, vi. 320, note 1.)]

{169}[197] The [Greek: Maka/rôn nêsoi] [Hesiod, _Works and Days_, line
169] of the Greek poets were supposed to have been the Cape de Verd
Islands, or the Canaries.

[cy]
_Euboea looks on Marathon,
And Marathon looks on the sea, etc._--[MS.]

[198] [See Æschylus, _Persæ_, 463, sq.; and Herodotus, viii. 90.
Harpocration records the preservation, in the Acropolis, of the
silver-footed throne on which Xerxes sat when he watched the battle of
Salamis from the slope of Mount Ægaleos.]

{170}[cz] _The Heroic heart awakes no more_.--[MS. D.]

{171}[199] [For "that most ancient military dance, the _Pyrrhica_," see
_Travels_, by E.D. Clarke, 1814, part ii. sect. 11, p. 641; and for
specimens of "Cadmean characters," _vide ibid._, p. 593.]

[200] [After his birthplace Teos was taken by the Persians, B.C. 510,
Anacreon migrated to Abdera, but afterwards lived at Samos, under the
protection of Polycrates.]

[da] _Which Hercules might deem his own._--[MS.]

{172}[201] [See the translation of a speech delivered to the Pargiots,
in 1815, by an aged citizen: "I exhort you well to consider, before you
yield yourselves up to the English, that the King of England now has in
his pay all the kings of Europe--obtaining money for this purpose from
his merchants; whence, should it become advantageous to the merchants to
sell you, in order to conciliate Ali, and obtain certain commercial
advantages in his harbours, the _English will sell you to Ali._"
--"Parga," _Edinburgh Review_, October, 1819. vol. 32, pp. 263-293.
Here, perhaps, the "Franks" are the Russians. Compare--

"Greeks only should free Greece,
Not the barbarian with his masque of peace."

_The Age of Bronze_, lines 298, 299, _Poetical Works_, 1901, v. 557,
note 1.]

[202]

[Greek: Genoi/man, i(/n' y(laen e)/pesti po/n-]
[Greek: tou pro/blêm' a(likyston, a)/-]
[Greek: kran y(po\ pla/ka Souni/ou, k.t.l.]

Sophocles, _Ajax_, lines 1190-1192.]

{173}[203] [Compare--

"What poets feel not, when they make,
A pleasure in creating,
The world, in _its_ turn, will not take
Pleasure in contemplating."

Matthew Arnold (Motto to _Poems_, 1869, vol. i. Fly-leaf).]

[204] [For this "sentence," see _Journal_, November 16, 1813, _Letters_,
1898, ii. 320, note 1; see, too, letter to Rogers, 1814, _Letters_,
1899, iii. 89, note 1.]

[db] _In digging drains for a new water-closet._--[MS.]

[205] [For Edmund Hoyle (1672-1769), see _English Bards, etc._, lines
966-968, _Poetical Works_, 1898, i. 372, note 4.]

{174}[206] [William Coxe (1747-1828), Archdeacon of Wilts, a voluminous
historian and biographer, published _Memoirs of John, Duke of
Marlborough_, in 1817-1819.]

[207] [See _Life of Milton, Works_ of Samuel Johnson, 1825, vii. pp. 67,
68, 80, _et vide ante_, p. 146, note 2.]

[208] [According to Suetonius, the youthful Titus amused himself by
copying handwriting, and boasted that he could have made a first-rate
_falsarius_. One of Cæsar's "earliest acts" was to crucify some jovial
pirates, who had kidnapped him, and with whom he pretended to be on
pleasant if not friendly terms.]

[209] [James Currie, M.D. (1756-1805), published, anonymously, the
_Works of Robert Burns, with an account of his Life, etc._, in 1800.]

[210] ["He [Cromwell] was very notorious for robbing orchards, a puerile
crime ... but grown so scandalous and injurious by the frequent spoyls
and damages of Trees, breaking of Hedges, and Inclosures, committed by
this _Apple-Dragon_, that many solemn complaints were made both to his
Father and Mother for redresse thereof; which missed not their
satisfaction and expiation out of his hide," etc.--_Flagellum_, by James
Heath, 1663, p. 5. See, too, for his "name of a Royster" at Cambridge,
_A Short View of the Late Troubles in England_, by Sir William Dugdale,
1681, p. 459.]

{175}[211] [In _The Friend_, 1818, ii. 38, Coleridge refers to "a plan
... of trying the experiment of human perfectibility on the banks of the
Susquehanna;" and Southey, in his _Letter to William Smith, Esq._
(1817), (_Essays Moral and Political_, by Robert Southey, 1832, ii. 17),
speaks of his "purpose to retire with a few friends into the wilds of
America, and there lay the foundations of a community," etc.; but the
word "_Pantisocracy_" is not mentioned. It occurs, perhaps, for the
first time in print, in George Dyer's biographical sketch of Southey,
which he contributed to _Public Characters of 1799-1800_, p. 225,
"Coleridge, no less than Southey, possessed a strong passion for poetry.
They commenced, like two young poets, an enthusiastic friendship, and in
connection with others, struck out a plan for settling in America, and
for having all things in common. This scheme they called Pantisocracy."
Hence, the phrase must have "caught on," for, in a footnote to his
review of Coleridge's _Literary Life_ (_Edin. Rev._, August, 1817, vol.
xxviii. p. 501), Jeffrey speaks of "the Pantisocratic or Lake School."]

[212] [Wordsworth _was_ "hired," but not, like Burns, "excised." Hazlitt
(_Lectures on the English Poets_, 1870, p. 174) is responsible for the
epithet: "Mr. Wordsworth might have shown the incompatibility between
the Muse and the Excise," etc.]

[dc] _Confined his pedlar poems to democracy._--[MS.]

[213] [Coleridge began his poetical contributions to the _Morning Post_
in January, 1798; his poetical articles in 1800.]

[dd] _Flourished its sophistry for aristocracy._--[MS.]

[214] [Coleridge was married to Sarah Fricker, October 5; Southey to her
younger sister Edith, November 15, 1795. Their father, Stephen Fricker,
who had been an innkeeper, and afterwards a potter at Bristol, migrated
to Bath about the year 1780. For the last six years of his life he was
owner and manager of a coal wharf. He had inherited a small fortune, and
his wife brought him money, but he died bankrupt, and left his family
destitute. His widow returned to Bristol, and kept a school. In a letter
to Murray, dated September 11, 1822 (_Letters_, 1901, vi. 113), Byron
quotes the authority of "Luttrell," and "his friend Mr. Nugent," for the
statement that Mrs. Southey and "Coleridge's Sara ... before they were
married ... were milliner's or dressmaker's apprentices." The story
rests upon their evidence. It is certain that in 1794, when Coleridge
appeared upon the scene, the sisters earned their living by going out to
work in the houses of friends, and were not, at that time, "milliners of
Bath."]

{176}[215] [For Joanna Southcott (1750-1814), see _Letters_, 1899, iii.
128-130, note 2.]

[216] [Here follows, in the original MS.--
 


    "Time has approved Ennui to be the best
      Of friends, and opiate draughts; your love and wine,
    Which shake so much the human brain and breast,
      Must end in languor;--men must sleep like swine:
    The happy lover and the welcome guest
      Both sink at last into a swoon divine;
    Full of deep raptures and of bumpers, they
    Are somewhat sick and sorry the next day."]

{177}[217] ["Quandoque bonus dormitat Homerus."--Hor., _Epist. Ad
Pisones_, line 359.]

 

[218] [Wordsworth's _Benjamin the Waggoner_, was written in 1805, but
was not published till 1819. "Benjamin" was servant to William Jackson,
a Keswick carrier, who built Greta Hall, and let off part of the house
to Coleridge.]

[219]

["There's something in a flying horse,
There's something in a huge balloon;
But through the clouds I'll never float
Until I have a little Boat,
Shaped like the crescent-moon."

Wordsworth's _Peter Bell_, stanza i.]

[220] [For Medea's escape from the wrath of Jason, "Titaniacis ablata
draconibus," see Ovid., _Met._, vii. 398.]

[221] [In his "Essay, Supplementary to the Preface," to his "Poems" of
1815, Wordsworth, commenting on a passage on Night in Dryden's _Indian
Emperor_, says, "Dryden's lines are vague, bombastic, and senseless....
The verses of Dryden once celebrated are forgotten." He is not passing
any general criticism on "him who drew _Achitophel_." In a letter to Sir
Walter Scott (November 7, 1805), then engaged on his great edition of
Dryden's _Works_, he admits that Dryden is not "as a poet any great
favourite of mine. I admire his talents and genius highly, but he is not
a poetical genius. The only qualities I can find in Dryden that are
_essentially_ poetical, are a certain ardour and impetuosity of mind,
with an excellent ear" (_Life of Wordsworth_, by W. Knight, 1889, ii.
26-29). Scott may have remarked on Wordsworth's estimate of Dryden in
conversation with Byron.]

{178}[de] _While swung the signal from the sacred tower._--[MS.]

{179}[df]
_Are not these pretty stanzas?--some folks say--_
_Downright in print_--.--[MS.]

[222] [Compare Coleridge's _Lines to Nature_, which were published in
the _Morning Herald_, in 1815, but must have been unknown to Byron--

"So will I build my altar in the fields,
And the blue sky my fretted dome shall be."]

[223] ["As early as the fifth or sixth century of the Christian era, the
port of Augustus was converted into pleasant orchards, and a lovely
grove of pines covered the ground where the Roman fleet once rode at
anchor.... This advantageous situation was fortified by art and
_labour_, and in the twentieth year of his age, the Emperor of the West
... retired to ... the walls and morasses of Ravenna."--Gibbon's
_Decline and Fall_, 1825, ii. 244, 245.]

[224] ["The first time I had a conversation with Lord Byron on the
subject of religion was at Ravenna, my native country, in 1820, while we
were riding on horseback in an extensive solitary wood of pines. The
scene invited to religious meditation. It was a fine day in spring.
'How,' he said, 'raising our eyes to heaven, or directing them to the
earth, can we doubt of the existence of God?--or how, turning them to
what is within us, can we doubt that there is something more noble and
durable than the clay of which we are formed?'"--Count Gamba.]

{180}[225] [If the _Pineta_ of Ravenna, _bois funèbre_, invited Byron
"to religious meditation," the mental picture of the "spectre huntsman"
pursuing his eternal vengeance on "the inexorable dame"--"that fatal
she," who had mocked his woes--must have set in motion another train of
thought. Such lines as these would "speak comfortably" to him--
 


    "Because she deem'd I well deserved to die,
    And _made a merit_ of her cruelty, ...
    Mine is the ungrateful maid by heaven design'd:
    Mercy she would not give, nor mercy shall she find."

 

"By her example warn'd, the rest beware;
More easy, less imperious, were the fair;
And that one hunting, which the Devil design'd
For one fair female, lost him half the kind."
 

 

Dryden's _Theodore and Honoria_ (_sub fine_).]

 

[226]

[Greek: Espere panta phereis]
[Greek: Phereis oinon--phereis aiga,]
[Greek: Phereis materi paida.]

_Fragment of Sappho._

[Greek: We/spere, pa/nta phe/rôn, o(/sa phai/nolis e)ske/das' au)/ôs]
[Greek: Phe/reis oi)/n phe/reis ai~)ga, Phe/reis a)/py mate/ri pai~da.]

_Sappho_, Memoir, Text, by Henry Thornton Wharton, 1895, p. 136.

"Evening, all things thou bringest
Which dawn spread apart from each other;
The lamb and the kid thou bringest,
Thou bringest the boy to his mother."

J.A. Symonds.

Compare Tennyson's _Locksley Hall, Sixty Years After_--"Hesper, whom the
poet call'd the Bringer home of all good things."]

{181}[227]

"Era già l'ora che volge il disio
Ai naviganti, e intenerisce il cuore;
Lo di ch' han detto ai dolci amici addio;
E che lo nuovo peregrin' damore
Punge, se ode squilla di lontano,
Che paia il giorno pianger che si more."

Dante's _Purgatory_, canto viii., lines 1-6.

This last line is the first of Gray's Elegy, taken by him without
acknowledgment.

[228] See Suetonius for this fact.

["The public joy was so great upon the occasion of his death, that the
common people ran up and down with caps upon their heads. And yet there
were some, who for a long time trimmed up his tomb with spring and
summer flowers, and, one while, placed his image upon his rostra dressed
up in state robes, another while published proclamations in his name, as
if he was yet alive, and would shortly come to Rome again, with a
vengeance to all his enemies."--_De XII. Cæs._, lib. vi. cap. lvii.]

[dg]
_But I'm digressing--what on earth have Nero
And Wordsworth--both poetical buffoons, etc._--[MS.]

{182}[229] [See _De Poeticâ_, cap. xxiv. See, too, the Preface to
Dryden's "Dedication" of the _Æneis_ (_Works_ of John Dryden, 1821, xiv.
130-134). Dryden is said to have derived his knowledge of Aristotle from
Dacier's translation, and it is probable that Byron derived his from
Dryden. See letter to Hodgson (_Letters_, 1891, v. 284), in which he
quotes Aristotle as quoted in Johnson's _Life of Dryden_.]

 

 

 

 

 

 


Canto the Fourth

 


I.

NOTHING so difficult as a beginning
In poesy, unless perhaps the end;
For oftentimes when Pegasus seems winning
The race, he sprains a wing, and down we tend,
Like Lucifer when hurled from Heaven for sinning;
Our sin the same, and hard as his to mend,
Being Pride,[230] which leads the mind to soar too far,
Till our own weakness shows us what we are.

II.

But Time, which brings all beings to their level,
And sharp Adversity, will teach at last
Man,--and, as we would hope,--perhaps the Devil,
That neither of their intellects are vast:
While Youth's hot wishes in our red veins revel,
We know not this--the blood flows on too fast;
But as the torrent widens towards the Ocean,
We ponder deeply on each past emotion.[231]

III.

As boy, I thought myself a clever fellow,
And wished that others held the same opinion;
They took it up when my days grew more mellow,
And other minds acknowledged my dominion:
Now my sere Fancy "falls into the yellow
Leaf,"[232] and Imagination droops her pinion,
And the sad truth which hovers o'er my desk
Turns what was once romantic to burlesque.

IV.

And if I laugh at any mortal thing,
'T is that I may not weep; and if I weep,
'T is that our nature cannot always bring
Itself to apathy, for we must steep[dh]
Our hearts first in the depths of Lethe's spring,[di]
Ere what we least wish to behold will sleep:
Thetis baptized her mortal son in Styx;
A mortal mother would on Lethe fix.

V.

Some have accused me of a strange design
Against the creed and morals of the land,
And trace it in this poem every line:
I don't pretend that I quite understand
My own meaning when I would be _very_ fine;
But the fact is that I have nothing planned,
Unless it were to be a moment merry--
A novel word in my vocabulary.

VI.

To the kind reader of our sober clime
This way of writing will appear exotic;
Pulci[233] was sire of the half-serious rhyme,[dj]
Who sang when Chivalry was more quixotic,
And revelled in the fancies of the time,
True Knights, chaste Dames, huge Giants, Kings despotic;
But all these, save the last, being obsolete,
I chose a modern subject as more meet.

VII.

How I have treated it, I do not know;
Perhaps no better than _they_ have treated me,
Who have imputed such designs as show
Not what they saw, but what they wished to see:
But if it gives them pleasure, be it so;
This is a liberal age, and thoughts are free:
Meantime Apollo plucks me by the ear,
And tells me to resume my story here.[234]

VIII.

Young Juan and his lady-love were left
To their own hearts' most sweet society;
Even Time the pitiless in sorrow cleft
With his rude scythe such gentle bosoms; he
Sighed to behold them of their hours bereft,
Though foe to Love; and yet they could not be
Meant to grow old, but die in happy Spring,
Before one charm or hope had taken wing.

IX.

Their faces were not made for wrinkles, their
Pure blood to stagnate, their great hearts to fail;
The blank grey was not made to blast their hair,
But like the climes that know nor snow nor hail,
They were all summer; lightning might assail
And shiver them to ashes, but to trail
A long and snake-like life of dull decay
Was not for them--they had too little clay.

X.

They were alone once more; for them to be
Thus was another Eden; they were never
Weary, unless when separate: the tree
Cut from its forest root of years--the river
Dammed from its fountain--the child from the knee
And breast maternal weaned at once for ever,--
Would wither less than these two torn apart;[dk]
Alas! there is no instinct like the Heart--

XI.

The Heart--which may be broken: happy they!
Thrice fortunate! who of that fragile mould,
The precious porcelain of human clay,
Break with the first fall: they can ne'er behold
The long year linked with heavy day on day,
And all which must be borne, and never told;
While Life's strange principle will often lie
Deepest in those who long the most to die.

XII.

"Whom the gods love die young," was said of yore,[235]
And many deaths do they escape by this:
The death of friends, and that which slays even more--
The death of Friendship, Love, Youth, all that is,
Except mere breath; and since the silent shore
Awaits at last even those who longest miss
The old Archer's shafts, perhaps the early grave[236]
Which men weep over may be meant to save.

XIII.

Haidée and Juan thought not of the dead--
The Heavens, and Earth, and Air, seemed made for them:
They found no fault with Time, save that he fled;
They saw not in themselves aught to condemn:
Each was the other's mirror, and but read
Joy sparkling in their dark eyes like a gem.
And knew such brightness was but the reflection
Of their exchanging glances of affection.

XIV.

The gentle pressure, and the thrilling touch,
The least glance better understood than words,
Which still said all, and ne'er could say too much;
A language,[237] too, but like to that of birds,
Known but to them, at least appearing such
As but to lovers a true sense affords;
Sweet playful phrases, which would seem absurd
To those who have ceased to hear such, or ne'er heard--

XV.

All these were theirs, for they were children still,
And children still they should have ever been;
They were not made in the real world to fill
A busy character in the dull scene,
But like two beings born from out a rill,
A Nymph and her belovéd, all unseen
To pass their lives in fountains and on flowers,
And never know the weight of human hours.

XVI.

Moons changing had rolled on, and changeless found
Those their bright rise had lighted to such joys
As rarely they beheld throughout their round;
And these were not of the vain kind which cloys,
For theirs were buoyant spirits, never bound
By the mere senses; and that which destroys[dl]
Most love--possession--unto them appeared
A thing which each endearment more endeared.

XVII.

Oh beautiful! and rare as beautiful!
But theirs was Love in which the Mind delights
To lose itself, when the old world grows dull,
And we are sick of its hack sounds and sights,
Intrigues, adventures of the common school,
Its petty passions, marriages, and flights,
Where Hymen's torch but brands one strumpet more,
Whose husband only knows her not a whore.

XVIII.

Hard words--harsh truth! a truth which many know.
Enough.--The faithful and the fairy pair,
Who never found a single hour too slow,
What was it made them thus exempt from care?
Young innate feelings all have felt below,
Which perish in the rest, but in them were
Inherent--what we mortals call romantic,
And always envy, though we deem it frantic.

XIX.

This is in others a factitious state,
An opium dream[238] of too much youth and reading,
But was in them their nature or their fate:
No novels e'er had set their young hearts bleeding,[dm]
For Haidée's knowledge was by no means great,
And Juan was a boy of saintly breeding;
So that there was no reason for their loves
More than for those of nightingales or doves.

XX.

They gazed upon the sunset; 't is an hour
Dear unto all, but dearest to _their_ eyes,
For it had made them what they were: the power
Of Love had first o'erwhelmed them from such skies,
When Happiness had been their only dower,
And Twilight saw them linked in Passion's ties;
Charmed with each other, all things charmed that brought
The past still welcome as the present thought.

XXI.

I know not why, but in that hour to-night,
Even as they gazed, a sudden tremor came,
And swept, as 't were, across their hearts' delight,
Like the wind o'er a harp-string, or a flame,
When one is shook in sound, and one in sight:
And thus some boding flashed through either frame,
And called from Juan's breast a faint low sigh,
While one new tear arose in Haidée's eye.

XXII.

That large black prophet eye seemed to dilate
And follow far the disappearing sun,
As if their last day of a happy date
With his broad, bright, and dropping orb were gone;
Juan gazed on her as to ask his fate--
He felt a grief, but knowing cause for none,
His glance inquired of hers for some excuse
For feelings causeless, or at least abstruse.

XXIII.

She turned to him, and smiled, but in that sort
Which makes not others smile; then turned aside:
Whatever feeling shook her, it seemed short,
And mastered by her wisdom or her pride;
When Juan spoke, too--it might be in sport--
Of this their mutual feeling, she replied--
"If it should be so,--but--it cannot be--
Or I at least shall not survive to see."

XXIV.

Juan would question further, but she pressed
His lip to hers, and silenced him with this,
And then dismissed the omen from her breast,
Defying augury with that fond kiss;
And no doubt of all methods 't is the best:
Some people prefer wine--'t is not amiss;
I have tried both--so those who would a part take
May choose between the headache and the heartache.

XXV.

One of the two, according to your choice,
Woman or wine, you'll have to undergo;
Both maladies are taxes on our joys:
But which to choose, I really hardly know;
And if I had to give a casting voice,
For both sides I could many reasons show,
And then decide, without great wrong to either,
It were much better to have both than neither.

XXVI.

Juan and Haidée gazed upon each other
With swimming looks of speechless tenderness,
Which mixed all feelings--friend, child, lover, brother--
All that the best can mingle and express
When two pure hearts are poured in one another,
And love too much, and yet can not love less;
But almost sanctify the sweet excess
By the immortal wish and power to bless.

XXVII.

Mixed in each other's arms, and heart in heart,
Why did they not then die?--they had lived too long
Should an hour come to bid them breathe apart;
Years could but bring them cruel things or wrong;
The World was not for them--nor the World's art
For beings passionate as Sappho's song;
Love was born _with_ them, _in_ them, so intense,
It was their very Spirit--not a sense.

XXVIII.

They should have lived together deep in woods,
Unseen as sings the nightingale;[239] they were
Unfit to mix in these thick solitudes
Called social, haunts of Hate, and Vice, and Care:[dn]
How lonely every freeborn creature broods!
The sweetest song-birds nestle in a pair;
The eagle soars alone; the gull and crow
Flock o'er their carrion, just like men below.

XXIX.

Now pillowed cheek to cheek, in loving sleep,
Haidée and Juan their siesta took,
A gentle slumber, but it was not deep,
For ever and anon a something shook
Juan, and shuddering o'er his frame would creep;
And Haidée's sweet lips murmured like a brook
A wordless music, and her face so fair
Stirred with her dream, as rose-leaves with the air.[do]

XXX.

Or as the stirring of a deep clear stream
Within an Alpine hollow, when the wind
Walks o'er it, was she shaken by the dream,
The mystical Usurper of the mind--
O'erpowering us to be whate'er may seem
Good to the soul which we no more can bind;
Strange state of being! (for 't is still to be)
Senseless to feel, and with sealed eyes to see.[dp]

XXXI.

She dreamed of being alone on the sea-shore,
Chained to a rock; she knew not how, but stir
She could not from the spot, and the loud roar
Grew, and each wave rose roughly, threatening her;
And o'er her upper lip they seemed to pour,
Until she sobbed for breath, and soon they were
Foaming o'er her lone head, so fierce and high--
Each broke to drown her, yet she could not die.

XXXII.

Anon--she was released, and then she strayed
O'er the sharp shingles with her bleeding feet,
And stumbled almost every step she made:
And something rolled before her in a sheet,
Which she must still pursue howe'er afraid:
'T was white and indistinct, nor stopped to meet
Her glance nor grasp, for still she gazed and grasped,
And ran, but it escaped her as she clasped.

XXXIII.

The dream changed:--in a cave[240] she stood, its walls
Were hung with marble icicles; the work
Of ages on its water-fretted halls,
Where waves might wash, and seals might breed and lurk;
Her hair was dripping, and the very balls
Of her black eyes seemed turned to tears, and mirk
The sharp rocks looked below each drop they caught,
Which froze to marble as it fell,--she thought.[dq]

XXXIV.

And wet, and cold, and lifeless at her feet,
Pale as the foam that frothed on his dead brow,
Which she essayed in vain to clear, (how sweet
Were once her cares, how idle seemed they now!)
Lay Juan, nor could aught renew the beat
Of his quenched heart: and the sea dirges low
Rang in her sad ears like a Mermaid's song,
And that brief dream appeared a life too long.

XXXV.

And gazing on the dead, she thought his face
Faded, or altered into something new--
Like to her Father's features, till each trace
More like and like to Lambro's aspect grew--
With all his keen worn look and Grecian grace;
And starting, she awoke, and what to view?
Oh! Powers of Heaven! what dark eye meets she there?
'T is--'t is her Father's--fixed upon the pair!

XXXVI.

Then shrieking, she arose, and shrieking fell,
With joy and sorrow, hope and fear, to see
Him whom she deemed a habitant where dwell
The ocean-buried, risen from death, to be
Perchance the death of one she loved too well:
Dear as her father had been to Haidée,
It was a moment of that awful kind--
I have seen such--but must not call to mind.

XXXVII.

Up Juan sprang to Haidée's bitter shriek,
And caught her falling, and from off the wall
Snatched down his sabre, in hot haste to wreak
Vengeance on him who was the cause of all:
Then Lambro, who till now forbore to speak,
Smiled scornfully, and said, "Within my call,
A thousand scimitars await the word;
Put up, young man, put up your silly sword."

XXXVIII.

And Haidée clung around him; "Juan, 't is--
'T is Lambro--'t is my father! Kneel with me--
He will forgive us--yes--it must be--yes.
Oh! dearest father, in this agony
Of pleasure and of pain--even while I kiss
Thy garment's hem with transport, can it be
That doubt should mingle with my filial joy?
Deal with me as thou wilt, but spare this boy."

XXXIX.

High and inscrutable the old man stood,
Calm in his voice, and calm within his eye--
Not always signs with him of calmest mood:
He looked upon her, but gave no reply;
Then turned to Juan, in whose cheek the blood
Oft came and went, as there resolved to die;
In arms, at least, he stood, in act to spring
On the first foe whom Lambro's call might bring.

XL.

"Young man, your sword;" so Lambro once more said:
Juan replied, "Not while this arm is free."
The old man's cheek grew pale, but not with dread,
And drawing from his belt a pistol he
Replied, "Your blood be then on your own head."
Then looked close at the flint, as if to see
'T was fresh--for he had lately used the lock--
And next proceeded quietly to cock.

XLI.

It has a strange quick jar upon the ear,
That cocking of a pistol, when you know
A moment more will bring the sight to bear
Upon your person, twelve yards off, or so;
A gentlemanly distance, not too near,
If you have got a former friend for foe;
But after being fired at once or twice,
The ear becomes more Irish, and less nice.

XLII.

Lambro presented, and one instant more
Had stopped this Canto, and Don Juan's breath,
When Haidée threw herself her boy before;
Stern as her sire: "On me," she cried, "let Death
Descend--the fault is mine; this fatal shore
He found--but sought not. I have pledged my faith;
I love him--I will die with him: I knew
Your nature's firmness--know your daughter's too."

XLIII.

A minute past, and she had been all tears,
And tenderness, and infancy; but now
She stood as one who championed human fears--
Pale, statue-like, and stern, she wooed the blow;
And tall beyond her sex, and their compeers,
She drew up to her height, as if to show
A fairer mark; and with a fixed eye scanned
Her Father's face--but never stopped his hand.

XLIV.

He gazed on her, and she on him; 't was strange
How like they looked! the expression was the same;
Serenely savage, with a little change
In the large dark eye's mutual--darted flame;
For she, too, was as one who could avenge,
If cause should be--a Lioness, though tame.
Her Father's blood before her Father's face
Boiled up, and proved her truly of his race.

XLV.

I said they were alike, their features and
Their stature, differing but in sex and years;
Even to the delicacy of their hand[241]
There was resemblance, such as true blood wears;
And now to see them, thus divided, stand
In fixed ferocity, when joyous tears
And sweet sensations should have welcomed both,
Shows what the passions are in their full growth.

XLVI.

The father paused a moment, then withdrew
His weapon, and replaced it; but stood still,
And looking on her, as to look her through,
"Not _I_," he said, "have sought this stranger's ill;
Not _I_ have made this desolation: few
Would bear such outrage, and forbear to kill;
But I must do my duty--how thou hast
Done thine, the present vouches for the past.[dr]

XLVII.

"Let him disarm; or, by my father's head,
His own shall roll before you like a ball!"
He raised his whistle, as the word he said,
And blew; another answered to the call,
And rushing in disorderly, though led,
And armed from boot to turban, one and all,
Some twenty of his train came, rank on rank;
He gave the word,--"Arrest or slay the Frank."

XLVIII.

Then, with a sudden movement, he withdrew
His daughter; while compressed within his clasp,
Twixt her and Juan interposed the crew;
In vain she struggled in her father's grasp--
His arms were like a serpent's coil: then flew
Upon their prey, as darts an angry asp,
The file of pirates--save the foremost, who
Had fallen, with his right shoulder half cut through.

XLIX.

The second had his cheek laid open; but
The third, a wary, cool old sworder, took
The blows upon his cutlass, and then put
His own well in; so well, ere you could look,
His man was floored, and helpless at his foot,
With the blood running like a little brook
From two smart sabre gashes, deep and red--
One on the arm, the other on the head.

L.

And then they bound him where he fell, and bore
Juan from the apartment: with a sign
Old Lambro bade them take him to the shore,
Where lay some ships which were to sail at nine.[ds]
They laid him in a boat, and plied the oar
Until they reached some galliots, placed in line;
On board of one of these, and under hatches,
They stowed him, with strict orders to the watches.

LI.

The world is full of strange vicissitudes,
And here was one exceedingly unpleasant:
A gentleman so rich in the world's goods,
Handsome and young, enjoying all the present,[dt]
Just at the very time when he least broods
On such a thing, is suddenly to sea sent,
Wounded and chained, so that he cannot move,
And all because a lady fell in love.

LII.

Here I must leave him, for I grow pathetic,
Moved by the Chinese nymph of tears, green tea!
Than whom Cassandra was not more prophetic;
For if my pure libations exceed three,
I feel my heart become so sympathetic,
That I must have recourse to black Bohea:
'T is pity wine should be so deleterious,
For tea and coffee leave us much more serious,

LIII.

Unless when qualified with thee, Cogniac!
Sweet Naïad of the Phlegethontic rill!
Ah! why the liver wilt thou thus attack,[du]--
And make, like other nymphs, thy lovers ill?
I would take refuge in weak punch, but _rack_
(In each sense of the word), whene'er I fill
My mild and midnight beakers to the brim,
Wakes me next morning with its synonym.[242]

LIV.

I leave Don Juan for the present, safe--
Not sound, poor fellow, but severely wounded;
Yet could his corporal pangs amount to half
Of those with which his Haidée's bosom bounded?
She was not one to weep, and rave, and chafe,
And then give way, subdued because surrounded;
Her mother was a Moorish maid from Fez,
Where all is Eden, or a wilderness.

LV.

There the large olive rains its amber store
In marble fonts; there grain, and flower, and fruit,
Gush from the earth until the land runs o'er;[243]
But there, too, many a poison-tree has root,
And Midnight listens to the lion's roar,
And long, long deserts scorch the camel's foot,
Or heaving whelm the helpless caravan;
And as the soil is, so the heart of man.

LVI.

Afric is all the Sun's, and as her earth
Her human clay is kindled; full of power
For good or evil, burning from its birth,
The Moorish blood partakes the planet's hour,
And like the soil beneath it will bring forth:
Beauty and love were Haidée's mother's dower;
But her large dark eye showed deep Passion's force,
Though sleeping like a lion near a source.[dv]

LVII.

Her daughter, tempered with a milder ray,
Like summer clouds all silvery, smooth, and fair,
Till slowly charged with thunder they display
Terror to earth, and tempest to the air,
Had held till now her soft and milky way;
But overwrought with Passion and Despair,
The fire burst forth from her Numidian veins,
Even as the Simoom[244] sweeps the blasted plains.

LVIII.

The last sight which she saw was Juan's gore,
And he himself o'ermastered and cut down;
His blood was running on the very floor
Where late he trod, her beautiful, her own;
Thus much she viewed an instant and no more,--
Her struggles ceased with one convulsive groan;
On her Sire's arm, which until now scarce held
Her writhing, fell she like a cedar felled.

LIX.

A vein had burst, and her sweet lips' pure dyes[dw]
Were dabbled with the deep blood which ran o'er;[245]
And her head drooped, as when the lily lies
O'ercharged with rain: her summoned handmaids bore
Their lady to her couch with gushing eyes;
Of herbs and cordials they produced their store,
But she defied all means they could employ,
Like one Life could not hold, nor Death destroy.

LX.

Days lay she in that state unchanged, though chill--
With nothing livid, still her lips were red;
She had no pulse, but Death seemed absent still;
No hideous sign proclaimed her surely dead;
Corruption came not in each mind to kill
All hope; to look upon her sweet face bred
New thoughts of Life, for it seemed full of soul--
She had so much, Earth could not claim the whole.

LXI.

The ruling passion, such as marble shows
When exquisitely chiselled, still lay there,
But fixed as marble's unchanged aspect throws
O'er the fair Venus, but for ever fair;[246]
O'er the Laocoon's all eternal throes,
And ever-dying Gladiator's air,
Their energy like life forms all their fame,
Yet looks not life, for they are still the same.--[dx]

LXII.

She woke at length, but not as sleepers wake,
Rather the dead, for Life seemed something new,
A strange sensation which she must partake
Perforce, since whatsoever met her view
Struck not on memory, though a heavy ache
Lay at her heart, whose earliest beat still true
Brought back the sense of pain without the cause,
For, for a while, the Furies made a pause.

LXIII.

She looked on many a face with vacant eye,
On many a token without knowing what:
She saw them watch her without asking why,
And recked not who around her pillow sat;
Not speechless, though she spoke not--not a sigh
Relieved her thoughts--dull silence and quick chat
Were tried in vain by those who served; she gave
No sign, save breath, of having left the grave.

LXIV.

Her handmaids tended, but she heeded not;
Her Father watched, she turned her eyes away;
She recognised no being, and no spot,
However dear or cherished in their day;
They changed from room to room--but all forgot--
Gentle, but without memory she lay;
At length those eyes, which they would fain be weaning
Back to old thoughts, waxed full of fearful meaning.

LXV.

And then a slave bethought her of a harp;
The harper came, and tuned his instrument;
At the first notes, irregular and sharp,
On him her flashing eyes a moment bent,
Then to the wall she turned as if to warp
Her thoughts from sorrow through her heart re-sent;
And he began a long low island-song
Of ancient days, ere Tyranny grew strong.

LXVI.

Anon her thin wan fingers beat the wall
In time to his old tune: he changed the theme,
And sung of Love; the fierce name struck through all
Her recollection; on her flashed the dream
Of what she was, and is, if ye could call
To be so being; in a gushing stream
The tears rushed forth from her o'erclouded brain,
Like mountain mists at length dissolved in rain.

LXVII.

Short solace, vain relief!--Thought came too quick,
And whirled her brain to madness; she arose
As one who ne'er had dwelt among the sick,
And flew at all she met, as on her foes;
But no one ever heard her speak or shriek,
Although her paroxysm drew towards its close;--
Hers was a frenzy which disdained to rave,
Even when they smote her, in the hope to save.

LXVIII.

Yet she betrayed at times a gleam of sense;
Nothing could make her meet her Father's face,
Though on all other things with looks intense
She gazed, but none she ever could retrace;
Food she refused, and raiment; no pretence
Availed for either; neither change of place,
Nor time, nor skill, nor remedy, could give her
Senses to sleep--the power seemed gone for ever.

LXIX.

Twelve days and nights she withered thus; at last,
Without a groan, or sigh, or glance, to show
A parting pang, the spirit from her passed:
And they who watched her nearest could not know
The very instant, till the change that cast
Her sweet face into shadow, dull and slow,[dy]
Glazed o'er her eyes--the beautiful, the black--
Oh! to possess such lustre--and then lack!

LXX.

She died, but not alone; she held, within,
A second principle of Life, which might
Have dawned a fair and sinless child of sin;[dz]
But closed its little being without light,
And went down to the grave unborn, wherein
Blossom and bough lie withered with one blight;
In vain the dews of Heaven descend above
The bleeding flower and blasted fruit of Love.

LXXI.

Thus lived--thus died she; never more on her
Shall Sorrow light, or Shame. She was not made
Through years or moons the inner weight to bear,
Which colder hearts endure till they are laid
By age in earth: her days and pleasures were
Brief, but delightful--such as had not staid
Long with her destiny; but she sleeps well[247]
By the sea-shore, whereon she loved to dwell.

LXXII.

That isle is now all desolate and bare,
Its dwellings down, its tenants passed away;
None but her own and Father's grave is there,
And nothing outward tells of human clay;
Ye could not know where lies a thing so fair,
No stone is there to show, no tongue to say,
What was; no dirge, except the hollow sea's,[ea]
Mourns o'er the beauty of the Cyclades.

LXXIII.

But many a Greek maid in a loving song
Sighs o'er her name; and many an islander
With her Sire's story makes the night less long;
Valour was his, and Beauty dwelt with her:
If she loved rashly, her life paid for wrong--
A heavy price must all pay who thus err,
In some shape; let none think to fly the danger,
For soon or late Love is his own avenger.

LXXIV.

But let me change this theme, which grows too sad,
And lay this sheet of sorrows on the shelf;
I don't much like describing people mad,
For fear of seeming rather touched myself--
Besides, I've no more on this head to add;
And as my Muse is a capricious elf,
We'll put about, and try another tack
With Juan, left half-killed some stanzas back.

LXXV.

Wounded and fettered, "cabined, cribbed, confined,"[248]
Some days and nights elapsed before that he
Could altogether call the past to mind;
And when he did, he found himself at sea,
Sailing six knots an hour before the wind;
The shores of Ilion lay beneath their lee--
Another time he might have liked to see 'em,
But now was not much pleased with Cape Sigeum.

LXXVI.

There, on the green and village-cotted hill, is
(Flanked by the Hellespont, and by the sea)
Entombed the bravest of the brave, Achilles;
They say so--(Bryant[249] says the contrary):
And further downward, tall and towering still, is
The tumulus--of whom? Heaven knows! 't may be
Patroclus, Ajax, or Protesilaus--
All heroes, who if living still would slay us.[eb]

LXXVII.

High barrows, without marble, or a name,
A vast, untilled, and mountain-skirted plain,[ec]
And Ida in the distance, still the same,
And old Scamander (if 't is he) remain;
The situation seems still formed for fame--
A hundred thousand men might fight again,
With ease; but where I sought for Ilion's walls,
The quiet sheep feeds, and the tortoise[250] crawls;[ed]

LXXVIII.

Troops of untended horses; here and there
Some little hamlets, with new names uncouth;
Some shepherds (unlike Paris) led to stare
A moment at the European youth
Whom to the spot their school-boy feelings bear;[ee]
A Turk, with beads in hand, and pipe in mouth,
Extremely taken with his own religion,
Are what I found there--but the devil a Phrygian.

LXXIX.

Don Juan, here permitted to emerge
From his dull cabin, found himself a slave;
Forlorn, and gazing on the deep blue surge,
O'ershadowed there by many a Hero's grave;
Weak still with loss of blood, he scarce could urge
A few brief questions; and the answers gave
No very satisfactory information
About his past or present situation.

LXXX.

He saw some fellow captives, who appeared
To be Italians (as they were in fact)--
From them, at least, _their_ destiny he heard,
Which was an odd one; a troop going to act
In Sicily--all singers, duly reared
In their vocation, had not been attacked
In sailing from Livorno by the pirate,
But sold by the _impresario_ at no high rate.[251]

LXXXI.

By one of these, the _buffo_[252] of the party,
Juan was told about their curious case;
For although destined to the Turkish mart, he
Still kept his spirits up--at least his face;
The little fellow really looked quite hearty,
And bore him with some gaiety and grace,
Showing a much more reconciled demeanour,
Than did the prima donna and the tenor.

LXXXII.

In a few words he told their hapless story,
Saying, "Our Machiavelian _impresario_,
Making a signal off some promontory,
Hailed a strange brig--_Corpo di Caio Mario!_
We were transferred on board her in a hurry,
Without a single scudo of _salario_;
But if the Sultan has a taste for song,
We will revive our fortunes before long.

LXXXIII.

"The prima donna, though a little old,
And haggard with a dissipated life,
And subject, when the house is thin, to cold,
Has some good notes; and then the tenor's wife,
With no great voice, is pleasing to behold;
Last carnival she made a deal of strife,
By carrying off Count Cesare Cicogna
From an old Roman Princess at Bologna.

LXXXIV.

"And then there are the dancers; there's the Nini,
With more than one profession gains by all;
Then there's that laughing slut the Pelegrini,
She, too, was fortunate last Carnival,
And made at least five hundred good _zecchini_,
But spends so fast, she has not now a paul;
And then there's the Grotesca--such a dancer!
Where men have souls or bodies she must answer.

LXXXV.

"As for the _figuranti_,[253] they are like
The rest of all that tribe; with here and there
A pretty person, which perhaps may strike--
The rest are hardly fitted for a fair;
There's one, though tall and stiffer than a pike,
Yet has a sentimental kind of air
Which might go far, but she don't dance with vigour--
The more's the pity, with her face and figure.

LXXXVI.

"As for the men, they are a middling set;
The _musico_ is but a cracked old basin,
But, being qualified in one way yet,
May the seraglio do to set his face in,[ef]
And as a servant some preferment get;
His singing I no further trust can place in:
From all the Pope[254] makes yearly 't would perplex
To find three perfect pipes of the _third_ sex.

LXXXVII.

"The tenor's voice is spoilt by affectation;
And for the bass, the beast can only bellow--
In fact, he had no singing education,
An ignorant, noteless, timeless, tuneless fellow;
But being the prima donna's near relation,
Who swore his voice was very rich and mellow,
They hired him, though to hear him you'd believe
An ass was practising recitative.

LXXXVIII.

"'T would not become myself to dwell upon
My own merits, and though young--I see, Sir--you
Have got a travelled air, which speaks you one
To whom the opera is by no means new:
You've heard of Raucocanti?--I'm the man;
The time may come when you may hear me too;
You was[255] not last year at the fair of Lugo,
But next, when I'm engaged to sing there--do go.

LXXXIX.

"Our baritone I almost had forgot,
A pretty lad, but bursting with conceit;
With graceful action, science not a jot,
A voice of no great compass, and not sweet,
He always is complaining of his lot,
Forsooth, scarce fit for ballads in the street;
In lovers' parts his passion more to breathe,
Having no heart to show, he shows his teeth."[eg]

XC.

Here Raucocanti's eloquent recital
Was interrupted by the pirate crew,
Who came at stated moments to invite all
The captives back to their sad berths; each threw
A rueful glance upon the waves, (which bright all
From the blue skies derived a double blue,
Dancing all free and happy in the sun,)
And then went down the hatchway one by one.

XCI.

They heard next day--that in the Dardanelles,
Waiting for his Sublimity's firman,[256]
The most imperative of sovereign spells,
Which everybody does without who can,
More to secure them in their naval cells,
Lady to lady, well as man to man,
Were to be chained and lotted out per couple,
For the slave market of Constantinople.

XCII.

It seems when this allotment was made out,
There chanced to be an odd male, and odd female,
Who (after some discussion and some doubt,
If the soprano might be deemed to be male,
They placed him o'er the women as a scout)
Were linked together, and it happened the male
Was Juan,--who, an awkward thing at his age,
Paired off with a Bacchante blooming visage.

XCIII.

With Raucocanti lucklessly was chained
The tenor; these two hated with a hate
Found only on the stage, and each more pained
With this his tuneful neighbour than his fate;
Sad strife arose, for they were so cross-grained,
Instead of bearing up without debate,
That each pulled different ways with many an oath,
"Arcades ambo," _id est_--blackguards both.[eh]

XCIV.

Juan's companion was a Romagnole,
But bred within the march of old Ancona,
With eyes that looked into the very soul
(And other chief points of a _bella donna_),
Bright--and as black and burning as a coal;
And through her clear brunette complexion shone a
Great wish to please--a most attractive dower,
Especially when added to the power.

XCV.

But all that power was wasted upon him,
For Sorrow o'er each sense held stern command;
Her eye might flash on his, but found it dim:
And though thus chained, as natural her hand
Touched his, nor that--nor any handsome limb
(And she had some not easy to withstand)
Could stir his pulse, or make his faith feel brittle;
Perhaps his recent wounds might help a little.

XCVI.

No matter; we should ne'er too much inquire,
But facts are facts: no Knight could be more true,
And firmer faith no Ladye-love desire;
We will omit the proofs, save one or two:
'T is said no one in hand "can hold a fire
By thought of frosty Caucasus"[257]--but few,
I really think--yet Juan's then ordeal
Was more triumphant, and not much less real.

XCVII.

Here I might enter on a chaste description,
Having withstood temptation in my youth,[ei]
But hear that several people take exception
At the first two books having too much truth;
Therefore I'll make Don Juan leave the ship soon,
Because the publisher declares, in sooth,
Through needles' eyes it easier for the camel is
To pass, than those two cantos into families.

XCVIII.

'T is all the same to me; I'm fond of yielding,
And therefore leave them to the purer page
Of Smollett, Prior, Ariosto, Fielding,
Who say strange things for so correct an age;[258]
I once had great alacrity in wielding
My pen, and liked poetic war to wage,
And recollect the time when all this cant
Would have provoked remarks--which now it shan't.

XCIX.

As boys love rows, my boyhood liked a squabble;
But at this hour I wish to part in peace,
Leaving such to the literary rabble;
Whether my verse's fame be doomed to cease
While the right hand which wrote it still is able,
Or of some centuries to take a lease,
The grass upon my grave will grow as long,
And sigh to midnight winds, but not to song.

C.

Of poets who come down to us through distance
Of time and tongues, the foster-babes of Fame,
Life seems the smallest portion of existence;
Where twenty ages gather o'er a name,
'T is as a snowball which derives assistance
From every flake, and yet rolls on the same,
Even till an iceberg it may chance to grow;
But, after all, 't is nothing but cold snow.

CI.

And so great names are nothing more than nominal,
And love of Glory's but an airy lust,
Too often in its fury overcoming all
Who would as 't were identify their dust
From out the wide destruction, which, entombing all,
Leaves nothing till "the coming of the just"--
Save change: I've stood upon Achilles' tomb,
And heard Troy doubted;[259] Time will doubt of Rome.

CII.

The very generations of the dead
Are swept away, and tomb inherits tomb,
Until the memory of an Age is fled,
And, buried, sinks beneath its offspring's doom:
Where are the epitaphs our fathers read?
Save a few gleaned from the sepulchral gloom
Which once-named myriads nameless lie beneath,
And lose their own in universal Death.

CIII.

I canter by the spot each afternoon
Where perished in his fame the hero-boy,
Who lived too long for men, but died too soon
For human vanity, the young De Foix!
A broken pillar, not uncouthly hewn,
But which Neglect is hastening to destroy,
Records Ravenna's carnage on its face,
While weeds and ordure rankle round the base.[260]

CIV.

I pass each day where Dante's bones are laid:[261]
A little cupola, more neat than solemn,
Protects his dust, but reverence here is paid[ej]
To the Bard's tomb, and not the Warrior's column:
The time must come, when both alike decayed,
The Chieftain's trophy, and the Poet's volume,
Will sink where lie the songs and wars of earth,
Before Pelides' death, or Homer's birth.

CV.

With human blood that column was cemented,
With human filth that column is defiled,
As if the peasant's coarse contempt were vented
To show his loathing of the spot he soiled:[ek]
Thus is the trophy used, and thus lamented
Should ever be those blood-hounds, from whose wild
Instinct of gore and glory Earth has known
Those sufferings Dante saw in Hell alone.[el]

CVI.

Yet there will still be bards: though Fame is smoke,
Its fumes are frankincense to human thought;
And the unquiet feelings, which first woke
Song in the world, will seek what then they sought;[em]
As on the beach the waves at last are broke,
Thus to their extreme verge the passions brought
Dash into poetry, which is but Passion,
Or, at least, was so ere it grew a fashion.

CVII.

If in the course of such a life as was
At once adventurous and contemplative,
Men who partake all passions as they pass,
Acquire the deep and bitter power to give[en]
Their images again as in a glass,
And in such colours that they seem to live;
You may do right forbidding them to show 'em,
But spoil (I think) a very pretty poem.[262]

CVIII.

Oh! ye, who make the fortunes of all books!
Benign Ceruleans of the second sex!
Who advertise new poems by your looks,
Your "Imprimatur" will ye not annex?
What! must I go to the oblivious cooks,[eo]
Those Cornish plunderers of Parnassian wrecks?
Ah! must I then the only minstrel be,
Proscribed from tasting your Castalian tea![263]

CIX.

What! can I prove "a lion" then no more?
A ball-room bard, a foolscap, hot-press darling?
To bear the compliments of many a bore,
And sigh, "I can't get out," like Yorick's starling;[264]
Why then I'll swear, as poet Wordy swore
(Because the world won't read him, always snarling),
That Taste is gone, that Fame is but a lottery,
Drawn by the blue-coat misses of a coterie.[265]

CX.

Oh! "darkly, deeply, beautifully blue,"[266]
As some one somewhere sings about the sky,
And I, ye learnéd ladies, say of you;
They say your stockings are so--(Heaven knows why,
I have examined few pair of that hue);
Blue as the garters which serenely lie
Round the Patrician left-legs, which adorn
The festal midnight, and the levee morn.[ep]

CXI.

Yet some of you are most seraphic creatures--
But times are altered since, a rhyming lover,
You read my stanzas, and I read your features:
And--but no matter, all those things are over;
Still I have no dislike to learnéd natures,
For sometimes such a world of virtues cover;
I knew one woman of that purple school,
The loveliest, chastest, best, but--quite a fool.[267]

CXIII.

Humboldt, "the first of travellers," but not
The last, if late accounts be accurate,
Invented, by some name I have forgot,
As well as the sublime discovery's date,
An airy instrument, with which he sought
To ascertain the atmospheric state,
By measuring "the _intensity of blue:_"[268]
Oh, Lady Daphne! let me measure you![eq]

CXIII.

But to the narrative:--The vessel bound
With slaves to sell off in the capital,
After the usual process, might be found
At anchor under the seraglio wall;
Her cargo, from the plague being safe and sound,
Were landed in the market,[269] one and all;
And, there, with Georgians, Russians, and Circassians,
Bought up for different purposes and passions.

CXIV.

Some went off dearly; fifteen hundred dollars
For one Circassian, a sweet girl, were given,
Warranted virgin; Beauty's brightest colours
Had decked her out in all the hues of heaven:
Her sale sent home some disappointed bawlers,
Who bade on till the hundreds reached eleven;
But when the offer went beyond, they knew
'T was for the Sultan, and at once withdrew.

CXV.

Twelve negresses from Nubia brought a price
Which the West Indian market scarce could bring--
Though Wilberforce, at last, has made it twice
What 't was ere Abolition; and the thing
Need not seem very wonderful, for Vice
Is always much more splendid than a King:
The Virtues, even the most exalted, Charity,
Are saving--Vice spares nothing for a rarity.

CXVI.

But for the destiny of this young troop,
How some were bought by Pachas, some by Jews,
How some to burdens were obliged to stoop,
And others rose to the command of crews
As renegadoes; while in hapless group,
Hoping no very old Vizier might choose,
The females stood, as one by one they picked 'em,
To make a mistress, or fourth wife, or victim:[er]

CXVII.

All this must be reserved for further song;
Also our Hero's lot, howe'er unpleasant
(Because this Canto has become too long),[es]
Must be postponed discreetly for the present;
I'm sensible redundancy is wrong,
But could not for the Muse of me put less in 't:
And now delay the progress of Don Juan,
Till what is called in Ossian the fifth Duan.

Written Nov. 1819. Copied January, 1820.
 

 

 


FOOTNOTES:

{183}[230]

["Till Pride and worse Ambition threw me down,
Warring in Heaven against Heaven's matchless King."

_Paradise Lost_, iv. 40, 41.]

[231]

["Time hovers o'er, impatient to destroy,
And shuts up all the passages of joy:
In vain their gifts the bounteous seasons pour,
The fruit autumnal, and the vernal flow'r;
With listless eyes the dotard views the store,
He views, and wonders that they please no more."

Johnson's _Vanity of Human Wishes._]

{184}[232]

[" ... my May of Life
Is fall'n into the sere, the yellow leaf."

_Macbeth_, act v. sc. 3, lines 22, 23.]

[dh] _Itself to that fit apathy whose deed._--[MS.]

[di] _First in the icy depths of Lethe's spring._--[MS.]

[233] [See "Introduction to the _Morgante Maggiore_," _Poetical Works_,
1901, iv. 280.]

[dj] _Pulci being Father_--.--[MS. Alternative reading.]

{185}[234] ["Cum canerem reges et prælia, Cynthius aurem Vellit, et
admonuit." Virgil, _Ecl._ vi. lines 3, 4.]

{186}[dk]
---- _from its mother's knee_
_When its last weaning draught is drained for ever_,
_The child divided--it were less to see_,
_Than these two from each other torn apart_.--[MS.]

[235] [See Herodotus (_Cleobis and Biton_), i. 31. The sentiment is in a
fragment of Menander.

[Greek: O)/n oi( theoi\ philou~sin a)pothnê)skei ne/os]
or
[Greek: O)/n ga\r philei~ theo\s a)pothnê)skei ne/os.]

_Menandri at Philomenis reliquiæ_, edidit Augustus Meineke, p. 48.

See _Letters_, 1898, ii. 22, note 1. Byron applied the saying to
Allegra in a letter to Sir Walter Scott, dated May 4, 1822, _Letters_,
1901, vi. 57.]

[236] [Compare _Childe Harold_, Canto II. stanza xcvi. line 7. Compare,
too, Young's _Night Thoughts_ ("The Complaint," Night I. ed. 1825, p.
5)]

{187}[237] [Compare Swift's "little language" in his letter to Stella:
_Podefar_, for instance, which is supposed to stand for "Poor dear
foolish rogue," and Ppt., which meant "Poor pretty thing."--See _The
Journal of Stella_, edited by G.A. Aitken, 1901, xxxv. note 1, and
"Journal: March, 1710-11," 165, note 2.]

[dl]
_For theirs were buoyant spirits, which would bound_
'_Gainst common failings, etc_.--[MS.]

{188}[238] [The reference may be to Coleridge's _Kubla Khan_, which, to
Medwin's wonderment, "delighted" Byron (_Conversations_, 1824, p. 264).
De Quincy's _Confessions of an English Opium Eater_ appeared in the
_London Magazine_, October, November, 1821, after Cantos III., IV., V.,
of _Don Juan_ were published. But, perhaps, he was contrasting the
"simpler blisses" of Juan and Haidée with Shelley's mystical affinities
and divagations.]

[dm] _---- had set their hearts a bleeding._--[MS.]

{190}[239]

["The shadowy desert, unfrequented woods,
I better brook than flourishing peopled towns:
There can I sit alone, unseen of any,
And to the nightingale's complaining notes
Tune my distresses, and record, my woes."

_Two Gentlemen of Verona_, act v. sc. 4, lines 2-6.]

{191}[dn] _Called social, where all Vice and Hatred are._--[MS.]

[do] _Moved with her dream----._--[MS.]

[dp]
_Strange state of being!--for 't is still to be--_
_And who can know all false what then we see?_--[MS.]

{192}[240] [Compare the description of the "spacious cave," in _The
Island_, Canto IV. lines 121, _sq., Poetical Works_, 1901, v. 629,
note 1.]

[dq]---- _methought_.--[MS. Alternative reading.]

{195}[241] [The reader will observe a curious mark of propinquity which
the poet notices, with respect to the hands of the father and daughter.
Lord Byron, we suspect, is indebted for the first hint of this to Ali
Pacha, who, by the bye, is the original of Lambro; for, when his
lordship was introduced, with his friend Hobhouse, to that agreeable
mannered tyrant, the Vizier said that he knew he was the _Megalos
Anthropos_ (i.e. the great Man), by the smallness of his ears and
hands.--Galt. See Byron's letter to his mother, November 12, 1809,
_Letters_, 1898, i. 251.]

[dr]
_And if_ I _did my duty as_ thou _hast_,
_This hour were thine, and thy young minions last_.--[MS.]

{196}[ds] _Till further orders should his doom assign_.--[MS.]

[dt] _Loving and loved_--.--[MS.]

{197}[du]
_But thou, sweet fury of the fiery rill,_
_Makest on the liver a still worse attack;_
_Besides, thy price is something dearer still_.--[MS.]

[242] ["As squire Sullen says, '\My head aches consumedly,' 'Scrub,
bring me a dram!' Drank some Imola wine, and some punch!"--_Extracts
from a Diary_, February 25, 1821, _Letters_, 1901, v. 209. For rack or
"arrack" punch, see Thackeray's _Vanity Fair, A Novel without a Hero_,
chap. vi. ed. 1892, p. 44.]

{198}[243] ["At Fas [Fez] the houses of the great and wealthy have,
within-side, spacious courts, adorned with sumptuous galleries,
fountains, basons of fine marble, and fish-ponds, shaded with orange,
lemon, pomegranate, and fig trees, abounding with fruit, and ornamented
with roses, hyacinths, jasmine, violets, and orange flowers, emitting a
delectable fragrance."--_Account of the Empire of Marocco and Suez_, by
James Grey Jackson, 1811, pp. 69, 70.]

[dv]
_Beauty and Passion were the natural dower_
_Of Haidée's mother, but her climate's force_
_Lay at her heart, though sleeping at the source_.
or, _But in her large eye lay deep Passion's force_,
_Like to a lion sleeping by a source_.
or, _But in her large eye lay deep Passion's force_,
_As sleeps a lion by a river's source_.--[MS.]

[244] [Compare _Manfred_, act iii. sc. 1, line 128, _Poetical Works_,
1901, iv. 125.]

{199}[dw]
_The blood gushed from her lips, and ears, and eyes:_
_Those eyes, so beautiful--beheld no more_.--[MS.]

[245] This is no very uncommon effect of the violence of conflicting and
different passions. The Doge Francis Foscari, on his deposition in 1457,
hearing the bells of St. Mark announce the election of his successor,
"mourut subitement d'une hémorragie causée par une veine qui s'éclata
dans sa poitrine" [see Sismondi, 1815, x. 46, and Daru, 1821, ii. 536;
see, too, _The Two Foscari_, act v. sc. i, line 306, and Introduction to
the _Two Foscari_, _Poetical Works_, 1901, v. 118, 193], at the age of
eighty years, when "_Who would have thought the old man had so much
blood in him?_" (_Macbeth_, act v. sc. 1, lines 34-36.) Before I was
sixteen years of age I was witness to a melancholy instance of the same
effect of mixed passions upon a young person, who, however, did not die
in consequence, at that time, but fell a victim some years afterwards to
a seizure of the same kind, arising from causes intimately connected
with agitation of mind.

{200}[246] [The view of the Venus of Medici instantly suggests the lines
in the "Seasons" [the description of "Musidora bathing" in _Summer_]--

" ... With wild surprise,
As if to marble struck, devoid of sense,
A stupid moment motionless she stood:
So stands the statue that enchants the world."

Hobhouse.

A still closer parallel to this stanza, and to _Childe Harold_, Canto
IV. stanzas xlix., cxl., cxli., clx., clxi., is to be found in Thomson's
_Liberty_, pt. iv. lines 131-206, where the "Farnese Hercules," the
"Dying Gladiator," the "Venus of Medici," and the "Laocoon" group, are
commemorated as typical works of art.]

[dx] _Distinct from life, as being still the same_.--[MS.]

{202}[dy] _--working slow._--[MS.]

[dz] _Have dawned a child of beauty, though of sin._--[MS.]

[247]

[" ... Duncan is in his grave:
After life's fitful fever he sleeps well."

_Macbeth_, act iii. sc. 2., lines 22, 23.]

{203}[ea]
_No stone is there to read, nor tongue to say_,
_No dirge--save when arise the stormy seas_.--[MS.]

[248] ["But now I am cabined, cribbed," etc. _Macbeth_, act iii. sc. 4,
line 24.]

{204}[249] [Jacob Bryant (1715-1804) published his _Dissertation
concerning the War of Troy, etc._, in 1796. See _The Bride of Abydos_,
Canto II. lines 510, sq., _Poetical Works_, 1900, iii. 179, note 1. See,
too, _Extracts from a Diary_, January 11, 1821, _Letters_, 1901, v. 165,
166, "I have stood upon that plain [of Troy] _daily_, for more than a
month, in 1810; and if anything diminished my pleasure, it was that the
blackguard Bryant had impugned its veracity." Hobhouse, in his _Travels
in Albania_, 1858, ii. 93, sq., discusses at length the identity of the
barrows of the Troad with the _tumuli_ of Achilles, Ajax, and
Protesilaus, and refutes Bryant's arguments against the identity of Cape
Janissary and the Sigean promontory.
 


[eb]
               / who alive perhaps \
_All heroes_ <                       >--[MS. Alternative reading.]
               \ if still alive    /

 

 

[ec]
/ _and mountain-bounded \
---- < > plain_.--[MS. Alternative reading.]
\ _and mountain-outlined /
 

 

 

[250] ["The whole region was, in a manner, in possession of the
_Salsette's_ crew, parties of whom, in their white summer dresses, might
be seen scattered over the plains collecting the tortoises, which swarm
on the sides of the rivulets, and are found under every
furze-bush."--_Travels in Albania_, 1858, ii. 116. See, too, for mention
of "hundreds of tortoises" falling "from the overhanging branches, and
thick underwood," into the waters of the Mender, _Travels, etc._, by
E.D. Clarke, 1812, Part II. sect. i. p. 96.]

[ed]---- _and land tortoise crawls_.--[MS. Alternative reading.]

{205}[ee] --_their learned researches bear_.--[MS. Alternative reading.]

[251] This is a fact. A few years ago a man engaged a company for some
foreign theatre, embarked them at an Italian port, and carrying them to
Algiers, sold them all. One of the women, returned from her captivity, I
heard sing, by a strange coincidence, in Rossini's opera of _L'Italiana
in Algieri_, at Venice, in the beginning of 1817.

[We have reason to believe that the following, which we take from the
MS. journal of a highly respectable traveller, is a more correct
account: "In 1812 a Signor Guariglia induced several young persons of
both sexes--none of them exceeding fifteen years of age--to accompany
him on an operatic excursion; part to form the opera, and part the
ballet. He contrived to get them on board a vessel, which took them to
Janina, where he sold them for the basest purposes. Some died from the
effect of the climate, and some from suffering. Among the few who
returned were a Signor Molinari, and a female dancer named Bonfiglia,
who afterwards became the wife of Crespi, the tenor singer. The wretch
who so basely sold them was, when Lord Byron resided at Venice, employed
as _capo de' vestarj_, or head tailor, at the Fenice."--Maria Graham
(Lady Callcot). Ed. 1832.]

{206}[252] [A comic singer in the _opera buffa_. The Italians, however,
distinguish the _buffo cantante_, which requires good singing, from the
_buffo comico_, in which there is more acting.--Ed. 1832.]

{207}[253] [The figuranti are those dancers of a ballet who do not dance
singly, but many together, and serve to fill up the background during
the exhibition of individual performers. They correspond to the chorus
in the opera.--Maria Graham.]

[ef] _To help the ladies in their dress and lacing_.--[MS.]

[254] It is strange that it should be the Pope and the Sultan, who are
the chief encouragers of this branch of trade--women being prohibited as
singers at St. Peter's, and not deemed trustworthy as guardians of the
harem.

["Scarcely a soul of them can read. Pacchierotti was one of the best
informed of the _castrati_ ... Marchesi is so grossly ignorant that he
wrote the word opera, _opperra_, but Nature has been so bountiful to the
animal, that his ignorance and insolence were forgotten the moment he
sang."--_Venice, etc._, by a Lady of Rank, 1824, ii. 86.]

{208}[255] [The N. Engl. Dict. cites Bunyan, Walpole, Fielding, Miss
Austen, and Dickens as authorities for the plural "was." See art. "be."
Here, as elsewhere, Byron wrote as he spoke.]

[eg] _He never shows his feelings, but his teeth_.--[MS. Alternative
reading.]

[256] ["Our firman arrived from Constantinople on the 30th of April
(1810)."--Travels in Albania, 1858, ii. 186.]

{209}[eh]
_That each pulled, different ways--and waxing rough_,
_Had cuffed each other, only for the cuff_.--[MS.]

{210}[257]

["O, who can hold a fire in his hand,
By thinking on the frosty Caucasus?"

_Richard II.,_ act i. sc. 3, lines 294, 295.]

[ei] _Having had some experience in my youth_.--[MS. erased.]

[258] ["_Don Juan_ will be known, _by and by_, for what it is
intended--a Satire on abuses in the present states of society, and not
an eulogy of vice. It may be now and then voluptuous:--I can't help
that. Ariosto is worse. Smollett (see Lord Strutwell in vol. 2^nd^ of
_R_[_oderick_] _R_[_andom_][1793, pp. 119-127]) ten times worse; and
Fielding no better."--Letter to Murray, December 25, 1822, _Letters_,
1901, vi. 155, 156.]

{211}[259] [Vide ante, p. 204, note 1. "It seems hardly to admit of
doubt, that the plain of Anatolia, watered by the Mender, and backed by
a mountainous ridge, of which Kazdaghy is the summit, offers the precise
territory alluded to by Homer. The long controversy, excited by Mr.
Bryant's publication, and since so vehemently agitated, would probably
never have existed, had it not been for the erroneous maps of the
country which, even to this hour, disgrace our geographical knowledge of
that part of Asia."--_Travels, etc._, by E.D. Clarke, 1812, Part II.
sect, i. p. 78.]

{212}[260] The pillar which records the battle of Ravenna is about two
miles from the city, on the opposite side of the river to the road
towards Forli. Gaston de Foix [(1489-1512) Duc de Nemours, nephew of
Louis XII.], who gained the battle, was killed in it: there fell on both
sides twenty thousand men. The present state of the pillar and its site
is described in the text.

[Beyond the Porta Sisi, about two miles from Ravenna, on the banks of
the Ronco, is a square pillar (_La Colonna de Francesi_), erected in
1557 by Pietro Cesi, president of Romagna, as a memorial of the battle
gained by the combined army of Louis XII. and the Duke of Ferrara over
the troops of Julius II. and the King of Spain, April 11
1512.--_Handbook of Northern Italy_, p. 548.]

[261] [Compare _Childe Harold_, Canto IV. stanza lvii. line i, _Poetical
Works_, 1899, ii. 371, note i. See, too, Preface to the _Prophecy of
Dante, ibid_., iv. 243.]

[ej] _Protects his tomb, but greater care is paid_.--[MS.]

{213}[ek]
_With human ordure is it now defiled_,
_As if the peasant's scorn this mode invented_
_To show his loathing of the thing he soiled_.--[MS.]

[el] _Those sufferings once reserved for Hell alone._--[MS.]

[em]
_Its fumes are frankincense; and were there nought_
_Even of this vapour, still the chilling yoke_
_Of silence would not long be borne by Thought_.--[MS.]

[en]
_I have drunk deep of passions as they pass,_
_And dearly bought the bitter power to give_.--[MS.]

[262] [See, for instance, Wilson's review of _Don Juan_, in _Blackwood's
Edinburgh Magazine_, August, 1819, vol. v. p. 512, _sq._: "To confess
... to his Maker, and to weep over in secret agonies the wildest and
most fantastic transgressions of heart and mind, is the part of a
conscious sinner, in whom sin has not become the sole principle of life
and action.... But to lay bare to the eye of man--and of _woman_--all
the hidden convulsions of a wicked spirit," etc.]

{214}[eo]
_What! must I go with Wordy to the cooks?_
_Read--were it but your Grandmother's to vex--_
_And let me not the only minstrel be_
_Cut off from tasting your Castalian tea_.--[MS.]

[263] [Compare--

"I leave them to their daily 'tea is ready,'
Snug coterie, and literary lady."

_Beppo_, stanza lxxvi. lines 7, 8, _Poetical Works_, 1901, iv. 184,
note.]

[264] [The caged starling, by its repeated cry, "I can't get out! I
can't get out!" cured Yorick of his sentimental yearnings for
imprisonment in the Bastille. See Sterne's _Sentimental Journey_, ed.
1804, pp. 100-106.]

[265] [In his _Essay, Supplement to the Preface_ (_Poems by William
Wordsworth_, ed. 1820, iii. 315-348), Wordsworth maintains that the
appreciation of great poetry is a plant of slow growth, that immediate
recognition is a mark of inferiority, or is to be accounted for by the
presence of adventitious qualities: "So strange, indeed, are the
obliquities of admiration, that they whose opinions are much influenced
by authority will often be tempted to think that there are no fixed
principles in human nature for this art to rest upon.... Away, then,
with the senseless iteration of the word _popular!_ ... The voice that
issues from this spirit [of human knowledge] is that _Vox Populi_ which
the Deity inspires. Foolish must he be who can mistake for this a local
acclamation, or a transitory outcry--transitory though it be for years,
local though from a Nation. Still more lamentable is his error who can
believe that there is anything of divine infallibility in this clamour
of that small though loud portion of the community ever governed by
factitious influence, which under the name of the PUBLIC, passes itself
upon the unthinking for the PEOPLE." Naturally enough Byron regarded
this pronouncement as a taunt if not as a challenge. Wordsworth's noble
appeal from a provincial to an imperial authority, from the present to
the future, is not strengthened by the obvious reference to the
popularity of contemporaries.]

{215}[266] [Southey's _Madoc in Wales, Poetical Works_, Part I. Canto V.
Ed. 1838, v. 39.]

[ep]
_Not having looked at many of that hue,_
_Nor garters--save those of the_ "honi soit"--_which lie_
_Round the Patrician legs which walk about,_
_The ornaments of levee and of rout_.--[M.S.]

[267] [Probably Lady Charlemont. See "Journal," November 22, 1813.]

{216}[268] [The cyanometer, an instrument for ascertaining the intensity
of the blue colour of the sky, was invented by Horace Bénédict de
Saussure (1740-1799); see his _Essai sur l'Hygrométrie_. F.H. Alexander
von Humboldt (1769-1859) "made great use of his instrument on his
voyages, and ascertained by the colour the degree of blueness, the
accumulation and the nature of the non-transparent exhalations of the
air."--_Alexander von Humboldt_, by Professor Klencke, translated by
Juliette Bauer, 1852, pp. 45, 46.]

[eq]
_I'll back a London_ "Bas" _against Peru_.
or, _I'll bet some pair of stocking beat Peru_.
or, _And so, old Sotheby, we'll measure you_.--[MS.]

[269] ["The slave-market is a quadrangle, surrounded by a covered
gallery, and ranges of small and separate apartments." Here the poor
wretches sit in a melancholy posture. "Before they cheapen 'em, they
turn 'em about from this side to that, survey 'em from top to bottom....
Such of 'em, both men and women, to whom Dame Nature has been niggardly
of her charms, are set apart for the vilest services: but such girls as
have youth and beauty pass their time well enough.... The retailers of
this human ware are the Jews, who take good care of their slaves'
education, that they may sell the better: their choicest they keep at
home, and there you must go, if you would have better than ordinary; for
'tis here, as 'tis in markets for horses, the handsomest don't always
appear, but are kept within doors."--_A Voyage into the Levant_, by M.
Tournefort, 1741, ii. 198, 199. See, too, for the description of the
sale of two Circassians and one Georgian, _Voyage de Vienne à Belgrade_,
... par N.E. Kleeman, 1780, pp. 141, 142. The "lowest offer for the
prize Circassian was 4000 piastres."]

[er]
_The females stood, till chosen each as victim_
_To the soft oath of "Ana seing Siktum!"_[*]--[MS.]

[[*]If the Turkish words are correctly given, "the oath" may be an
imprecation on "your mother's" chastity.]

[es] _For fear the Canto should become too long._--[MS.]

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

CANTO THE FIFTH

I.

WHEN amatory poets sing their loves
In liquid lines mellifluously bland,
And pair their rhymes as Venus yokes her doves,
They little think what mischief is in hand;
The greater their success the worse it proves,
As Ovid's verse may give to understand;
Even Petrarch's self, if judged with due severity,
Is the Platonic pimp of all posterity.

II.

I therefore do denounce all amorous writing,
Except in such a way as not to attract;
Plain--simple--short, and by no means inviting,
But with a moral to each error tacked,
Formed rather for instructing than delighting,
And with all passions in their turn attacked;
Now, if my Pegasus should not be shod ill,
This poem will become a moral model.

III.

The European with the Asian shore
Sprinkled with palaces--the Ocean stream[271]
Here and there studded with a seventy-four,
Sophia's Cupola with golden gleam,[272]
The cypress groves, Olympus high and hoar,
The twelve isles, and the more than I could dream,
Far less describe, present the very view
Which charmed the charming Mary Montagu.

IV.

I have a passion for the name of "Mary,"[273]
For once it was a magic sound to me;
And still it half calls up the realms of Fairy,
Where I beheld what never was to be;
All feelings changed, but this was last to vary,
A spell from which even yet I am not quite free:
But I grow sad--and let a tale grow cold,
Which must not be pathetically told.

V.

The wind swept down the Euxine, and the wave
Broke foaming o'er the blue Symplegades;
'T is a grand sight from off "the Giant's Grave"[274]
To watch the progress of those rolling seas
Between the Bosphorus, as they lash and lave
Europe and Asia, you being quite at ease:
There's not a sea the passenger e'er pukes in,
Turns up more dangerous breakers than the Euxine.

VI.

'T was a raw day of Autumn's bleak beginning,
When nights are equal, but not so the days;
The Parcæ then cut short the further spinning
Of seamen's fates, and the loud tempests raise[et]
The waters, and repentance for past sinning
In all, who o'er the great deep take their ways:
They vow to amend their lives, and yet they don't;
Because if drowned, they can't--if spared, they won't.

VII.

A crowd of shivering slaves of every nation,
And age, and sex, were in the market ranged;
Each bevy with the merchant in his station:
Poor creatures! their good looks were sadly changed.
All save the blacks seemed jaded with vexation,
From friends, and home, and freedom far estranged;
The negroes more philosophy displayed,--
Used to it, no doubt, as eels are to be flayed.

VIII.

Juan was juvenile, and thus was full,
As most at his age are, of hope, and health;
Yet I must own, he looked a little dull,
And now and then a tear stole down by stealth;
Perhaps his recent loss of blood might pull
His spirit down; and then the loss of wealth,
A mistress, and such comfortable quarters,
To be put up for auction amongst Tartars,

IX.

Were things to shake a Stoic; ne'ertheless,
Upon the whole his carriage was serene:
His figure, and the splendour of his dress,
Of which some gilded remnants still were seen,
Drew all eyes on him, giving them to guess
He was above the vulgar by his mien;
And then, though pale, he was so very handsome;
And then--they calculated on his ransom.[eu]

X.

Like a backgammon board the place was dotted
With whites and blacks, in groups on show for sale,
Though rather more irregularly spotted:
Some bought the jet, while others chose the pale.
It chanced amongst the other people lotted,[ev]
A man of thirty, rather stout and hale,
With resolution in his dark grey eye,
Next Juan stood, till some might choose to buy.

XI.

He had an English look; that is, was square
In make, of a complexion white and ruddy,
Good teeth, with curling rather dark brown hair,
And, it might be from thought, or toil, or study,
An open brow a little marked with care:
One arm had on a bandage rather bloody;
And there he stood with such _sang froid,_ that greater
Could scarce be shown even by a mere spectator.

XII.

But seeing at his elbow a mere lad,
Of a high spirit evidently, though
At present weighed down by a doom which had
O'erthrown even men, he soon began to show
A kind of blunt compassion for the sad
Lot of so young a partner in the woe,
Which for himself he seemed to deem no worse
Than any other scrape, a thing of course.

XIII.

"My boy!"--said he, "amidst this motley crew
Of Georgians, Russians, Nubians, and what not,
All ragamuffins differing but in hue,
With whom it is our luck to cast our lot,
The only gentlemen seem I and you;
So let us be acquainted, as we ought:
If I could yield you any consolation,
'T would give me pleasure.--Pray, what is your nation?"

XIV.

When Juan answered--"Spanish!" he replied,
"I thought, in fact, you could not be a Greek;
Those servile dogs are not so proudly eyed:
Fortune has played you here a pretty freak,
But that's her way with all men, till they're tried;
But never mind,--she'll turn, perhaps, next week;
She has served me also much the same as you,
Except that I have found it nothing new."

XV.

"Pray, sir," said Juan, "if I may presume,
_What_ brought you here?"--"Oh! nothing very rare--
Six Tartars and a drag-chain----"--"To this doom
But what conducted, if the question 's fair,
Is that which I would learn."--"I served for some
Months with the Russian army here and there;
And taking lately, by Suwarrow's bidding,
A town, was ta'en myself instead of Widdin."[275]

XVI.

"Have you no friends?"--"I had--but, by God's blessing,
Have not been troubled with them lately. Now
I have answered all your questions without pressing,
And you an equal courtesy should show."
"Alas!" said Juan, "'t were a tale distressing,
And long besides."--"Oh! if 't is really so,
You're right on both accounts to hold your tongue;
A sad tale saddens doubly when 't is long.

XVII.

"But droop not: Fortune at your time of life,
Although a female moderately fickle,
Will hardly leave you (as she's not your wife)
For any length of days in such a pickle.
To strive, too, with our fate were such a strife
As if the corn-sheaf should oppose the sickle:
Men are the sport of circumstances, when
The circumstances seem the sport of men."

XVIII.

"'T is not," said Juan, "for my present doom
I mourn, but for the past;--I loved a maid:"--
He paused, and his dark eye grew full of gloom;
A single tear upon his eyelash staid
A moment, and then dropped; "but to resume,
'Tis not my present lot, as I have said,
Which I deplore so much; for I have borne
Hardships which have the hardiest overworn,

XIX.

"On the rough deep. But this last blow--" and here
He stopped again, and turned away his face.
"Aye," quoth his friend, "I thought it would appear
That there had been a lady in the case;
And these are things which ask a tender tear,
Such as I, too, would shed if in your place:
I cried upon my first wife's dying day,
And also when my second ran away:

XX.

"My third----"--"Your third!" quoth Juan, turning round;
"You scarcely can be thirty: have you three?"
"No--only two at present above ground:
Surely 't is nothing wonderful to see
One person thrice in holy wedlock bound!"
"Well, then, your third," said Juan; "what did she?
She did not run away, too,--did she, sir?"
"No, faith."--"What then?"--"I ran away from her."

XXI.

"You take things coolly, sir," said Juan. "Why,"
Replied the other, "what can a man do?
There still are many rainbows in your sky,
But mine have vanished. All, when Life is new,
Commence with feelings warm, and prospects high;
But Time strips our illusions of their hue,
And one by one in turn, some grand mistake
Casts off its bright skin yearly like the snake.

XXII.

"'T is true, it gets another bright and fresh,
Or fresher, brighter; but the year gone through,
This skin must go the way, too, of all flesh,
Or sometimes only wear a week or two;--
Love's the first net which spreads its deadly mesh;
Ambition, Avarice, Vengeance, Glory, glue
The glittering lime-twigs of our latter days,
Where still we flutter on for pence or praise."

XXIII.

"All this is very fine, and may be true,"
Said Juan; "but I really don't see how
It betters present times with me or you."
"No?" quoth the other; "yet you will allow
By setting things in their right point of view,
Knowledge, at least, is gained; for instance, now,
We know what slavery is, and our disasters
May teach us better to behave when masters."

XXIV.

"Would we were masters now, if but to try
Their present lessons on our Pagan friends here,"
Said Juan,--swallowing a heart-burning sigh:
"Heaven help the scholar, whom his fortune sends here!"
"Perhaps we shall be one day, by and by,"
Rejoined the other, "when our bad luck mends here;
Meantime (yon old black eunuch seems to eye us)
I wish to G--d that somebody would buy us.

XXV.

"But after all, what _is_ our present state?
'T is bad, and may be better--all men's lot:
Most men are slaves, none more so than the great,
To their own whims and passions, and what not;
Society itself, which should create
Kindness, destroys what little we had got:
To feel for none is the true social art
Of the world's Stoics--men without a heart."

XXVI.

Just now a black old neutral personage
Of the third sex stepped up, and peering over
The captives seemed to mark their looks and age,
And capabilities, as to discover
If they were fitted for the purposed cage:
No lady e'er is ogled by a lover,
Horse by a blackleg, broadcloth by a tailor,
Fee by a counsel, felon by a jailor,

XXVII.

As is a slave by his intended bidder.
'T is pleasant purchasing our fellow-creatures;
And all are to be sold, if you consider
Their passions, and are dext'rous; some by features
Are bought up, others by a warlike leader,
Some by a place--as tend their years or natures:
The most by ready cash--but all have prices,
From crowns to kicks, according to their vices.

XXVIII.

The eunuch, having eyed them o'er with care,
Turned to the merchant, and began to bid
First but for one, and after for the pair;
They haggled, wrangled, swore, too--so they did!
As though they were in a mere Christian fair,
Cheapening an ox, an ass, a lamb, or kid;
So that their bargain sounded like a battle
For this superior yoke of human cattle.

XXIX.

At last they settled into simple grumbling,
And pulling out reluctant purses, and
Turning each piece of silver o'er, and tumbling
Some down, and weighing others in their hand,
And by mistake sequins[276] with paras jumbling,
Until the sum was accurately scanned,
And then the merchant giving change, and signing
Receipts in full, began to think of dining.

XXX.

I wonder if his appetite was good?
Or, if it were, if also his digestion?
Methinks at meals some odd thoughts might intrude,
And Conscience ask a curious sort of question,
About the right divine how far we should
Sell flesh and blood. When dinner has oppressed one,
I think it is perhaps the gloomiest hour
Which turns up out of the sad twenty-four.

XXXI.

Voltaire says "No:" he tells you that Candide
Found life most tolerable after meals;[277]
He's wrong--unless man were a pig, indeed,
Repletion rather adds to what he feels,
Unless he's drunk, and then no doubt he's freed
From his own brain's oppression while it reels.
Of food I think with Philip's son[278] or rather
Ammon's (ill pleased with one world and one father);[ew]

XXXII.

I think with Alexander, that the act
Of eating, with another act or two,
Makes us feel our mortality in fact
Redoubled; when a roast and a ragout,
And fish, and soup, by some side dishes backed,
Can give us either pain or pleasure, who
Would pique himself on intellects, whose use
Depends so much upon the gastric juice?

XXXIII.

The other evening ('t was on Friday last)--
This is a fact, and no poetic fable--
Just as my great coat was about me cast,
My hat and gloves still lying on the table,
I heard a shot--'t was eight o'clock scarce past--
And, running out as fast as I was able,[279]
I found the military commandant
Stretched in the street, and able scarce to pant.

XXXIV.

Poor fellow! for some reason, surely bad,
They had slain him with five slugs; and left him there
To perish on the pavement: so I had
Him borne into the house and up the stair,
And stripped, and looked to[ex]----But why should I add
More circumstances? vain was every care;
The man was gone--in some Italian quarrel
Killed by five bullets from an old gun-barrel.

XXXV.

I gazed upon him, for I knew him well;
And though I have seen many corpses, never
Saw one, whom such an accident befell,
So calm; though pierced through stomach, heart, and liver,
He seemed to sleep,--for you could scarcely tell
(As he bled inwardly, no hideous river
Of gore divulged the cause) that he was dead:
So as I gazed on him, I thought or said--

XXXVI.

"Can this be Death? then what is Life or Death?
Speak!" but he spoke not: "wake!" but still he slept:--
"But yesterday and who had mightier breath?
A thousand warriors by his word were kept
In awe: he said, as the Centurion saith,
'Go,' and he goeth; 'come,' and forth he stepped.
The trump and bugle till he spake were dumb--
And now nought left him but the muffled drum."[ey]

XXXVII.

And they who waited once and worshipped--they
With their rough faces thronged about the bed
To gaze once more on the commanding clay
Which for the last, though not the first, time bled;
And such an end! that he who many a day
Had faced Napoleon's foes until they fled,--
The foremost in the charge or in the sally,
Should now be butchered in a civic alley.

XXXVIII.

The scars of his old wounds were near his new,
Those honourable scars which brought him fame;
And horrid was the contrast to the view----
But let me quit the theme; as such things claim
Perhaps even more attention than is due
From me: I gazed (as oft I have gazed the same)
To try if I could wrench aught out of Death
Which should confirm, or shake, or make a faith;

XXXIX.

But it was all a mystery. Here we are,
And there we go:--but _where_? five bits of lead,
Or three, or two, or one, send very far!
And is this blood, then, formed but to be shed?
Can every element our elements mar?
And Air--Earth--Water--Fire live--and we dead?
_We_, whose minds comprehend all things? No more;
But let us to the story as before.

XL.

The purchaser of Juan and acquaintance
Bore off his bargains to a gilded boat,
Embarked himself and them, and off they went thence
As fast as oars could pull and water float;
They looked like persons being led to sentence,
Wondering what next, till the caique[280] was brought
Up in a little creek below a wall
O'ertopped with cypresses, dark-green and tall.

XLI.

Here their conductor tapping at the wicket
Of a small iron door, 't was opened, and
He led them onward, first through a low thicket
Flanked by large groves, which towered on either hand:
They almost lost their way, and had to pick it--
For night was closing ere they came to land.
The eunuch made a sign to those on board,
Who rowed off, leaving them without a word.

XLII.

As they were plodding on their winding way
Through orange bowers, and jasmine, and so forth:
(Of which I might have a good deal to say,
There being no such profusion in the North
Of oriental plants, _et cetera_,
But that of late your scribblers think it worth
Their while to rear whole hotbeds in _their_ works,
Because _one_ poet travelled 'mongst the Turks:)[281]

XLIII.

As they were threading on their way, there came
Into Don Juan's head a thought, which he
Whispered to his companion:--'t was the same
Which might have then occurred to you or me.
"Methinks,"--said he,--"it would be no great shame
If we should strike a stroke to set us free;
Let's knock that old black fellow on the head,
And march away--'t were easier done than said."

XLIV.

"Yes," said the other, "and when done, what then?
_How_ get out? how the devil got we in?
And when we once were fairly out, and when
From Saint Bartholomew we have saved our skin,[282][ez]
To-morrow'd see us in some other den,
And worse off than we hitherto have been;
Besides, I'm hungry, and just now would take,
Like Esau, for my birthright a beef-steak.

XLV.

"We must be near some place of man's abode;--
For the old negro's confidence in creeping,
With his two captives, by so queer a road,
Shows that he thinks his friends have not been sleeping;
A single cry would bring them all abroad:
'T is better therefore looking before leaping--
And there, you see, this turn has brought us through,
By Jove, a noble palace!--lighted too."

XLVI.

It was indeed a wide extensive building
Which opened on their view, and o'er the front
There seemed to be besprent a deal of gilding
And various hues, as is the Turkish wont,--
A gaudy taste; for they are little skilled in
The arts of which these lands were once the font:
Each villa on the Bosphorus looks a screen
New painted, or a pretty opera-scene.[283]

XLVII.

And nearer as they came, a genial savour
Of certain stews, and roast-meats, and pilaus,
Things which in hungry mortals' eyes find favour,
Made Juan in his harsh intentions pause,
And put himself upon his good behaviour:
His friend, too, adding a new saving clause,
Said, "In Heaven's name let's get some supper now,
And then I'm with you, if you're for a row."

XLVIII.

Some talk of an appeal unto some passion,
Some to men's feelings, others to their reason;
The last of these was never much the fashion,
For Reason thinks all reasoning out of season:
Some speakers whine, and others lay the lash on,
But more or less continue still to tease on,
With arguments according to their "forte:"
But no one ever dreams of being short.--

XLIX.

But I digress: of all appeals,--although
I grant the power of pathos, and of gold,
Of beauty, flattery, threats, a shilling,--no
Method's more sure at moments to take hold[fa]
Of the best feelings of mankind, which grow
More tender, as we every day behold,
Than that all-softening, overpowering knell,
The Tocsin of the Soul--the dinner-bell.

L.

Turkey contains no bells, and yet men dine;
And Juan and his friend, albeit they heard
No Christian knoll to table, saw no line
Of lackeys usher to the feast prepared,
Yet smelt roast-meat, beheld a huge fire shine,
And cooks in motion with their clean arms bared,
And gazed around them to the left and right,
With the prophetic eye of appetite.

LI.

And giving up all notions of resistance,
They followed close behind their sable guide,
Who little thought that his own cracked existence
Was on the point of being set aside:
He motioned them to stop at some small distance,
And knocking at the gate, 't was opened wide,
And a magnificent large hall displayed
The Asian pomp of Ottoman parade.

LII.

I won't describe; description is my "forte,"
But every fool describes in these bright days
His wondrous journey to some foreign court,
And spawns his quarto, and demands your praise--
Death to his publisher, to him 't is sport;
While Nature, tortured twenty thousand ways,
Resigns herself with exemplary patience
To guide-books, rhymes, tours, sketches, illustrations.[284]

LIII.

Along this hall, and up and down, some, squatted
Upon their hams, were occupied at chess;
Others in monosyllable talk chatted,
And some seemed much in love with their own dress;
And divers smoked superb pipes decorated
With amber mouths of greater price or less;
And several strutted, others slept, and some
Prepared for supper with a glass of rum.[285]

LIV.

As the black eunuch entered with his brace
Of purchased Infidels, some raised their eyes
A moment, without slackening from their pace;
But those who sate ne'er stirred in any wise:
One or two stared the captives in the face,
Just as one views a horse to guess his price;
Some nodded to the negro from their station,
But no one troubled him with conversation.[286]

LV.

He leads them through the hall, and, without stopping,
On through a farther range of goodly rooms,
Splendid, but silent, save in _one_, where dropping[287]
A marble fountain echoes through the glooms
Of night which robe the chamber, or where popping
Some female head most curiously presumes
To thrust its black eyes through the door or lattice,
As wondering what the _devil_ noise that is!

LVI.

Some faint lamps gleaming from the lofty walls
Gave light enough to hint their farther way,
But not enough to show the imperial halls
In all the flashing of their full array;
Perhaps there's nothing--I'll not say appals,
But saddens more by night as well as day,
Than an enormous room without a soul[288]
To break the lifeless splendour of the whole.

LVII.

Two or three seem so little, _one_ seems nothing:
In deserts, forests, crowds, or by the shore,
_There_ Solitude, we know, has her full growth in
The spots which were her realms for evermore;
But in a mighty hall or gallery, both in
More modern buildings and those built of yore,
A kind of Death comes o'er us all alone,
Seeing what's meant for many with but one.

LVIII.

A neat, snug study on a winter's night,[fb]
A book, friend, single lady, or a glass
Of claret, sandwich, and an appetite,
Are things which make an English evening pass--
Though _certes_ by no means so grand a sight
As is a theatre lit up by gas--
_I_ pass my evenings in long galleries solely,[fc][289]
And that's the reason I'm so melancholy.

LIX.

Alas! Man makes that great which makes him little--
I grant you in a church 't is very well:
What speaks of Heaven should by no means be brittle,
But strong and lasting, till no tongue can tell
Their names who reared it; but huge houses fit ill,
And huge tombs, worse, Mankind--since Adam fell:
Methinks the story of the tower of Babel
Might teach them this much better than I'm able.

LX.

Babel was Nimrod's hunting-box, and then
A town of gardens, walls, and wealth amazing,
Where Nabuchadonosor,[290] King of men,
Reigned, till one summer's day he took to grazing,
And Daniel tamed the lions in their den,
The people's awe and admiration raising;
'T was famous, too, for Thisbe and for Pyramus,[291]
And the calumniated queen Semiramis--

LXI.

That injured Queen, by chroniclers[292] so coarse,
Has been accused (I doubt not by conspiracy)
Of an improper friendship for her horse
(Love, like Religion, sometimes runs to heresy):
This monstrous tale had probably its source
(For such exaggerations here and there I see)
In writing "Courser" by mistake for "Courier:"[fd]
I wish the case could come before a jury here.[293]

LXII.

But to resume,--should there be (what may not
Be in these days?) some infidels, who don't,
Because they can't find out the very spot
Of that same Babel, or because they won't
(Though Claudius Rich, Esquire, some bricks has got,
And written lately two memoirs upon't),[294]
Believe the Jews, those unbelievers, who
Must be believed, though they believe not you:

LXIII.

Yet let them think that Horace has expressed
Shortly and sweetly the masonic folly
Of those, forgetting the great place of rest,
Who give themselves to Architecture wholly;
We know where things and men must end at best:
A moral (like all morals) melancholy,
And "Et sepulchri immemor struis domos"
Shows that we build when we should but entomb us.

LXIV.

At last they reached a quarter most retired,
Where Echo woke as if from a long slumber;
Though full of all things which could be desired,
One wondered what to do with such a number
Of articles which nobody required;
Here Wealth had done its utmost to encumber
With furniture an exquisite apartment,
Which puzzled Nature much to know what Art meant.

LXV.

It seemed, however, but to open on
A range or suite of further chambers, which
Might lead to Heaven knows where; but in this one
The moveables were prodigally rich:
Sofas 't was half a sin to sit upon,
So costly were they; carpets every stitch
Of workmanship so rare, they made you wish
You could glide o'er them like a golden fish.

LXVI.

The black, however, without hardly deigning
A glance at that which wrapped the slaves in wonder,
Trampled what they scarce trod for fear of staining,
As if the milky way their feet was under
With all its stars; and with a stretch attaining
A certain press or cupboard niched in yonder,
In that remote recess which you may see--
Or if you don't the fault is not in me,--

LXVII.

I wish to be perspicuous--and the black,
I say, unlocking the recess, pulled forth
A quantity of clothes fit for the back
Of any Mussulman, whate'er his worth:
And of variety there was no lack--
And yet, though I have said there was no dearth,--
He chose himself to point out what he thought
Most proper for the Christians he had bought.

LXVIII.

The suit he thought most suitable to each
Was, for the elder and the stouter, first
A Candiote cloak, which to the knee might reach,
And trousers not so tight that they would burst,
But such as fit an Asiatic breech;
A shawl, whose folds in Cashmire had been nursed,
Slippers of saffron, dagger rich and handy;
In short, all things which form a Turkish Dandy.

LXIX.

While he was dressing, Baba, their black friend,
Hinted the vast advantages which they
Might probably attain both in the end,
If they would but pursue the proper way
Which Fortune plainly seemed to recommend;
And then he added, that he needs must say,
"'T would greatly tend to better their condition,
If they would condescend to circumcision.

LXX.

"For his own part, he really should rejoice
To see them true believers, but no less
Would leave his proposition to their choice."
The other, thanking him for this excess
Of goodness, in thus leaving them a voice
In such a trifle, scarcely could express
"Sufficiently" (he said) "his approbation
Of all the customs of this polished nation.

LXXI.

"For his own share--he saw but small objection
To so respectable an ancient rite;
And, after swallowing down a slight refection,
For which he owned a present appetite,
He doubted not a few hours of reflection
Would reconcile him to the business quite."
"Will it?" said Juan, sharply: "Strike me dead,
But they as soon shall circumcise my head![fe]

LXXII.

"Cut off a thousand heads, before----"--"Now, pray,"
Replied the other, "do not interrupt:
You put me out in what I had to say.
Sir!--as I said, as soon as I have supped,
I shall perpend if your proposal may
Be such as I can properly accept;
Provided always your great goodness still
Remits the matter to our own free-will."

LXXIII.

Baba eyed Juan, and said, "Be so good
As dress yourself--" and pointed out a suit
In which a Princess with great pleasure would
Array her limbs; but Juan standing mute,
As not being in a masquerading mood,
Gave it a slight kick with his Christian foot;
And when the old negro told him to "Get ready,"
Replied, "Old gentleman, I'm not a lady."

LXXIV.

"What you may be, I neither know nor care,"
Said Baba; "but pray do as I desire:
I have no more time nor many words to spare."
"At least," said Juan, "sure I may inquire
The cause of this odd travesty?"--"Forbear,"
Said Baba, "to be curious; 't will transpire,
No doubt, in proper place, and time, and season:
I have no authority to tell the reason."

LXXV.

"Then if I do," said Juan, "I'll be----"--"Hold!"
Rejoined the negro, "pray be not provoking;
This spirit's well, but it may wax too bold,
And you will find us not too fond of joking."
"What, sir!" said Juan, "shall it e'er be told
That I unsexed my dress?" But Baba, stroking
The things down, said, "Incense me, and I call
Those who will leave you of no sex at all.

LXXVI.

"I offer you a handsome suit of clothes:
A woman's, true; but then there is a cause
Why you should wear them."--"What, though my soul loathes
The effeminate garb?"--thus, after a short pause,
Sighed Juan, muttering also some slight oaths,
"What the devil shall I do with all this gauze?"
Thus he profanely termed the finest lace
Which e'er set off a marriage-morning face.

LXXVII.

And then he swore; and, sighing, on he slipped
A pair of trousers of flesh-coloured silk;[ff]
Next with a virgin zone he was equipped,
Which girt a slight chemise as white as milk;
But tugging on his petticoat, he tripped,
Which--as we say--or as the Scotch say, _whilk_.[295]
(The rhyme obliges me to this; sometimes
Monarchs are less imperative than rhymes)--[fg]

LXXVIII.

Whilk, which (or what you please), was owing to
His garment's novelty, and his being awkward:
And yet at last he managed to get through
His toilet, though no doubt a little backward:
The negro Baba helped a little too,
When some untoward part of raiment stuck hard;
And, wrestling both his arms into a gown,
He paused, and took a survey up and down.

LXXIX.

One difficulty still remained--his hair
Was hardly long enough; but Baba found
So many false long tresses all to spare,
That soon his head was most completely crowned,
After the manner then in fashion there;
And this addition with such gems was bound
As suited the _ensemble_ of his toilet,
While Baba made him comb his head and oil it.

LXXX.

And now being femininely all arrayed,
With some small aid from scissors, paint, and tweezers,
He looked in almost all respects a maid,[fh]
And Baba smilingly exclaimed, "You see, sirs,
A perfect transformation here displayed;
And now, then, you must come along with me, sirs,
That is--the Lady:" clapping his hands twice,
Four blacks were at his elbow in a trice.

LXXXI.

"You, sir," said Baba, nodding to the one,
"Will please to accompany those gentlemen
To supper; but you, worthy Christian nun,
Will follow me: no trifling, sir; for when
I say a thing, it must at once be done.
What fear you? think you this a lion's den?
Why, 't is a palace; where the truly wise
Anticipate the Prophet's paradise.

LXXXII.

"You fool! I tell you no one means you harm."
"So much the better," Juan said, "for them;
Else they shall feel the weight of this my arm,
Which is not quite so light as you may deem.
I yield thus far; but soon will break the charm,
If any take me for that which I seem:
So that I trust for every body's sake,
That this disguise may lead to no mistake."

LXXXIII.

"Blockhead! come on, and see," quoth Baba; while
Don Juan, turning to his comrade, who
Though somewhat grieved, could scarce forbear a smile
Upon the metamorphosis in view,--
"Farewell!" they mutually exclaimed: "this soil
Seems fertile in adventures strange and new;
One's turned half Mussulman, and one a maid,
By this old black enchanter's unsought aid."

LXXXIV.

"Farewell!" said Juan: "should we meet no more,
I wish you a good appetite."--"Farewell!"
Replied the other; "though it grieves me sore:
When we next meet, we'll have a tale to tell:
We needs must follow when Fate puts from shore.
Keep your good name; though Eve herself once fell."
"Nay," quoth the maid, "the Sultan's self shan't carry me,
Unless his Highness promises to marry me."

LXXXV.

And thus they parted, each by separate doors;
Baba led Juan onward, room by room,
Through glittering galleries, and o'er marble floors,
Till a gigantic portal through the gloom,
Haughty and huge, along the distance lowers;
And wafted far arose a rich perfume:
It seemed as though they came upon a shrine,
For all was vast, still, fragrant, and divine.

LXXXVI.

The giant door was broad, and bright, and high,
Of gilded bronze, and carved in curious guise;
Warriors thereon were battling furiously;
Here stalks the victor, there the vanquished lies;
There captives led in triumph droop the eye,
And in perspective many a squadron flies:
It seems the work of times before the line
Of Rome transplanted fell with Constantine.

LXXXVII.

This massy portal stood at the wide close
Of a huge hall, and on its either side
Two little dwarfs, the least you could suppose,
Were sate, like ugly imps, as if allied
In mockery to the enormous gate which rose
O'er them in almost pyramidic pride:
The gate so splendid was in all its _features_,[296]
You never thought about those little creatures,

LXXXVIII.

Until you nearly trod on them, and then
You started back in horror to survey
The wondrous hideousness of those small men,
Whose colour was not black, nor white, nor grey,
But an extraneous mixture, which no pen
Can trace, although perhaps the pencil may;
They were mis-shapen pigmies, deaf and dumb--
Monsters, who cost a no less monstrous sum.

LXXXIX.

Their duty was--for they were strong, and though
They looked so little, did strong things at times--
To ope this door, which they could really do,
The hinges being as smooth as Rogers' rhymes;
And now and then, with tough strings of the bow,
As is the custom of those Eastern climes,
To give some rebel Pacha a cravat--
For mutes are generally used for that.

XC.

They spoke by signs--that is, not spoke at all;
And looking like two Incubi, they glared
As Baba with his fingers made them fall
To heaving back the portal folds: it scared
Juan a moment, as this pair so small,
With shrinking serpent optics on him stared;[297]
It was as if their little looks could poison
Or fascinate whome'er they fixed their eyes on.

XCI.

Before they entered, Baba paused to hint
To Juan some slight lessons as his guide:
"If you could just contrive," he said, "to stint
That somewhat manly majesty of stride,
'T would be as well, and--(though there's not much in 't)
To swing a little less from side to side,
Which has at times an aspect of the oddest;--
And also could you look a little modest,

XCII.

"'T would be convenient; for these mutes have eyes
Like needles, which may pierce those petticoats;
And if they should discover your disguise,
You know how near us the deep Bosphorus floats;
And you and I may chance, ere morning rise,
To find our way to Marmora without boats,
Stitched up in sacks--a mode of navigation
A good deal practised here upon occasion."[298]

XCIII.

With this encouragement he led the way
Into a room still nobler than the last;
A rich confusion formed a disarray
In such sort, that the eye along it cast
Could hardly carry anything away,
Object on object flashed so bright and fast;
A dazzling mass of gems, and gold, and glitter,
Magnificently mingled in a litter.

XCIV.

Wealth had done wonders--taste not much; such things
Occur in Orient palaces, and even
In the more chastened domes of Western kings
(Of which I have also seen some six or seven),
Where I can't say or gold or diamond flings
Great lustre, there is much to be forgiven;
Groups of bad statues, tables, chairs, and pictures,
On which I cannot pause to make my strictures.

XCV.

In this imperial hall, at distance lay
Under a canopy, and there reclined
Quite in a confidential queenly way,
A lady; Baba stopped, and kneeling signed
To Juan, who though not much used to pray,
Knelt down by instinct, wondering in his mind
What all this meant: while Baba bowed and bended
His head, until the ceremony ended.

XCVI.

The lady rising up with such an air
As Venus rose with from the wave, on them
Bent like an antelope a Paphian pair[fi]
Of eyes, which put out each surrounding gem;
And raising up an arm as moonlight fair,
She signed to Baba, who first kissed the hem
Of her deep purple robe, and, speaking low,
Pointed to Juan who remained below.

XCVII.

Her presence was as lofty as her state;
Her beauty of that overpowering kind,
Whose force Description only would abate:
I'd rather leave it much to your own mind,
Than lessen it by what I could relate
Of forms and features; it would strike you blind
Could I do justice to the full detail;
So, luckily for both, my phrases fail.

XCVIII.

Thus much however I may add,--her years
Were ripe, they might make six-and-twenty springs,
But there are forms which Time to touch forbears,
And turns aside his scythe to vulgar things:[fj]
Such as was Mary's, Queen of Scots; true--tears
And Love destroy; and sapping Sorrow wrings
Charms from the charmer, yet some never grow
Ugly; for instance--Ninon de l'Enclos.[299]

XCIX.

She spake some words to her attendants, who
Composed a choir of girls, ten or a dozen,
And were all clad alike; like Juan, too,
Who wore their uniform, by Baba chosen:
They formed a very nymph-like looking crew,[300]
Which might have called Diana's chorus "cousin,"
As far as outward show may correspond--
I won't be bail for anything beyond.

C.

They bowed obeisance and withdrew, retiring,
But not by the same door through which came in
Baba and Juan, which last stood admiring,
At some small distance, all he saw within
This strange saloon, much fitted for inspiring
Marvel and praise; for both or none things win;
And I must say, I ne'er could see the very
Great happiness of the "Nil admirari."[301]

CI.

"Not to admire is all the art I know
(Plain truth, dear Murray, needs few flowers of speech)--
To make men happy, or to keep them so"
(So take it in the very words of Creech)--
Thus Horace wrote we all know long ago;
And thus Pope[302] quotes the precept to re-teach
From his translation; but had _none admired_,
Would Pope have sung, or Horace been inspired?[303]

CII.

Baba, when all the damsels were withdrawn,
Motioned to Juan to approach, and then
A second time desired him to kneel down,
And kiss the lady's foot; which maxim when
He heard repeated, Juan with a frown
Drew himself up to his full height again,
And said, "It grieved him, but he could not stoop
To any shoe, unless it shod the Pope."

CII.

Baba, indignant at this ill-timed pride,
Made fierce remonstrances, and then a threat
He muttered (but the last was given aside)
About a bow-string--quite in vain; not yet
Would Juan bend, though 't were to Mahomet's bride:
There's nothing in the world like _etiquette_
In kingly chambers or imperial halls,
As also at the Race and County Balls.

CIV.

He stood like Atlas, with a world of words
About his ears, and nathless would not bend;
The blood of all his line's Castilian lords
Boiled in his veins, and, rather than descend
To stain his pedigree, a thousand swords
A thousand times of him had made an end;
At length perceiving the "_foot_" could not stand,
Baba proposed that he should kiss the hand,

CV.

Here was an honourable compromise,
A half-way house of diplomatic rest,
Where they might meet in much more peaceful guise;
And Juan now his willingness expressed
To use all fit and proper courtesies,
Adding, that this was commonest and best,
For through the South, the custom still commands
The gentleman to kiss the lady's hands.

CVI.

And he advanced, though with but a bad grace,
Though on more _thorough-bred_[304] or fairer fingers
No lips e'er left their transitory trace:
On such as these the lip too fondly lingers,
And for one kiss would fain imprint a brace,
As you will see, if she you love shall bring hers
In contact; and sometimes even a fair stranger's
An almost twelvemonth's constancy endangers.

CVII.

The lady eyed him o'er and o'er, and bade
Baba retire, which he obeyed in style,
As if well used to the retreating trade;
And taking hints in good part all the while,
He whispered Juan not to be afraid,
And looking on him with a sort of smile,
Took leave, with such a face of satisfaction,
As good men wear who have done a virtuous action.

CVIII.

When he was gone, there was a sudden change:
I know not what might be the lady's thought,
But o'er her bright brow flashed a tumult strange,
And into her clear cheek the blood was brought,
Blood-red as sunset summer clouds which range
The verge of Heaven; and in her large eyes wrought,
A mixture of sensations might be scanned,
Of half voluptuousness and half command.

CIX.

Her form had all the softness of her sex,
Her features all the sweetness of the Devil,
When he put on the Cherub to perplex[305]
Eve, and paved (God knows how) the road to evil;
The Sun himself was scarce more free from specks
Than she from aught at which the eye could cavil;
Yet, somehow, there was something somewhere wanting,
As if she rather _ordered_ than was _granting_.--

CX.

Something imperial, or imperious, threw
A chain o'er all she did; that is, a chain
Was thrown as 't were about the neck of you,--
And Rapture's self will seem almost a pain
With aught which looks like despotism in view;
Our souls at least are free, and 't is in vain
We would against them make the flesh obey--
The spirit in the end will have its way.

CXI.

Her very smile was haughty, though so sweet;
Her very nod was not an inclination;
There was a self-will even in her small feet,
As though they were quite conscious of her station--
They trod as upon necks; and to complete
Her state (it is the custom of her nation),
A poniard decked her girdle, as the sign
She was a Sultan's bride (thank Heaven, not mine!).

CXII.

"To hear and to obey" had been from birth
The law of all around her; to fulfil
All phantasies which yielded joy or mirth,
Had been her slaves' chief pleasure, as her will;
Her blood was high, her beauty scarce of earth:
Judge, then, if her caprices e'er stood still;
Had she but been a Christian, I've a notion
We should have found out the "perpetual motion."

CXIII.

Whate'er she saw and coveted was brought;
Whate'er she did _not_ see, if she supposed
It might be seen, with diligence was sought,
And when 't was found straightway the bargain closed:
There was no end unto the things she bought,
Nor to the trouble which her fancies caused;
Yet even her tyranny had such a grace,
The women pardoned all except her face.[fk]

CXIV.

Juan, the latest of her whims, had caught
Her eye in passing on his way to sale;
She ordered him directly to be bought,
And Baba, who had ne'er been known to fail
In any kind of mischief to be wrought,
At all such auctions knew how to prevail:[fl]
She had no prudence, but he had--and this
Explains the garb which Juan took amiss.

CXV.

His youth and features favoured the disguise,
And should you ask how she, a Sultan's bride,
Could risk or compass such strange phantasies,
This I must leave sultanas to decide:
Emperors are only husbands in wives' eyes,
And kings and consorts oft are mystified,[fm]
As we may ascertain with due precision,
Some by experience, others by tradition.

CXVI.

But to the main point, where we have been tending:--
She now conceived all difficulties past,
And deemed herself extremely condescending
When, being made her property at last,
Without more preface, in her blue eyes blending
Passion and power, a glance on him she cast,
And merely saying, "Christian, canst thou love?"
Conceived that phrase was quite enough to move.

CXVII.

And so it was, in proper time and place;
But Juan, who had still his mind o'erflowing
With Haidée's isle and soft Ionian face,
Felt the warm blood, which in his face was glowing
Rush back upon his heart, which filled apace,
And left his cheeks as pale as snowdrops blowing:
These words went through his soul like Arab spears,[306]
So that he spoke not, but burst into tears.

CXVIII.

She was a good deal shocked; not shocked at tears,
For women shed and use them at their liking;
But there is something when man's eye appears
Wet, still more disagreeable and striking:
A woman's tear-drop melts, a man's half sears,
Like molten lead, as if you thrust a pike in
His heart to force it out, for (to be shorter)
To them 't is a relief, to us a torture.

CXIX.

And she would have consoled, but knew not how:
Having no equals, nothing which had e'er
Infected her with sympathy till now,
And never having dreamt what 't was to bear
Aught of a serious, sorrowing kind, although
There might arise some pouting petty care
To cross her brow, she wondered how so near
Her eyes another's eye could shed a tear.

CXX.

But Nature teaches more than power can spoil,[fn]
And, when a strong although a strange sensation
Moves--female hearts are such a genial soil
For kinder feelings, whatso'er their nation,
They naturally pour the "wine and oil,"
Samaritans in every situation;
And thus Gulbeyaz, though she knew not why,
Felt an odd glistening moisture in her eye.

CXXI.

But tears must stop like all things else; and soon
Juan, who for an instant had been moved
To such a sorrow by the intrusive tone
Of one who dared to ask if "he _had_ loved,"
Called back the Stoic to his eyes, which shone
Bright with the very weakness he reproved;
And although sensitive to beauty, he
Felt most indignant still at not being free.

CXXII.

Gulbeyaz, for the first time in her days,
Was much embarrassed, never having met
In all her life with aught save prayers and praise;
And as she also risked her life to get
Him whom she meant to tutor in love's ways
Into a comfortable tête-à-tête,
To lose the hour would make her quite a martyr,
And they had wasted now almost a quarter.

CXXIII.

I also would suggest the fitting time
To gentlemen in any such like case,
That is to say in a meridian clime--
With us there is more law given to the chase,
But here a small delay forms a great crime:
So recollect that the extremest grace
Is just two minutes for your declaration--
A moment more would hurt your reputation.

CXXIV.

Juan's was good; and might have been still better,
But he had got Haidée into his head:
However strange, he could not yet forget her,
Which made him seem exceedingly ill-bred.
Gulbeyaz, who looked on him as her debtor
For having had him to her palace led,
Began to blush up to the eyes, and then
Grow deadly pale, and then blush back again.

CXXV.

At length, in an imperial way, she laid
Her hand on his, and bending on him eyes
Which needed not an empire to persuade,
Looked into his for love, where none replies:
Her brow grew black, but she would not upbraid,
That being the last thing a proud woman tries;
She rose, and pausing one chaste moment threw
Herself upon his breast, and there she grew.

CXXVI.

This was an awkward test, as Juan found,
But he was steeled by Sorrow, Wrath, and Pride:
With gentle force her white arms he unwound,
And seated her all drooping by his side,
Then rising haughtily he glanced around,
And looking coldly in her face he cried,
"The prisoned eagle will not pair, nor I
Serve a Sultana's sensual phantasy.

CXXVII.

"Thou ask'st, if I can love? be this the proof
How much I _have_ loved--that I love not _thee!_
In this vile garb, the distaff, web, and woof,
Were fitter for me: Love is for the free!
I am not dazzled by this splendid roof;
Whate'er thy power, and great it seems to be,
Heads bow, knees bend, eyes watch around a throne,
And hands obey--our hearts are still our own."

CXXVIII.

This was a truth to us extremely trite;
Not so to her, who ne'er had heard such things:
She deemed her least command must yield delight,
Earth being only made for Queens and Kings.
If hearts lay on the left side or the right
She hardly knew, to such perfection brings
Legitimacy its born votaries, when
Aware of their due royal rights o'er men.

CXXIX.

Besides, as has been said, she was so fair
As even in a much humbler lot had made
A kingdom or confusion anywhere,
And also, as may be presumed, she laid
Some stress on charms, which seldom are, if e'er,
By their possessors thrown into the shade:
She thought hers gave a double "right divine;"
And half of that opinion's also mine.

CXXX.

Remember, or (if you can not) imagine,
Ye! who have kept your chastity when young,
While some more desperate dowager has been waging
Love with you, and been in the dog-days stung[fo]
By your refusal, recollect her raging!
Or recollect all that was said or sung
On such a subject; then suppose the face
Of a young downright beauty in this case!

CXXXI.

Suppose,--but you already have supposed,
The spouse of Potiphar, the Lady Booby,[307]
Phaedra,[308] and all which story has disclosed
Of good examples; pity that so few by
Poets and private tutors are exposed,[fp]
To educate--ye youth of Europe--you by!
But when you have supposed the few we know,
You can't suppose Gulbeyaz' angry brow.

CXXXII.

A tigress robbed of young, a lioness,
Or any interesting beast of prey,
Are similes at hand for the distress
Of ladies who can _not_ have their own way;
But though my turn will not be served with less,
These don't express one half what I should say:
For what is stealing young ones, few or many,
To cutting short their hope of having _any?_

CXXXIII.

The love of offspring's Nature's general law,
From tigresses and cubs to ducks and ducklings;
There's nothing whets the beak, or arms the claw
Like an invasion of their babes and sucklings;
And all who have seen a human nursery, saw
How mothers love their children's squalls and chucklings:
This strong extreme effect (to tire no longer
Your patience) shows the cause must still be stronger.[fq]

CXXXIV.

If I said fire flashed from Gulbeyaz' eyes,
'T were nothing--for her eyes flashed always fire;
Or said her cheeks assumed the deepest dyes,
I should but bring disgrace upon the dyer,
So supernatural was her passion's rise;
For ne'er till now she knew a checked desire:
Even ye who know what a checked woman is
(Enough, God knows!) would much fall short of this.

CXXXV.

Her rage was but a minute's, and 't was well--
A moment's more had slain her; but the while
It lasted 't was like a short glimpse of Hell:
Nought's more sublime than energetic bile,
Though horrible to see, yet grand to tell,
Like Ocean warring 'gainst a rocky isle;
And the deep passions flashing through her form
Made her a beautiful embodied storm.

CXXXVI.

A vulgar tempest 't were to a typhoon
To match a common fury with her rage,
And yet she did not want to reach the moon,[309]
Like moderate Hotspur on the immortal page;[fr]
Her anger pitched into a lower tune,
Perhaps the fault of her soft sex and age--
Her wish was but to "kill, kill, kill," like Lear's,[310]
And then her thirst of blood was quenched in tears.

CXXXVII.

A storm it raged, and like the storm it passed,
Passed without words--in fact she could not speak;
And then her sex's shame[311] broke in at last,
A sentiment till then in her but weak,
But now it flowed in natural and fast,
As water through an unexpected leak;
For she felt humbled--and humiliation
Is sometimes good for people in her station.

CXXXVIII.

It teaches them that they are flesh and blood,
It also gently hints to them that others,
Although of clay, are yet not quite of mud;
That urns and pipkins are but fragile brothers,
And works of the same pottery, bad or good,
Though not all born of the same sires and mothers;
It teaches--Heaven knows only what it teaches,
But sometimes it may mend, and often reaches.

CXXXIX.

Her first thought was to cut off Juan's head;
Her second, to cut only his--acquaintance;
Her third, to ask him where he had been bred;
Her fourth, to rally him into repentance;
Her fifth, to call her maids and go to bed;
Her sixth, to stab herself; her seventh, to sentence
The lash to Baba:--but her grand resource
Was to sit down again, and cry--of course.

CXL.

She thought to stab herself, but then she had
The dagger close at hand, which made it awkward;
For Eastern stays are little made to pad,
So that a poniard pierces if 't is struck hard:
She thought of killing Juan--but, poor lad!
Though he deserved it well for being so backward,
The cutting off his head was not the art
Most likely to attain her aim--his heart.

CXLI.

Juan was moved: he had made up his mind
To be impaled, or quartered as a dish
For dogs, or to be slain with pangs refined,
Or thrown to lions, or made baits for fish,
And thus heroically stood resigned,
Rather than sin--except to his own wish:
But all his great preparatives for dying
Dissolved like snow before a woman crying.

CXLII.

As through his palms Bob Acres' valour oozed,[312]
So Juan's virtue ebbed, I know not how;
And first he wondered why he had refused;
And then, if matters could be made up now;
And next his savage virtue he accused,
Just as a friar may accuse his vow,
Or as a dame repents her of her oath,
Which mostly ends in some small breach of both.

CXLIII.

So he began to stammer some excuses;
But words are not enough in such a matter,
Although you borrowed all that e'er the Muses
Have sung, or even a Dandy's dandiest chatter,
Or all the figures Castlereagh abuses;[fs]
Just as a languid smile began to flatter
His peace was making, but, before he ventured
Further, old Baba rather briskly entered.

CXLIV.

"Bride of the Sun! and Sister of the Moon!"
('T was thus he spake,) "and Empress of the Earth!
Whose frown would put the spheres all out of tune,
Whose smile makes all the planets dance with mirth,
Your slave brings tidings--he hopes not too soon--
Which your sublime attention may be worth:
The Sun himself has sent me like a ray,
To hint that he is coming up this way."

CXLV.

"Is it," exclaimed Gulbeyaz, "as you say?
I wish to heaven he would not shine till morning!
But bid my women form the milky way.
Hence, my old comet! give the stars due warning--[ft]
And, Christian! mingle with them as you may,
And as you'd have me pardon your past scorning-----"
Here they were interrupted by a humming
Sound, and then by a cry, "The Sultan's coming!"

CXLVI.

First came her damsels, a decorous file,
And then his Highness' eunuchs, black and white;
The train might reach a quarter of a mile:
His Majesty was always so polite
As to announce his visits a long while
Before he came, especially at night;
For being the last wife of the Emperor,
She was of course the favourite of the four.

CXLVII.

His Highness was a man of solemn port,
Shawled to the nose, and bearded to the eyes,
Snatched from a prison to preside at court,
His lately bowstrung brother caused his rise;
He was as good a sovereign of the sort
As any mentioned in the histories
Of Cantemir, or Kn[-o]ll[)e]s, where few shine[fu]
Save Solyman, the glory of their line.[313]

CXLVIII.

He went to mosque in state, and said his prayers
With more than "Oriental scrupulosity;"[314]
He left to his vizier all state affairs,
And showed but little royal curiosity:
I know not if he had domestic cares--
No process proved connubial animosity;
Four wives and twice five hundred maids, unseen,
Were ruled as calmly as a Christian queen.[fv]

CXLIX.

If now and then there happened a slight slip,
Little was heard of criminal or crime;
The story scarcely passed a single lip--
The sack and sea had settled all in time,
From which the secret nobody could rip:
The public knew no more than does this rhyme;
No scandals made the daily press a curse--
Morals were better, and the fish no worse.[fw]

CL.

He saw with his own eyes the moon was round,
Was also certain that the earth was square,
Because he had journeyed fifty miles, and found
No sign that it was circular anywhere;[fx]
His empire also was without a bound:
'T is true, a little troubled here and there,
By rebel pachas, and encroaching giaours,
But then they never came to "the Seven Towers;"[315]

CLI.

Except in shape of envoys, who were sent
To lodge there when a war broke out, according
To the true law of nations, which ne'er meant
Those scoundrels, who have never had a sword in
Their dirty diplomatic hands, to vent
Their spleen in making strife, and safely wording
Their lies, yclept despatches, without risk or
The singeing of a single inky whisker.

CLII.

He had fifty daughters and four dozen sons,
Of whom all such as came of age were stowed,
The former in a palace, where like nuns
They lived till some Bashaw was sent abroad,
When she, whose turn it was, was wed at once,
Sometimes at six years old[316]--though this seems odd,
'T is true; the reason is, that the Bashaw
Must make a present to his sire-in-law.

CLIII.

His sons were kept in prison, till they grew
Of years to fill a bowstring or the throne,
One or the other, but which of the two
Could yet be known unto the fates alone;
Meantime the education they went through
Was princely, as the proofs have always shown;
So that the heir apparent still was found
No less deserving to be hanged than crowned.

CLIV.

His Majesty saluted his fourth spouse
With all the ceremonies of his rank,
Who cleared her sparkling eyes and smoothed her brows,
As suits a matron who has played a prank;
These must seem doubly mindful of their vows,
To save the credit of their breaking bank:
To no men are such cordial greetings given
As those whose wives have made them fit for Heaven.[317]

CLV.

His Highness cast around his great black eyes,
And looking, as he always looked, perceived
Juan amongst the damsels in disguise,
At which he seemed no whit surprised nor grieved,
But just remarked with air sedate and wise,[fy]
While still a fluttering sigh Gulbeyaz heaved,
"I see you've bought another girl; 't is pity
That a mere Christian should be half so pretty."

CLVI.

This compliment, which drew all eyes upon
The new-bought virgin, made her blush and shake.
Her comrades, also, thought themselves undone:
Oh! Mahomet! that his Majesty should take
Such notice of a giaour, while scarce to one
Of them his lips imperial ever spake!
There was a general whisper, toss, and wriggle,
But etiquette forbade them all to giggle.

CLVII.

The Turks do well to shut--at least, sometimes--
The women up--because, in sad reality,
Their chastity in these unhappy climes[fz]
Is not a thing of that astringent quality
Which in the North prevents precocious crimes,
And makes our snow less pure than our morality;
The Sun, which yearly melts the polar ice,
Has quite the contrary effect--on vice.

CLVIII.

Thus in the East they are extremely strict,
And wedlock and a padlock mean the same:
Excepting only when the former's picked
It ne'er can be replaced in proper frame;
Spoilt, as a pipe of claret is when pricked:
But then their own polygamy's to blame;
Why don't they knead two virtuous souls for life
Into that moral centaur, man and wife?[318]

CLIX.

Thus far our chronicle; and now we pause,
Though not for want of matter; but 't is time,
According to the ancient epic laws,
To slacken sail, and anchor with our rhyme.
Let this fifth canto meet with due applause,
The sixth shall have a touch of the sublime;
Meanwhile, as Homer sometimes sleeps, perhaps
You'll pardon to my muse a few short naps.[ga]


End of Canto 5^th^ Finished Ravenna, Nov. 27^th^ 1820.
Begun Oct. 16, 1820.
and finished copying out, Dec. 26.
with some intermediate additions, 1820.
B.

 

 

FOOTNOTES:

 

{218}[270] [Canto V. was begun at Ravenna, October the 16th, and
finished November the 20th, 1820. It was published August 8, 1821,
together with Cantos III. and IV.]

[271] This expression of Homer has been much criticized. It hardly
answers to our Atlantic ideas of the ocean, but is sufficiently
applicable to the Hellespont, and the Bosphorus, with the Aegean
intersected with islands.

[Vide Iliad, xiv. 245, etc. Homer's "ocean-stream" was not the
Hellespont, but the rim of waters which encircled the disk of the
world.]

{219}[272] ["The pleasure of going in a barge to Chelsea is not
comparable to that of rowing upon the canal of the sea here, where, for
twenty miles together, down the Bosphorus, the most beautiful variety of
prospects present themselves. The Asian side is covered with fruit
trees, villages, and the most delightful landscapes in nature; on the
European stands Constantinople, situated on seven hills; showing an
agreeable mixture of gardens, pine and cypress trees, palaces, mosques,
and public buildings, raised one above another, with as much beauty and
appearance of symmetry as your ladyship ever saw in a cabinet adorned by
the most skilful hands, where jars show themselves above jars, mixed
with canisters, babies, and candlesticks. This is a very odd comparison:
but it gives me an exact idea of the thing."--See letter to Mr. Pope,
No. xl. June 17, 1717, and letter to the Countess of Bristol, No. xlvi.
n.d., _Letters of the Lady Mary Worthy Montagu,_ 1816, pp. 183-219. See,
too, letter to Mrs. Byron, June 28, 1810, _Letters,_ 1890, i. 280,
note 1.]

[273] [For Byron's "Marys," see _Poetical Works,_ 1898, i. 192, note
2.]

[274] The "Giant's Grave" is a height on the Asiatic shore of the
Bosphorus, much frequented by holiday parties; like Harrow and Highgate.

["The Giant's Mountain, 650 feet high, is almost exactly opposite
Buyukdereh ... It is called by the Turks Yoshadagh, _Mountain of
Joshua,_ because the _Giant's Grave_ on the top is, according to the
Moslem legend, the grave of Joshua. The grave was formerly called the
_Couch of Hercules;_ but the classical story is that it was the tomb of
Amycus, king of the Bebryces [on his grave grew the _laurus insana_, a
branch of which caused strife (Plin., _Hist. Nat.,_ lib. xvi. cap. xliv.
ed. 1593, ii. 198)]. The grave is 20 feet long, and 5 feet broad; it is
within a stone enclosure, and is planted with flowers and
bushes."--_Handbook for Constantinople,_ p. 103.]

{220}[et]
_For then the Parca are most busy spinning_
_The fates of seamen, and the loud winds raise_.--[MS.]

{221}[eu]
_That he a man of rank and birth had been_,
_And then they calculated on his ransom_,
_And last not least--he was so very handsome_.--[MS.]

[ev]
_It chanced that near him, separately lotted_,
_From out the group of slaves put up for sale_,
_A man of middle age, and_----.--[MS.]

{222}[275] [The object of Suwarof's campaign of 1789 was the conquest of
Belgrade and Servia, that of Wallachia by the Austrians, etc. Neither of
these plans succeeded."--_The Life of Field-Marshal Suwarof,_ by L.M.P.
Tranchant de Laverne, 1814, pp. 105, 106.]

{226}[276] [The Turkish zecchino is a gold coin, worth about seven
shillings and sixpence. The para is not quite equal to an English
halfpenny.]

[277] [Candide's increased satisfaction with life is implied in the
narrative. For example, in chap, xviii., where Candide visits
Eldorado:--"Never was there a better entertainment, and never was more
wit shown at table than that which fell from His Majesty. Cacambo
explained the king's _bons mots_ to Candide, and notwithstanding they
were translated, they still appeared _bons mots._" This was after
supper. See, too, Part II. chap, ii.]

[278] See Plutarch in _Alex._, Q. Curt. _Hist. Alexand._, and Sir
Richard Clayton's "Critical Inquiry into the Life of Alexander the
Great," 1763 [from the _Examen Critique, etc._, of Guilhem de
Clermont-Lodève, Baron de Sainte Croix, 1775.]

["He used to say that sleep and the commerce with the sex were the
things that made him most sensible of his mortality, ... He was also
very temperate in eating."--Plutarch's _Alexander_, Langhorne, 1838, p.
473.]

[ew]
_But for mere food, I think with Philip's son_,
_Or Ammon's--for two fathers claimed this one_.--[MS.]

{227}[279] The assassination alluded to took place on the 8th of
December, 1820, in the streets of Ravenna, not a hundred paces from the
residence of the writer. The circumstances were as described.

["December 9, 1820. I open my letter to tell you a fact, which will show
the state of this country better than I can. The commandant of the
troops is _now_ lying _dead_ in my house. He was shot at a little past
eight o'clock, about two hundred paces from my door. I was putting on my
great coat to visit Madame la Comtessa G., when I heard the shot. On
coming into the hall, I found all my servants on the balcony, exclaiming
that a man was murdered. I immediately ran down, calling on Tita (the
bravest of them) to follow me. The rest wanted to hinder us from going,
as it is the custom for everybody here, it seems, to run away from 'the
stricken deer.' ... we found him lying on his back, almost, if not
quite, dead, with five wounds; one in the heart, two in the stomach, one
in the finger, and the other in the arm. Some soldiers cocked their
guns, and wanted to hinder me from passing. However, we passed, and I
found Diego, the adjutant, crying over him like a child--a surgeon, who
said nothing of his profession--a priest, sobbing a frightened
prayer--and the commandant, all this time, on his back, on the hard,
cold pavement, without light or assistance, or anything around him but
confusion and dismay. As nobody could, or would, do anything but howl
and pray, and as no one would stir a finger to move him, for fear of
consequences, I lost my patience--made my servant and a couple of the
mob take up the body--sent off two soldiers to the guard--despatched
Diego to the Cardinal with the news, and had him carried upstairs into
my own quarters. But it was too late--he was gone.... I had him partly
stripped--made the surgeon examine him, and examined him myself. He had
been shot by cut balls or slugs. I felt one of the slugs, which had gone
through him, all but the skin.... He only said, 'O Dio!' and 'Gesu!' two
or three times, and appeared to have suffered little. Poor fellow! he
was a brave officer; but had made himself much disliked by the
people."--Letter to Moore, December 9, 1820, _Letters,_ 1901, v. 133.
The commandant's name was Del Pinto (_Life,_ p. 472).]

[ex]
---- _so I had_
_Him borne, as soon's I could, up several pair_
_Of stairs--and looked to,----But why should I add_
_More circumstances?_----.--[MS.]

[ey] _And now as silent as an unstrung drum_.--[MS.]

{229}[280] The light and elegant wherries plying about the quays of
Constantinople are so called.

{230}[281] [_Ilderim, a Syrian Tale_, by Henry Gally Knight, was
published in 1816; _Phrosyne, a Grecian Tale_, and _Alashtar, an Arabian
Tale_, in 1817. Moore's _Lalla Kookh_ also appeared in 1817.]

[282] [St. Bartholomew was "discoriate, and flayed quick" (_Golden
Legend_, 1900, v. 43).]

[ez] _We from impalement_----.--[MS.]

{231}[283] "Many of the seraï and summer-houses [on the Bosphorus] have
received these significant, or rather fantastic names: one is the Pearl
Pavilion; another is the Star Palace; a third the Mansion of
Looking-glasses."--_Travels in Albania_, 1858, ii. 243.

{232}[fa]
_Of speeches, beauty, flattery--there is no_
_Method more sure_----.--[MS.]

{233}[284] [_Guide des Voyageurs_; _Directions for Travellers_,
etc.--_Rhymes, Incidental and Humorous_; _Rhyming Reminiscences_;
_Effusions in Rhyme_, etc.--Lady Morgan's _Tour in Italy_; _Tour through
Istria_, etc., etc.--_Sketches of Italy_; _Sketches of Modern Greece_,
etc., etc.--_Historical Illustrations of the Fourth Canto of Childe
Harold_, by J.C. Hobhouse, 1818.]

[285] In Turkey nothing is more common than for the Mussulmans to take
several glasses of strong spirits by way of appetiser. I have seen them
take as many as six of raki before dinner, and swear that they dined the
better for it: I tried the experiment, but fared like the Scotchman, who
having heard that the birds called kittiwakes were admirable whets, ate
six of them, and complained that "he was no hungrier than when he
began."

[286] ["Everything is so still [in the court of the Seraglio], that the
motion of a fly might be heard, in a manner; and if any one should
presume to raise his voice ever so little, or show the least want of
respect to the Mansion-place of their Emperor, he would instantly have
the bastinado by the officers that go the rounds."-_A Voyage in the
Levant_, by M. Tournefort, 1741, ii. 183.]

{234}[287] _A common furniture. I recollect being received by Ali Pacha,
in a large room, paved with marble, containing a marble basin, and
fountain playing in the centre, etc., etc._

[Compare Childe Harold, Canto II. stanza Ixii.--

"In marble-paved pavilion, where a spring
Of living water from the centre rose,
Whose bubbling did a genial freshness fling,
And soft voluptuous couches breathed repose,
Ali reclined, a man of war and woes," etc.]

[288] [A reminiscence of Newstead. Compare Moore's song, "Oft in the
Stilly Night"--

"I feel like one
Who treads alone
Some banquet-hall deserted."]

{235}[fb]
_A small, snug chamber on a winter's night_,
Well furnished with a book, friend, girl, or glass, etc_.--[MS.]

[fc] _I pass my days in long dull galleries solely_.--[MS. erased.]

[289] [When this stanza was written Byron was domiciled in the Palazzo
Guiccioli (in the Via di Porta Adriana) at Ravenna; but he may have had
in his mind the monks' refectory at Newstead Abbey, "the dark gallery,
where his fathers frowned" (_Lara_, Canto I. line 137), or the corridors
which form the upper story of the cloisters.]

[290] ["Nabuch_o_donosor," here used _metri gratiâ_, is Latin (see the
Vulgate) and French (see J.P. De Béranger, _Chansons Inédites_, 1828, p.
48) for Nebuchadnezzar.]

[291] [See Ovid's _Metamorphoses_, lib. iv. lines 55-58--

"In Babylon, where first her queen, for state,
Raised walls of brick magnificently great,
Lived Pyramus and Thisbe, lovely pair!
He found no Eastern youth his equal there,
And she beyond the fairest nymph was fair."

Garth.]

{236}[292] Babylon was enlarged by Nimrod, strengthened and beautified
by Nabuchadonosor, and rebuilt by Semiramis.

[Pliny (_Nat. Hist._, lib. viii. cap. xlii. ed. 1593, i. 392) cites
Juba, King of Mauretania, died A.D. 19, as his authority for the
calumny.]

[fd] _In an Erratum of her Horse for Courier_.--[MS.]

[293] [Queen Caroline--whose trial (August--November, 1820) was
proceeding whilst this canto was being written--was charged with having
committed adultery with Bartolommeo Bergami, who had been her courier,
and was, afterwards, her chamberlain.]

[294] ["_Memoir on the Ruins of Babylon_, by Claudius James Rich, Esq.,
Resident for the Honourable East India Company at the Court of the Pasha
of Bagdad, 1815," pp. 61-64: _Second Memoir on Babylon,_ ... 1818, by
Claudius James Rich. See the plates at the end of the volume.]

[fe] _If they shall not as soon cut off my head._--[MS.]

{240}[ff] _A pair of drawers_----.--[MS.]

[295] [Compare "Extracts from a Diary," January 24, 1821, _Letters_,
1901, v. 184.]

[fg] _Kings are not more imperative than rhymes_.--[MS.]

{241}[fh] _He looked almost in modesty a maid_.--[MS.]

{242}[296] _Features_ of a gate--a ministerial metaphor: "the _feature_
upon which this question _hinges_." See the "Fudge Family," or hear
Castlereagh.

[Phil. Fudge, in his letter to Lord Castlereagh, says--

"As _thou_ would'st say, my guide and teacher
In these gay metaphoric fringes,
I must _embark_ into the _feature_
On which this letter chiefly _hinges_."

Moore's note adds, "Verbatim from one of the noble Viscount's
speeches:--'_And now, sir, I must embark into the_ feature _on which
this question chiefly hinges_.'"--_Fudge Family in Paris_, Letter II.
See, too, _post_, the Preface to Cantos VI., VII., and VIII., p. 264,
note 3.]

{243}[297] [Compare--

"A snake's small eye blinks dull and sly,
And the lady's eyes they shrunk in her head,
Each shrunk up to a serpent's eye."

_Christabel_, Part II. lines 583-585.]

{244}[298] A few years ago the wile of Muchtar Pacha complained to his
father of his son's supposed infidelity: he asked with whom, and she had
the barbarity to give in a list of the twelve handsomest women in
Yanina. They were seized, fastened up in sacks, and drowned in the lake
the same night. One of the guards who was present informed me, that not
one of the victims uttered a cry, or showed a symptom of terror at so
sudden a "wrench from all we know, from all we love."

[See _The Giaour_, line _1328, Poetical Works, 1900_, iii. 144, note
1.]

{245}[fi]
_As Venus rose from Ocean--bent on them_
_With a far-reaching glance, a Paphian pair_.--[MS.]

[fj]
_But there are forms which Time adorns, not wears_,
_And to which Beauty obstinately clings_.--[MS.]

{246}[299] [Legend has credited Ninon de Lenclos (1620-1705) with lovers
when she had "come to four-score years." According to Voltaire, John
Casimir, ex-king of Poland, succumbed to her secular charms (see
_Mazeppa_, line 138, _Poetical Works_, 1901, iv. 212, note 1). "In her
old age, her house was the rendezvous of wits and men of letters.
Scarron is said to have consulted her on his romances, Saint-Evremond on
his poems, Molière on his comedies, Fontenelle on his dialogues, and La
Rochefoucauld on his maxims. Coligny, Sévigné, etc., were her lovers and
friends. At her death, in 1705, she bequeathed to Voltaire two thousand
francs, to expend in books."--_Biographic Universelle_, art. "Lenclos."]

[300] ["Her fair maids were ranged below the sofa, to the number of
twenty, and put me in mind of the pictures of the ancient nymphs. I did
not think all nature could have furnished such a scene of beauty,"
etc.--Lady M.W. Montagu to the Countess of Mar, April 18, O.S. 1717, ed.
1816, p. 163.]

[301]

["Nil admirari prope res est una, Numici,
Solaque quæ possit facere et servare beatum."

Hor., _Epist._, lib. 1, ep. vi. lines 1, 2.]

{247}[302]

["Not to admire, is all the Art I know
To make men happy, and to keep them so,
(Plain Truth, dear MURRAY, needs no flow'rs of speech,
So take it in the very words of Creech).

_To Mr. Murray_ (Lord Mansfield), Pope's _Imitations of Horace_, Book I.
epist. vi. lines 1-4.

Thomas Creech (1659-1701) published his _Translation of Horace_ in 1684.
In the second edition, 1688, p. 487, the lines run--

"Not to admire, as most are wont to do,
It is the only method that I know,
To make Men happy and to keep 'em so."]

[303] [Johnson placed judgment and friendship above admiration and love.
"Admiration and love are like being intoxicated with champagne; judgment
and friendship like being enlivened." See Boswell's _Life of Johnson_,
1876, p. 450.]

{248}[304] There is nothing, perhaps, more distinctive of birth than the
hand. It is almost the only sign of blood which aristocracy can
generate.

{249}[305] [In old pictures of the Fall, it is a cherub who whispers
into the ear of Eve. The serpent's coils are hidden in the foliage of
the tree.]

{250}[fk] _The very women half forgave her face_.--[MS, Erased.]

[fl] _Had his instructions--where and how to deal_.--[MS.]

[fm] _And husbands now and then are mystified_.--[MS.]

{251}[306] [Narrow javelins, once known as archegays--the assegais of
Zulu warfare.]

{252}[fn]
_But nature teaches what power cannot spoil_
_And, though it was a new and strange sensation_,
_Young female hearts are such a genial soil_
_For kinder feelings, she forgot her station_.--[MS.]

[fo] _War with your heart_--.--[MS.]

{254}[307] [See _Fielding's History of the Adventures of Joseph
Andrews_, bk. i. chap. v.]

[308]

["'But if my boy with virtue be endued,
What harm will beauty do him?' Nay, what good?
Say, what avail'd, of old, to Theseus' son,
The stern resolve? what to Bellerophon?--
O, then did Phaedra redden, then her pride
Took fire to be so steadfastly denied!
Then, too, did Sthenobaea glow with shame,
And both burst forth with unextinguish'd flame!"

Gifford, _Juvenal_, Sat. x. 473-480.

The adventures of Hippolytus, the son of Theseus, and Bellerophon are
well known. They were accused of incontinence, by the women whose
inordinate passions they had refused to gratify at the expense of their
duty, and sacrificed to the fatal credulity of the husbands of the
disappointed fair ones. It is very probable that both the stories are
founded on the Scripture account of Joseph and Potiphar's
wife.--Footnote, ibid., ed. 1817, ii. pp. 49, 50.]

[fp] _The poets and romances_----.--[MS.]

[fq]
_And this strong second cause (to tire no longer_
_Your patience) shows the first must still be stronger_.

--[MS. Alternative reading.]

{256}[309]

["By Heaven! methinks, it were an easy leap,
To pluck bright honour from the pale-faced moon."

_Henry IV_., act i. sc. 3, lines 201, 202.]

[fr] _Like natural Shakespeare on the immortal page_.--[MS.]

[310]

["And when I have stol'n upon these sons-in law,
Then kill, kill, kill, kill, kill, kill."

_King Lear_, act iv. sc. 6, lines 185, 186.]

[311]

["A woman scorn'd is pitiless as fate,
For, there, the dread of shame adds stings to hate."
Gifford's _Juvenal, Sat_. x. lines 481, 482, ed. 1817, ii. p. 50.]

{258}[312] ["Yes--my valour is certainly going! it is sneaking off! I
feel it _oozing_ out, as it were, at the palms of my hands!"--Sheridan's
_Rivals_, act v. sc. 3.]

[fs] _Or all the stuff which uttered by the "Blues" is_.--[MS.]

{259}[ft]
_But prithee--get my women in the way_,
_That all the stars may gleam with due adorning_.--[MS.]

[fu] _Of Cantemir or Knoll[-e]s_-----.--[MS.]

[313] It may not be unworthy of remark, that Bacon, in his essay on
"Empire" (Essays, No. xx.), hints that Solyman was the last of his line;
on what authority, I know not. These are his words: "The destruction of
Mustapha was so fatal to Solyman's line; as the succession of the Turks
from Solyman until this day is suspected to be untrue, and of strange
blood; for that Selymus the second was thought to be supposititious."
But Bacon, in his historical authorities, is often inaccurate. I could
give half a dozen instances from his Apophthegms only.

[Selim II. (1524-1574) succeeded his father as Sultan in 1566. Hofmann
(_Lexicon Univ_.) describes him as "meticulosus, effeminatus, ebriosus,"
but neither Demetrius Cantemir, in his _History of the Growth and Decay
of the Othman Empire_ (translated by N. Tyndal, 1734); nor _The Turkish
History_ (written by Mr. Knolles, 1701), cast any doubts on his
legitimacy. Byron complained of the omission from the notes to the first
edition of Don Juan, of his corrections of Bacon's "Apophthegms" (see
_Letters_, 1901, v. Appendix VI. pp. 597-600), in a letter to Murray,
dated January 21, 1821,--_vide ibid_., p. 220.]

{260}[314] [Gibbon.]

[fv]
_Because he kept them wrapt up in his closet, he_
_Ruled fair wives and twelve hundred whores, unseen,_
_More easily than Christian kings one queen_.--[MS.]

[fw]
_Then ended many a fair Sultana's trip_:
_The Public knew no more than does this rhyme_;
_No printed scandals flew,--the fish, of course,_
_Were better--while the morals were no worse_.--[MS.]

[fx] _No sign of its depression anywhere_.--[MS.]

[315] ["We attempted to visit the Seven Towers, but were stopped at the
entrance, and informed that without a firman it was inaccessible to
strangers.... It was supposed that Count Bulukof, the Russian minister,
would be the last of the _Moussafirs_, or imperial hostages, confined in
this fortress; but since the year 1784 M. Ruffin and many of the French
have been imprisoned in the same place; and the dungeons.... were
gaping, it seems, for the sacred persons of the gentlemen composing his
Britannic Majesty's mission, previous to the rupture between Great
Britain and the Porte in 1809."--Hobhouse, _Travels in Albania_, 1858,
ii. 311, 312.]

{261}[316] ["The princess" (Asma Sultana, daughter of Achmet III.)
"complained of the barbarity which, at thirteen years of age, united her
to a decrepit old man, who, by treating her like a child, had inspired
her with nothing but disgust."--_Memoirs of Baron de Toil_, 1786, i. 74.
See, too, _Mémoires_, etc., 1784, i. 84, 85.]

{262}[317] [The connection between "horns" and Heaven, to which Byron
twice alludes, is not very obvious. The reference may be to the Biblical
"horn of salvation," or to the symbolical horns of Divine glory as
depicted in the Moses of Michel Angelo. Compare _Mazeppa_, lines 177,
178, _Poetical Works_, 1901, iv. 213.]

[fy]---- _with solemn air and wise_.--[MS.]

[fz] _Virginity in these unhappy climes_.--[MS.]

{263}[318] [This stanza, which Byron composed in bed, February 27, 1821
(see _Extracts from a Diary, Letters_, 1901, v. 209), is not in the
first edition. On discovering the omission, he wrote to Murray: "Upon
what principle have you omitted ... one of the concluding stanzas sent
as an addition?--because it ended, I suppose, with--

'And do not link two virtuous souls for life
Into that moral centaur, man and wife?'

Now, I must say, once for all, that I will not permit any human being to
take such liberties with my writings because I am absent. I desire the
omissions to be replaced (except the stanza on Semiramis)--particularly
the stanza upon the Turkish marriages."--Letter to Murray, August 31,
1821, ibid., p. 351.]

[ga]
_Meanwhile as Homer sometimes sleeps, much more_
_The modern muse may be allowed to snore_.--[MS.]

 

 

 

 

 

 


Canto the Ninth



I.[476]

Oh, Wellington! (or "Villainton"[477]--for Fame[it]
Sounds the heroic syllables both ways;
France could not even conquer your great name,
But punned it down to this facetious phrase--
Beating or beaten she will laugh the same,)
You have obtained great pensions and much praise:
Glory like yours should any dare gainsay,
Humanity would rise, and thunder "Nay!"[478]

II.

I don't think that you used Kinnaird quite well
In Marinèt's affair[479]--in fact, 't was shabby,
And like some other things won't do to tell
Upon your tomb in Westminster's old Abbey.
Upon the rest 't is not worth while to dwell,
Such tales being for the tea-hours of some tabby;[480]
But though your years as _man_ tend fast to zero,
In fact your Grace is still but a _young Hero_.

III.

Though Britain owes (and pays you too) so much,
Yet Europe doubtless owes you greatly more:
You have repaired Legitimacy's crutch,
A prop not quite so certain as before:
The Spanish, and the French, as well as Dutch,
Have seen, and felt, how strongly you _restore_;
And Waterloo has made the world your debtor
(I wish your bards would sing it rather better).

IV.

You are "the best of cut-throats:"[481]--do not start;
The phrase is Shakespeare's, and not misapplied:--
War's a brain-spattering, windpipe-slitting art,
Unless her cause by right be sanctified.
If you have acted _once_ a generous part,
The World, not the World's masters, will decide,
And I shall be delighted to learn who,
Save you and yours, have gained by Waterloo?

V.

I am no flatterer--you've supped full of flattery:[482]
They say you like it too--'t is no great wonder.
He whose whole life has been assault and battery,
At last may get a little tired of thunder;
And swallowing eulogy much more than satire, he
May like being praised for every lucky blunder,
Called "Saviour of the Nations"--not yet saved,--
And "Europe's Liberator"--still enslaved.[483]

VI.

I've done. Now go and dine from off the plate
Presented by the Prince of the Brazils,
And send the sentinel before your gate
A slice or two from your luxurious meals:[484]
He fought, but has not fed so well of late.
Some hunger, too, they say the people feels:--
There is no doubt that you deserve your ration,
But pray give back a little to the nation.

VII.

I don't mean to reflect--a man so great as
You, my lord Duke! is far above reflection:
The high Roman fashion, too, of Cincinnatus,
With modern history has but small connection:
Though as an Irishman you love potatoes,
You need not take them under your direction;
And half a million for your Sabine farm
Is rather dear!--I'm sure I mean no harm.

VIII.

Great men have always scorned great recompenses:
Epaminondas saved his Thebes, and died,
Not leaving even his funeral expenses:[485]
George Washington had thanks, and nought beside,
Except the all-cloudless glory (which few men's is)
To free his country: Pitt too had his pride,
And as a high-souled Minister of state is
Renowned for ruining Great Britain gratis.[486]

IX.

Never had mortal man such opportunity,
Except Napoleon, or abused it more:
You might have freed fallen Europe from the unity
Of Tyrants, and been blest from shore to shore:
And _now_--what is your fame? Shall the Muse tune it ye?
_Now_--that the rabble's first vain shouts are o'er?
Go! hear it in your famished country's cries!
Behold the World! and curse your victories!

X.

As these new cantos touch on warlike feats,
To _you_ the unflattering Muse deigns to inscribe[iu]
Truths, that you will not read in the Gazettes,
But which 't is time to teach the hireling tribe
Who fatten on their country's gore, and debts,
Must be recited--and without a bribe.
You _did great_ things, but not being _great_ in mind,
Have left _undone_ the _greatest_--and mankind.

XI.

Death laughs--Go ponder o'er the skeleton
With which men image out the unknown thing
That hides the past world, like to a set sun
Which still elsewhere may rouse a brighter spring--
Death laughs at all you weep for!--look upon
This hourly dread of all! whose _threatened sting_
Turns Life to terror, even though in its sheath:
Mark! how its lipless mouth grins without breath!

XII.

Mark! how it laughs and scorns at all you are!
And yet _was_ what you are; from _ear_ to _ear_
It _laughs not_--there is now no fleshy bar
So called; the Antic long hath ceased to _hear_,
But still he _smiles_; and whether near or far,
He strips from man that mantle (far more dear
Than even the tailor's), his incarnate skin,[iv]
White, black, or copper--the dead bones will grin.

XIII.

And thus Death laughs,--it is sad merriment,
But still it _is_ so; and with such example
Why should not Life be equally content
With his Superior, in a smile to trample
Upon the nothings which are daily spent
Like bubbles on an Ocean much less ample
Than the Eternal Deluge, which devours
Suns as rays--worlds like atoms--years like hours?

XIV.

"To be, or not to be? _that_ is the question,"
Says Shakespeare,[487] who just now is much in fashion.
I am neither Alexander nor Hephæstion,
Nor ever had for _abstract_ fame much passion;
But would much rather have a sound digestion
Than Buonaparte's cancer:--could I dash on
Through fifty victories to shame or fame--
Without a stomach what were a good name?

XV.

_"O dura ilia messorum!"_[488]--"Oh
Ye rigid guts of reapers!" I translate[iw]
For the great benefit of those who know
What indigestion is--that inward fate
Which makes all Styx through one small liver flow.
A peasant's sweat is worth his lord's estate:
Let _this_ one toil for bread--_that_ rack for rent,
He who sleeps best may be the most content.

XVI.

"To be, or not to be?"--Ere I decide,
I should be glad to know that which _is being_.
'T is true we speculate both far and wide,
And deem, because we _see_, we are _all-seeing_:
For my part, I'll enlist on neither side,
Until I see both sides for once agreeing.
For me, I sometimes think that Life is Death,
Rather than Life a mere affair of breath.

XVII.

_"Que scais-je"_[489] was the motto of Montaigne,
As also of the first academicians:
That all is dubious which man may attain,
Was one of their most favourite positions.
There's no such thing as certainty, that's plain
As any of Mortality's conditions;
So little do we know what we're about in
This world, I doubt if doubt itself be doubting.

XVIII.

It is a pleasant voyage perhaps to float,
Like Pyrrho,[490] on a sea of speculation;
But what if carrying sail capsize the boat?
Your wise men don't know much of navigation;
And swimming long in the abyss of thought
Is apt to tire: a calm and shallow station
Well nigh the shore, where one stoops down and gathers
Some pretty shell, is best for moderate bathers.

XIX.

"But Heaven," as Cassio says, "is above all--[491]
No more of this, then, let us pray!" We have
Souls to save, since Eve's slip and Adam's fall,
Which tumbled all mankind into the grave,
Besides fish, beasts, and birds. "The sparrow's fall
Is special providence,"[492] though how _it_ gave
Offence, we know not; probably it perched
Upon the tree which Eve so fondly searched.

XX.

Oh! ye immortal Gods! what is Theogony?
Oh! thou, too, mortal man! what is Philanthropy?
Oh! World, which was and is, what is Cosmogony?
Some people have accused me of Misanthropy;
And yet I know no more than the mahogany
That forms this desk, of what they mean;--_Lykanthropy_[493]
I comprehend, for without transformation
Men become wolves on any slight occasion.

XXI.

But I, the mildest, meekest of mankind,
Like Moses, or Melancthon,[494] who have ne'er[ix]
Done anything exceedingly unkind,--
And (though I could not now and then forbear
Following the bent of body or of mind)
Have always had a tendency to spare,--
Why do they call me Misanthrope? Because
_They hate me, not I them:_--and here we'll pause.

XXII.

'T is time we should proceed with our good poem,--
For I maintain that it is really good,
Not only in the body but the proem,
However little both are understood
Just now,--but by and by the Truth will show 'em
Herself in her sublimest attitude:
And till she doth, I fain must be content
To share her beauty and her banishment.

XXIII.

Our hero (and, I trust, kind reader! yours)
Was left upon his way to the chief city
Of the immortal Peter's polished boors,
Who still have shown themselves more brave than witty.
I know its mighty Empire now allures
Much flattery--even Voltaire's,[495] and that's a pity.
For me, I deem an absolute autocrat
_Not_ a barbarian, but much worse than that.

XXIV.

And I will war, at least in words (and--should
My chance so happen--deeds), with all who war
With Thought;--and of Thought's foes by far most rude,
Tyrants and sycophants have been and are.
I know not who may conquer: if I could
Have such a prescience, it should be no bar
To this my plain, sworn, downright detestation
Of every despotism in every nation.[iy]

XXV.

It is not that I adulate the people:
Without _me_, there are demagogues enough,[496]
And infidels, to pull down every steeple,
And set up in their stead some proper stuff.
Whether they may sow scepticism to reap Hell,
As is the Christian dogma rather rough,
I do not know;--I wish men to be free
As much from mobs as kings--from you as me.

XXVI.

The consequence is, being of no party,
I shall offend all parties:--never mind!
My words, at least, are more sincere and hearty
Than if I sought to sail before the wind.
He who has nought to gain can have small art: he
Who neither wishes to be bound nor bind,
May still expatiate freely, as will I,
Nor give my voice to slavery's jackal cry.[iz]

XXVII.

_That's_ an appropriate simile, _that jackal;_--
I've heard them in the Ephesian ruins howl[497]
By night, as do that mercenary pack all,
Power's base purveyors, who for pickings prowl,
And scent the prey their masters would attack all.
However, the poor jackals are less foul
(As being the brave lions' keen providers)
Than human insects, catering for spiders.[ja]

XXVIII.

Raise but an arm! 't will brush their web away,
And without _that_, their poison and their claws
Are useless. Mind, good people! what I say--
(Or rather Peoples)--_go on_ without pause!
The web of these Tarantulas each day
Increases, till you shall make common cause:
None, save the Spanish Fly and Attic Bee,
As yet are strongly stinging to be free.[jb]

XXIX.

Don Juan, who had shone in the late slaughter,
Was left upon his way with the despatch,
Where blood was talked of as we would of water;
And carcasses that lay as thick as thatch
O'er silenced cities, merely served to flatter
Fair Catherine's pastime--who looked on the match
Between these nations as a main of cocks,
Wherein she liked her own to stand like rocks.

XXX.

And there in a _kibitka_ he rolled on,
(A cursed sort of carriage without springs,
Which on rough roads leaves scarcely a whole bone,)
Pondering on Glory, Chivalry, and Kings,
And Orders, and on all that he had done--
And wishing that post-horses had the wings
Of Pegasus, or at the least post-chaises
Had feathers, when a traveller on deep ways is.

XXXI.

At every jolt--and they were many--still
He turned his eyes upon his little charge,
As if he wished that she should fare less ill
Than he, in these sad highways left at large
To ruts, and flints, and lovely Nature's skill,
Who is no paviour, nor admits a barge
On _her_ canals, where God takes sea and land,
Fishery and farm, both into his own hand.

XXXII.

At least he pays no rent, and has best right
To be the first of what we used to call
"Gentlemen farmers"--a race worn out quite,
Since lately there have been no rents at all,
And "gentlemen" are in a piteous plight,
And "farmers" can't raise Ceres from her fall:
She fell with Buonaparte,[498]--What strange thoughts
Arise, when we see Emperors fall with oats!

XXXIII.

But Juan turned his eyes on the sweet child
Whom he had saved from slaughter--what a trophy
Oh! ye who build up monuments, defiled
With gore, like Nadir Shah,[499] that costive Sophy,
Who, after leaving Hindostan a wild,
And scarce to the Mogul a cup of coffee
To soothe his woes withal, was slain, the sinner!
Because he could no more digest his dinner;--[jc][500]

XXXIV.

Oh ye! or we! or he! or she! reflect,
That _one_ life saved, especially if young
Or pretty, is a thing to recollect
Far sweeter than the greenest laurels sprung
From the manure of human clay, though decked
With all the praises ever said or sung:
Though hymned by every harp, unless within
Your heart joins chorus, Fame is but a din.

XXXV.

Oh! ye great authors luminous, voluminous!
Ye twice ten hundred thousand daily scribes!
Whose pamphlets, volumes, newspapers, illumine us!
Whether you're paid by government in bribes,
To prove the public debt is not consuming us--
Or, roughly treading on the "courtier's kibes"
With clownish heel[501] your popular circulation
Feeds you by printing half the realm's starvation;--

XXXVI.

Oh, ye great authors!--_A propos des bottes,_--
I have forgotten what I meant to say,
As sometimes have been greater sages' lots;--
'T was something calculated to allay
All wrath in barracks, palaces, or cots:
Certes it would have been but thrown away,
And that's one comfort for my lost advice,
Although no doubt it was beyond all price.

XXXVII.

But let it go:--it will one day be found
With other relics of "a former World,"
When this World shall be _former,_ underground,
Thrown topsy-turvy, twisted, crisped, and curled,
Baked, fried, or burnt, turned inside-out, or drowned,
Like all the worlds before, which have been hurled
First out of, and then back again to chaos--
The superstratum which will overlay us.[jd]

XXXVIII.

So Cuvier says:[502]--and then shall come again
Unto the new creation, rising out
From our old crash, some mystic, ancient strain
Of things destroyed and left in airy doubt;
Like to the notions we now entertain
Of Titans, giants, fellows of about
Some hundred feet in height, _not_ to say _miles,_
And mammoths, and your winged crocodiles.

XXXIX.

Think if then George the Fourth should be dug up![503]
How the new worldlings of the then new East
Will wonder where such animals could sup!
(For they themselves will be but of the least:
Even worlds miscarry, when too oft they pup,
And every new creation hath decreased
In size, from overworking the material--
Men are but maggots of some huge Earth's burial.)

XL.

_How_ will--to these young people, just thrust out
From some fresh Paradise, and set to plough,
And dig, and sweat, and turn themselves about,
And plant, and reap, and spin, and grind, and sow,
Till all the arts at length are brought about,
Especially of War and taxing,--_how_,
I say, will these great relics, when they see 'em,
Look like the monsters of a new Museum!

XLI.

But I am apt to grow too metaphysical:
"The time is out of joint,"[504]--and so am I;
I quite forget this poem's merely quizzical,
And deviate into matters rather dry.
I ne'er decide what I shall say, and this I call[je]
Much too poetical: men should know why
They write, and for what end; but, note or text,
I never know the word which will come next.

XLII.

So on I ramble, now and then narrating,
Now pondering:--it is time we should narrate.
I left Don Juan with his horses baiting--
Now we'll get o'er the ground at a great rate:
I shall not be particular in stating
His journey, we've so many tours of late:
Suppose him then at Petersburgh; suppose
That pleasant capital of painted snows;[505]

XLIII.

Suppose him in a handsome uniform--
A scarlet coat, black facings, a long plume,
Waving, like sails new shivered in a storm,
Over a cocked hat in a crowded room,
And brilliant breeches, bright as a Cairn Gorme,
Of yellow casimire we may presume,
White stockings drawn uncurdled as new milk
O'er limbs whose symmetry set off the silk;[jf]

XLIV.

Suppose him sword by side, and hat in hand,
Made up by Youth, Fame, and an army tailor--
That great enchanter, at whose rod's command
Beauty springs forth, and Nature's self turns paler,
Seeing how Art can make her work more grand
(When she don't pin men's limbs in like a gaoler),--
Behold him placed as if upon a pillar! He[jg]
Seems Love turned a Lieutenant of Artillery![506]

XLV.

His bandage slipped down into a cravat--
His wings subdued to epaulettes--his quiver
Shrunk to a scabbard, with his arrows at
His side as a small sword, but sharp as ever--
His bow converted into a cocked hat--
But still so like, that Psyche were more clever
Than some wives (who make blunders no less stupid),
If she had not mistaken him for Cupid.

XLVI.

The courtiers stared, the ladies whispered, and
The Empress smiled: the reigning favourite frowned--[jh]
I quite forget which of them was in hand
Just then, as they are rather numerous found,[507]
Who took, by turns, that difficult command
Since first her Majesty was singly crowned:[508]
But they were mostly nervous six-foot fellows,
All fit to make a Patagonian jealous.

XLVII.

Juan was none of these, but slight and slim,
Blushing and beardless; and, yet, ne'ertheless,
There was a something in his turn of limb,
And still more in his eye, which seemed to express,
That, though he looked one of the Seraphim,
There lurked a man beneath the Spirit's dress.
Besides, the Empress sometimes liked a boy,
And had just buried the fair-faced Lanskoi.[ji][509]

XLVIII.

No wonder then that Yermoloff, or Momonoff,[510]
Or Scherbatoff, or any other _off_
Or _on_, might dread her Majesty had not room enough
Within her bosom (which was not too tough),
For a new flame; a thought to cast of gloom enough
Along the aspect, whether smooth or rough,
Of him who, in the language of his station,
Then held that "high official situation."

XLIX.

O gentle ladies! should you seek to know
The import of this diplomatic phrase,
Bid Ireland's Londonderry's Marquess[511] show
His parts of speech, and in the strange displays
Of that odd string of words, all in a row,
Which none divine, and every one obeys,
Perhaps you may pick out some queer _no_ meaning,--
Of that weak wordy harvest the sole gleaning.

L.

I think I can explain myself without
That sad inexplicable beast of prey--
That Sphinx, whose words would ever be a doubt,
Did not his deeds unriddle them each day--
That monstrous hieroglyphic--that long spout
Of blood and water--leaden Castlereagh!
And here I must an anecdote relate,
But luckily of no great length or weight.

LI.

An English lady asked of an Italian,
What were the actual and official duties
Of the strange thing some women set a value on,
Which hovers oft about some married beauties,
Called "Cavalier Servente?"[512]--a Pygmalion
Whose statues warm (I fear, alas! too true 't is)
Beneath his art:[jj]--the dame, pressed to disclose them,
Said--"Lady, I beseech you to _suppose them_."

LII.

And thus I supplicate your supposition,
And mildest, matron-like interpretation,
Of the imperial favourite's condition.
'T was a high place, the highest in the nation
In fact, if not in rank; and the suspicion
Of any one's attaining to his station,
No doubt gave pain, where each new pair of shoulders,
If rather broad, made stocks rise--and their holders.

LIII.

Juan, I said, was a most beauteous boy,
And had retained his boyish look beyond
The usual hirsute seasons which destroy,
With beards and whiskers, and the like, the fond
_Parisian_ aspect, which upset old Troy
And founded Doctors' Commons:[jk]--I have conned
The history of divorces, which, though chequered,
Calls Ilion's the first damages on record.

LIV.

And Catherine, who loved all things (save her Lord,
Who was gone to his place), and passed for much,
Admiring those (by dainty dames abhorred)
Gigantic gentlemen, yet had a touch
Of sentiment: and he she most adored
Was the lamented Lanskoi, who was such
A lover as had cost her many a tear,
And yet but made a middling grenadier.

LV.

Oh thou "_teterrima causa_" of all "_belli_"--[513]
Thou gate of Life and Death--thou nondescript!
Whence is our exit and our entrance,--well I
May pause in pondering how all souls are dipped
In thy perennial fountain:--how man _fell_ I
Know not, since Knowledge saw her branches stripped
Of her first fruit; but how he _falls_ and rises
Since,--_thou_ hast settled beyond all surmises.

LVI.

Some call thee "the _worst_ cause of War," but I
Maintain thou art the _best_.--for after all,
From thee we come, to thee we go, and why
To get at thee not batter down a wall,
Or waste a World? since no one can deny
Thou dost replenish worlds both great and small:
With--or without thee--all things at a stand[jl]
Are, or would be, thou sea of Life's dry land![jm]

LVII.

Catherine, who was the grand Epitome
Of that great cause of War, or Peace, or what
You please (it causes all the things which be,
So you may take your choice of this or that)--
Catherine, I say, was very glad to see
The handsome herald, on whose plumage sat[514]
Victory; and, pausing as she saw him kneel
With his despatch, forgot to break the seal.

LVIII.

Then recollecting the whole Empress, nor
Forgetting quite the Woman (which composed
At least three parts of this great whole), she tore
The letter open with an air which posed
The Court, that watched each look her visage wore,
Until a royal smile at length disclosed
Fair weather for the day. Though rather spacious,
Her face was noble, her eyes fine, mouth gracious.[515]

LIX.

Great joy was hers, or rather joys: the first
Was a ta'en city, thirty thousand slain:
Glory and triumph o'er her aspect burst,
As an East Indian sunrise on the main:--
These quenched a moment her Ambition's thirst--
So Arab deserts drink in Summer's rain:
In vain!--As fall the dews on quenchless sands,
Blood only serves to wash Ambition's hands!

LX.

Her next amusement was more fanciful;
She smiled at mad Suwarrow's rhymes, who threw
Into a Russian couplet rather dull
The whole gazette of thousands whom he slew:
Her third was feminine enough to annul
The shudder which runs naturally through
Our veins, when things called Sovereigns think it best
To kill, and Generals turn it into jest.

LXI.

The two first feelings ran their course complete,
And lighted first her eye, and then her mouth:
The whole court looked immediately most sweet,
Like flowers well watered after a long drouth:--
But when on the Lieutenant at her feet
Her Majesty, who liked to gaze on youth
Almost as much as on a new despatch,
Glanced mildly,--all the world was on the watch.

LXII.

Though somewhat large, exuberant, and truculent,
When _wroth_--while _pleased_, she was as fine a figure
As those who like things rosy, ripe, and succulent,
Would wish to look on, while they are in vigour.
She could repay each amatory look you lent
With interest, and, in turn, was wont with rigour
To exact of Cupid's bills the full amount
At sight, nor would permit you to discount.

LXIII.

With her the latter, though at times convenient,
Was not so necessary; for they tell
That she was handsome, and though fierce _looked_ lenient,
And always used her favourites too well.
If once beyond her boudoir's precincts in ye went,
Your "fortune" was in a fair way "to swell
A man" (as Giles says);[516] for though she would widow all
Nations, she liked Man as an individual.

LXIV.

What a strange thing is Man! and what a stranger
Is Woman! What a whirlwind is her head,
And what a whirlpool full of depth and danger
Is all the rest about her! Whether wed,
Or widow--maid--or mother, she can change her
Mind like the wind: whatever she has said
Or done, is light to what she'll say or do;--
The oldest thing on record, and yet new!

LXV.

Oh Catherine! (for of all interjections,
To thee both _oh!_ and _ah!_ belong, of right,
In Love and War) how odd are the connections
Of human thoughts, which jostle in their flight!
Just now _yours_ were cut out in different sections:
_First_ Ismail's capture caught your fancy quite;
_Next_ of new knights, the fresh and glorious batch:
And _thirdly_ he who brought you the despatch!

LXVI.

Shakespeare talks of "the herald Mercury
New lighted on a heaven-kissing hill:"[517]
And some such visions crossed her Majesty,
While her young herald knelt before her still.
'T is very true the hill seemed rather high,
For a Lieutenant to climb up; but skill
Smoothed even the Simplon's steep, and by God's blessing,
With Youth and Health all kisses are "Heaven-kissing."

LXVII.

Her Majesty looked down, the youth looked up--
And so they fell in love;--she with his face,
His grace, his God-knows-what: for Cupid's cup
With the first draught intoxicates apace,
A quintessential laudanum or "Black Drop,"
Which makes one drunk at once, without the base
Expedient of full bumpers; for the eye
In love drinks all Life's fountains (save tears) dry.

LXVIII.

He, on the other hand, if not in love,
Fell into that no less imperious passion,
Self-love--which, when some sort of thing above
Ourselves, a singer, dancer, much in fashion,
Or Duchess--Princess--Empress, "deigns to prove"[518]
('T is Pope's phrase) a great longing, though a rash one,
For one especial person out of many,
Make us believe ourselves as good as any.

LXIX.

Besides, he was of that delighted age
Which makes all female ages equal--when
We don't much care with whom we may engage,
As bold as Daniel in the lions' den,
So that we can our native sun assuage
In the next ocean, which may flow just then--
To make a _twilight_ in, just as Sol's heat is
Quenched in the lap of the salt sea, or Thetis.

LXX.

And Catherine (we must say thus much for Catherine),
Though bold and bloody, was the kind of thing
Whose temporary passion was quite flattering,
Because each lover looked a sort of King,
Made up upon an amatory pattern,
A royal husband in all save the _ring_--[jn]
Which, (being the damnedest part of matrimony,)
Seemed taking out the sting to leave the honey:

LXXI.

And when you add to this, her Womanhood
In its meridian, her blue eyes[519] or gray--
(The last, if they have soul, are quite as good,
Or better, as the best examples say:
Napoleon's, Mary's[520] (Queen of Scotland), should
Lend to that colour a transcendent ray;
And Pallas also sanctions the same hue,
Too wise to look through optics black or blue)--

LXXII.

Her sweet smile, and her then majestic figure,[jo]
Her plumpness, her imperial condescension,
Her preference of a boy to men much bigger
(Fellows whom Messalina's self would pension),
Her prime of life, just now in juicy vigour,
With other _extras_, which we need not mention,--
All these, or any one of these, explain
Enough to make a stripling very vain.

LXXIII.

And that's enough, for Love is vanity,
Selfish in its beginning as its end,[jp]
Except where 't is a mere insanity,
A maddening spirit which would strive to blend
Itself with Beauty's frail inanity,
On which the Passion's self seems to depend;
And hence some heathenish philosophers
Make Love the main-spring of the Universe.

LXXIV.

Besides Platonic love, besides the love
Of God, the love of sentiment, the loving
Of faithful pairs--(I needs must rhyme with dove,
That good old steam-boat which keeps verses moving
'Gainst reason--Reason ne'er was hand-and-glove
With rhyme, but always leant less to improving
The sound than sense)--besides all these pretences
To Love, there are those things which words name senses;

LXXV.

Those movements, those improvements in our bodies
Which make all bodies anxious to get out
Of their own sand-pits, to mix with a goddess,
For such all women are at first no doubt.[jq]
How beautiful that moment! and how odd is
That fever which precedes the languid rout
Of our sensations! What a curious way
The whole thing is of clothing souls in clay![jr]

LXXVI.[521]

The noblest kind of love is love Platonical,
To end or to begin with; the next grand
Is that which may be christened love canonical,
Because the clergy take the thing in hand;
The third sort to be noted in our chronicle
As flourishing in every Christian land,
Is when chaste matrons to their other ties
Add what may be called _marriage in disguise_.

LXXVII.

Well, we won't analyse--our story must
Tell for itself: the Sovereign was smitten,
Juan much flattered by her love, or lust;--
I cannot stop to alter words once written,
And the _two_ are so mixed with human dust,
That he who _names one_, both perchance may hit on:
But in such matters Russia's mighty Empress
Behaved no better than a common sempstress.

LXXVIII.

The whole court melted into one wide whisper,
And all lips were applied unto all ears!
The elder ladies' wrinkles curled much crisper
As they beheld; the younger cast some leers
On one another, and each lovely lisper
Smiled as she talked the matter o'er; but tears
Of rivalship rose in each clouded eye
Of all the standing army who stood by.

LXXIX.

All the ambassadors of all the powers
Inquired, Who was this very new young man,
Who promised to be great in some few hours?
Which is full soon (though Life is but a span).
Already they beheld the silver showers
Of rubles rain, as fast as specie can,
Upon his cabinet, besides the presents
Of several ribands, and some thousand peasants.[522]

LXXX.

Catherine was generous,--all such ladies are:
Love--that great opener of the heart and all
The ways that lead there, be they near or far,
Above, below, by turnpikes great or small,--
Love--(though she had a cursed taste for War,
And was not the best wife unless we call
Such Clytemnestra, though perhaps 't is better
That one should die--than two drag on the fetter)--

LXXXI.

Love had made Catherine make each lover's fortune,
Unlike our own half-chaste Elizabeth,
Whose avarice all disbursements did importune,
If History, the grand liar, ever saith
The truth; and though grief her old age might shorten,
Because she put a favourite to death,
Her vile, ambiguous method of flirtation,
And stinginess, disgrace her sex and station.

LXXXII.

But when the levée rose, and all was bustle
In the dissolving circle, all the nations'
Ambassadors began as 't were to hustle
Round the young man with their congratulations.
Also the softer silks were heard to rustle
Of gentle dames, among whose recreations
It is to speculate on handsome faces,
Especially when such lead to high places.

LXXXIII.

Juan, who found himself, he knew not how,
A general object of attention, made
His answers with a very graceful bow,
As if born for the ministerial trade.
Though modest, on his unembarrassed brow
Nature had written "Gentleman!" He said
Little, but to the purpose; and his manner
Flung hovering graces o'er him like a banner.

LXXXIV.

An order from her Majesty consigned
Our young Lieutenant to the genial care
Of those in office: all the world looked kind,
(As it will look sometimes with the first stare,
Which Youth would not act ill to keep in mind,)
As also did Miss Protasoff[523] then there,[js]
Named from her mystic office "l'Eprouveuse,"
A term inexplicable to the Muse.

LXXXV.

With _her_ then, as in humble duty bound,
Juan retired,--and so will I, until
My Pegasus shall tire of touching ground.
We have just lit on a "heaven-kissing hill,"
So lofty that I feel my brain turn round,
And all my fancies whirling like a mill;
Which is a signal to my nerves and brain,
To take a quiet ride in some green lane.[524]

 

 

FOOTNOTES:

 

{373}[476] [Stanzas i.-viii., which are headed "_Don Juan_, Canto III.,
July 10, 1819," are in the handwriting of (?) the Countess Guiccioli.
Stanzas ix., x., which were written on the same sheet of paper, are in
Byron's handwriting. The original MS. opens with stanza xi., "Death
laughs," etc. (See letter to Moore, July 12, 1822, _Letters_, 1901, vi.
96.)]

[477]

["Faut qu' lord Villain-ton ait tout pris;
N'y a plus d' argent dans c' gueux de Paris."

De Béranger, "Complainte d'une de ces Demoiselles a l'Occasion des
Affaires du Temps (Février, 1816)," _Chansons_, 1821, ii. 17.

Compare a retaliatory epigram which appeared in a contemporary
newspaper--

"These French _petit-maîtres_ who the spectacle throng,
Say of Wellington's dress _qu'il fait vilain ton!_
But, at Waterloo, Wellington made the French stare
When their army he dressed _à la mode Angleterre!_"]

[it] _Oh Wellington_ (_or "Vilainton"_)----.--[MS. B.]

[478] Query, _Ney?_--Printer's Devil. [Michel Ney, Duke of Elchingen,
"the bravest of the brave" (see _Ode from the French_, stanza i.
_Poetical Works_, 1900, iii. 431), born January 10, 1769, was arrested
August 5, and shot December 7, 1815.]

[479] [The story of the attempted assassination (February 11, 1818) of
the Duke of Wellington, which is dismissed by Alison in a few words
(_Hist. of Europe_ (1815-1852), 1853, i. 577, 578), occupies many pages
of the _Supplementary Despatches_ (1865, xii. 271-546). Byron probably
drew his own conclusions as to the Kinnaird-Marinet incident, from the
_Letter to the Duke of Wellington on the Arrest of M. Marinet_, by Lord
Kinnaird, 1818. The story, which is full of interest, may be briefly
recounted. On January 30, 1818, Lord Kinnaird informed Sir George Murray
(Chief of the Staff of the Army of Occupation) that a person, whose name
he withheld, had revealed to him the existence of a plot to assassinate
the Duke of Wellington. At 12.30 a.m., February 11, 1818, the Duke, on
returning to his Hotel, was fired at by an unknown person; and then, but
not till then, he wrote to urge Lord Clancarty to advise the Prince
Regent to take steps to persuade or force Kinnaird to disclose the name
of his informant. A Mr. G.W. Chad, of the Consular Service, was
empowered to proceed to Brussels, and to seek an interview with
Kinnaird. He carried with him, among other documents, a letter from the
Duke to Lord Clancarty, dated February 12, 1818. A postscript contained
this intimation: "It may be proper to mention to you that the French
Government are disposed to go every length in the way of negotiation
with the person mentioned by Lord Kinnaird, or others, to discover the
plot."

Kinnaird absolutely declined to give up the name of his informant, but,
acting on the strength of the postscript, which had been read but not
shown to him, started for Paris with "the great unknown." Some days
after their arrival, and while Kinnaird was a guest of the Duke, the man
was arrested, and discovered to be one Nicholle or Marinet, who had been
appointed _receveur_ under the restored government of Louis XVIII., but
during the _Cent jours_ had fled to Belgium, retaining the funds he had
amassed during his term of office. Kinnaird regarded this action of the
French Government as a breach of faith, and in a "Memorial" to the
French Chamber of Peers, and his _Letter_, maintained that the Duke's
postscript implied a promise of a safe conduct for Marinet to and from
Paris to Brussels. The Duke, on the other hand, was equally positive
(see his letter to Lord Liverpool, May 30, 1818) "that he never intended
to have any negotiations with anybody." Kinnaird was a "dog with a bad
name," He had been accused (see his _Letter to the Earl of Liverpool_,
1816, p. 16) of "the promulgation of dangerous opinions," and of
intimacy "with persons suspected." The Duke speaks of him as "the friend
of Revolutionists"! It is evident that he held the dangerous doctrine
that a promise to a rogue _is_ a promise, and that the authorities took
a different view of the ethics of the situation. It is clear, too, that
the Duke's postscript was ambiguous, but that it did not warrant the
assumption that if Marinet went to Paris he should be protected. The air
was full of plots. The great Duke despised and was inclined to ignore
the pistol or the dagger of the assassin; but he believed that "mischief
was afoot," and that "great personages" might or might not be
responsible. He was beset by difficulties at every turn, and would have
been more than mortal if he had put too favourable a construction on the
scruples, or condoned the imprudence of a "friend of Revolutionists."]

{374}[480] [The reference may be to the Duke of Wellington's intimacy
with Lady Frances Wedderburn Webster. Byron had "passed that way"
himself (see _Letters_, 1898, ii. 251, note i, 323, etc.), and could
hardly attack the Duke on _that_ score.]

[481] ["Thou art the best o' the cut-throats." _Macbeth_, act iii.
sc. 4, line 17.]

[482] ["I have supped full of horrors." _Macbeth_, act v. sc. 5, line 13.]

[483] _Vide_ speeches in Parliament, after the battle of Waterloo.

{376}[484] ["I at this time got a post, being for fatigue, with four
others. We were sent to break biscuit, and make a mess for Lord
Wellington's hounds. I was very hungry, and thought it a good job at the
time, as we got our own fill, while we broke the biscuit,--a thing I had
not got for some days. When thus engaged, the Prodigal Son was never
once out of my mind; and I sighed, as I fed the dogs, over my humble
situation and my ruined hopes."--_Journal of a Soldier of the 71st
Regiment_, 1806 to 1815 (Edinburgh, 1822), pp. 132, 133.]

[485] ["We are assured that Epaminondas died so poor that the Thebans
buried him at the public charge; for at his death nothing was found in
his house but an iron spit."--Plutarch's _Fabius Maximus_, Langhorne's
translation, 1838, p. 140. See, too, Cornelius Nepos, _Epam_., cap. iii.
"Paupertatem adeo facilè perpessus est, ut de Republica nihil præter
gloriam ceperit."]

[486] [For Pitt's refusal to accept £100,000 from the merchants of
London towards the payment of his debts, or £30,000 from the King's
Privy Purse, see _Pitt_, by Lord Rosebery, 1891. p. 231.]

{377}[iu] _To_ you _this_ one _unflattering Muse inscribes_.--[MS.
erased.]

{377}[iv]
_He strips from man his mantle (which is dear_
_Though beautiful in youth) his carnal skin_.--[MS. erased.]

[487] [_Hamlet_, act iii. sc. i, line 56.]

[488] ["O dura messorum ilia!" etc.-Hor., _Epod._ iii. 4.]

[iw] _Ye iron guts_----.--[MS. erased.]

{379}[489] ["Ce n'est qu'à l'édition de 1635 qu'on voit paraître la
devise que Montaigne avait adoptée, le _que sais-je_? avec l'emblème des
balances. ... Ce _que sais-je_ que Pascal a si sévèrement analysé se lit
au chapitre douze du livre ii; il caractérise parfaitement la
philosophie de Montaigne; il est la conséquence de cette maxime qu'il
avait inscrite en grec sur les solives de sa librairie: 'Il n'est point
de raisonnement au quel on n'oppose un raissonnement
contraire.'"--_Oeuvres de ... Montaigne_, 1837, "Notice
Bibliographique," p. xvii.]

[490] [Concerning the Pyrrhonists or Sceptics and their master Pyrrho,
who held that Truth was incomprehensible (_inprensibilis_), and that you
may not affirm of aught that it be rather this or that, or neither this
nor that ([Greek: ou) ma~llon ou(/tôs e(/chei to/de ê)\ e)kei/nôs ê)\
ou)dete/rôs]), see Aul. Gellii _Noct. Attic._, lib. xi. cap. v.]

[491] See _Othello_, [act ii. sc. 3, lines 206, 207: "Well, God's above
all, and there be souls must be saved; and there be souls must not be
saved--Let's have no more of this."]

{380}[492] [_Hamlet_, act v. sc. 2, lines 94, 98, 102.]

[493] [For "Lycanthropy," see "The Soldier's Story" in the _Satyricôn_
of Petronius Arbiter, cap. 62; see, too, _Letters on Demonology, etc._,
by Sir W. Scott, 1830, pp. 211, 212.]

[494] [In respect of suavity and forbearance Melancthon was the
counterpart of Luther. John Arrowsmith (1602-1657), in his _Tractica
Sacra_, describes him as "Vir in quo cum pietate doctrina, et cum
utrâque candor certavit."]

[ix] _Like Moses or like Cobbett who have ne'er._

Moses and Cobbet proclaim themselves the "meekest of men." See their
writings.--[MS.]

_Like Moses who was "very meek" had ne'er_.--[MS. erased.]

{381}[495] [See his "Correspondance avec L'Impératrice de Russie,"
_Oeuvres Complètes_ de Voltaire, 1836, x. 393-477. M. Waliszewski, in
his _Story of a Throne_, 1895, i. 224, has gathered a handful of these
flowers of speech: "She is the chief person in the world.... She is the
fire and life of nations.... She is a saint.... She is above all
saints.... She is equal to the mother of God.... She is the divinity of
the North.--_Te Catherinam laudamus, te Dominam confitemur, etc.,
etc._"]

[iy] _Of everything that ever cursed a nation._--[_MS. erased._]

[496] ["It is still more difficult to say which form of government is
the _worst_--all are so bad. As for democracy, it is the worst of the
whole; for what is (_in fact_) democracy?--an Aristocracy of
Blackguards."--See "My Dictionary" (May 1, 1821), _Letters_, 1901, v.
405, 406.]

{382}[iz] _Though priests and slaves may join the servile cry_.--[_MS.
erased._]

[497] In Greece I never saw or heard these animals; but among the ruins
of Ephesus I have heard them by hundreds.

[See _Childe Harold_, Canto IV. stanza cliii. line 6, _Poetical Works_,
1899, ii. 441; and _Siege of Corinth_, line 329, ibid., 1900, iii. 462,
note 1.]

[ja] _Whereas the others hunt for rascal spiders._--[_MS. erased._]

[jb] _Which still are strongly fluttering to be free_.--[_MS. erased._]

{383}[498] [Compare _The Age of Bronze_, line 576, sq., _Poetical
Works_, 1901, v. 570.]

{384}[499] [Nadir Shah, or Thamas Kouli Khan, born November, 1688,
invaded India, 1739-40, was assassinated June 19, 1747.]

[jc]
---- _went mad and was_
_Killed because what he swallowed would not pass_.--[MS. erased.]

[500] He was killed in a conspiracy, after his temper had been
exasperated by his extreme costivity to a degree of insanity.

[To such a height had his madness (attributed to _melancholia_ produced
by dropsy) attained, that he actually ordered the Afghan chiefs to rise
suddenly upon the Persian guard, and seize the ... chief nobles; but the
project being discovered, the intended victims conspired in turn, and a
body of them, including Nadir's guard, and the chief of his own tribe of
Afshar, entered his tent at midnight, and, after a moment's involuntary
pause--when challenged by the deep voice at which they had so often
trembled--rushed upon the king, who being brought to the ground by a
sabre-stroke, begged for life, and attempted to rise, but soon expired
beneath the repeated blows of the conspirators.--_The Indian Empire_, by
R. Montgomery Martin (1857), i. 172.]

[501] [Compare _Childe Harold_, Canto I. stanza lxvii. line 5, _Poetical
Works_, 1899, ii. 64, note 3.]

{385}[jd] _Or the substrata_----.--[MS.]

[502] [Compare Preface to _Cain_, _Poetical Works_, 1901, V. 210, note
1.]

[503] [_Vide ante,_ Canto VIII. stanza cxxvi. line 9, p. 368.]

{386}[504] [_Hamlet_, act i. sc. 5, line 189.]

[je] _I never know what's next to come_----.--[MS. erased.]

[505] [It is possible that the phrase "painted snows" was suggested by
Tooke's description of the winter-garden of the Taurida Palace: "The
genial warmth, ... the voluptuous silence that reigns in this enchanting
garden, lull the fancy into sweet romantic dreams: we think ourselves in
the groves of Italy, while torpid nature, through the windows of this
pavilion, announces the severity of a northern winter" (_The Life,
etc._, 1800, iii. 48).]

{387}[jf] _O'er limits which mightily_----:--[MS. erased.]

[jg]---- _in Youth and Glory's pillory_.--[MS. erased.]

[506] [In his _Notes sur le Don Juanisme_ (_Mercure de France_, 1898,
xxvi. 66), M. Bruchard says that this phrase defines and summarizes the
Byronic Don Juan.]

[jh]
_The Empress smiled while all the Orloff frowned_--
_A numerous family, to whose heart or hand_
_Mild Catherine owed the chance of being crowned,_.--[MS. erased.]

{388}[507] [C.F.P. Masson, in his _Mémoires Secrets, etc._, 1880, i.
150-178, gives a list of twelve favourites, and in this Canto, Don Juan
takes upon himself the characteristics of at least three, Lanskoï,
Zoritch (or Zovitch), and Plato Zoubof. For example (p. 167), "Zoritch
... est le seul étranger qu'elle ait osé créer son favori pendant son
regne. C'étoit un _Servien_ échappé du bagne de Constantinople où il
étoit prisonnier: il parut, pour la première fois, en habit de hussard à
la cour. Il éblouit tout le monde par sa beauté, et les vielles dames en
parlent encore comme d'un Adonis." M. Waliszewski, in his _Romance of an
Empress_ (1894), devotes a chapter to "Private Life and Favouritism"
(ii. 234-286), in which he graphically describes the election and
inauguration of the _Vremienchtchik_, "the man of the moment," paramour
regnant, and consort of the Empress _pro hac vice_: "'We may observe in
Russia a sort of interregnum in affairs, caused by the displacement of
one favourite and the installation of his successor.' ... The
interregnums are, however, of very short duration. Only one lasts for
several months, between the death of Lanskoï (1784) and the succession
of Iermolof.... There is no lack of candidates. The place is good....
Sometimes, too, on the height by the throne, reached at a bound, these
spoilt children of fate grow giddy.... It is over in an instant, at an
evening reception it is noticed that the Empress has gazed attentively
at some obscure lieutenant, presented but just before ... next day it is
reported that he has been appointed aide-de-camp to her Majesty. What
that means is well known. Next day he finds himself in the special suite
of rooms.... The rooms are already vacated, and everything is prepared
for the new-comer. All imaginable comfort and luxury ... await him; and,
on opening a drawer, he finds a hundred thousand roubles [about
£20,000], the usual first gift, a foretaste of Pactolus. That evening,
before the assembled court, the Empress appears, leaning familiarly on
his arm, and on the stroke of ten, as she retires, the new favourite
follows her" (_ibid._, pp. 246-249).]

[508] [After the death or murder of her husband, Peter III., Catherine
Alexievna (1729-1796) (born Sophia Augusta), daughter of the Prince of
Anhalt Zerbst, was solemnly crowned (September, 1762) Empress of all the
Russias.]

{389}[ji] _And almost died for the scarce-fledged Lanskoi_.--[MS.
erased.]

[509] He was the grande passion of the grande Catherine. See her Lives
under the head of "Lanskoi."

[Lanskoi was a youth of as fine and interesting a figure as the
imagination can paint. Of all Catherine's favourites, he was the man
whom she loved the most. In 1784 he was attacked with a fever, and
perished in the arms of her Majesty. When he was no more, Catherine gave
herself up to the most poignant grief, and remained three months without
going out of her palace of Tzarsko-selo. She afterwards raised a superb
monument to his memory. (See _Life of Catherine II._, by W. Tooke, 1800,
iii. 88, 89.)]

[510] [Ten months after the death of Lanskoi, the Empress consoled
herself with Iermolof, described, by Bezborodky, as "a modest refined
young man, who cultivates the society of serious people." In less than a
year this excellent youth is, in turn, displaced by Dmitrief Mamonof.
His _petit nom_ was _Red Coat_, and, for a time, he is a "priceless
creature." "He has," says Catherine, "two superb black eyes, with
eyebrows outlined as one rarely sees; about the middle height, noble in
manner, easy in demeanour." But Mamonof suffered from "scruples of
conscience," and, after a while, with Catherine's consent and blessing,
was happily married to the Princess Shtcherbatof, a maid of honour, and
not, as Byron supposed, a rival "man of the moment."--See _The Story of
a Throne_, by K. Waliszewski, 1895, ii. 135, sq.]

[511] This was written long before the suicide of that person. [For "his
parts of speech" compare--

" ... that long mandarin
C-stle-r-agh (whom Fum calls the Confucius of Prose)
Was rehearsing a speech upon Europe's repose
To the deep double bass of the fat Idol's nose."

Moore's _Fum and Hum, The Two Birds of Royalty_.]

{390}[512] [Compare _Beppo_, stanza xvii. line 8, _Poetical Works_,
1901, iv. 165. See, too, letter to Hoppner, December 31, 1819,
_Letters_, 1900, iv. 393.]

[jj]
_Beneath his chisel_--
or, _Beneath his touches_----.--[MS. erased.]

{391}[jk] ---- _and bound fair Helen in a bond_.--[MS. erased.]

[513] Hor., _Sat._, lib. i. sat. iii. lines 107, 108.

[jl] _That Riddle which all read, none understand_.--[MS. erased.]

[jm]---- _thou Sea which lavest Life's sand_.--[MS. erased.]

{392}[514] ["Fortune and victory sit on thy helm."--_Richard III._, act
v, sc. 3, line 79.]

[515] ["Catherine had been handsome in her youth, and she preserved a
gracefulness and majesty to the last period of her life. She was of a
moderate stature, but well proportioned; and as she carried her head
very high, she appeared rather tall. She had an open front, an aquiline
nose, an agreeable mouth, and her chin, though long, was not mis-shapen.
Her hair was auburn, her eyebrows black and rather thick, and her blue
eyes had a gentleness which was often affected, but oftener still a
mixture of pride. Her physiognomy was not deficient in expression; but
this expression never discovered what was passing in the soul of
Catherine, or rather it served her the better to disguise it."--_Life of
Catherine II._, by W. Tooke, in. 381 (translated from _Vie de Catherine
II._ (J.H. Castéra), 1797, ii. 450).]

{393}[516] ["His fortune swells him: 'Tis rank, he's married."--_Sir
Giles Overreach_, in Massinger's _New Way to pay Old Debts_, act v. sc.
1.]

{394}[517] [_Hamlet_, act iii. sc. iv. lines 58, 59.]

{395}[518]

["Not Cæsar's empress would I deign to prove;
No! make me mistress to the man I love."

Pope, _Eloisa to Abelard_, lines 87, 88.]

[jn]
_O'er whom an Empress her Crown-jewels scattering_
_Was wed with something better than a ring_.--[MS. erased.]

[519] ["Several persons who lived at the court affirm that Catherine had
very blue eyes, and not brown, as M. Rulhières has stated."--_Life of
Catherine II._, by W. Tooke, 1800, iii. 382.]

{396}[520] [The historic Catherine (_æt._ 62) was past her meridian in
the spring of 1791.]

[jo] _Her figure, and her vigour, and her rigour_.--[MS. erased.]

[jp] _In its sincere beginning, or dull end_.--[MS. erased.]

{397}[jq] _For such all women are just_ then, _no doubt_.--[MS.]

[jr]
_Of such sensations, in the drowsy drear_
After--_which shadows the, say_--second _year_.--[MS.]
_Of that sad heavy, drowsy, doubly drear_
After, _which shadows the first--say, year_.--[MS. erased.]

[521] [Stanza lxxvi. is not in the MS.]

{398}[522] A Russian estate is always valued by the number of the slaves
upon it.

{399}[523] [The "Protassova" (born 1744) was a cousin of the Orlofs. She
survived Catherine by many years, and was, writes M. Waliszewski (_The
Story of a Throne_, 1895, ii. 193), "present at the Congress of Vienna,
covered with diamonds like a reliquary, and claiming precedence of every
one." She is named _l'éprouveuse_ in a note to the _Mémoires Secrets_,
1800, i. 148.]

[js] _And not be dazzled by its early glare_.--[MS. erased.]

[524] End of Canto 9^th^, Augt. Sept., 1822. B.
 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Canto the Tenth



I.

When Newton saw an apple fall, he found
In that slight startle from his contemplation--
'T is _said_ (for I'll not answer above ground
For any sage's creed or calculation)--
A mode of proving that the Earth turned round
In a most natural whirl, called "gravitation;"
And this is the sole mortal who could grapple,[jt]
Since Adam--with a fall--or with an apple.[ju][525]

II.

Man fell with apples, and with apples rose,
If this be true; for we must deem the mode
In which Sir Isaac Newton could disclose
Through the then unpaved stars the turnpike road,[jv]
A thing to counterbalance human woes:[526]
For ever since immortal man hath glowed
With all kinds of mechanics, and full soon
Steam-engines will conduct him to the moon.

III.

And wherefore this exordium?--Why, just now,
In taking up this paltry sheet of paper,
My bosom underwent a glorious glow,
And my internal spirit cut a caper:
And though so much inferior, as I know,
To those who, by the dint of glass and vapour,
Discover stars, and sail in the wind's eye,
I wish to do as much by Poesy.

IV.

In the wind's eye I have sailed, and sail; but for
The stars, I own my telescope is dim;
But at the least I have shunned the common shore,
And leaving land far out of sight, would skim
The Ocean of Eternity:[527] the roar
Of breakers has not daunted my slight, trim,
But _still_ sea-worthy skiff; and she may float
Where ships have foundered, as doth many a boat.

V.

We left our hero, Juan, in the _bloom_
Of favouritism, but not yet in the _blush;--_
And far be it from my _Muses_ to presume
(For I have more than one Muse at a push),
To follow him beyond the drawing-room:
It is enough that Fortune found him flush
Of Youth, and Vigour, Beauty, and those things
Which for an instant clip Enjoyment's wings.

VI.

But soon they grow again and leave their nest.
"Oh!" saith the Psalmist, "that I had a dove's
Pinions to flee away, and be at rest!"
And who that recollects young years and loves,--
Though hoary now, and with a withering breast,
And palsied Fancy, which no longer roves
Beyond its dimmed eye's sphere,--but would much rather
Sigh like his son, than cough like his grandfather?

VII.

But sighs subside, and tears (even widows') shrink,
Like Arno[528] in the summer, to a shallow,
So narrow as to shame their wintry brink,
Which threatens inundations deep and yellow!
Such difference doth a few months make. You'd think
Grief a rich field which never would lie fallow;
No more it doth--its ploughs but change their boys,
Who furrow some new soil to sow for joys.

VIII.

But coughs will come when sighs depart--and now
And then before sighs cease; for oft the one
Will bring the other, ere the lake-like brow
Is ruffled by a wrinkle, or the Sun
Of Life reached ten o'clock: and while a glow,
Hectic and brief as summer's day nigh done,
O'erspreads the cheek which seems too pure for clay,
Thousands blaze, love, hope, die,--how happy they!--

IX.

But Juan was not meant to die so soon:--
We left him in the focus of such glory
As may be won by favour of the moon
Or ladies' fancies--rather transitory
Perhaps; but who would scorn the month of June,
Because December, with his breath so hoary,
Must come? Much rather should he court the ray,
To hoard up warmth against a wintry day.

X.

Besides, he had some qualities which fix
Middle-aged ladies even more than young:
The former know what's what; while new-fledged chicks
Know little more of Love than what is sung
In rhymes, or dreamt (for Fancy will play tricks)
In visions of those skies from whence Love sprung.
Some reckon women by their suns or years,
I rather think the Moon should date the dears.

XI.

And why? because she's changeable and chaste:
I know no other reason, whatsoe'er
Suspicious people, who find fault in haste,[jw]
May choose to tax me with; which is not fair,
Nor flattering to "their temper or their taste,"
As my friend Jeffrey writes with such an air:[529]
However, I forgive him, and I trust
He will forgive himself;--if not, I must.

XII.

Old enemies who have become new friends
Should so continue--'t is a point of honour;
And I know nothing which could make amends
For a return to Hatred: I would shun her
Like garlic, howsoever she extends
Her hundred arms and legs, and fain outrun her.
Old flames, new wives, become our bitterest foes--
Converted foes should scorn to join with those.

XIII.

This were the worst desertion:--renegadoes,
Even shuffling Southey, that incarnate lie,[jx]
Would scarcely join again the "reformadoes,"[530]
Whom he forsook to fill the Laureate's sty;
And honest men from Iceland to Barbadoes,
Whether in Caledon or Italy,
Should not veer round with every breath, nor seize
To pain, the moment when you cease to please.

XIV.

The lawyer and the critic but behold
The baser sides of literature and life,
And nought remains unseen, but much untold,
By those who scour those double vales of strife.
While common men grow ignorantly old,
The lawyer's brief is like the surgeon's knife,
Dissecting the whole inside of a question,
And with it all the process of digestion.

XV.[531]

A legal broom's a moral chimney-sweeper,
And that's the reason he himself's so dirty;
The endless soot[532] bestows a tint far deeper
Than can be hid by altering his shirt; he
Retains the sable stains of the dark creeper,
At least some twenty-nine do out of thirty,
In all their habits;--not so _you_, I own;
As Cæsar wore his robe you wear your gown.[533]

XVI.

And all our little feuds, at least all _mine_,
Dear Jeffrey, once my most redoubted foe
(As far as rhyme and criticism combine
To make such puppets of us things below),
Are over: Here's a health to "Auld Lang Syne!"
I do not know you, and may never know
Your face--but you have acted on the whole
Most nobly, and I own it from my soul.

XVII.

And when I use the phrase of "Auld Lang Syne!"
'T is not addressed to you--the more's the pity
For me, for I would rather take my wine
With you, than aught (save Scott) in your proud city:
But somehow--it may seem a schoolboy's whine,
And yet I seek not to be grand nor witty,
But I am half a Scot by birth, and bred
A whole one, and my heart flies to my head,--[534]

XVIII.

As "Auld Lang Syne" brings Scotland, one and all,[535]
Scotch plaids, Scotch snoods, the blue hills, and clear streams,
The Dee--the Don--Balgounie's brig's _black wall_--[536]
All my boy feelings, all my gentler dreams
Of what I _then dreamt_, clothed in their own pall,--
Like Banquo's offspring--floating past me seems
My childhood, in this childishness of mine:--
I care not--'t is a glimpse of "_Auld Lang Syne_."

XIX.

And though, as you remember, in a fit
Of wrath and rhyme, when juvenile and curly,
I railed at Scots to show my wrath and wit,
Which must be owned was sensitive and surly,
Yet 't is in vain such sallies to permit,
They cannot quench young feelings fresh and early:
I "_scotched_ not killed" the Scotchman in my blood,
And love the land of "mountain and of flood."[537]

XX.

Don Juan, who was real, or ideal,--
For both are much the same, since what men think
Exists when the once thinkers are less real
Than what they thought, for Mind can never sink,
And 'gainst the Body makes a strong appeal;
And yet 't is very puzzling on the brink
Of what is called Eternity to stare,
And know no more of what is _here_, than _there_;--

XXI.

Don Juan grew a very polished Russian--
_How_ we won't mention, _why_ we need not say:
Few youthful minds can stand the strong concussion
Of any slight temptation in their way;
But _his_ just now were spread as is a cushion
Smoothed for a Monarch's seat of honour: gay
Damsels, and dances, revels, ready money,
Made ice seem Paradise, and winter sunny.

XXII.

The favour of the Empress was agreeable;
And though the duty waxed a little hard,
Young people at his time of life should be able
To come off handsomely in that regard.
He was now growing up like a green tree, able
For Love, War, or Ambition, which reward
Their luckier votaries, till old Age's tedium
Make some prefer the circulating medium.

XXIII.

About this time, as might have been anticipated,
Seduced by Youth and dangerous examples,
Don Juan grew, I fear, a little dissipated;
Which is a sad thing, and not only tramples
On our fresh feelings, but--as being participated
With all kinds of incorrigible samples
Of frail humanity--must make us selfish,
And shut our souls up in us like a shell-fish.

XXIV.

This we pass over. We will also pass
The usual progress of intrigues between
Unequal matches, such as are, alas!
A young Lieutenant's with a _not old_ Queen,
But one who is not so youthful as she was
In all the royalty of sweet seventeen.[jy]
Sovereigns may sway materials, but not matter,
And wrinkles, the d----d democrats! won't flatter.

XXV.

And Death, the Sovereign's Sovereign, though the great
Gracchus of all mortality, who levels,
With his _Agrarian_ laws,[538] the high estate
Of him who feasts, and fights, and roars, and revels,
To one small grass-grown patch (which must await
Corruption for its crop) with the poor devils
Who never had a foot of land till now,--
Death's a reformer--all men must allow.

XXVI.

He lived (not Death, but Juan) in a hurry
Of waste, and haste, and glare, and gloss, and glitter,
In this gay clime of bear-skins black and furry--
Which (though I hate to say a thing that's bitter)
Peep out sometimes, when things are in a flurry,
Through all the "purple and fine linen," fitter
For Babylon's than Russia's royal harlot--
And neutralise her outward show of scarlet.

XXVII.

And this same state we won't describe: we would
Perhaps from hearsay, or from recollection:
But getting nigh grim Dante's "obscure wood,"[539]
That horrid equinox, that hateful section
Of human years--that half-way house--that rude
Hut, whence wise travellers drive with circumspection[jz]
Life's sad post-horses o'er the dreary frontier
Of Age, and looking back to Youth, give _one_ tear;--

XXVIII.

I won't describe,--that is, if I can help
Description; and I won't reflect,--that is,
If I can stave off thought, which--as a whelp
Clings to its teat--sticks to me through the abyss
Of this odd labyrinth; or as the kelp
Holds by the rock; or as a lover's kiss
Drains its first draught of lips:--but, as I said,
I _won't_ philosophise, and _will_ be read.

XXIX.

Juan, instead of courting courts, was courted,--
A thing which happens rarely: this he owed
Much to his youth, and much to his reported
Valour; much also to the blood he showed,
Like a race-horse; much to each dress he sported,
Which set the beauty off in which he glowed,
As purple clouds befringe the sun; but most
He owed to an old woman and his post.

XXX.

He wrote to Spain;--and all his near relations,
Perceiving he was in a handsome way
Of getting on himself, and finding stations
For cousins also, answered the same day.
Several prepared themselves for emigrations;
And eating ices, were o'erheard to say,
That with the addition of a slight pelisse,
Madrid's and Moscow's climes were of a piece.

XXXI.

His mother, Donna Inez, finding, too,
That in the lieu of drawing on his banker,
Where his assets were waxing rather few,
He had brought his spending to a handsome anchor,--
Replied, "that she was glad to see him through
Those pleasures after which wild youth will hanker;
As the sole sign of Man's being in his senses
Is--learning to reduce his past expenses.[ka]

XXXII.

"She also recommended him to God,
And no less to God's Son, as well as Mother,
Warned him against Greek worship, which looks odd
In Catholic eyes; but told him, too, to smother
_Outward_ dislike, which don't look well abroad;
Informed him that he had a little brother
Born in a second wedlock; and above
All, praised the Empress's _maternal_ love.

XXXIII.

"She could not too much give her approbation
Unto an Empress, who preferred young men
Whose age, and what was better still, whose nation
And climate, stopped all scandal (now and then);--
At home it might have given her some vexation;
But where thermometers sink down to ten,
Or five, or one, or zero, she could never
Believe that Virtue thawed before the river."[kb]

XXXIV.

Oh for a _forty-parson power_[540]--to chant
Thy praise, Hypocrisy! Oh for a hymn
Loud as the virtues thou dost loudly vaunt,
Not practise! Oh for trump of Cherubim!
Or the ear-trumpet of my good old aunt,[541]
Who, though her spectacles at last grew dim,
Drew quiet consolation through its hint,
When she no more could read the pious print.

XXXV.

She was no Hypocrite at least, poor soul,
But went to heaven in as sincere a way
As anybody on the elected roll,
Which portions out upon the Judgment Day
Heaven's freeholds, in a sort of Doomsday scroll,
Such as the conqueror William did repay
His knights with, lotting others' properties
Into some sixty thousand new knights' fees.

XXXVI.

I can't complain, whose ancestors are there,
Erneis, Radulphus--eight-and-forty manors
(If that my memory doth not greatly err)
Were _their_ reward for following Billy's banners:[542]
And though I can't help thinking 't was scarce fair
To strip the Saxons of their _hydes_[543] like tanners;
Yet as they founded churches with the produce,
You'll deem, no doubt, they put it to a good use.[kc]

XXXVII.

The gentle Juan flourished, though at times
He felt like other plants called sensitive,
Which shrink from touch, as Monarchs do from rhymes,
Save such as Southey can afford to give.
Perhaps he longed in bitter frosts for climes
In which the Neva's ice would cease to live
Before May-day: perhaps, despite his duty,
In Royalty's vast arms he sighed for Beauty:

XXXVIII.

Perhaps--but, sans perhaps, we need not seek[kd]
For causes young or old: the canker-worm
Will feed upon the fairest, freshest cheek,
As well as further drain the withered form:
Care, like a housekeeper, brings every week
His bills in, and however we may storm,
They must be paid: though six days smoothly run,
The seventh will bring blue devils or a dun.

XXXIX.

I don't know how it was, but he grew sick:
The Empress was alarmed, and her physician
(The same who physicked Peter) found the tick
Of his fierce pulse betoken a condition
Which augured of the dead, however _quick_
Itself, and showed a feverish disposition;
At which the whole Court was extremely troubled,
The Sovereign shocked, and all his medicines doubled.

XL.

Low were the whispers, manifold the rumours:
Some said he had been poisoned by Potemkin;
Others talked learnedly of certain tumours,
Exhaustion, or disorders of the same kin;[544]
Some said 't was a concoction of the humours,
Which with the blood too readily will claim kin:
Others again were ready to maintain,
"'T was only the fatigue of last campaign."

XLI.

But here is one prescription out of many:
"_Sodae sulphat_. [ezh]vj. [ezh]fs. _Mannae optim._
_Aq. fervent._ f.  [)ezh]ifs. [ezh]ij. _tinct. Sennae_
_Haustus_" (And here the surgeon came and cupped him)
"[Rx] _Pulv. Com._ gr. iij. _Ipecacuanhæ_"
(With more beside if Juan had not stopped 'em).
"_Bolus Potassae Sulphuret. sumendus_,
_Et haustus ter in die capiendus._"

XLII.

This is the way physicians mend or end us,
_Secundum artem_: but although we sneer
In health--when ill, we call them to attend us,
Without the least propensity to jeer;
While that "_hiatus maxime deflendus_"
To be filled up by spade or mattock's near,
Instead of gliding graciously down Lethe,
We tease mild Baillie,[545] or soft Abernethy.

XLIII.

Juan demurred at this first notice to
Quit; and though Death had threatened an ejection,
His youth and constitution bore him through,
And sent the doctors in a new direction.
But still his state was delicate: the hue
Of health but flickered with a faint reflection
Along his wasted cheek, and seemed to gravel
The faculty--who said that he must travel.

XLIV.

The climate was too cold, they said, for him,
Meridian-born, to bloom in. This opinion
Made the chaste Catherine look a little grim,
Who did not like at first to lose her minion:
But when she saw his dazzling eye wax dim,
And drooping like an eagle's with clipt pinion,
She then resolved to send him on a mission,
But in a style becoming his condition.

XLV.

There was just then a kind of a discussion,
A sort of treaty or negotiation,
Between the British cabinet and Russian,
Maintained with all the due prevarication
With which great states such things are apt to push on;
Something about the Baltic's navigation,
Hides, train-oil, tallow, and the rights of Thetis,
Which Britons deem their _uti possidetis_.

XLVI.

So Catherine, who had a handsome way
Of fitting out her favourites, conferred
This secret charge on Juan, to display
At once her royal splendour, and reward
His services. He kissed hands the next day,
Received instructions how to play his card,
Was laden with all kinds of gifts and honours,
Which showed what great discernment was the donor's.

XLVII.

But she was lucky, and luck's all. Your Queens
Are generally prosperous in reigning--
Which puzzles us to know what Fortune means:--
But to continue--though her years were waning,
Her climacteric teased her like her teens;
And though her dignity brooked no complaining,
So much did Juan's setting off distress her,
She could not find at first a fit successor.

XLVIII.

But Time, the comforter, will come at last;
And four-and-twenty hours, and twice that number
Of candidates requesting to be placed,
Made Catherine taste next night a quiet slumber:--
Not that she meant to fix again in haste,
Nor did she find the quantity encumber,
But always choosing with deliberation,
Kept the place open for their emulation.

XLIX.

While this high post of honour's in abeyance,
For one or two days, reader, we request
You'll mount with our young hero the conveyance
Which wafted him from Petersburgh: the best
Barouche, which had the glory to display once
The fair Czarina's autocratic crest,
When, a new Iphigene, she went to Tauris,
Was given to her favourite,[546] and now _bore his_.

L.

A bull-dog, and a bullfinch, and an ermine,
All private favourites of Don Juan;--for
(Let deeper sages the true cause determine)
He had a kind of inclination, or
Weakness, for what most people deem mere vermin,
Live animals: an old maid of threescore
For cats and birds more penchant ne'er displayed,
Although he was not old, nor even a maid;--

LI.

The animals aforesaid occupied
Their station: there were valets, secretaries,
In other vehicles; but at his side
Sat little Leila, who survived the parries
He made 'gainst Cossacque sabres in the wide
Slaughter of Ismail. Though my wild Muse varies
Her note, she don't forget the infant girl
Whom he preserved, a pure and living pearl.

LII.

Poor little thing! She was as fair as docile,
And with that gentle, serious character,
As rare in living beings as a fossile
Man, 'midst thy mouldy mammoths, "grand Cuvier!"[ke]
Ill fitted was her ignorance to jostle
With this o'erwhelming world, where all must err:
But she was yet but ten years old, and therefore
Was tranquil, though she knew not why or wherefore.

LIII.

Don Juan loved her, and she loved him, as
Nor brother, father, sister, daughter love.--I
cannot tell exactly what it was;
He was not yet quite old enough to prove
Parental feelings, and the other class,
Called brotherly affection, could not move
His bosom,--for he never had a sister:
Ah! if he had--how much he would have missed her!

LIV.

And still less was it sensual; for besides
That he was not an ancient debauchee,
(Who like sour fruit, to stir their veins' salt tides,
As acids rouse a dormant alkali,)[kf]
Although (_'t will_ happen as our planet guides)
His youth was not the chastest that might be,
There was the purest Platonism at bottom
Of all his feelings--only he forgot 'em.

LV.

Just now there was no peril of temptation;
He loved the infant orphan he had saved,
As patriots (now and then) may love a nation;
His pride, too, felt that she was not enslaved
Owing to him;--as also her salvation
Through his means and the Church's might be paved.
But one thing's odd, which here must be inserted,
The little Turk refused to be converted.

LVI.

'T was strange enough she should retain the impression
Through such a scene of change, and dread, and slaughter;
But though three Bishops told her the transgression,
She showed a great dislike to holy water;
She also had no passion for confession;
Perhaps she had nothing to confess:--no matter,
Whate'er the cause, the Church made little of it--
She still held out that Mahomet was a prophet.

LVII.

In fact, the only Christian she could bear
Was Juan; whom she seemed to have selected
In place of what her home and friends once _were_.
_He_ naturally loved what he protected:
And thus they formed a rather curious pair,
A guardian green in years, a ward connected
In neither clime, time, blood, with her defender;
And yet this want of ties made theirs more tender.

LVIII.

They journeyed on through Poland and through Warsaw,
Famous for mines of salt and yokes of iron:
Through Courland also, which that famous farce saw
Which gave her dukes the graceless name of "Biron."[547]
'T is the same landscape which the modern Mars saw,
Who marched to Moscow, led by Fame, the Siren!
To lose by one month's frost some twenty years
Of conquest, and his guard of Grenadiers.

LIX.

Let this not seem an anti-climax:--"Oh!
My guard! my old guard!"[548] exclaimed that god of clay.
Think of the Thunderer's falling down below
Carotid-artery-cutting Castlereagh![kg]
Alas! that glory should be chilled by snow!
But should we wish to warm us on our way
Through Poland, there is Kosciusko's name
Might scatter fire through ice, like Hecla's flame.

LX.

From Poland they came on through Prussia Proper,
And Königsberg, the capital, whose vaunt,
Besides some veins of iron, lead, or copper,
Has lately been the great Professor Kant.[549]
Juan, who cared not a tobacco-stopper
About philosophy, pursued his jaunt
To Germany, whose somewhat tardy millions
Have princes who spur more than their postilions.

LXI.

And thence through Berlin, Dresden, and the like,
Until he reached the castellated Rhine:--
Ye glorious Gothic scenes! how much ye strike
All phantasies, not even excepting mine!
A grey wall, a green ruin, rusty pike,
Make my soul pass the equinoctial line
Between the present and past worlds, and hover
Upon their airy confines, half-seas-over.

LXII.

But Juan posted on through Mannheim, Bonn,
Which Drachenfels[550] frowns over like a spectre
Of the good feudal times for ever gone,
On which I have not time just now to lecture.
From thence he was drawn onwards to Cologne,
A city which presents to the inspector
Eleven thousand maiden heads of bone.
The greatest number flesh hath ever known.[551]

LXIII.

From thence to Holland's Hague and Helvoetsluys,
That water-land of Dutchmen and of ditches,
Where juniper expresses its best juice,
The poor man's sparkling substitute for riches.
Senates and sages have condemned its use--
But to deny the mob a cordial, which is
Too often all the clothing, meat, or fuel,
Good government has left them, seems but cruel.

LXIV.

Here he embarked, and with a flowing sail
Went bounding for the Island of the free,
Towards which the impatient wind blew half a gale;
High dashed the spray, the bows dipped in the sea,
And sea-sick passengers turned somewhat pale;
But Juan, seasoned, as he well might be,
By former voyages, stood to watch the skiffs
Which passed, or catch the first glimpse of the cliffs.

LXV.

At length they rose, like a white wall along
The blue sea's border; and Don Juan felt--
What even young strangers feel a little strong
At the first sight of Albion's chalky belt--A
kind of pride that he should be among
Those haughty shopkeepers, who sternly dealt
Their goods and edicts out from pole to pole,
And made the very billows pay them toll.

LXVI.

I've no great cause to love that spot of earth,
Which holds what _might have been_ the noblest nation;
But though I owe it little but my birth,
I feel a mixed regret and veneration
For its decaying fame and former worth.
Seven years (the usual term of transportation)
Of absence lay one's old resentments level,
When a man's country's going to the devil.

LXVII.

Alas! could she but fully, truly, know
How her great name is now throughout abhorred;
How eager all the Earth is for the blow
Which shall lay bare her bosom to the sword;
How all the nations deem her their worst foe,
That worse than _worst of foes_, the once adored
False friend, who held out Freedom to Mankind,
And now would chain them--to the very _mind_;--

LXVIII.

Would she be proud, or boast herself the free,
Who is but first of slaves? The nations are
In prison,--but the gaoler, what is he?
No less a victim to the bolt and bar.
Is the poor privilege to turn the key
Upon the captive, Freedom? He's as far
From the enjoyment of the earth and air
Who watches o'er the chain, as they who wear.

LXIX.

Don Juan now saw Albion's earliest beauties,
Thy cliffs, _dear_ Dover! harbour, and hotel;
Thy custom-house, with all its delicate duties;
Thy waiters running mucks at every bell;
Thy packets, all whose passengers are booties
To those who upon land or water dwell;
And last, not least, to strangers uninstructed,
Thy long, long bills, whence nothing is deducted.

LXX.

Juan, though careless, young, and _magnifique_,
And rich in rubles, diamonds, cash, and credit,
Who did not limit much his bills per week,
Yet stared at this a little, though he paid it,--
(His Maggior Duomo, a smart, subtle Greek,
Before him summed the awful scroll and read it):
But, doubtless, as the air--though seldom sunny--
Is free, the respiration's worth the money.

LXXI.

On with the horses! Off to Canterbury!
Tramp, tramp o'er pebble, and splash, splash through puddle;
Hurrah! how swiftly speeds the post so merry!
Not like slow Germany, wherein they muddle
Along the road,[552] as if they went to bury
Their fare; and also pause besides, to fuddle
With "schnapps"--sad dogs! whom "Hundsfot," or "Verflucter,"[553]
Affect no more than lightning a conductor.[kh]

LXXII.

Now there is nothing gives a man such spirits,
Leavening his blood as cayenne doth a curry,
As going at full speed--no matter where its
Direction be, so 't is but in a hurry,
And merely for the sake of its own merits;
For the less cause there is for all this flurry,
The greater is the pleasure in arriving
At the great _end_ of travel--which is driving.

LXXIII.

They saw at Canterbury the cathedral;
Black Edward's helm, and Becket's bloody stone,
Were pointed out as usual by the bedral,
In the same quaint, uninterested tone:--
There's glory again for you, gentle reader! All
Ends in a rusty casque and dubious bone,[554]
Half-solved into these sodas or magnesias,
Which form that bitter draught, the human species.

LXXIV.

The effect on Juan was of course sublime:
He breathed a thousand Cressys, as he saw
That casque, which never stooped except to Time.
Even the bold Churchman's tomb excited awe,
Who died in the then great attempt to climb
O'er Kings, who _now_ at least _must talk_ of Law
Before they butcher. Little Leila gazed,
And asked why such a structure had been raised:

LXXV.

And being told it was "God's House," she said
He was well lodged, but only wondered how
He suffered Infidels in his homestead,
The cruel Nazarenes, who had laid low
His holy temples in the lands which bred
The True Believers;--and her infant brow
Was bent with grief that Mahomet should resign
A mosque so noble, flung like pearls to swine.

LXXVI.

On! on! through meadows, managed like a garden,
A paradise of hops and high production;
For, after years of travel by a bard in
Countries of greater heat, but lesser suction,
A green field is a sight which makes him pardon
The absence of that more sublime construction,
Which mixes up vines--olives--precipices--
Glaciers--volcanoes--oranges and ices.

LXXVII.

And when I think upon a pot of beer----
But I won't weep!--and so drive on, postilions!
As the smart boys spurred fast in their career,
Juan admired these highways of free millions--
A country in all senses the most dear
To foreigner or native, save some silly ones,
Who "kick against the pricks" just at this juncture,
And for their pains get only a fresh puncture.[ki]

LXXVIII.

What a delightful thing's a turnpike road!
So smooth, so level, such a mode of shaving
The Earth, as scarce the eagle in the broad
Air can accomplish, with his wide wings waving.
Had such been cut in Phaeton's time, the god
Had told his son to satisfy his craving
With the York mail;--but onward as we roll,
_Surgit amari aliquid_--the toll![555]

LXXIX.

Alas! how deeply painful is all payment!
Take lives--take wives--take aught except men's purses:
As Machiavel shows those in purple raiment,
Such is the shortest way to general curses.[556]
They hate a murderer much less than a claimant
On that sweet ore which everybody nurses.--
Kill a man's family, and he may brook it,
But keep your hands out of his breeches' pocket:

LXXX.

So said the Florentine: ye monarchs, hearken
To your instructor. Juan now was borne,
Just as the day began to wane and darken,
O'er the high hill, which looks with pride or scorn
Toward the great city.--Ye who have a spark in
Your veins of Cockney spirit, smile or mourn
According as you take things well or ill;--
Bold Britons, we are now on Shooter's Hill!

LXXXI.

The Sun went down, the smoke rose up, as from
A half-unquenched volcano, o'er a space
Which well beseemed the "Devil's drawing-room,"
As some have qualified that wondrous place:
But Juan felt, though not approaching _Home_,
As one who, though he were not of the race,
Revered the soil, of those true sons the mother,
Who butchered half the earth, and bullied t' other.[557]

LXXXII.

A mighty mass of brick, and smoke, and shipping,
Dirty and dusky, but as wide as eye
Could reach, with here and there a sail just skipping
In sight, then lost amidst the forestry
Of masts; a wilderness of steeples peeping
On tiptoe through their sea-coal canopy;
A huge, dun Cupola, like a foolscap crown
On a fool's head--and there is London Town!

LXXXIII.

But Juan saw not this: each wreath of smoke
Appeared to him but as the magic vapour
Of some alchymic furnace, from whence broke
The wealth of worlds (a wealth of tax and paper):
The gloomy clouds, which o'er it as a yoke
Are bowed, and put the Sun out like a taper,
Were nothing but the natural atmosphere,
Extremely wholesome, though but rarely clear.

LXXXIV.

He paused--and so will I; as doth a crew
Before they give their broadside. By and by,
My gentle countrymen, we will renew
Our old acquaintance; and at least I'll try
To tell you truths _you_ will not take as true,
Because they are so;--a male Mrs. Fry,[558]
With a soft besom will I sweep your halls,
And brush a web or two from off the walls.

LXXXV.

Oh Mrs. Fry! Why go to Newgate? Why
Preach to _poor_ rogues? And wherefore not begin
With Carlton, or with other houses? Try
Your hand at hardened and imperial Sin.
To mend the People's an absurdity,
A jargon, a mere philanthropic din,
Unless you make their betters better:--Fie!
I thought you had more religion, Mrs. Fry.

LXXXVI.

Teach _them_ the decencies of good threescore;
Cure _them_ of tours, hussar and highland dresses;
Tell _them_ that youth once gone returns no more,
That hired huzzas redeem no land's distresses;
Tell them Sir William Curtis[559] is a bore,
Too dull even for the dullest of excesses--
The witless Falstaff of a hoary Hal,
A fool whose bells have ceased to ring at all.

LXXXVII.

Tell them, though it may be, perhaps, too late--
On Life's worn confine, jaded, bloated, sated--
To set up vain pretence of being _great_,
'T is not so to be _good_; and, be it stated,
The worthiest kings have ever loved least state:
And tell them--But you won't, and I have prated
Just now enough; but, by and by, I'll prattle
Like Roland's horn[560] in Roncesvalles' battle.[kj][561]
 

 

 

 

FOOTNOTES:

{400}[jt] _In a most natural whirling of rotation_.--[MS. erased.]

[ju] _Since Adam--gloriously against an apple_.--[MS. erased.]

[525] ["Neither Pemberton nor Whiston, who received from Newton himself
the history of his first Ideas of Gravity, records the story of the
falling apple. It was mentioned, however, to Voltaire by Catherine
Barton (afterwards Mrs. Conduit), Newton's niece. We saw the apple tree
in 1814.... The tree was so much decayed that it was taken down in 1820"
(_Memoirs, etc., of Sir Isaac Newton_, by Sir David Brewster, 1855, i.
27, note 1). Voltaire tells the story thus (_Éléments de la Philosophie
de Newton_, Partie III. chap, iii.): "Un jour, en l'année 1666 [1665],
Newton, retiré à la campagne, et voyant tomber des fruits d'un arbre, à
ce que m'a conté sa nièce (Madame Conduit), se laissa aller à une
méditation profonde sur la cause qui entraîne ainsi tous les corps dans
une ligne qui, si elle était prolongée, passerait à peu près par le
centre de la terre."--_Oeuvres Complètes_, 1837, v. 727.]

[jv] _To the then unploughed stars_----.--[MS. erased.]

{401}[526] [Compare _Churchill's Grave,_ line 23, _Poetical Works,_
1901, iv. 47, note 1.]

[527] [Shelley entitles him "The Pilgrim of Eternity," in his _Adonais_
(stanza xxx. line 3), which was written and published at Pisa in 1821.]

{402}[528] [Byron left Pisa (Palazzo Lanfranchi on the Arno) for the
Villa Saluzzo at Genoa, in the autumn of 1822.]

[jw]: §403§_Malicious people_--.--[MS. erased.]

[529] ["We think the abuse of Mr. Southey ... by far too savage and
intemperate. It is of ill example, we think, in the literary world, and
does no honour either to the _taste_ or the _temper_ of the noble
author." --_Edinburgh Review_, February, 1822, vol. xxxvi. p. 445.

"I have read the recent article of Jeffrey ... I suppose the long and
the short of it is, that he wishes to provoke me to reply. But I won't,
for I owe him a good turn still for his kindness by-gone. Indeed, I
presume that the present opportunity of attacking me again was
irresistible; and I can't blame him, knowing what human nature
is."--Letter to Moore, June 8, 1822, _Letters_, 1901, vi. 80.]

[jx]--_that essence of all Lie_.--[MS. erased.]

{404}[530] "Reformers," or rather "Reformed." The Baron Bradwardine in
_Waverley_ is authority for the word. [The word is certainly in Butler's
_Hudibras_, Part II. Canto 2--

"Although your Church be opposite
To mine as Black Fryars are to White,
In _Rule_ and _Order_, yet I grant
You are a _Reformado Saint_."]

[531] [Stanza XV. is not in the MS. The "legal broom," _sc._ Brougham,
was an afterthought.]

[532] Query, _suit_?--Printer's Devil.

[533] [It has been argued that when "great Cæsar fell" he wore his
"robe" to muffle up his face, and that, in like manner, Jeffrey sank the
critic in the lawyer. A "deal likelier" interpretation is that Jeffrey
wore "his gown" right royally, as Cæsar wore his "triumphal robe." (See
Plutarch's _Julius Cæsar_, Langhorne's translation, 1838, p. 515.)]

{405}[534] ["I don't like to bore you about the Scotch novels (as they
call them, though two of them are English, and the rest half so); but
nothing can or could ever persuade me, since I was the first ten minutes
in your company, that you are _not_ the man. To me these novels have so
much of 'Auld Lang Syne' (I was bred a canny Scot till ten years old),
that I never move without them."--Letter to Sir W. Scott, January 12,
1822, _Letters_, 1901, vi. 4, 5.]

[535] [Compare _The Island_, Canto II. lines 280-297.]

[536] The brig of Don, near the "auld toun" of Aberdeen, with its one
arch, and its black deep salmon stream below, is in my memory as
yesterday. I still remember, though perhaps I may misquote, the awful
proverb which made me pause to cross it, and yet lean over it with a
childish delight, being an only son, at least by the mother's side. The
saying as recollected by me was this, but I have never heard or seen it
since I was nine years of age:--

"Brig of Balgounie, _black_'s your _wa'_,
Wi' a wife's _ae son_, and a mear's _ae foal_,
Doun ye shall fa'!"

[See for illustration of the Brig o' Balgownie, with its single Gothic
arch, _Letters_, 1901 [L.P.], v. 406. ]

{406}[537]

["Land of brown heath and shaggy wood,
Land of the mountain and the flood," etc.

_Lay of the Last Minstrel_, Canto VI. stanza ii.]

{407}[jy]
_Some thirty years before at fair eighteen_.--[MS.]
or, _Seven and twenty_--which, _it does not matter_,--
_Wrinkles, those damnedst democrats, won't flatter_.--[MS. erased.]

[538] Tiberius Gracchus, being tribune of the people, demanded in their
name the execution of the Agrarian law; by which all persons possessing
above a certain number of acres were to be deprived of the surplus for
the benefit of the poor citizens.

{408}[539]

"Mi ritrovai per una selva oscura."
_Inferno_, Canto I. line 2.

[jz] _Hut where we travellers bait with dim reflection_.--[MS. erased.]

{409}[ka] _Is when he learns to limit his expenses_.--[MS. erased.]

[kb]
---- _till the ice_
_Cracked, she would ne'er believe in thaws for vice_.--[MS. erased.]

{410}[540] A metaphor taken from the "forty-horse power" of a
steam-engine. That mad wag, the Reverend Sydney Smith, sitting by a
brother clergyman at dinner, observed afterwards that his dull neighbour
had a _"twelve-parson power"_ of conversation.

[541] [In a letter to his sister, October 25, 1804 (_Letters_, 1898, i.
40), Byron mentions an aunt--"the amiable antiquated Sophia," and asks,
"Is she yet in the land of the living, or does she sing psalms with the
Blessed in the other world?" This was his father's sister, Sophia Maria,
daughter of Admiral the Hon. John Byron. But his "good old aunt" is,
more probably, the Hon. Mrs. Frances Byron, widow of George (born April
22, 1730) son of the fourth, and brother of the "Wicked" lord. She was
the daughter and co-heiress of Ellis Levett, Esq., and lived "at
Nottingham in her own house." She died, aged 86, June 13, 1822, not long
before this Canto was written. She is described in the obituary notice
of the _Gentleman's Magazine_, June, 1822, vol. 92, p. 573, as "Daughter
of Vice-Admiral the Hon. John Byron (who sailed round the world with
Lord Anson), grandfather of the present Lord Byron." But that is,
chronologically, impossible. Byron must have retained a pleasing
recollection of the ear-trumpet and the spectacles, and it gratified his
kindlier humour to embalm their owner in his verse.]

[542] [See Collins's _Peerage_, 1779, vii. 120. It is probable that
Byron was lineally descended from Ralph de Burun, of Horestan, who is
mentioned in Doomsday Book (sect. xi.) as holding eight lordships in
Notts and five in Derbyshire, but with regard to Ernysius or Erneis the
pedigree is silent. (See _Pedigree of George Gordon, Sixth Lord Byron_,
by Edward Bernard, 1870.)]

{411}[543] "Hyde."--I believe a hyde of land to be a legitimate word,
and, as such, subject to the tax of a quibble.

[kc]
_And humbly hope that the same God which hath given_
_Us land on earth, will do no less in Heaven_.--[MS. erased.]

[kd] _Perhaps--but d--n perhaps_----.--[MS.]

{412}[544] [For the illness ("a scarlet fever, complicated by angina,
both aggravated by premature exhaustion") and death of Lanskoï, see _The
Story of a Throne_, by K. Waliszewsky, 1895, ii. 131, 133. For the
rumour that he was poisoned by Potemkin, see _Mémoires Secrets, etc._
[by C.F.P. Masson], 1800, i. 170.]

[545] [Matthew Baillie (1761-1823), the nephew of William Hunter, the
brother of Agnes and Joanna Baillie, was a celebrated anatomist. He
attended Byron (1799-1802), when an endeavour was made to effect a cure
of the muscular contraction of his right leg and foot. He was consulted
by Lady Byron, in 1816, with regard to her husband's supposed
derangement, but was not admitted when he called at the house in
Piccadilly. He is said to have "avoided technical and learned phrases;
to have affected no sentimental tenderness, but expressed what he had to
say in the simplest and plainest terms" (_Annual Biography_, 1824, p.
319). Jekyll (_Letters_, 1894, p. 110) repeats or invents an anecdote
that "the old king, in his mad fits, used to say he could bring any dead
people to converse with him, except those who had died under Baillie's
care, for that the doctor always dissected them into so many morsels,
that they had not a leg to walk to Windsor with." It is hardly necessary
to say that John Abernethy (1764-1831) "expressed what _he_ had to say"
in the bluntest and rudest terms at his disposal.]

[546] The empress went to the Crimea, accompanied by the Emperor Joseph,
in the year--I forget which.

[The Prince de Ligne, who accompanied Catherine in her progress through
her southern provinces, in 1787, gives the following particulars: "We
have crossed during many days vast, solitary regions, from which her
Majesty has driven Zaporogua, Budjak, and Nogais Tartars, who, ten years
ago, threatened to ravage her empire. All these places were furnished
with magnificent tents for breakfasts, lunches, dinners, suppers, and
sleeping-rooms ... deserted regions were at once transformed into
fields, groves, villages: ... The Empress has left in each chief town
gifts to the value of a hundred thousand roubles. Every day that we
remained stationary was marked with diamonds, balls, fireworks, and
illuminations throughout a circuit of ten leagues." --_The Prince de
Ligne, His Memoirs, etc._, translated by Katharine Prescott Wormeley,
1899, ii. 31.]

{415}[ke] _Man, midst thy mouldy mammoths, Cuvier._--[MS.]

{416}[kf]
_Who like sour fruit to sharpen up the tides_
_Of their salt veins, and stir their stagnancy._--[MS. erased.]

{417}[547] In the Empress Anne's time, Biren, her favourite, assumed the
name and arms of the "Birons" of France; which families are yet extant
with that of England. There are still the daughters of Courland of that
name; one of them I remember seeing in England in the blessed year of
the Allies (1814)--the Duchess of S.--to whom the English Duchess of
Somerset presented me as a namesake.

["Ernest John Biren was born in Courland [in 1690]. His grandfather had
been head groom to James, the third Duke of Courland, and obtained from
his master the present of a small estate in land.... In 1714 he made his
appearance at St. Petersburg, and solicited the place of page to the
Princess Charlotte, wife of the Tzarovitch Alexey; but being
contemptuously rejected as a person of mean extraction, retired to
Mittau, where he chanced to ingratiate himself with Count Bestuchef,
Master of the Household to Anne, widow of Frederic William, Duke of
Courland, who resided at Mittau. Being of a handsome figure and polite
address, he soon gained the good will of the duchess, and became her
secretary and chief favourite. On her being declared sovereign of
Russia, Anne called Biren to Petersburg, and the secretary soon became
Duke of Courland, and first minister or rather despot of Russia. On the
death of Anne, which happened in 1740, Biren, being declared regent,
continued daily increasing his vexations and cruelties, till he was
arrested, on the 18th of December, only twenty days after he had been
appointed to the regency; and at the revolution that ensued he was
exiled to the frozen shores of the Oby." _Catherine II._, by W. Tooke,
1800, i. 160, _footnote_. He was recalled in 1763, and died in 1772.

In a letter to his sister, dated June 18, 1814, Byron gives a slightly
different version of the incident, recorded in his note (_vide supra_):
"The Duchess of Somerset also, to mend matters, insisted on presenting
me to a Princess _Biron_, Duchess of Hohen-God-knows-what, and another
person to her two sisters, Birons too. But I flew off, and _would_ not,
saying I had had enough of introductions for that night at
least."--_Letters_, 1899, iii. 98. The "daughters of Courland" must have
been descendants of "Pierre, dernier Duc de Courlande, De la Maison de
Biron," viz. Jeanne Cathérine, born June 24, 1783, who married, in 1801,
François Pignatelli de Belmonte, Duc d'Acerenza, and Dorothée, born
August 21, 1793, who married, in 1809, Edmond de Talleyrand Périgord,
Duc de Talleyrand, nephew to the Bishop of Autun. (See _Almanach de
Gotha_, 1848, pp. 109, 110.)]

{418}[548] [Napoleon's exclamation at the Elysée Bourbon, June 23, 1815.
"When his civil counsellors talked of defence, the word wrung from him
the bitter ejaculation, 'Ah! my old guard! could they but defend
themselves like you!'"--_Life of Napoleon Buonaparte_, by Sir Walter
Scott, _Prose Works_, 1846, ii. 760.]

[kg]
_Who now that he is dead has not a foe_;
_The last expired in cut-throat Castlereagh_.--[MS. erased.]

[549] [Immanuel Kant, born at Königsberg, in 1729, became Professor and
Rector of the University, and died at Königsberg in 1804.]

{419}[550]

["The castled crag of Drachenfels
Frowns o'er the wide and winding Rhine," etc.

_Childe Harold_, Canto III.]

[551] St. Ursula and her eleven thousand virgins were still extant in
1816, and may be so yet, as much as ever.

{421}[552] ["We left Ratzeburg at 7 o'clock Wednesday evening, and
arrived at Lüneburg--_i.e._ 35 English miles--at 3 o'clock on Thursday
afternoon. This is a fair specimen! In England I used to laugh at the
'flying waggons;' but compared with a German Post-Coach, the metaphor is
perfectly justifiable, and for the future I shall never meet a flying
waggon without thinking respectfully of its speed."--S.T. Coleridge,
March 12, 1799, _Letters of S.T.C._, 1895, i. 278.]

[553] [See for German oaths, "Extracts from a Diary," January 12, 1821,
_Letters_, 1901, v. 172.]

[kh]
_With "Schnapps"--Democritus would cease to smile,_
_By German, post-boys driven a mile_.--[MS.]
_With "Schnapps"--and spite of "Dam'em," "dog" and "log"_
_Launched at their heads jog-jog-jog-jog-jog-jog_.--[MS. erased.]

{422}[554] [The French Inscription (see _Memorial Inscriptions_, etc.,
by Joseph Meadows Cowper, 1897, p. 134) on the Black Prince's monument
is thus translated in the _History of Kent_ (John Weevers' _Funerall
Monuments_, 1636, pp. 205, 206)--
 


    "Who so thou be that passeth by
    Where this corps entombed lie,
    Understand what I shall say,
    As at this time, speake I may.
    Such as thou art, sometime was I.
    Such as I am, shalt thou be.
    I little thought on th' oure of death,
    So long as I enjoyéd breath.
    Great riches here did I possess,
    Whereof I made great nobleness;
    I had gold, silver, wardrobes, and
    Great treasure, horses, houses, land.
    But now a caitife poore am I,
    Deepe in the ground, lo! here I lie;
    My beautie great is all quite gone,
    My flesh is wasted to the bone.
    My house is narrow now and throng,
    Nothing but Truth comes from my tongue.
    And if ye should see me this day,
    I do not think but ye would say,
    That I had never beene a man,
    So much altered now I am."]

{423}[ki]
---- _of higher stations_,
_And for their pains get smarter puncturations_.--[MS. erased.]

 

{424}[555] [See _Childe Harold_, Canto I. stanza xxxii. line 2,
_Poetical Works_, 1899, ii. 93, note 16.]

[556] [See _The Prince_ (_Il Principe_), chap. xvii., by Niccolò
Machiavelli, translated by Ninian Hill Thomson, 1897, p. 121: "But above
all [a Prince] must abstain from the property of others. For men will
sooner forget the death of their father than the loss of their
patrimony."]

[557] [India; America.]

{425}[558] [Elizabeth Fry (1780-1845) began her visits to Newgate in
1813. In 1820 she corresponded with the Princess Sophie of Russia, and
at a later period she was entertained by Louis Philippe, and by the King
of Prussia at Kaiserwerth. She might have, she may have, admonished
George IV. "with regard to all good things."]

{426}[559] [See _The Age of Bronze_, line 768, _Poetical Works_, 1901,
v. 578, note 1.]

[560]

["O for a blast of that dread horn,
On Fontarabian echoes borne,
That to King Charles did come,
When Rowland brave, and Olivier,
And every paladin and peer,
On Roncesvalles died."

_Marmion_, Canto VI. stanza xxxiii. lines 7-12.]

[kj] _Like an old Roman trumpet ere a battle_.--[MS. erased.]

[561] B. Genoa, Oct. 6^th^, 1822. End of Canto 10^th^.

 

 

 

 

 

 


Canto the Eleventh


 


I.

WHEN Bishop Berkeley said "there was no matter,"[562]
And proved it--'t was no matter what he said:
They say his system 't is in vain to batter,
Too subtle for the airiest human head;
And yet who can believe it? I would shatter
Gladly all matters down to stone or lead,
Or adamant, to find the World a spirit,
And wear my head, denying that I wear it.

II.

What a sublime discovery 't was to make the
Universe universal egotism,
That all's ideal--_all ourselves!_--I'll stake the
World (be it what you will) that _that's_ no schism.
Oh Doubt!--if thou be'st Doubt, for which some take thee,
But which I doubt extremely--thou sole prism
Of the Truth's rays, spoil not my draught of spirit!
Heaven's brandy, though our brain can hardly bear it.

III.

For ever and anon comes Indigestion
(Not the most "dainty Ariel"),[563] and perplexes
Our soarings with another sort of question:
And that which after all my spirit vexes,
Is, that I find no spot where Man can rest eye on,
Without confusion of the sorts and sexes,
Of Beings, Stars, and this unriddled wonder,
The World, which at the worst's a _glorious_ blunder--

IV.

If it be chance--or, if it be according
To the old text, still better:--lest it should
Turn out so, we 'll say nothing 'gainst the wording,
As several people think such hazards rude.
They're right; our days are too brief for affording
Space to dispute what _no one_ ever could
Decide, and _everybody one day_ will
Know very clearly--or at least lie still.

V.

And therefore will I leave off metaphysical
Discussion, which is neither here nor there:
If I agree that what is, is; then this I call
Being quite perspicuous and extremely fair;
The truth is, I've grown lately rather phthisical:[564]
I don't know what the reason is--the air
Perhaps; but as I suffer from the shocks
Of illness, I grow much more orthodox.

VI.

The first attack at once proved the Divinity
(But that I never doubted, nor the Devil);
The next, the Virgin's mystical virginity;
The third, the usual Origin of Evil;
The fourth at once established the whole Trinity
On so uncontrovertible a level,
That I devoutly wished the three were four--
On purpose to believe so much the more.

VII.

To our theme.--The man who has stood on the Acropolis,
And looked down over Attica; or he
Who has sailed where picturesque Constantinople is,
Or seen Timbuctoo, or hath taken tea
In small-eyed China's crockery-ware metropolis,
Or sat amidst the bricks of Nineveh,[kk]
May not think much of London's first appearance--
But ask him what he thinks of it a year hence!

VIII.

Don Juan had got out on Shooter's Hill;
Sunset the time, the place the same declivity
Which looks along that vale of Good and Ill
Where London streets ferment in full activity,
While everything around was calm and still,
Except the creak of wheels, which on their pivot he
Heard,--and that bee-like, bubbling, busy hum
Of cities, that boil over with their scum:--

IX.

I say, Don Juan, wrapped in contemplation,
Walked on behind his carriage, o'er the summit,
And lost in wonder of so great a nation,
Gave way to 't, since he could not overcome it.
"And here," he cried, "is Freedom's chosen station;
Here peals the People's voice, nor can entomb it
Racks--prisons--inquisitions; Resurrection
Awaits it, each new meeting or election.

X.

"Here are chaste wives, pure lives; here people pay
But what they please; and if that things be dear,
'T is only that they love to throw away
Their cash, to show how much they have a-year.
Here laws are all inviolate--none lay
Traps for the traveller--every highway's clear--
Here"--he was interrupted by a knife,
With--"Damn your eyes! your money or your life!"--

XI.

These free-born sounds proceeded from four pads
In ambush laid, who had perceived him loiter
Behind his carriage; and, like handy lads,
Had seized the lucky hour to reconnoitre,
In which the heedless gentleman who gads
Upon the road, unless he prove a fighter,
May find himself within that isle of riches
Exposed to lose his life as well as breeches.

XII.

Juan, who did not understand a word
Of English, save their shibboleth, "God damn!"[565]
And even that he had so rarely heard,
He sometimes thought 't was only their "Sal[-a]m,"
Or "God be with you!"--and 't is not absurd
To think so,--for half English as I am
(To my misfortune), never can I say
I heard them wish "God with you," save that way;--

XIII.

Juan yet quickly understood their gesture,
And being somewhat choleric and sudden,
Drew forth a pocket pistol from his vesture,
And fired it into one assailant's pudding--
Who fell, as rolls an ox o'er in his pasture,
And roared out, as he writhed his native mud in,
Unto his nearest follower or henchman,
"Oh Jack! I'm floored by that 'ere bloody Frenchman!"

XIV.

On which Jack and his train set off at speed,
And Juan's suite, late scattered at a distance,
Came up, all marvelling at such a deed,
And offering, as usual, late assistance.
Juan, who saw the moon's late minion[566] bleed
As if his veins would pour out his existence,
Stood calling out for bandages and lint,
And wished he had been less hasty with his flint.

XV.

"Perhaps," thought he, "it is the country's wont
To welcome foreigners in this way: now
I recollect some innkeepers who don't
Differ, except in robbing with a bow,
In lieu of a bare blade and brazen front--
But what is to be done? I can't allow
The fellow to lie groaning on the road:
So take him up--I'll help you with the load."

XVI.

But ere they could perform this pious duty,
The dying man cried, "Hold! I've got my gruel!
Oh! for a glass of _max_![567] We've missed our booty;
Let me die where I am!" And as the fuel
Of Life shrunk in his heart, and thick and sooty
The drops fell from his death-wound, and he drew ill
His breath,--he from his swelling throat untied
A kerchief, crying, "Give Sal that!"--and died.

XVII.

The cravat stained with bloody drops fell down
Before Don Juan's feet: he could not tell
Exactly why it was before him thrown,
Nor what the meaning of the man's farewell.
Poor Tom was once a kiddy upon town,
A thorough varmint, and a _real_ swell,
Full flash,[568] all fancy, until fairly diddled,
His pockets first and then his body riddled.

XVIII.

Don Juan, having done the best he could
In all the circumstances of the case,
As soon as "Crowner's quest"[569] allowed, pursued
His travels to the capital apace;--
Esteeming it a little hard he should
In twelve hours' time, and very little space,
Have been obliged to slay a free-born native
In self-defence: this made him meditative.

XIX.

He from the world had cut off a great man,
Who in his time had made heroic bustle.
Who in a row like Tom could lead the van,
Booze in the ken, or at the spellken hustle?
Who queer a flat?[570] Who (spite of Bow-street's ban)
On the high toby-spice so flash the muzzle?
Who on a lark with black-eyed Sal (his blowing),
So prime--so swell--so nutty--and so knowing?[kl][571]

XX.

But Tom's no more--and so no more of Tom.
Heroes must die; and by God's blessing 't is
Not long before the most of them go home.
Hail! Thamis, hail! Upon thy verge it is
That Juan's chariot, rolling like a drum
In thunder, holds the way it can't well miss,
Through Kennington and all the other "tons,"
Which make us wish ourselves in town at once;--

XXI.

Through Groves, so called as being void of trees,
(Like _lucus_ from _no_ light); through prospects named
Mount Pleasant, as containing nought to please,
Nor much to climb; through little boxes framed
Of bricks, to let the dust in at your ease,
With "To be let," upon their doors proclaimed;
Through "Rows" most modestly called "Paradise,"[572]
Which Eve might quit without much sacrifice;--[km]

XXII.

Through coaches, drays, choked turnpikes, and a whirl
Of wheels, and roar of voices, and confusion;
Here taverns wooing to a pint of "purl,"[573]
There mails fast flying off like a delusion;
There barbers' blocks with periwigs in curl
In windows; here the lamplighter's infusion
Slowly distilled into the glimmering glass
(For in those days we had not got to gas--);[kn][574]

XXIII.

Through this, and much, and more, is the approach
Of travellers to mighty Babylon:
Whether they come by horse, or chaise, or coach,
With slight exceptions, all the ways seem one.
I could say more, but do not choose to encroach
Upon the Guide-book's privilege. The Sun
Had set some time, and night was on the ridge
Of twilight, as the party crossed the bridge.

XXIV.

That's rather fine, the gentle sound of Thamis--
Who vindicates a moment, too, his stream--
Though hardly heard through multifarious "damme's:"
The lamps of Westminster's more regular gleam,
The breadth of pavement, and yon shrine where Fame is
A spectral resident--whose pallid beam
In shape of moonshine hovers o'er the pile--
Make this a sacred part of Albion's isle.

XXV.

The Druids' groves are gone--so much the better:
Stonehenge is not--but what the devil is it?--But
Bedlam still exists with its sage fetter,
That madmen may not bite you on a visit;
The Bench too seats or suits full many a debtor;
The Mansion House,[575] too (though some people quiz it),
To me appears a stiff yet grand erection;
But then the Abbey's worth the whole collection.

XXVI.

The line of lights,[576] too, up to Charing Cross,
Pall Mall, and so forth, have a coruscation
Like gold as in comparison to dross,
Matched with the Continent's illumination,
Whose cities Night by no means deigns to gloss.
The French were not yet a lamp-lighting nation,
And when they grew so--on their new-found lantern,
Instead of wicks, they made a wicked man turn.[577]

XXVII.

A row of Gentlemen along the streets
Suspended may illuminate mankind,
As also bonfires made of country seats;
But the old way is best for the purblind:
The other looks like phosphorus on sheets,
A sort of _ignis fatuus_ to the mind,
Which, though 't is certain to perplex and frighten,
Must burn more mildly ere it can enlighten.

XXVIII.

But London's so well lit, that if Diogenes
Could recommence to hunt his _honest man_,
And found him not amidst the various progenies
Of this enormous City's spreading span,
'T were not for want of lamps to aid his dodging his
Yet undiscovered treasure. What _I_ can,
I've done to find the same throughout Life's journey,
But see the World is only one attorney.

XXIX.

Over the stones still rattling, up Pall Mall,
Through crowds and carriages, but waxing thinner
As thundered knockers broke the long sealed spell
Of doors 'gainst duns, and to an early dinner
Admitted a small party as night fell,--
Don Juan, our young diplomatic sinner,
Pursued his path, and drove past some hotels,
St. James's Palace, and St. James's "Hells."[578]

XXX.

They reached the hotel: forth streamed from the front door[ko]
A tide of well-clad waiters, and around
The mob stood, and as usual several score
Of those pedestrian Paphians who abound
In decent London when the daylight's o'er;
Commodious but immoral, they are found
Useful, like Malthus, in promoting marriage.--
But Juan now is stepping from his carriage

XXXI.

Into one of the sweetest of hotels,[kp][579]
Especially for foreigners--and mostly
For those whom favour or whom Fortune swells,
And cannot find a bill's small items costly.
There many an envoy either dwelt or dwells
(The den of many a diplomatic lost lie),
Until to some conspicuous square they pass,
And blazon o'er the door their names in brass.

XXXII.

Juan, whose was a delicate commission,
Private, though publicly important, bore
No title to point out with due precision
The exact affair on which he was sent o'er.
'T was merely known, that on a secret mission
A foreigner of rank had graced our shore,
Young, handsome, and accomplished, who was said
(In whispers) to have turned his Sovereign's head.

XXXIII.

Some rumour also of some strange adventures
Had gone before him, and his wars and loves;
And as romantic heads are pretty painters,
And, above all, an Englishwoman's roves[kq]
Into the excursive, breaking the indentures
Of sober reason, wheresoe'er it moves,
He found himself extremely in the fashion,
Which serves our thinking people for a passion.

XXXIV.

I don't mean that they are passionless, but quite
The contrary; but then 't is in the head;
Yet as the consequences are as bright
As if they acted with the heart instead,
What after all can signify the site
Of ladies' lucubrations? So they lead
In safety to the place for which you start,
What matters if the road be head or heart?

XXXV.

Juan presented in the proper place,
To proper placemen, every Russ credential;
And was received with all the due grimace
By those who govern in the mood potential,
Who, seeing a handsome stripling with smooth face,
Thought (what in state affairs is most essential),
That they as easily might _do_ the youngster,
As hawks may pounce upon a woodland songster.

XXXVI.

They erred, as agéd men will do; but by
And by we'll talk of that; and if we don't,
'T will be because our notion is not high
Of politicians and their double front,
Who live by lies, yet dare not boldly lie:--
Now what I love in women is, they won't
Or can't do otherwise than lie--but do it
So well, the very Truth seems falsehood to it.

XXXVII.

And, after all, what is a lie? 'T is but
The truth in masquerade; and I defy[kr]
Historians--heroes--lawyers--priests, to put
A fact without some leaven of a lie.
The very shadow of true Truth would shut
Up annals--revelations--poesy,
And prophecy--except it should be dated
Some years before the incidents related.

XXXVIII.

Praised be all liars and all lies! Who now
Can tax my mild Muse with misanthropy?
She rings the World's "Te Deum," and her brow
Blushes for those who will not:--but to sigh
Is idle; let us like most others bow,
Kiss hands--feet--any part of Majesty,
After the good example of "Green Erin,"[580]
Whose shamrock now seems rather worse for wearing.[ks]

XXXIX.

Don Juan was presented, and his dress
And mien excited general admiration--
I don't know which was more admired or less:
One monstrous diamond drew much observation,
Which Catherine in a moment of _"ivresse"_
(In Love or Brandy's fervent fermentation),
Bestowed upon him, as the public learned;
And, to say truth, it had been fairly earned.

XL.

Besides the ministers and underlings,
Who must be courteous to the accredited
Diplomatists of rather wavering Kings,
Until their royal riddle's fully read,
The very clerks,--those somewhat dirty springs
Of Office, or the House of Office, fed
By foul corruption into streams,--even they
Were hardly rude enough to earn their pay:

XLI.

And insolence no doubt is what they are
Employed for, since it is their daily labour,
In the dear offices of Peace or War;
And should you doubt, pray ask of your next neighbour,
When for a passport, or some other bar
To freedom, he applied (a grief and a bore),
If he found not this spawn of tax-born riches,
Like lap-dogs, the least civil sons of b----s.

XLII.

But Juan was received with much _"empressement:"_--
These phrases of refinement I must borrow
From our next neighbours' land, where, like a chessman,
There is a move set down for joy or sorrow,
Not only in mere talking, but the press. Man
In Islands is, it seems, downright and thorough,
More than on Continents--as if the Sea
(See Billingsgate) made even the tongue more free.

XLIII.

And yet the British "Damme"'s rather Attic,
Your continental oaths are but incontinent,
And turn on things which no aristocratic
Spirit would name, and therefore even I won't anent[581]
This subject quote; as it would be schismatic
In _politesse_, and have a sound affronting in 't;--
But "Damme"'s quite ethereal, though too daring--
Platonic blasphemy--the soul of swearing.[kt]

XLIV.

For downright rudeness, ye may stay at home;
For true or false politeness (and scarce _that
Now_) you may cross the blue deep and white foam--
The first the emblem (rarely though) of what
You leave behind, the next of much you come
To meet. However, 't is no time to chat
On general topics: poems must confine
Themselves to unity, like this of mine.[ku]

XLV.

In the great world,--which, being interpreted,
Meaneth the West or worst end of a city,
And about twice two thousand people bred
By no means to be very wise or witty,
But to sit up while others lie in bed,
And look down on the Universe with pity,--
Juan, as an inveterate patrician,
Was well received by persons of condition.

XLVI.

He was a bachelor, which is a matter
Of import both to virgin and to bride,
The former's hymeneal hopes to flatter;
And (should she not hold fast by Love or Pride)
'T is also of some moment to the latter:
A rib's a thorn in a wed gallant's side,
Requires decorum, and is apt to double
The horrid sin--and what's still worse, the trouble.

XLVII.

But Juan was a bachelor--of arts,
And parts, and hearts: he danced and sung, and had
An air as sentimental as Mozart's
Softest of melodies; and could be sad
Or cheerful, without any "flaws or starts,"[582]
Just at the proper time: and though a lad,
Had seen the world--which is a curious sight,
And very much unlike what people write.

XLVIII.

Fair virgins blushed upon him; wedded dames
Bloomed also in less transitory hues;[kv]
For both commodities dwell by the Thames,
The painting and the painted; Youth, Ceruse,[kw]
Against his heart preferred their usual claims,
Such as no gentleman can quite refuse:
Daughters admired his dress, and pious mothers
Inquired his income, and if he had brothers.

XLIX.

The milliners who furnish "drapery Misses"[583]
Throughout the season, upon speculation
Of payment ere the Honeymoon's last kisses
Have waned into a crescent's coruscation,
Thought such an opportunity as this is,
Of a rich foreigner's initiation,
Not to be overlooked--and gave such credit,
That future bridegrooms swore, and sighed, and paid it.

L.

The Blues, that tender tribe, who sigh o'er sonnets,
And with the pages of the last Review
Line the interior of their heads or bonnets,
Advanced in all their azure's highest hue:
They talked bad French or Spanish, and upon its
Late authors asked him for a hint or two;
And which was softest, Russian or Castilian?
And whether in his travels he saw Ilion?

LI.

Juan, who was a little superficial,
And not in literature a great Drawcansir,[584]
Examined by this learnéd and especial
Jury of matrons, scarce knew what to answer:
His duties warlike, loving or official,
His steady application as a dancer,
Had kept him from the brink of Hippocrene,
Which now he found was blue instead of green.

LII.

However, he replied at hazard, with
A modest confidence and calm assurance,
Which lent his learnéd lucubrations pith,
And passed for arguments of good endurance.
That prodigy, Miss Araminta Smith
(Who at sixteen translated "Hercules Furens"
Into as furious English), with her best look,
Set down his sayings in her common-place book.

LIII.

Juan knew several languages--as well
He might--and brought them up with skill, in time
To save his fame with each accomplished belle,
Who still regretted that he did not rhyme.
There wanted but this requisite to swell
His qualities (with them) into sublime:
Lady Fitz-Frisky, and Miss Maevia Mannish,
Both longed extremely to be sung in Spanish.

LIV.

However, he did pretty well, and was
Admitted as an aspirant to all
The coteries, and, as in Banquo's glass,
At great assemblies or in parties small,
He saw ten thousand living authors pass,
That being about their average numeral;
Also the eighty "greatest living poets,"[585]
As every paltry magazine can show _it's_.

LV.

In twice five years the "greatest living poet,"
Like to the champion in the fisty ring,
Is called on to support his claim, or show it,
Although 't is an imaginary thing.
Even I--albeit I'm sure I did not know it,
Nor sought of foolscap subjects to be king,--
Was reckoned, a considerable time,
The grand Napoleon of the realms of rhyme.[kx]

LVI.

But Juan was my Moscow, and Faliero
My Leipsic, and my Mont Saint Jean seems Cain:[586]
_La Belle Alliance_ of dunces down at zero,
Now that the Lion's fallen, may rise again:
But I will fall at least as fell my Hero;
Nor reign at all, or as a _monarch_ reign;
Or to some lonely isle of gaolers go,
With turncoat Southey for my turnkey Lowe.[ky]

LVII.

Sir Walter reigned before me; Moore and Campbell
Before and after; but now grown more holy,
The Muses upon Sion's hill must ramble
With poets almost clergymen, or wholly;
And Pegasus has a psalmodic amble
Beneath the very Reverend Rowley Powley,[kz][587]
Who shoes the glorious animal with stilts,
A modern Ancient Pistol--"by these hilts!"[588]

LVIII.

Still he excels that artificial hard
Labourer in the same vineyard, though the vine
Yields him but vinegar for his reward.--
That neutralised dull Dorus of the Nine;
That swarthy Sporus, neither man nor bard;
That ox of verse, who _ploughs_ for every line:--
Cambyses' roaring Romans beat at least
The howling Hebrews of Cybele's priest.--[589]

LIX.

Then there's my gentle Euphues,--who, they say,[la]
Sets up for being a sort of _moral me_;[590]
He'll find it rather difficult some day
To turn out both, or either, it may be.
Some persons think that Coleridge hath the sway;
And Wordsworth has supporters, two or three;
And that deep-mouthed Boeotian "Savage Landor"[591]
Has taken for a swan rogue Southey's gander.

LX.

John Keats, who was killed off by one critique,
Just as he really promised something great,
If not intelligible, without Greek
Contrived to talk about the gods of late,
Much as they might have been supposed to speak.[592]
Poor fellow! His was an untoward fate;
'T is strange the mind, that very fiery particle,[lb][593]
Should let itself be snuffed out by an article.

LXI.

The list grows long of live and dead pretenders
To that which none will gain--or none will know
The conqueror at least; who, ere Time renders
His last award, will have the long grass grow
Above his burnt-out brain, and sapless cinders.
If I might augur, I should rate but low
Their chances;--they're too numerous, like the thirty[594]
Mock tyrants, when Rome's annals waxed but dirty.

LXII.

This is the literary _lower_ empire,
Where the praetorian bands take up the matter;--
A "dreadful trade," like his who "gathers samphire,"[595]
The insolent soldiery to soothe and flatter,
With the same feelings as you'd coax a vampire.
Now, were I once at home, and in good satire,
I'd try conclusions with those Janizaries,
And show them _what_ an intellectual war is.

LXIII.

I think I know a trick or two, would turn
Their flanks;--but it is hardly worth my while,
With such small gear to give myself concern:
Indeed I've not the necessary bile;
My natural temper's really aught but stern,
And even my Muse's worst reproof's a smile;
And then she drops a brief and modern curtsy,
And glides away, assured she never hurts ye.

LXIV.

My Juan, whom I left in deadly peril
Amongst live poets and _blue_ ladies, passed
With some small profit through that field so sterile,
Being tired in time--and, neither least nor last,
Left it before he had been treated very ill;
And henceforth found himself more gaily classed
Amongst the higher spirits of the day,
The Sun's true son, no vapour, but a ray.

LXV.

His morns he passed in business--which dissected,
Was, like all business, a laborious nothing
That leads to lassitude, the most infected
And Centaur Nessus garb of mortal clothing,[596]
And on our sofas makes us lie dejected,
And talk in tender horrors of our loathing
All kinds of toil, save for our country's good--
Which grows no better, though 't is time it should.

LXVI.

His afternoons he passed in visits, luncheons,
Lounging and boxing; and the twilight hour
In riding round those vegetable puncheons
Called "Parks," where there is neither fruit nor flower
Enough to gratify a bee's slight munchings;
But after all it is the only "bower"[597]
(In Moore's phrase) where the fashionable fair
Can form a slight acquaintance with fresh air.

LXVII.

Then dress, then dinner, then awakes the world!
Then glare the lamps, then whirl the wheels, then roar
Through street and square fast flashing chariots hurled
Like harnessed meteors; then along the floor
Chalk mimics painting; then festoons are twirled;
Then roll the brazen thunders of the door,
Which opens to the thousand happy few
An earthly Paradise of _Or Molu_.

LXVIII.

There stands the noble hostess, nor shall sink
With the three-thousandth curtsy; there the waltz,
The only dance which teaches girls to think,[598]
Makes one in love even with its very faults.
Saloon, room, hall, o'erflow beyond their brink,
And long the latest of arrivals halts,
'Midst royal dukes and dames condemned to climb,
And gain an inch of staircase at a time.

LXIX.

Thrice happy he who, after a survey
Of the good company, can win a corner,
A door that's _in_ or boudoir _out_ of the way,
Where he may fix himself like small "Jack Horner,"
And let the Babel round run as it may,
And look on as a mourner, or a scorner,
Or an approver, or a mere spectator,
Yawning a little as the night grows later.

LXX.

But this won't do, save by and by; and he
Who, like Don Juan, takes an active share,
Must steer with care through all that glittering sea
Of gems and plumes and pearls and silks, to where
He deems it is his proper place to be;
Dissolving in the waltz to some soft air,
Or proudlier prancing with mercurial skill,
Where Science marshals forth her own quadrille.

LXXI.

Or, if he dance not, but hath higher views
Upon an heiress or his neighbour's bride,
Let him take care that that which he pursues
Is not at once too palpably descried:
Full many an eager gentleman oft rues
His haste; Impatience is a blundering guide
Amongst a people famous for reflection,
Who like to play the fool with circumspection.

LXXII.

But, if you can contrive, get next at supper;
Or, if forestalled, get opposite and ogle:--
Oh, ye ambrosial moments! always upper
In mind, a sort of sentimental bogle,[599]
Which sits for ever upon Memory's crupper,
The ghost of vanished pleasures once in vogue! Ill
Can tender souls relate the rise and fall
Of hopes and fears which shake a single ball.

LXXIII.

But these precautionary hints can touch
Only the common run, who must pursue,
And watch and ward; whose plans a word too much
Or little overturns; and not the few
Or many (for the number's sometimes such)
Whom a good mien, especially if new,
Or fame--or name--for Wit, War, Sense, or Nonsense,
Permits whate'er they please,--or _did_ not long since.

LXXIV.

Our Hero--as a hero--young and handsome,
Noble, rich, celebrated, and a stranger,
Like other slaves of course must pay his ransom,
Before he can escape from so much danger
As will environ a conspicuous man. Some
Talk about poetry, and "rack and manger,"
And ugliness, disease, as toil and trouble;--
I wish they knew the life of a young noble.

LXXV.

They are young, but know not Youth--it is anticipated;
Handsome but wasted, rich without a sou;[lc]
Their vigour in a thousand arms is dissipated;
Their cash comes _from_, their wealth goes _to_ a Jew;
Both senates see their nightly votes participated
Between the Tyrant's and the Tribunes' crew;
And having voted, dined, drunk, gamed, and whored,
The family vault receives another Lord.

LXXVI.

"Where is the World?" cries Young, at _eighty_[600]--"Where
The World in which a man was born?" Alas!
Where is the world of _eight_ years past? _'T was there_--
I look for it--'t is gone, a globe of glass!
Cracked, shivered, vanished, scarcely gazed on, ere[ld]
A silent change dissolves the glittering mass.
Statesmen, Chiefs, Orators, Queens, Patriots, Kings,
And Dandies--all are gone on the Wind's wings.

LXXVII.

Where is Napoleon the Grand? God knows!
Where little Castlereagh? The devil can tell!
Where Grattan, Curran, Sheridan--all those
Who bound the Bar or Senate in their spell?
Where is the unhappy Queen, with all her woes?
And where the Daughter, whom the Isles loved well?
Where are those martyred saints the Five per Cents?[le][601]
And where--oh, where the devil are the Rents?

LXXVIII.

Where's Brummell? Dished. Where's Long Pole Wellesley?[602] Diddled.
Where's Whitbread? Romilly? Where's George the Third?
Where is his will?[603] (That's not so soon unriddled.)
And where is "Fum" the Fourth, our "royal bird?"[604]
Gone down, it seems, to Scotland to be fiddled
Unto by Sawney's violin, we have heard:
"Caw me, caw thee"--for six months hath been hatching
This scene of royal itch and loyal scratching.

LXXIX.

Where is Lord This? And where my Lady That?
The Honourable Mistresses and Misses?
Some laid aside like an old Opera hat,
Married, unmarried, and remarried: (this is
An evolution oft performed of late).
Where are the Dublin shouts--and London hisses?
Where are the Grenvilles? Turned as usual. Where
My friends the Whigs? Exactly where they were.

LXXX.

Where are the Lady Carolines and Franceses?[605]
Divorced or doing thereanent. Ye annals
So brilliant, where the list of routs and dances is,--
Thou Morning Post, sole record of the panels
Broken in carriages, and all the phantasies
Of fashion,--say what streams now fill those channels?
Some die, some fly, some languish on the Continent,
Because the times have hardly left them _one_ tenant.

LXXXI.

Some who once set their caps at cautious dukes,[lf]
Have taken up at length with younger brothers:
Some heiresses have bit at sharpers' hooks:
Some maids have been made wives, some merely mothers:
Others have lost their fresh and fairy looks:
In short, the list of alterations bothers.
There's little strange in this, but something strange is
The unusual quickness of these common changes.

LXXXII.

Talk not of seventy years as age; in seven
I have seen more changes, down from monarchs to
The humblest individuals under Heaven,
Than might suffice a moderate century through.
I knew that nought was lasting, but now even
Change grows too changeable, without being new:
Nought's permanent among the human race,
Except the Whigs _not_ getting into place.

LXXXIII.

I have seen Napoleon, who seemed quite a Jupiter,
Shrink to a Saturn. I have seen a Duke
(No matter which) turn politician stupider,
If that can well be, than his wooden look.
But it is time that I should hoist my "blue Peter,"
And sail for a new theme:--I have seen--and shook
To see it--the King hissed, and then caressed;
But don't pretend to settle which was best.

LXXXIV.

I have seen the Landholders without a rap--
I have seen Joanna Southcote--I have seen
The House of Commons turned to a tax-trap--
I have seen that sad affair of the late Queen--
I have seen crowns worn instead of a fool's cap--
I have seen a Congress[606] doing all that's mean--
I have seen some nations, like o'erloaded asses,
Kick off their burthens--meaning the high classes.

LXXXV.

I have seen small poets, and great prosers, and
Interminable--_not eternal_--speakers--
I have seen the funds at war with house and land--
I have seen the country gentlemen turn squeakers--
I have seen the people ridden o'er like sand
By slaves on horseback--I have seen malt liquors
Exchanged for "thin potations"[607] by John Bull--
I have seen John half detect himself a fool.--

LXXXVI.

But _"carpe diem,"_ Juan, _"carpe, carpe!"_[608]
To-morrow sees another race as gay
And transient, and devoured by the same harpy.
"Life's a poor player,"[609]--then "play out the play,[610]
Ye villains!" and above all keep a sharp eye
Much less on what you do than what you say:
Be hypocritical, be cautious, be
Not what you _seem_, but always what you _see_.

LXXXVII.

But how shall I relate in other cantos
Of what befell our hero in the land,
Which 't is the common cry and lie to vaunt as
A moral country? But I hold my hand--
For I disdain to write an Atalantis;[611]
But 't is as well at once to understand,
You are _not_ a moral people, and you know it,
Without the aid of too sincere a poet.

LXXXVIII.

What Juan saw and underwent shall be
My topic, with of course the due restriction
Which is required by proper courtesy;
And recollect the work is only fiction,
And that I sing of neither mine nor me,
Though every scribe, in some slight turn of diction,
Will hint allusions never _meant_. Ne'er doubt
_This_--when I speak, I _don't hint_, but _speak out_.

LXXXIX.

Whether he married with the third or fourth
Offspring of some sage husband-hunting countess,
Or whether with some virgin of more worth
(I mean in Fortune's matrimonial bounties),
He took to regularly peopling Earth,
Of which your lawful, awful wedlock fount is,--
Or whether he was taken in for damages,
For being too excursive in his homages,--

XC.

Is yet within the unread events of Time.
Thus far, go forth, thou Lay, which I will back
Against the same given quantity of rhyme,
For being as much the subject of attack
As ever yet was any work sublime,
By those who love to say that white is black.
So much the better!--I may stand alone,
But would not change my free thoughts for a throne.[612]
 

 

 

FOOTNOTES:

{427}[562] [Berkeley did not deny the reality of existence, but the
reality of matter as an abstract conception. "It is plain," he says (_On
the Principles of Human Knowledge_, sect. ix.), "that the very notion of
what is called _matter_ or _corporeal substance_, involves a
contradiction in it." Again, "It were a mistake to think that what is
here said derogates in the least from the reality of things." His
contention was that this _reality_ depended, not on an abstraction
_called_ matter, "an inert, extended unperceiving substance," but on
"those unextended, indivisible substances or _spirits_, which act, and
think, and perceive them [unthinking beings]."--_Ibid._, sect. xci.,
_The Works_ of George Berkeley, D.D., 1820, i. 27, 69, 70.]

{428}[563] [_Tempest_, act v. sc. i, line 95.]

[564] ["I have been very unwell--four days confined to my bed in 'the
worst inn's worst room' at Lerici, with a violent rheumatic and bilious
attack, constipation, and the devil knows what."--Letter to Murray,
October 9, 1822, _Letters_, 1901, vi. 121. The same letter contains an
announcement that he had "a fifth [Canto of _Don Juan_] (the 10th)
finished, but not transcribed yet; and the _eleventh_ begun."]

{429}[kk] _Or Rome, or Tiber--Naples or the sea_.--[MS. erased.]

{430}[565] [_Vide ante_, Canto I. stanza xiv. lines 7, 8.]

{431}[566] ["_Falstaff_. Let us be Diana's foresters, gentlemen of the
shade, minions of the moon: and let men say, we be men of good
government; being governed, as the sea is, by our noble and chaste
mistress the moon, under whose countenance we--steal."-_I Henry IV._,
act i. sc. 2, lines 24-28.]

[567] [Gin. Hence the antithesis of _"All Max"_ in the East to Almack's
in the West. (See _Life in London_, by Pierce Egan, 1823, pp. 284-290.)]

[568] [According to the _Vocabulary of the Flash Language_, compiled by
James Hardy Vaux, in 1812, and published at the end of his Memoirs,
1819, ii. 149-227, a kiddy, or "flash-kiddy," is a thief of the lower
orders, who, when he is _breeched_ by a course of successful depredation
dresses in the extreme of vulgar gentility, and affects a knowingness in
his air and conversation. A "swell" or "rank swell" ("_real_ swell"
appears in Egan's _Life in London_) is the more recent "toff;" and
"flash" is "fly," "down," or "awake," _i.e._ knowing, not easily imposed
upon.]

{432}[569] [_Hamlet_, act v. sc. 1, line 21.]

[570] ["Ken" is a house, s.c. a thieves' lodging-house; "spellken," a
play-house; "high toby-spice" is robbery on horseback, as distinguished
from "spice," i.e. footpad robbery; to "flash the muzzle" is to show off
the face, to swagger openly; "blowing" or "blowen" is a doxy or trull;
and "nutty" is, conjointly, amorous and fascinating.]

[kl]
_Poor Tom was once a knowing one in town_.
_Not a mere_ kiddy, _but a_ real _one_.--[MS. erased.]

[571] The advance of science and of language has rendered it unnecessary
to translate the above good and true English, spoken in its original
purity by the select mobility and their patrons. The following is a
stanza of a song which was very popular at least in my early days:--
 


    "On the high toby-spice flash the muzzle,
      In spite of each gallows old scout;
    If you at the spellken can't hustle,
      You'll be hobbled in making a clout.
    Then your blowing will wax gallows haughty,
      When she hears of your scaly mistake,
    She'll surely turn snitch for the forty--
      That her Jack may be regular weight."

If there be any gemman so ignorant as to require a traduction, I refer
him to my old friend and corporeal pastor and master, John Jackson,
Esq., Professor of Pugilism; who, I trust, still retains the strength
and symmetry of his model of a form, together with his good humour, and
athletic as well as mental accomplishments.

 

[Gentleman Jackson was of good renown. "Servility," says Egan (_Life in
London_, 1823, p. 217), "is not known to him. Flattery he detests.
Integrity, impartiality, good-nature, and manliness, are the
corner-stones of his understanding." Byron once said of him that "his
manners were infinitely superior to those of the Fellows of the College
whom I meet at the high table" (J.W. Clark, _Cambridge_, 1890, p. 140).
(See, too, letter to John Jackson, September 18, 1808, _Letters_, 1898,
i. 189, note 2; _Hints from Horace_, line 638, _Poetical Works_, 1898,
i. 433, note 3.) As to the stanza quoted by Egan (_Anecdotes of the
Turf_, 1827, p. 44), but not _traduced_ or interpreted, "To be hobbled
for making a clout" is to be taken into custody for stealing a
handkerchief, to "turn snitch" is to inform, and the "forty" is the £40
offered for the detection of a capital crime, and shared by the police
or Bow Street runners. Dangerous characters were let alone and tacitly
encouraged to continue their career of crime, until the measure of their
iniquity was full, and they "weighed forty." If Jack was clumsy enough
to be detected in a trifling theft, his "blowen" would go over to the
enemy, and betray him for the sake of the Government reward (see
_Classical Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue_, by Francis Grose, 1823,
art. "Weigh forty").]

{433}[572] [Don Juan must have driven by _Pleasant Row_, and passed
within hail of _Paradise Row_, on the way from Kennington to Westminster
Bridge. (See Cary's _New Pocket Plan of London, Westminster, and
Southwark_, 1819.) But, perhaps, there is more in the names of streets
and places than meets the eye. Here, as elsewhere, there is, or there
may be, "a paltering with us in a double sense."]

[km]
_Through rows called "Paradise," by way of showing_
_Good Christians that to which they all are going_.--[MS. erased.]

{434}[573] [Compare _Childe Harold_, Canto 1. stanza lxix. line 8, var.
ii., _Poetical Works_, 1899, ii. 66, note 2.]

[kn]---- _distilling into the re-kindling glass_.--[MS.]

[574] [The streets of London were first regularly lighted with gas in
1812.]

{435}[575] [Thomas Pennant, in _Some Account of London_, 1793, p. 444.
writes down the Mansion House (1739-1752) as "damned ... to everlasting
fame."]

[576] [Fifty years ago "the lights of Piccadilly" were still regarded as
one of the "sights" of London. Byron must often have looked at them from
his house in Piccadilly Terrace.]

[577] [Joseph François Foulon, army commissioner, provoked the penalty
of the "lantern" (i.e. an improvised gallows on the yard of a lamp-post
at the corner of the Rue de la Vannerie) by his heartless sneer, "Eh
bien! si cette canaille n'a pas de pain, elle mangera du foin." He was
hanged, July 22, 1789. See _The Tale of Two Cities_, by Charles Dickens,
cap. xxii.; see, too, Carlyle's _French Revolution_, 1839, i. 253: "With
wild yells, Sansculottism clutches him, in its hundred hands: he is
whirled ... to the _'Lanterne,'_ ... pleading bitterly for life,--to the
deaf winds. Only with the third rope (for two ropes broke, and the
quavering voice still pleaded), can he be so much as got hanged! His
Body is dragged through the streets; his Head goes aloft on a pike, the
mouth filled with grass: amid sounds as of Tophet, from a grass-eating
people."]

{436}[578] "Hells," gaming-houses. What their number may now be in this
life, I know not. Before I was of age I knew them pretty accurately,
both "gold" and "silver." I was once nearly called out by an
acquaintance, because when he asked me where I thought that his soul
would be found hereafter, I answered, "In Silver Hell."
 


[ko]
    _At length the boys drew up before a door_,
      _From whence poured forth a tribe of well-clad waiters_;
    (_While on the pavement many a hungry w--re_
      _With which the moralest of cities caters_
    _For gentlemen whose passions may boil o'er,_
      _Stood as the unpacking gathered more spectators,_)
    _And Juan found himself in an extensive_
    _Apartment;--fashionable but expensive_.--[MS.]

{437}[kp] _'Twas one of the delightfullest hotels_.--[MS.]

 

[579] [Perhaps Grillion's Hotel (afterwards Grillion's Club) in
Albemarle Street. In 1822 diplomats patronized more than one hotel in
and near St. James's Street, but among the "Departures from Grillion's
Hotel," recorded in the _Morning Chronicle_ of September, 17, 1822,
appositely enough, is that of H.E. Don Juan Garcia, del Rio.]

[kq]
---- _of his loves and wars_;
_And as romantic heads are pretty painters,_
_And ladies like a little spice of Mars_.--[MS. erased.]

{438}[kr] _The false attempt at Truth_----.--[MS.]

{439}[580] [Compare--

"Lo! Erin, thy Lord!
Kiss his foot with thy blessing"----

_The Irish Avatar_, stanza 14, _Poetical Works_, 1901, iv. 558.]

[ks]
_Kiss hands--or feet--or what Man by and by_
Will _kiss, not in sad metaphor--but earnest,_
_Unless on Tyrants' sterns--we turn the sternest_.--[MS.]

{440}[581] "Anent" was a Scotch phrase meaning "concerning"--"with
regard to: "it has been made English by the Scotch novels; and, as the
Frenchman said, "If it _be not, ought to be_ English." [See, for
instance, _The Abbot_, chap. xvii. 132.]

[kt]
_But "Damme's" simple--dashing--free and daring_
_The purest blasphemy_----.--[MS.]

[ku]
_About such general matters--but particular_
_A poem's progress should be perpendicular_.--[MS.]

{441}[582] [_Macbeth_, act iii. sc. 4, line 63.]

[kv] _Blushed, too, but it was hidden by their rouge_.--[MS. erased.]

[kw] _The natural and the prepared ceruse_.--[MS. erased.]

{442}[583] "Drapery Misses."--This term is probably anything now but a
_mystery_. It was, however, almost so to me when I first returned from
the East in 1811-1812. It means a pretty, a high-born, a fashionable
young female, well instructed by her friends, and furnished by her
milliner with a wardrobe upon credit, to be repaid, when married, by the
_husband_. The riddle was first read to me by a young and pretty
heiress, on my praising the "drapery" of the _"untochered"_ but "pretty
virginities" (like Mrs. Anne Page) of the _then_ day, which has now been
some years yesterday: she assured me that the thing was common in
London; and as her own thousands, and blooming looks, and rich
simplicity of array, put any suspicion in her own case out of the
question, I confess I gave some credit to the allegation. If necessary,
authorities might be cited; in which case I could quote both "drapery"
and the wearers. Let us hope, however, that it is now obsolete.

[584] [Compare _Hints from Horace_, line 173, _Poetical Works_, 1898, i.
401, note 1.]

{443}[585] [In his so-called "Dedication" of _Marino Faliero_ to Goethe,
Byron makes fun of the "nineteen hundred and eighty-seven poets," whose
names were to be found in _A Biographical Dictionary of Living Authors,
etc._ (See Introduction to _Marino Faliero, Poetical Works_, 1901, iv.
340, 341, note 1.)]

{444}[kx] _A paper potentate_----.--[MS. erased.]

[586] [See "Introduction to _Cain_," _Poetical Works_, 1901, v. 204.]

[ky] _With turnkey Southey for my Hudson Lowe._--[MS.]

[kz] _Beneath the reverend Cambyses Croly._--[MS.]

[587] [The Reverend George Croly, D.D. (1780-1860), began his literary
career as dramatic critic of the _Times_. "Croly," says H.C. Robinson
(_Diary_, 1869, i. 412), "is a fierce-looking Irishman, very lively in
conversation, and certainly has considerable talents as a writer; his
eloquence, like his person, is rather energetic than eloquent" (hence
the epithet "Cambyses," i.e. "King Cambyses' vein" in _var._ iii.). "He
wrote tragedies, comedies, and novels; and, at last, settled down as a
preacher, with the rank of doctor, but of what faculty I do not know"
(ibid., footnote, H.C.R., 1847). He wrote, _inter alia_, _Paris in
1815_, a poem; _Catiline, A Tragedy_, 1822; and _Salathiel_, a novel,
1827. In lines 7, 8, Byron seems to refer to _The Angel of the World, An
Arabian Poem_, published in 1820.]

[588] [_I Henry IV._, act ii. sc. 4, line 197.]

{445}[589] [Stanza lviii. was first published in 1837. The reference is
to Henry Hart Milman (1791-1868). Byron was under the impression that
Milman had influenced Murray against continuing the publication of _Don
Juan_. Added to this surmise, was the mistaken belief that it was Milman
who had written the article in the _Quarterly_, which "killed John
Keats." Hence the virulence of the attack.

"Dull Dorus" is obscure, but compare Propertius, _Eleg._ III. vii. 44,
where Callimachus is addressed as "Dore poeta." He is the "ox of verse,"
because he had been recently appointed to the Professorship of Poetry at
Oxford. The "roaring Romans" are "The soldiery" who shout "All, All," in
Croly's _Catiline_, act v. sc. 2.]

[la] _Then there's my gentle Barry--who they say._--[MS.]

[590] [Jeffrey, in his review of _A Sicilian Story, etc._, Bryan Waller
Procter (Barry Cornwall), 1787-1874 (_Edinburgh Review_, January, 1820,
vol. 33, pp. 144-155), compares _Diego de Montilla_, a poem in _ottava
rima_, with _Don Juan_, favourably and unfavourably: "There is no
profligacy and no horror ... no mocking of virtue and honour, and no
strong mixtures of buffoonery and grandeur." But it may fairly match
with Byron and his Italian models "as to the better qualities of
elegance, delicacy, and tenderness." See, too, _Blackwood's Edinburgh
Magazine_, March, 1820, vol. vi. pp. 153, 647.]

[591] [See Preface to the _Vision of Judgment, Poetical Works_, 1901,
iv. 484, note 3.]

[592] [Croker's article in the _Quarterly_ (April, 1818 [pub,
September], vol. xix. pp. 204-208) did not "kill John Keats." See letter
to George and Georgiana Keats, October, 1818 (_Letters, etc._, 1895, p.
215). Byron adopts Shelley's belief that the Reviewer, "miserable man,"
"one of the meanest," had "wantonly defaced one of the noblest specimens
of the workmanship of God." See Preface to _Adonais_, and stanzas
xxxvi., xxxvii.]

{446}[lb]
_And weakly mind, to let that all celestial Particle_.--[MS. erased.]
or, _'T is strange the mind should let such phrases quell its_
Chief Impulse with a few, frail, paper pellets_.--[MS. erased.]

[593] "Divinæ particulam auræ" [Hor., _Sat._ ii. 2. 79]

[594] [For "the crowd of usurpers" who started up in the reign of
Gallienus, and were dignified with the honoured appellation of "the
thirty tyrants," see Gibbon's _Decline and Fall_, 1825, i. 164.]

[595] [_King Lear_, act iv. sc. 6, line 15.]

{447}[596] ["Illita Nesseo misi tibi texta veneno."

Ovid., _Heroid. Epist_. ix. 163.]

[597] [A "bower," in Moore's phrase, signifies a solitude _à deux_; e.g.
"Here's the Bower she lov'd so much."

"Come to me, love, the twilight star
Shall guide thee to my bower."

Moore.]

{448}[598] [Compare _The Waltz_, lines 220-229, _et passim_, _Poetical
Works_, 1898, i. 501.]

{449}[599] Scotch for goblin.

[lc] _Handsome but_ blasé----[MS.]

{450}[600] [The sentiment is reiterated in _The Night Thoughts_, and is
the theme of _Resignation_, which was written and published when Young
was more than eighty years old. ]

[ld] _And fresher, since without a breath of air_.--[MS.]

[le] _Where are the thousand lovely innocents?_--[MS.]

[601] ["I have ... written ... to express my willingness to accept the,
or almost any mortgage, any thing to get out of the tremulous Funds of
these oscillating times. There will be a war somewhere, no doubt--and
whatever it may be, the Funds will be affected more or less; so pray get
us out of them with all proper expedition. It has been the burthen of my
song to you three years and better, and about as useful as better
counsels."--Letter of Byron to Kinnaird, January 18, 1823, _Letters_,
1901, vi. 162, 163.]

{451}[602] [For William Pole Tylney Long Wellesley (1788-1857), see _The
Waltz_, line 21, _Poetical Works_, 1898, i. 484, note 1. He was only
on the way to being "diddled" in 1822, but the prophecy (suggested, no
doubt, by the announcement of the sale of furniture, etc., at Wanstead
House, in the _Morning Chronicle_, July 8, 1822) was ultimately
fulfilled. Samuel Whitbread, born 1758, committed suicide July 6, 1815.
Sir Samuel Romilly, born 1758, committed suicide November 2, 1818.]

[603] [According to Charles Greville, George the Third made two
wills--the first in 1770, the second, which he never signed, in 1810. By
the first will he left "all he had to the Queen for her life, Buckingham
House to the Duke of Clarence," etc., and as Buckingham House had been
twice sold, and the other legatees were dead, a question arose between
the King and the Duke of York as to the right of inheritance of their
father's personal property. George IV. conceived that it devolved upon
him personally, and not on the Crown, and "consequently appropriated to
himself the whole of the money and the jewels." It is possible that this
difference between the brothers was noised abroad, and that old stories
of the destruction of royal wills were revived to the new king's
discredit. (See _The Greville Memoirs_, 1875, i. 64, 65.)]

[604] [See Moore's _Fum and Hum, the Two Birds of Royalty_, appended to
his _Fudge Family_.]

[605] [Lady Caroline Lamb and Lady Frances Wedderburn Webster.]

{452}[lf] ---- _their caps and curls at Dukes._--[MS.]

{453}[606] [The Congress at Verona, in 1822. See the Introduction to
_The Age of Bronze, Poetical Works_, 1891, v. 537-540.]

[607] [_2 Henry IV._, act iv. sc. 3, line 117.]

[608] [Hor., _Od._ I. xi. line 8.]

[609] [_Macbeth_, act v. sc. 5, line 24.]

[610] [_1 Henry IV._, act ii. sc. 4, line 463.]

[611] [See the _Secret Memoirs and Manners of several Persons of
Quality, of Both Sexes, from the New Atalantis_, 1709, a work in which
the authoress, Mrs. Manley, satirizes the distinguished characters of
her day. Warburton (_Works of Pope_, ed. 1751, i. 244) calls it "a
famous book.... full of court and party scandal, and in a loose
effeminacy of style and sentiment, which well suited the debauched taste
of the better vulgar." Pope also alludes to it in the _Rape of the
Lock_, iii. 165, 166--

"As long as _Atalantis_ shall be read.
Or the small pillow grace a lady's bed."

And Swift, in his ballad on "Corinna" (stanza 8)--

"Her common-place book all gallant is,
Of scandal now a cornucopia,
She pours it out in _Atalantis_,
Or memoirs of the New Utopia."

_Works_, 1824, xii. 302.]

{454}[612] [Oct. 17, 1822.--MS.]
 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Canto the Twelft

 


I.

Of all the barbarous middle ages, that
Which is most barbarous is the middle age
Of man! it is--I really scarce know what;
But when we hover between fool and sage,
And don't know justly what we would be at--
A period something like a printed page,
Black letter upon foolscap, while our hair
Grows grizzled, and we are not what we were;--

II.

Too old for Youth,--too young, at thirty-five,
To herd with boys, or hoard with good threescore,--
I wonder people should be left alive;
But since they are, that epoch is a bore:
Love lingers still, although 't were late to wive:
And as for other love, the illusion's o'er;
And Money, that most pure imagination,
Gleams only through the dawn of its creation.[613]

III.

O Gold! Why call we misers miserable?[614]
Theirs is the pleasure that can never pall;
Theirs is the best bower anchor, the chain cable
Which holds fast other pleasures great and small.
Ye who but see the saving man at table,
And scorn his temperate board, as none at all,
And wonder how the wealthy can be sparing,
Know not what visions spring from each cheese-paring.

IV.

Love or lust makes Man sick, and wine much sicker;
Ambition rends, and gaming gains a loss;
But making money, slowly first, then quicker,
And adding still a little through each cross
(Which _will_ come over things), beats Love or liquor,
The gamester's counter, or the statesman's _dross_.
O Gold! I still prefer thee unto paper,
Which makes bank credit like a bank of _vapour_.

V.

Who hold the balance of the World? Who reign
O'er congress, whether royalist or liberal?
Who rouse the shirtless patriots of Spain?[615]
(That make old Europe's journals "squeak and gibber"[616] all)
Who keep the World, both old and new, in pain
Or pleasure? Who make politics run glibber all?
The shade of Buonaparte's noble daring?--
Jew Rothschild,[617] and his fellow-Christian, Baring.

VI.

Those, and the truly liberal Lafitte,[618]
Are the true Lords of Europe. Every loan
Is not a merely speculative hit,
But seats a Nation or upsets a Throne.
Republics also get involved a bit;
Columbia's stock hath holders not unknown
On 'Change; and even thy silver soil, Peru,
Must get itself discounted by a Jew.

VII.

Why call the miser miserable? as
I said before: the frugal life is his,
Which in a saint or cynic ever was
The theme of praise: a hermit would not miss
Canonization for the self-same cause,
And wherefore blame gaunt Wealth's austerities?
Because, you 'll say, nought calls for such a trial;--
Then there's more merit in his self-denial.

VIII.

He is your only poet;--Passion, pure
And sparkling on from heap to heap, displays,
_Possessed_, the ore, of which _mere hopes_ allure
Nations athwart the deep: the golden rays
Flash up in ingots from the mine obscure:
On him the Diamond pours its brilliant blaze,
While the mild Emerald's beam shades down the dies
Of other stones, to soothe the miser's eyes.

IX.

The lands on either side are his; the ship
From Ceylon, Inde, or far Cathay, unloads
For him the fragrant produce of each trip;
Beneath his cars of Ceres groan the roads,
And the vine blushes like Aurora's lip;
His very cellars might be Kings' abodes;
While he, despising every sensual call,
Commands--the intellectual Lord of _all_.

X.

Perhaps he hath great projects in his mind,
To build a college, or to found a race,
A hospital, a church,--and leave behind
Some dome surmounted by his meagre face:
Perhaps he fain would liberate Mankind
Even with the very ore which makes them base;
Perhaps he would be wealthiest of his nation,
Or revel in the joys of calculation.

XI.

But whether all, or each, or none of these
May be the hoarder's principle of action,
The fool will call such mania a disease:--
What is his _own?_ Go--look at each transaction,
Wars, revels, loves--do these bring men more ease
Than the mere plodding through each "vulgar fraction?"
Or do they benefit Mankind? Lean Miser!
Let spendthrifts' heirs inquire of yours--who's wiser?

XII.

How beauteous are rouleaus! how charming chests
Containing ingots, bags of dollars, coins
(Not of old victors, all whose heads and crests
Weigh not the thin ore where their visage shines,[lg]
But) of fine unclipped gold, where dully rests
Some likeness, which the glittering cirque confines,
Of modern, reigning, sterling, stupid stamp!--
Yes! ready money _is_ Aladdin's lamp.[619]

XIII.

"Love rules the Camp, the Court, the Grove,--for Love
Is Heaven, and Heaven is Love:"[620]--so sings the bard;
Which it were rather difficult to prove
(A thing with poetry in general hard).
Perhaps there may be something in "the Grove,"
At least it rhymes to "Love:" but I'm prepared
To doubt (no less than landlords of their rental)
If "Courts" and "Camps" be quite so sentimental.

XIV.

But if Love don't, _Cash_ does, and Cash alone:
Cash rules the Grove, and fells it too besides;
Without cash, camps were thin, and courts were none;
Without cash, Malthus tells you--"take no brides."[621]
So Cash rules Love the ruler, on his own
High ground, as virgin Cynthia sways the tides:
And as for "Heaven being Love," why not say honey
Is wax? Heaven is not Love, 't is Matrimony.

XV.

Is not all Love prohibited whatever,
Excepting Marriage? which is Love, no doubt,
After a sort; but somehow people never
With the same thought the two words have helped out.
Love may exist _with_ Marriage, and _should_ ever,
And Marriage also may exist without;
But Love _sans_ banns is both a sin and shame,
And ought to go by quite another name.

XVI.

Now if the "Court," and "Camp," and "Grove," be not
Recruited all with constant married men,
Who never coveted their neighbour's lot,
I say _that_ line's a lapsus of the pen;--
Strange too in my _buon camerado_ Scott,
So celebrated for his morals, when
My Jeffrey held him up as an example[622]
To me;--of whom these morals are a sample.[lh]

XVII.

Well, if I don't succeed, I _have_ succeeded,
And that's enough; succeeded in my youth,
The only time when much success is needed:
And my success produced what I, in sooth,
Cared most about; it need not now be pleaded--
Whate'er it was, 'twas mine; I've paid, in truth,
Of late, the penalty of such success,
But have not learned to wish it any less.

XVIII.

That suit in Chancery,[623]--which some persons plead
In an appeal to the unborn, whom they,
In the faith of their procreative creed,
Baptize Posterity, or future clay,--
To me seems but a dubious kind of reed
To lean on for support in any way;
Since odds are that Posterity will know
No more of them, than they of her, I trow.

XIX.[li]

Why, I'm Posterity--and so are you;
And whom do we remember? Not a hundred.
Were every memory written down all true,
The tenth or twentieth name would be but blundered;
Even Plutarch's Lives have but picked out a few,
And 'gainst those few your annalists have thundered;
And Mitford[624] in the nineteenth century
Gives, with Greek truth, the good old Greek the lie.

XX.

Good people all, of every degree,
Ye gentle readers and ungentle writers,
In this twelfth Canto 't is my wish to be
As serious as if I had for inditers
Malthus and Wilberforce:--the last set free
The Negroes, and is worth a million fighters;
While Wellington has but enslaved the Whites,
And Malthus[625] does the thing 'gainst which he writes.

XXI.

I'm serious--so are all men upon paper;
And why should I not form my speculation,
And hold up to the Sun my little taper?[626]
Mankind just now seem wrapped in meditation
On constitutions and steam-boats of vapour;
While sages write against all procreation,
Unless a man can calculate his means
Of feeding brats the moment his wife weans.

XXII.

That's noble! That's romantic! For my part,
I think that "Philo-genitiveness" is--
(Now here's a word quite after my own heart,
Though there's a shorter a good deal than this,
If that politeness set it not apart;
But I'm resolved to say nought that's amiss)--
I say, methinks that "Philo-genitiveness"[627]
Might meet from men a little more forgiveness.

XXIII.

And now to business.--O my gentle Juan!
Thou art in London--in that pleasant place,
Where every kind of mischief's daily brewing,
Which can await warm Youth in its wild race.
'T is true, that thy career is not a new one;
Thou art no novice in the headlong chase
Of early life; but this is a new land,
Which foreigners can never understand.

XXIV.

What with a small diversity of climate,
Of hot or cold, mercurial or sedate,
I could send forth my mandate like a Primate
Upon the rest of Europe's social state;
But thou art the most difficult to rhyme at,
Great Britain, which the Muse may penetrate.
All countries have their "Lions," but in thee
There is but one superb menagerie.

XXV.

But I am sick of politics. Begin--
_"Paulo Majora."_ Juan, undecided
Amongst the paths of being "taken in,"
Above the ice had like a skater glided:[lj]
When tired of play, he flirted without sin
With some of those fair creatures who have prided
Themselves on innocent tantalisation,[lk]
And hate all vice except its reputation.

XXVI.

But these are few, and in the end they make
Some devilish escapade or stir, which shows
That even the purest people may mistake
Their way through Virtue's primrose paths of snows;
And then men stare, as if a new ass spake
To Balaam, and from tongue to ear o'erflows
Quicksilver small talk, ending (if you note it)
With the kind World's Amen--"Who would have thought it?"

XXVII.

The little Leila, with her Orient eyes,
And taciturn Asiatic disposition,
(Which saw all Western things with small surprise,
To the surprise of people of condition,
Who think that novelties are butterflies
To be pursued as food for inanition,)
Her charming figure and romantic history
Became a kind of fashionable mystery.

XXVIII.

The women much divided--as is usual
Amongst the sex in little things or great--
Think not, fair creatures, that I mean to abuse you all,
I have always liked you better than I state--
Since I've grown moral, still I must accuse you all
Of being apt to talk at a great rate;
And now there was a general sensation
Amongst you, about Leila's education.

XXIX.

In one point only were you settled--and
You had reason; 't was that a young child of grace,
As beautiful as her own native land,
And far away, the last bud of her race,
Howe'er our friend Don Juan might command
Himself for five, four, three, or two years' space,
Would be much better taught beneath the eye
Of peeresses whose follies had run dry.

XXX.

So first there was a generous emulation,
And then there was a general competition,
To undertake the orphan's education:
As Juan was a person of condition,
It had been an affront on this occasion
To talk of a subscription or petition;
But sixteen dowagers, ten unwed she sages
Whose tale belongs to "Hallam's Middle Ages,"[628]

XXXI.

And one or two sad, separate wives, without
A fruit to bloom upon their withering bough--
Begged to bring _up_ the little girl, and _"out"_--
For that's the phrase that settles all things now,
Meaning a virgin's first blush at a rout,
And all her points as thorough-bred to show:
And I assure you, that like virgin honey
Tastes their first season (mostly if they have money).

XXXII.

How all the needy honourable misters,
Each out-at-elbow peer, or desperate dandy,
The watchful mothers, and the careful sisters,
(Who, by the by, when clever, are more handy
At making matches, where "'t is gold that glisters,"
Than their _he_ relatives), like flies o'er candy
Buzz round "the Fortune" with their busy battery,
To turn her head with waltzing and with flattery!

XXXIII.

Each aunt, each cousin, hath her speculation;
Nay, married dames will now and then discover
Such pure disinterestedness of passion,
I've known them court an heiress for their lover.
"_Tantoene!_" Such the virtues of high station,
Even in the hopeful Isle, whose outlet's "Dover!"
While the poor rich wretch, object of these cares,
Has cause to wish her sire had had male heirs.

XXXIV.

Some are soon bagged, and some reject three dozen:
'T is fine to see them scattering refusals
And wild dismay o'er every angry cousin
(Friends of the party), who begin accusals,
Such as--"Unless Miss Blank meant to have chosen
Poor Frederick, why did she accord perusals
To his billets? _Why_ waltz with him? Why, I pray,
Look _'Yes'_ last night, and yet say _'No'_ to-day?

XXXV.

"Why?--Why?--Besides, Fred really was _attached_;
'T was not her fortune--he has enough without;
The time will come she'll wish that she had snatched
So good an opportunity, no doubt:--
But the old Marchioness some plan had hatched,
As I'll tell Aurea at to-morrow's rout:
And after all poor Frederick may do better--
Pray did you see her answer to his letter?"

XXXVI.

Smart uniforms and sparkling coronets
Are spurned in turn, until her turn arrives,
After male loss of time, and hearts, and bets
Upon the sweepstakes for substantial wives;
And when at last the pretty creature gets
Some gentleman, who fights, or writes, or drives,
It soothes the awkward squad of the rejected
To find how very badly she selected.

XXXVII.

For sometimes they accept some long pursuer,
Worn out with importunity; or fall
(But here perhaps the instances are fewer)
To the lot of him who scarce pursued at all.
A hazy widower turned of forty 's sure[ll][629]
(If 't is not vain examples to recall)[lm]
To draw a high prize: now, howe'er he got her, I
See nought more strange in this than t' other lottery.

XXXVIII.

I, for my part--(one "modern instance" more,
"True,'t is a pity--pity 't is, 't is true")--[630]
Was chosen from out an amatory score,
Albeit my years were less discreet than few;
But though I also had reformed before
Those became one who soon were to be two,
I'll not gainsay the generous public's voice,
That the young lady made a monstrous choice.

XXXIX.

Oh, pardon my digression--or at least
Peruse! 'T is always with a moral end
That I dissert, like grace before a feast:
For like an agéd aunt, or tiresome friend,
A rigid guardian, or a zealous priest,
My Muse by exhortation means to mend
All people, at all times, and in most places,
Which puts my Pegasus to these grave paces.

XL.

But now I'm going to be immoral; now
I mean to show things really as they are,
Not as they ought to be: for I avow,
That till we see what's what in fact, we're far
From much improvement with that virtuous plough
Which skims the surface, leaving scarce a scar
Upon the black loam long manured by Vice,
Only to keep its corn at the old price.

XLI.

But first of little Leila we'll dispose,[ln]
For like a day-dawn she was young and pure--
Or like the old comparison of snows,[631]
(Which are more pure than pleasant, to be sure,
Like many people everybody knows),--
Don Juan was delighted to secure
A goodly guardian for his infant charge,
Who might not profit much by being at large.

XLII.

Besides, he had found out he was no tutor
(I wish that others would find out the same),[632]
And rather wished in such things to stand neuter,
For silly wards will bring their guardians blame:
So when he saw each ancient dame a suitor
To make his little wild Asiatic tame,
Consulting "the Society for Vice
Suppression," Lady Pinchbeck was his choice.

XLIII.

Olden she was--but had been very young;
Virtuous she was--and had been, I believe;
Although the World has such an evil tongue
That--but my chaster ear will not receive
An echo of a syllable that's wrong:[lo]
In fact, there's nothing makes me so much grieve,
As that abominable tittle-tattle,
Which is the cud eschewed[633] by human cattle.

XLIV.

Moreover I've remarked (and I was once
A slight observer in a modest way),
And so may every one except a dunce,
That ladies in their youth a little gay,
Besides their knowledge of the World, and sense
Of the sad consequence of going astray,
Are wiser in their warnings 'gainst the woe
Which the mere passionless can never know.

XLV.

While the harsh prude indemnifies her virtue
By railing at the unknown and envied passion,
Seeking far less to save you than to hurt you,
Or, what's still worse, to put you out of fashion,--
The kinder veteran with calm words will court you,
Entreating you to pause before you dash on;
Expounding and illustrating the riddle
Of epic Love's beginning--end--and middle.

XLVI.

Now whether it be thus, or that they are stricter,
As better knowing why they should be so,
I think you'll find from many a family picture,
That daughters of such mothers as may know
The World by experience rather than by lecture,
Turn out much better for the Smithfield Show
Of vestals brought into the marriage mart,
Than those bred up by prudes without a heart.

XLVII.

I said that Lady Pinchbeck had been talked about--
As who has not, if female, young, and pretty?
But now no more the ghost of Scandal stalked about;
She merely was deemed amiable and witty,
And several of her best _bons-mots_ were hawked about:
Then she was given to charity and pity,
And passed (at least the latter years of life)
For being a most exemplary wife.

XLVIII.

High in high circles, gentle in her own,
She was the mild reprover of the young,
Whenever--which means every day--they'd shown
An awkward inclination to go wrong.
The quantity of good she did 's unknown,
Or at the least would lengthen out my song:
In brief, the little orphan of the East
Had raised an interest in her,--which increased.

XLIX.

Juan, too, was a sort of favourite with her,
Because she thought him a good heart at bottom,
A little spoiled, but not so altogether;
Which was a wonder, if you think who got him,
And how he had been tossed, he scarce knew whither:
Though this might ruin others, it did _not_ him,
At least entirely--for he had seen too many
Changes in Youth, to be surprised at any.

L.

And these vicissitudes tell best in youth;
For when they happen at a riper age,
People are apt to blame the Fates, forsooth,
And wonder Providence is not more sage.
Adversity is the first path to Truth:
He who hath proved War--Storm--or Woman's rage,
Whether his winters be eighteen or eighty,
Hath won the experience which is deemed so weighty.

LI.

How far it profits is another matter.--
Our hero gladly saw his little charge
Safe with a lady, whose last grown-up daughter
Being long married, and thus set at large,
Had left all the accomplishments she taught her
To be transmitted, like the Lord Mayor's barge,
To the next comer; or--as it will tell
More Muse-like--like to Cytherea's shell.[lp]

LII.

I call such things transmission; for there is
A floating balance