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The Works
OF
LORD BYRON

A NEW, REVISED AND ENLARGED EDITION
WITH ILLUSTRATIONS.

Poetry. Vol. VI.

EDITED BY
ERNEST HARTLEY COLERIDGE, M.A.,
HON. F.R.S.L.

LONDON:
JOHN MURRAY, ALBEMARLE STREET.
NEW YORK: CHARLES SCRIBNER'S SONS.

1903.

[v]


THIS EDITION
OF A GREAT POEM
IS DEDICATED
WITH HIS PERMISSION

TO

ALGERNON CHARLES SWINBURNE.
MDCCCCII.


TRANSCRIBER'S NOTES

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[vii]

PREFACE TO
THE SIXTH VOLUME.
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The text of this edition of Don Juan has been collated with original MSS. in the possession of the Lady Dorchester and Mr. John Murray. The fragment of a Seventeenth Canto, consisting of fourteen stanzas, is now printed and published for the first time.

I have collated with the original authorities, and in many instances retranscribed, the numerous quotations from Sir G. Dalzell's Shipwrecks and Disasters at Sea (1812, 8vo) [Canto II. stanzas xxiv.-civ. pp. 87-112], and from a work entitled Essai sur l'Histoire Ancienne et Moderne de la Nouvelle Russie, par le Marquis Gabriel de Castelnau (1827, 8vo) [Canto VII. stanzas ix.—liii. pp. 304-320, and Canto VIII. stanzas vi.—cxxvii. pp. 331-368], which were first included in the notes to the fifteenth and sixteenth volumes of the edition of 1833, and have been reprinted in subsequent issues of Lord Byron's Poetical Works.

[viii] A note (pp. 495-497) illustrative of the famous description of Newstead Abbey (Canto XIII. stanzas lv.-lxxii.) contains particulars not hitherto published. My thanks and acknowledgments are due to Lady Chermside and Miss Ethel Webb, for the opportunity afforded me of visiting Newstead Abbey, and for invaluable assistance in the preparation of this and other notes.

The proof-sheets of this volume have been read by Mr. Frank E. Taylor. I am indebted to his care and knowledge for many important corrections and emendations.

I must once more record my gratitude to Dr. Garnett, C.B., for the generous manner in which he has devoted time and attention to the solution of difficulties submitted to his consideration.

I am also indebted, for valuable information, to the Earl of Rosebery, K.G.; to Mr. J. Willis Clark, Registrar of the University of Cambridge; to Mr. W.P. Courtney; to my friend Mr. Thomas Hutchinson; to Miss Emily Jackson, of Hucknall Torkard; and to Mr. T.E. Page, of the Charterhouse.

On behalf of the publisher, I beg to acknowledge the kindness of the Lady Frances Trevanion, Sir J.G. Tollemache Sinclair, Bart., and Baron Dimsdale, in permitting the originals of portraits and drawings in their possession to be reproduced in this volume.

[ix]

NOTE.

It was intended that the whole of Lord Byron's Poetical Works should be included in six volumes, corresponding to the six volumes of the Letters, and announcements to this effect have been made; but this has been found to be impracticable. The great mass of new material incorporated in the Introductions, notes, and variants, has already expanded several of the published volumes to a disproportionate size, and Don Juan itself occupies 612 pages.

Volume Seven, which will complete the work, will contain Occasional Poems, Epigrams, etc., a Bibliography more complete than has ever hitherto been published, and an exhaustive Index.


[xi]

CONTENTS OF VOL. VI.
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Dedicationv
Preface to Vol. VI. of the Poemsvii
Introduction to DON JUANxv
Dedication to Robert Southey, Esq.3
DON JUAN— 
     Canto I11
     Canto II81
     Canto III143
     Canto IV183
     Canto V218
     Preface to Cantos VI., VII., and VIII264
     Canto VI268
     Canto VII302
     Canto VIII330
     Canto IX373
     Canto X400
     Canto XI427
     Canto XII455
     Canto XIII481
     Canto XIV516
     Canto XV544
     Canto XVI572
     Canto XVII608

[xiii]

LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS.
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1. Portrait of Lord Byron, from a Drawing from the Life by J. Holmes, Formerly the Property of the late Hugh Charles Trevanion, Esq. Frontispiece
2. William Wordsworth, from the Portrait by H.w. Pickersgill, R.A., in the National Portrait Gallery To face p. 4
3. Ninon de Lenclos, from a Miniature in the Possession of Sir J.G. Tollemache Sinclair, Bart. 246
4. Fountain at Newstead Abbey 500

[xv]

INTRODUCTION TO DON JUAN
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Byron was a rapid as well as a voluminous writer. His Tales were thrown off at lightning speed, and even his dramas were thought out and worked through with unhesitating energy and rapid achievement. Nevertheless, the composition of his two great poems was all but coextensive with his poetical life. He began the first canto of Childe Harold in the autumn of 1809, and he did not complete the fourth canto till the spring of 1818. He began the first canto of Don Juan in the autumn of 1818, and he was still at work on a seventeenth canto in the spring of 1823. Both poems were issued in parts, and with long intervals of unequal duration between the parts; but the same result was brought about by different causes and produced a dissimilar effect. Childe Harold consists of three distinct poems descriptive of three successive travels or journeys in foreign lands. The adventures of the hero are but the pretext for the shifting of the diorama; whereas in Don Juan the story is continuous, and the scenery is exhibited as a background for the dramatic evolution of the personality of the hero. Childe Harold came out at intervals, because there were periods when the author was stationary; but the interruptions in the composition and publication of Don Juan were due to the disapproval and discouragement of friends, and the very natural hesitation and procrastination of the publisher. Canto I. was written in September, 1818; Canto II. in December-January, 1818-1819. Both cantos were published on July 15, 1819. Cantos III., IV. were written in the winter of 1819-1820; Canto V., after an interval of nine months, in October-November, 1820, but the publication of Cantos III., IV., V. was delayed till August 8, 1821. The next interval was longer still, but it was the last. In June, 1822, Byron began to work at a sixth, and by the end of March, 1823, he had completed a sixteenth canto. But the[xvi] publication of these later cantos, which had been declined by Murray, and were finally entrusted to John Hunt, was spread over a period of several months. Cantos VI., VII., VIII., with a Preface, were published July 15; Cantos IX., X., XI, August 29; Cantos XII., XIII., XIV., December 17, 1823; and, finally, Cantos XV., XVI., March 26, 1824. The composition of Don Juan, considered as a whole, synchronized with the composition of all the dramas (except Manfred) and the following poems: The Prophecy of Dante, (the translation of) The Morgante Maggiore, The Vision of Judgment, The Age of Bronze, and The Island.

There is little to be said with regard to the "Sources" of Don Juan. Frere's Whistlecraft had suggested Beppo, and, at the same time, had prompted and provoked a sympathetic study of Frere's Italian models, Berni and Pulci (see "Introduction to Beppo," Poetical Works, 1901, iv. 155-158; and "Introduction to The Morgante Maggiore" ibid., pp. 279-281); and, again, the success of Beppo, and, still more, a sense of inspiration and the conviction that he had found the path to excellence, suggested another essay of the ottava rima, a humorous poem "à la Beppo" on a larger and more important scale. If Byron possessed more than a superficial knowledge of the legendary "Don Juan," he was irresponsive and unimpressed. He speaks (letter to Murray, February 16, 1821) of "the Spanish tradition;" but there is nothing to show that he had read or heard of Tirso de Molina's (Gabriel Tellez) El Burlador de Sevilla y Convidado de Piedra (The Deceiver of Seville and the Stone Guest), 1626, which dramatized the "ower true tale" of the actual Don Juan Tenorio; or that he was acquainted with any of the Italian (e.g. Convitato di Pietra, del Dottor Giacinto Andrea Cicognini, Fiorentino [see L. Allacci Dramaturgia, 1755, 4º, p. 862]) or French adaptations of the legend (e.g. Le Festin de Pierre, ou le fils criminel, Tragi-comédie de De Villiers, 1659; and Molière's Dom Juan, ou Le Festin de Pierre, 1665). He had seen (vide post, p. 11, note 2) Delpini's pantomime, which was based on Shadwell's Libertine, and he may have witnessed, at Milan or Venice, a performance of Mozart's Don Giovanni; but in taking Don Juan for his "hero," he took the name only, and disregarded the "terrible figure" "of the Titan of embodied evil, the likeness of sin made flesh" (see Selections from the Works of Lord Byron, by A.C. Swinburne, 1885, p. xxvi.), "as something to his purpose nothing"!

Why, then, did he choose the name, and what was the scheme or motif of his poem? Something is to be gathered from his own remarks and reflections; but it must be borne[xvii] in mind that he is on the defensive, and that his half-humorous paradoxes were provoked by advice and opposition. Writing to Moore (September 19, 1818), he says, "I have finished the first canto ... of a poem in the style and manner of Beppo, encouraged by the good success of the same. It is ... meant to be a little quietly facetious upon every thing. But I doubt whether it is not—at least as far as it has gone—too free for these very modest days." The critics before and after publication thought that Don Juan was "too free," and, a month after the two first cantos had been issued, he writes to Murray (August 12, 1819), "You ask me for the plan of Donny Johnny; I have no plan—I had no plan; but I had or have materials.... You are too earnest and eager about a work never intended to be serious. Do you suppose that I could have any intention but to giggle and make giggle?—a playful satire, with as little poetry as could be helped, was what I meant." Again, after the completion but before the publication of Cantos III., IV., V., in a letter to Murray (February 16, 1821), he writes, "The Fifth is so far from being the last of Don Juan, that it is hardly the beginning. I meant to take him the tour of Europe, with a proper mixture of siege, battle, and adventure, and to make him finish as Anacharsis Cloots in the French Revolution.... I meant to have made him a Cavalier Servente in Italy, and a cause for a divorce in England, and a Sentimental 'Werther-faced' man in Germany, so as to show the different ridicules of the society in each of these countries, and to have displayed him gradually gâté and blasé, as he grew older, as is natural. But I had not quite fixed whether to make him end in Hell, or in an unhappy marriage, not knowing which would be the severest."

Byron meant what he said, but he kept back the larger truth. Great works, in which the poet speaks ex animo, and the man lays bare the very pulse of the machine, are not conceived or composed unconsciously and at haphazard. Byron did not "whistle" Don Juan "for want of thought." He had found a thing to say, and he meant to make the world listen. He had read with angry disapproval, but he had read, Coleridge's Critique on [Maturin's] Bertram (vide post, p. 4, note 1), and, it may be, had caught an inspiration from one brilliant sentence which depicts the Don Juan of the legend somewhat after the likeness of Childe Harold, if not of Lord Byron: "Rank, fortune, wit, talent, acquired knowledge, and liberal accomplishments, with beauty of person, vigorous health, ... all these advantages, elevated by the habits and sympathies of noble birth and [xviii]natural character, are ... combined in Don Juan, so as to give him the means of carrying into all its practical consequences the doctrine of a godless nature ... Obedience to nature is the only virtue." Again, "It is not the wickedness of Don Juan ... which constitutes the character an abstraction, ... but the rapid succession of the correspondent acts and incidents, his intellectual superiority, and the splendid accumulation of his gifts and desirable qualities as coexistent with entire wickedness in one and the same person." Here was at once a suggestion and a challenge.

Would it not be possible to conceive and to depict an ideal character, gifted, gracious, and delightful, who should "carry into all its practical consequences" the doctrine of a mundane, if not godless doctrine, and, at the same time, retain the charities and virtues of uncelestial but not devilish manhood? In defiance of monition and in spite of resolution, the primrose path is trodden by all sorts and conditions of men, sinners no doubt, but not necessarily abstractions of sin, and to assert the contrary makes for cant and not for righteousness. The form and substance of the poem were due to the compulsion of Genius and the determination of Art, but the argument is a vindication of the natural man. It is Byron's "criticism of life." Don Juan was taboo from the first. The earlier issues of the first five cantos were doubly anonymous. Neither author nor publisher subscribed their names on the title-page. The book was a monster, and, as its maker had foreseen, "all the world" shuddered. Immoral, in the sense that it advocates immoral tenets, or prefers evil to good, it is not, but it is unquestionably a dangerous book, which (to quote Kingsley's words used in another connection) "the young and innocent will do well to leave altogether unread." It is dangerous because it ignores resistance and presumes submission to passion; it is dangerous because, as Byron admitted, it is "now and then voluptuous;" and it is dangerous, in a lesser degree, because, here and there, the purport of the quips and allusions is gross and offensive. No one can take up the book without being struck and arrested by these violations of modesty and decorum; but no one can master its contents and become possessed of it as a whole without perceiving that the mirror is held up to nature, that it reflects spots and blemishes which, on a survey of the vast and various orb, dwindle into natural and so comparative insignificance. Byron was under no delusion as to the grossness of Don Juan. His plea or pretence, that he was sheltered by the superior grossness of Ariosto and La Fontaine, of Prior and of Fielding, is nihil ad rem, if it is not insincere. When Murray (May 3, 1819) charges him with "approximations to indelicacy,"[xix] he laughs himself away at the euphemism, but when Hobhouse and "the Zoili of Albemarle Street" talked to him "about morality," he flames out, "I maintain that it is the most moral of poems." He looked upon his great work as a whole, and he knew that the "raison d'être of his song" was not only to celebrate, but, by the white light of truth, to represent and exhibit the great things of the world—Love and War, and Death by sea and land, and Man, half-angel, half-demon—the comedy of his fortunes, and the tragedy of his passions and his fate.

Don Juan has won great praise from the great. Sir Walter Scott (Edinburgh Weekly Journal, May 19, 1824) maintained that its creator "has embraced every topic of human life, and sounded every string of the divine harp, from its slightest to its most powerful and heart-astounding tones." Goethe (Kunst und Alterthum, 1821 [ed. Weimar, iii. 197, and Sämmtliche Werke, xiii. 637]) described Don Juan as "a work of boundless genius." Shelley (letter to Byron, October 21, 1821), on the receipt of Cantos III., IV., V., bore testimony to his "wonder and delight:" "This poem carries with it at once the stamp of originality and defiance of imitation. Nothing has ever been written like it in English, nor, if I may venture to prophesy, will there be, unless carrying upon it the mark of a secondary and borrowed light.... You are building up a drama," he adds, "such as England has not yet seen, and the task is sufficiently noble and worthy of you." Again, of the fifth canto he writes (Shelley's Prose Works, ed. H. Buxton Forman, iv. 219), "Every word has the stamp of immortality.... It fulfils, in a certain degree, what I have long preached of producing—something wholly new and relative to the age, and yet surpassingly beautiful." Finally, a living poet, neither a disciple nor encomiast of Byron, pays eloquent tribute to the strength and splendour of Don Juan: "Across the stanzas ... we swim forward as over the 'broad backs of the sea;' they break and glitter, hiss and laugh, murmur and move like waves that sound or that subside. There is in them a delicious resistance, an elastic motion, which salt water has and fresh water has not. There is about them a wide wholesome air, full of vivid light and constant wind, which is only felt at sea. Life undulates and Death palpitates in the splendid verse.... This gift of life and variety is the supreme quality of Byron's chief poem" (A Selection, etc., by A.C. Swinburne, 1885, p. x.).

Cantos I., II. of Don Juan were reviewed in Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine, August, 1819, vol. v. pp. 512-518; Cantos III., IV., V., August, 1821, vol. x. pp. 107-115; and[xx] Cantos VI., VII., VIII., July, 1823, vol. xiv. pp. 88-92: in the British Critic, Cantos I., II. were reviewed August, 1819, vol. xii. pp. 195-205; and Cantos III., IV., V., September, 1821, vol. xvi. pp. 251-256: in the British Review, Cantos I., II. were reviewed August, 1819, vol. xiv. pp. 266-268; and Cantos III., IV., V., December, 1821, vol. xviii. pp. 245-265: in the Examiner, Cantos I., II. were reviewed October 31, 1819; Cantos III., IV., V., August 26, 1821; and Cantos XV., XVI., March 14 and 21, 1824: in the Literary Gazette, Cantos I., II. were reviewed July 17 and 24, 1819; Cantos III., IV., V., August 11 and 18, 1821; Cantos VI., VII., VIII., July 19, 1823; Cantos IX., X., XL, September 6, 1823; Cantos XII., XIII., XIV., December 6, 1823; and Cantos XV., XVI., April 3, 1824: in the Monthly Review., Cantos I., II. were reviewed July, 1819, Enlarged Series, vol. 89, p. 309; Cantos III., IV., V., August, 1821, vol. 95, p. 418; Cantos VI., VII., VIII., July, 1823, vol. 101, p. 316; Cantos IX., X., XI., October, 1823, vol. 102, p. 217; Cantos XII., XIII., XIV., vol. 103, p. 212; and Cantos XV., XVI., April, 1824, vol. 103, p. 434: in the New Monthly Magazine, Cantos I., II. were reviewed August, 1819, vol. xii. p. 75. See, too, an article on the "Morality of Don Juan," Dublin University Magazine, May, 1875, vol. lxxxv. pp. 630-637.

Neither the Quarterly nor the Edinburgh Review devoted separate articles to Don Juan; but Heber, in the Quarterly Review (Lord Byron's Dramas), July, 1822, vol. xxvii. p. 477, and Jeffrey, in the Edinburgh Review (Lord Byron's Tragedies), February, 1822, vol. 36, pp. 446-450, took occasion to pass judgment on the poem and its author.

For the history of the legend, see History of Spanish Literature, by George Ticknor, 1888, vol. ii. pp. 380, 381; and Das Kloster, von J. Scheible, 1846, vol. iii. pp. 663-765. See, too, Notes sur le Don Juanisme, par Henri de Bruchard, Mercure de France, Avril, 1898, vol. xxvi. pp. 58-73; and Don Juan, par Gustave Kahn, Revue Encyclopédique, 1898, tom. viii. pp. 326-329.[1]


DON JUAN


[2]

FRAGMENT
ON THE BACK OF THE MS. OF CANTO I.

I would to Heaven that I were so much clay,

As I am blood, bone, marrow, passion, feeling—

Because at least the past were passed away,

And for the future—(but I write this reeling,

Having got drunk exceedingly to-day,

So that I seem to stand upon the ceiling)

I say—the future is a serious matter—

And so—for God's sake—hock and soda-water!


[3]

DEDICATION.[1]
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I.

Bob Southey! You're a poet—Poet-laureate,

And representative of all the race;

Although 't is true that you turned out a Tory at

Last,—yours has lately been a common case;

And now, my Epic Renegade! what are ye at?

With all the Lakers, in and out of place?

A nest of tuneful persons, to my eye

Like "four and twenty Blackbirds in a pye;

II.

"Which pye being opened they began to sing,"

(This old song and new simile holds good),

"A dainty dish to set before the King,"

Or Regent, who admires such kind of food;—

And Coleridge, too, has lately taken wing,

But like a hawk encumbered with his hood,—

Explaining Metaphysics to the nation—[4]

I wish he would explain his Explanation.[2]

III.

You, Bob! are rather insolent, you know,

At being disappointed in your wish

To supersede all warblers here below,

And be the only Blackbird in the dish;

And then you overstrain yourself, or so,

And tumble downward like the flying fish

Gasping on deck, because you soar too high, Bob,

And fall, for lack of moisture, quite a-dry, Bob![3]

IV.

And Wordsworth, in a rather long "Excursion,"

(I think the quarto holds five hundred pages),

Has given a sample from the vasty version

Of his new system[4] to perplex the sages;[5]

'T is poetry-at least by his assertion,

And may appear so when the dog-star rages—

And he who understands it would be able

To add a story to the Tower of Babel.

V.

You—Gentlemen! by dint of long seclusion

From better company, have kept your own

At Keswick, and, through still continued fusion

Of one another's minds, at last have grown

To deem as a most logical conclusion,

That Poesy has wreaths for you alone:

There is a narrowness in such a notion,

Which makes me wish you'd change your lakes for Ocean.

VI.

I would not imitate the petty thought,

Nor coin my self-love to so base a vice,

For all the glory your conversion brought,

Since gold alone should not have been its price.

You have your salary; was 't for that you wrought?

And Wordsworth has his place in the Excise.[5]

You're shabby fellows—true—but poets still,

And duly seated on the Immortal Hill.

VII.

Your bays may hide the baldness of your brows—

Perhaps some virtuous blushes;—let them go—[6]

To you I envy neither fruit nor boughs—

And for the fame you would engross below,

The field is universal, and allows

Scope to all such as feel the inherent glow:

Scott, Rogers, Campbell, Moore, and Crabbe, will try

'Gainst you the question with posterity.

VIII.

For me, who, wandering with pedestrian Muses,

Contend not with you on the wingéd steed,

I wish your fate may yield ye, when she chooses,

The fame you envy, and the skill you need;

And, recollect, a poet nothing loses

In giving to his brethren their full meed

Of merit—and complaint of present days

Is not the certain path to future praise.

IX.

He that reserves his laurels for posterity

(Who does not often claim the bright reversion)

Has generally no great crop to spare it, he

Being only injured by his own assertion;

And although here and there some glorious rarity

Arise like Titan from the sea's immersion,

The major part of such appellants go

To—God knows where—for no one else can know.

X.

If, fallen in evil days on evil tongues,[6]

Milton appealed to the Avenger, Time,

If Time, the Avenger, execrates his wrongs,

And makes the word "Miltonic" mean "Sublime,"

He deigned not to belie his soul in songs,

Nor turn his very talent to a crime;

He did not loathe the Sire to laud the Son,

But closed the tyrant-hater he begun.

XI.

Think'st thou, could he—the blind Old Man—arise

Like Samuel from the grave, to freeze once more[7]

The blood of monarchs with his prophecies,

Or be alive again—again all hoar

With time and trials, and those helpless eyes,

And heartless daughters—worn—and pale[7]—and poor;

Would he adore a sultan? he obey

The intellectual eunuch Castlereagh?[8]

XII.

Cold-blooded, smooth-faced, placid miscreant!

Dabbling its sleek young hands in Erin's gore,

And thus for wider carnage taught to pant,

Transferred to gorge upon a sister shore,

The vulgarest tool that Tyranny could want,

With just enough of talent, and no more,

To lengthen fetters by another fixed,

And offer poison long already mixed.

XIII.

An orator of such set trash of phrase

Ineffably—legitimately vile,

That even its grossest flatterers dare not praise,

Nor foes—all nations—condescend to smile,—

Nor even a sprightly blunder's spark can blaze

From that Ixion grindstone's ceaseless toil,[8]

That turns and turns to give the world a notion

Of endless torments and perpetual motion.

XIV.

A bungler even in its disgusting trade,

And botching, patching, leaving still behind

Something of which its masters are afraid—

States to be curbed, and thoughts to be confined,

Conspiracy or Congress to be made—

Cobbling at manacles for all mankind—

A tinkering slave-maker, who mends old chains,

With God and Man's abhorrence for its gains.

XV.

If we may judge of matter by the mind,

Emasculated to the marrow It

Hath but two objects, how to serve, and bind,

Deeming the chain it wears even men may fit,

Eutropius of its many masters,[9]—blind

To worth as freedom, wisdom as to wit,

Fearless—because no feeling dwells in ice,

Its very courage stagnates to a vice.[10]

XVI.

Where shall I turn me not to view its bonds,

For I will never feel them?—Italy!

Thy late reviving Roman soul desponds

Beneath the lie this State-thing breathed o'er thee[11]—[9]

Thy clanking chain, and Erin's yet green wounds,

Have voices—tongues to cry aloud for me.

Europe has slaves—allies—kings—armies still—

And Southey lives to sing them very ill.

XVII.

Meantime, Sir Laureate, I proceed to dedicate,

In honest simple verse, this song to you.

And, if in flattering strains I do not predicate,

'T is that I still retain my "buff and blue;"[12]

My politics as yet are all to educate:

Apostasy's so fashionable, too,

To keep one creed's a task grown quite Herculean;

Is it not so, my Tory, ultra-Julian?[13]

Venice, Sept. 16, 1818.

FOOTNOTES:

[1] {3}["As the Poem is to be published anonymously, omit the Dedication. I won't attack the dog in the dark. Such things are for scoundrels and renegadoes like himself" [Revise]. See, too, letter to Murray, May 6, 1819 (Letters, 1900, iv. 294); and Southey's letter to Bedford, July 31, 1819 (Selections from the Letters, etc., 1856, in. 137, 138). According to the editor of the Works of Lord Byron, 1833 (xv. 101), the existence of the Dedication "became notorious" in consequence of Hobhouse's article in the Westminster Review, 1824. He adds, for Southey's consolation and encouragement, that "for several years the verses have been selling in the streets as a broadside," and that "it would serve no purpose to exclude them on the present occasion." But Southey was not appeased. He tells Allan Cunningham (June 3, 1833) that "the new edition of Byron's works is ... one of the very worst symptoms of these bad times" (Life and Correspondence, 1850, vi. 217).]

[2] {4}[In the "Critique on Bertram," which Coleridge contributed to the Courier, in 1816, and republished in the Biographia Literaria, in 1817 (chap, xxiii.), he gives a detailed analysis of "the old Spanish play, entitled Atheista Fulminato [vide ante, the 'Introduction to Don Juan'] ... which under various names (Don Juan, the Libertine, etc.) has had its day of favour in every country throughout Europe ... Rank, fortune, wit, talent, acquired knowledge, and liberal accomplishments, with beauty of person, vigorous health, and constitutional hardihood,—all these advantages, elevated by the habits and sympathies of noble birth and national character, are supposed to have combined in Don Juan, so as to give him the means of carrying into all its practical consequences the doctrine of a godless nature, as the sole ground and efficient cause not only of all things, events, and appearances, but likewise of all our thoughts, sensations, impulses, and actions. Obedience to nature is the only virtue." It is possible that Byron traced his own lineaments in this too life-like portraiture, and at the same time conceived the possibility of a new Don Juan, "made up" after his own likeness. His extreme resentment at Coleridge's just, though unwise and uncalled-for, attack on Maturin stands in need of some explanation. See letter to Murray, September 17, 1817 (Letters, 1900, iv. 172).]

[3] ["Have you heard that Don Juan came over with a dedication to me, in which Lord Castlereagh and I (being hand in glove intimates) were coupled together for abuse as 'the two Roberts'? A fear of persecution (sic) from the one Robert is supposed to be the reason why it has been suppressed" (Southey to Rev. H. Hill, August 13, 1819, Selections from the Letters, etc., 1856, iii. 142). For "Quarrel between Byron and Southey," see Introduction to The Vision of Judgment, Poetical Works, 1901, iv. 475-480; and Letters, 1901, vi. 377-399 (Appendix I.).]

[4] [The reference must be to the detailed enumeration of "the powers requisite for the production of poetry," and the subsequent antithesis of Imagination and Fancy contained in the Preface to the collected Poems of William Wordsworth, published in 1815. In the Preface to the Excursion (1814) it is expressly stated that "it is not the author's intention formally to announce a system."]

[5] {5}Wordsworth's place may be in the Customs—it is, I think, in that or the Excise—besides another at Lord Lonsdale's table, where this poetical charlatan and political parasite licks up the crumbs with a hardened alacrity; the converted Jacobin having long subsided into the clownish sycophant [despised retainer,—MS. erased] of the worst prejudices of the aristocracy.

[Wordsworth obtained his appointment as Distributor of Stamps for the county of Westmoreland in March, 1813, through Lord Lonsdale's "patronage" (see his letter, March 6, 1813). The Excursion was dedicated to Lord Lonsdale in a sonnet dated July 29, 1814—

"Oft through thy fair domains, illustrious Peer,

In youth I roamed ...

Now, by thy care befriended, I appear

Before thee, Lonsdale, and this Work present."]

[6] {6}[Paradise Lost, vii. 25, 26.]

[7] {7}"Pale, but not cadaverous:"—Milton's two elder daughters are said to have robbed him of his books, besides cheating and plaguing him in the economy of his house, etc., etc. His feelings on such an outrage, both as a parent and a scholar, must have been singularly painful. Hayley compares him to Lear. See part third, Life of Milton, by W. Hayley (or Hailey, as spelt in the edition before me).

[The Life of Milton, by William Hailey (sic), Esq., Basil, 1799, p. 186.]

[8] Or—

"Would he subside into a hackney Laureate—

A scribbling, self-sold, soul-hired, scorned Iscariot?"

I doubt if "Laureate" and "Iscariot" be good rhymes, but must say, as Ben Jonson did to Sylvester, who challenged him to rhyme with—

"I, John Sylvester,

Lay with your sister."

Jonson answered—"I, Ben Jonson, lay with your wife." Sylvester answered,—"That is not rhyme."—"No," said Ben Jonson; "but it is true."

[For Robert Stewart, Viscount Castlereagh, see The Age of Bronze, line 538, Poetical Works, 1901, v. 568, note 2; and Letters, 1900, iv. 108, note 1.]

[9] {8}For the character of Eutropius, the eunuch and minister at the court of Arcadius, see Gibbon, [Decline and Fall, 1825, ii. 307, 308].

[10] ["Mr. John Murray,—As publisher to the Admiralty and of various Government works, if the five stanzas concerning Castlereagh should risk your ears or the Navy List, you may omit them in the publication—in that case the two last lines of stanza 10 [i.e. 11] must end with the couplet (lines 7, 8) inscribed in the margin. The stanzas on Castlerighi (as the Italians call him) are 11, 12, 13, 14, 15."—MS. M.]

[11] [Commenting on a "pathetic sentiment" of Leoni, the author of the Italian translation of Childe Harold ("Sciagurata condizione di questa mia patria!"), Byron affirms that the Italians execrated Castlereagh "as the cause, by the conduct of the English at Genoa." "Surely," he exclaims, "that man will not die in his bed: there is no spot of the earth where his name is not a hissing and a curse. Imagine what must be the man's talent for Odium, who has contrived to spread his infamy like a pestilence from Ireland to Italy, and to make his name an execration in all languages."—Letter to Murray, May 8, 1820, Letters, 1901, v. 22, note 1.]

[12] {9}[Charles James Fox and the Whig Club of his time adopted a uniform of blue and buff. Hence the livery of the Edinburgh Review.]

[13] I allude not to our friend Landor's hero, the traitor Count Julian, but to Gibbon's hero, vulgarly yclept "The Apostate."

[11]

DON JUAN
CANTO THE FIRST.[14]
swash

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.

[12]

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.

[13]

III.

Barnave, Brissot, Condorcet, Mirabeau,

Petion, Clootz, Danton, Marat, La Fayette[20]

[14]

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.

[15]

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;[16]

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[17]

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,[18][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;[19]

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;[20]

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.

[21]

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,[22][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!"

[23]

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.

[24]

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][25]

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,[26]

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]

[27]

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,[28]

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.

[29]

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.

[30]

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.

[31]

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.

[32]

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);[33]

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[34]

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,[35]

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,[36]

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.[37]

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.

[38]

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.

[39]

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]

[40]

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[41]

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.

[42]

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.

[43]

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:[44]

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;[45]

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[46]

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:[47]

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[48]

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,[49]

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.

[50]

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;[51]

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,[52]

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[53]—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.

[54]

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.

[55]

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?[56]

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.

[57]

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.

[58]

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.

[59]

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.

[60]

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]

[61]

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.

[62]

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[63]

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:[64]

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![65]

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!

[66]

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.

[67] But Donna Inez, to divert the train

Of one of the most circulating scandals

[68] That had for centuries been known in Spain,

At least since the retirement of the Vandals,

[69] First vowed (and never had she vowed in vain)

To Virgin Mary several pounds of candles;

[70] 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

[71] 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]

[72]

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;[73][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.

[74]

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:[75]

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.

[76]

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.

[77]

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,[78]

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;[79][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."

[80]

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:

[14] {11}[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.]

[16] {12}[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.]

[19] {13}[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.]

[21] {14}[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.]

[22] {15}[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."]

[25] {16} [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).]

[A] {17}

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.]

[32] {19} [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.]

[D] {21}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."]

[36] {22}["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.]

[E] {23}First their friends tried at reconciliation.—[MS.]

[F] The lawyers recommended a divorce.—[MS.]

[G] {24}

He had been ill brought up, { besides was
besides being
} bilious.

or, The reason was, perhaps, that he was bilious.—[MS.]

[H]

And we may own—since he is { now but
laid in
} earth.—[MS.]

[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.]

[I] {25}

Save death or { litigation—
banishment—
} so he died.—[MS.]

[40] {26}[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, "Ίνα μὴ ἕν τι περὶ αὐτὴν πάθος φαίνηται, παθων δὲ σύνοδος.

["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 Φαίνεταί μοι κηνος ἵσος θεισιν, κ.τ.λ.

"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."]

[K] {27}

Too much their { antique
modest
downright
} bard by the { elision
 
omission
} —[MS.]

[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."]

[44] {28} 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.

[45] {30}[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.]

[L] {31}

I'll tell you a secret— { silence! hush!
which you'll hush
} .—[MS.]

[M] {32}

Spouses from twenty years of age to thirty
Are most admired by women of { strict
staid
} virtue.—[MS.]

[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.]

[48] {34}[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.]

[50] {36}

["Quel giorno più non vi leggemmo avante." Dante, Inferno, canto v. line 138.]

[51] {37}

["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.]

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

[53] {39}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.]

[O] {40}

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.]

[P] {42}

A real wittol always is suspicious,

But always also hunts in the wrong place.—[MS.]

[Q] {43}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.]

[S] {44}

She stood on Guilt's steep brink, in all the sense

And full security of Innocence.—[MS.]

[T] {45}To leave these two young people then and there.—[MS.]

[58] {46} ["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.]]

[60] {48}[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.]

[W] {49}

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.]

[63] {50} [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.]]

[68] {51} [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.]

[AC] {54}Ere I the wife of such a man had been!—[MS.]

[AD] {55}But while this search was making, Julia's tongue.—[MS.]

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

[75] {56}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.]

[AF] {58}—— may deplore.—[Alternative reading. MS. M.]

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

[78] ["Don't be read aloud."—[H.]—[Revise.]]

[AG] {60}

—— than be put

To drown with Clarence in his Malmsey butt.—[MS.]

[AH] And reckon up our balance with the devil.—[MS.]

[79] {62}["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.]

[80] {63}[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.]

[AI] {64}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.]

[AJ] {66}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."]

[83] {67}["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."

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 Dss 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."

[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."]

[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.]

[AK] {71}

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.

[AN] {72}

You will proceed in beauty and in pride,

You will return——.—[MS. M.]

[AO]

Or, That word is { fatal now
lost for me
deadly now
} but let it go.—[MS.M.]

[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.]

[85] {73}[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.]

[AT] {74}

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.)]

[87] {76}[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.]

[88] {77}[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.]

[90] {78}

"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.]

[AW] {79}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.]

[AX] {80} 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.)]

[81]

CANTO THE SECOND.[96]
swash

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,

[82]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,[83]

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]

[84]

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;[85]

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,[86]

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.

[87]

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.

[88]

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]

[89]

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.[90]

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,[91]

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.[92][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[93]

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]

[94]

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;[95]

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,[96]

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[97]

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,[98]

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:[99]

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,[100]

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.

[101]

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]

[102]

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.

[103]

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.[104]

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;[105]

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[106]

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.

[107]

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]

[108]

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[109]

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.

[110]

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[111]

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.

[112]

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:[113]

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[114]

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,[115]

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[116][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:[117]

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;[118]

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;[119]

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 "νους,"

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[120]

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,[121]

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;[122]

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[123]

(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,[124]

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,[125]

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[126]—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[127]

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,[128]

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]

[129]

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,[130]—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]

[131]

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.

[132]

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!

[133]

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.

[134]

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,[135]

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,[136]

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,[137]

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?[138]

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[139]

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;[140]

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[141]

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,[142]

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.

[AY] {81}Lost that most precious stone of stones—his modesty.—[MS.]

[97] {82}[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.]

[98] {83}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.]

[99] {84} [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.]

[100] {87}["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.]

[103] {90}["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.]

[104] {91}["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.]

[BD] {92}'T is ugly dying in the Gulf of Lyons.—[MS.]

[106] {93}[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.]

[108] {94}["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.]

[109] {95}["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.]

[112] {96}["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.]

[116] {98}["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."]

[118] {99} ["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.]

[121] {100}["[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."]

[123] {101}["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.]

[124] {102}["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.]

[125] {103}[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.]

[128] {104}["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.]

[130] {105}["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.]

[133] {106}["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.]

[135] {107}["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.]

[138] {108}["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.]

[139] {109}["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.]

[141] {110}["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.]

[144] {111}["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.]

[145] {112}["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.]

[147] {114}[Compare—

"How long in that same fit I lay

I have not to declare."

The Ancient Mariner, Part V. lines 393, 394.]

[BH] {115}—— in short she's one.—[MS.]

[BI] {116}

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 Μελανείμονες ἅπαντες τ οπλέον ἐν σάγοις, Strabo, lib. iii. ed. 1807, i. 210. Ford's Handbook for Spain, 1855, i. 111.]

[151] {117}["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]

[BJ] {119}And such a bed of furs, and a pelisse.—[MS.]

[BK] {120}

—— which often spread,

And come like opening Hell upon the mind,

No "baseless fabric" but "a wrack behind."—[MS.]

[BL] {121}

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.]

[154] {122}[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.]

[BP] {124}

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.]

[BQ] {125}

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."]

[156] {128} [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.]

[158] {129}[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.]

[BV] {130}

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.]

[BX] {131}And saw the sunset and the rising moon.—[MS.]

[161] {132}[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.]

[BZ] {134}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.]

[CB] {135}

In all the burning tongues the Passions teach

They had no further feeling, hope, nor care

Save one, and that was Love.—[MS. erased.]

[CC] {136}

Pillowed upon her beating heart—which panted

With the sweet memory of all it granted.—[MS.]

[CD] {138} 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.]

[CE] {139}

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).]

[167] {140}[Compare Sardanapalus, act i. sc. 2, line 252, Poetical Works, 1901, v. 23, note 1.]

[CF] {141}—of ticklish dust.—[MS. Alternative reading.]

[168] {142} ["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.]

[143]

CANTO THE THIRD.[169]
swash

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,[144]

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.

[145]

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[146]

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.

[147]

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.

[148]

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;[149]

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;[150]

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,[151]

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);[152][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,[153]

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.

[154]

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.

[155]

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]

[156]

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;[157]

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,[158]

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[159]

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:[160]

An ivory inlaid table spread with state

Before them, and fair slaves on every side;[161][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,[162]

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;[163]

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;[164]

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,[165]

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[166]

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:[167]

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;[168]

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]

[169]

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;[170]

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![171]

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]

[172]

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;[173]

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[174]

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;"[175][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;[176]

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]

[177]

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]

[178]

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.

[179]

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,[180]

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.

[181]

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?[182]

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 ΠΟΙΗΤΙΚΗΣ.[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.]

[CH] {144}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.]

[171] {145}[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.]

[173] {146}[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.]

[CJ] {147}

Displayed much more of nerve, perhaps, of wit,

Than any of the parodies of Pitt.—[MS.]

[CK] {148} —— 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.]

[177] {149}["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.]

[CL] {150}

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.]

[178] {151}[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.]

[180] {152}["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.]

[181] {153}[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.)]

[CN] {154}

All had been open, heart, and open house,

Ever since Juan served her for a spouse.—[MS.]

[182] {155}

["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.]

[CO] {157}For instance, if a first or second wife.—[MS.]

[CP] {159}

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.]

[183] {160}["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."]

[184] {162}["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.]

[CS] {163}The upholsterer's "fiat lux" had bade to issue.—[MS.]

[185] {164}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.]

[189] {165}

[" ... 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.]

[191] {166} ["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.]

[192] {167}[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.]

[193] {168}[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.)]

[197] {169}The Μακάρων νησοι [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.]

[CZ] {170}The Heroic heart awakes no more.—[MS. D.]

[199] {171}[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.]

[201] {172}[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]

[Γενοίμαν, ἵν' ὑλαεν ἔπεστι πόν-

του πρόβλημ' ἁλικυστον, ἄ-

κραν ὑπὸ πλάκα Σουνίου, κ.τ.λ.

Sophocles, Ajax, lines 1190-1192.]

[203] {173}[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.]

[206] {174}[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.]

[211] {175}[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."]

[215] {176}[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."]

[217] {177}["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.]

[DE] {178}While swung the signal from the sacred tower.—[MS.]

[DF] {179}

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.]

[225] {180}[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]

Εσπερε παντα φερεις

Φερεις οινον—φερεις αιγα

Φερεις ματερι παιδα.

Fragment of Sappho.

[Ϝέσπερε, πάντα φέρων, ὅσα φαίνολις ἐσκέδασ' αὔως·

Φέρεις οἴν φέρεις αἶγα, Φέρεις ἄπυ ματέρι παῖδα.

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."]

[227] {181}

"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.]

[229] {182} [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.]

[183]

CANTO THE FOURTH.
swash

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]

[184]

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,[185]

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[186]

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:[187]

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.

[188]

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,[189]

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;[190]

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[191]

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.

[192]

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?[193]

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.

[194]

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;[195]

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,[196]

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,[197][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.

[198]

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.

[199]

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.

[200]

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.

[201]

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,[202]

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.

[203]

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—[204]

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]

[205]

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]

[206]

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,[207]

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;[208]

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,[209][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;[210]

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;[211][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.

[212]

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.

[213]

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]

[214]

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]

[215]

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,[216]

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;[217]

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:

[230] {183}

["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.]

[232] {184}

[" ... 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.]

[234] {185} ["Cum canerem reges et prælia, Cynthius aurem Vellit, et admonuit." Virgil, Ecl. vi. lines 3, 4.]

[DK] {186}

—— 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.
Ὄν οἱ θεοὶ φιλοῦσιν ἀποθνἠσκει νέος
or
Ὄν γὰρ φιλεῖ θεὸς  ἀποθνἠσκει νέος.

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)]

[237] {187}[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.]

[238] {188}[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.]

[239] {190}

["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.]

[DN] {191}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.]

[240] {192}[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.]

[241] {195}[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.]

[DS] {196}Till further orders should his doom assign.—[MS.]

[DT] Loving and loved—.—[MS.]

[DU] {197}

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.]

[243] {198}["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.]

[DW] {199}

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.

[246] {200}[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.]

[DY] {202}—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.]

[EA] {203}

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.]

[249] {204}[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]

All heroes { who alive perhaps
if still alive
} .—[MS. Alternative reading]

[EC]

{ and mountain-bounded
and mountain-outlined
} plain.—[MS. Alternative reading]

[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.]

[EE] {205}—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.]

[252] {206}[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.]

[253] {207}[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.]

[255] {208}[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.]

[EH] {209}

That each pulled, different ways—and waxing rough,

Had cuffed each other, only for the cuff.—[MS.]

[257] {210}

["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. 2nd 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.]

[259] {211} [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.]

[260] {212}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.]

[EK] {213}

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.]

[EO] {214}

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.]

[266] {215}[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.]

[268] {216}[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.]

[218]

CANTO THE FIFTH.[270]
swash

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[219][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[220]

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,

[221]

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,[222]

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."[223]

"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?[224]

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.

[225]

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[226]

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]

[227]

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,[228][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]

[229]

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.

[230]

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] [231]

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;[232]

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[233]

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]

[234]

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.

[235]

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—

[236]

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,[237]

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.

[238]

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]

[239]

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[240]

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.

[241]

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."

[242]

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,

[243]

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.

[244]

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),[245]

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:[246][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)—[247]

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;[248]

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,[249]

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[250]

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.

[251]

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.

[252]

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[253]

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."

[254]

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[255]

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;[256]

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,[257]

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:[258]

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![259]

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 Knōllěs, where few shine[FU]

Save Solyman, the glory of their line.[313]

[260]

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]

[261]

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,[262]

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;[263]

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 5th Finished Ravenna, Nov. 27th 1820.
Begun Oct. 16, 1820.
and finished copying out, Dec. 26.
with some intermediate additions, 1820.
B.

FOOTNOTES:

[270] {218}[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.]

[272] {219}["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.]

[ET] {220}

For then the Parca are most busy spinning

The fates of seamen, and the loud winds raise.—[MS.]

[EU] {221}

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.]

[275] {222}[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.]

[276] {226}[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.]

[279] {227}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.]

[280] {229}The light and elegant wherries plying about the quays of Constantinople are so called.

[281] {230}[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.]

[283] {231}"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.

[FA] {232}

Of speeches, beauty, flattery—there is no

Method more sure——.—[MS.]

[284] {233}[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.]

[287] {234}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."]

[FB] {235}

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] ["Nabuchodonosor," 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.]

[292] {236}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.]

[FF] {240}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.]

[FH] {241} He looked almost in modesty a maid.—[MS.]

[296] {242}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.]

[297] {243}[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.]

[298] {244}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.]

[FI] {245}

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.]

[299] {246}[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.]

[302] {247}

["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.]

[304] {248}There is nothing, perhaps, more distinctive of birth than the hand. It is almost the only sign of blood which aristocracy can generate.

[305] {249}[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.]

[FK] {250}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.]

[306] {251}[Narrow javelins, once known as archegays—the assegais of Zulu warfare.]

[FN] {252}

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.]

[307] {254}[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.]

[309] {256}

["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.]

[312] {258}["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.]

[FT] {259}

But prithee—get my women in the way,

That all the stars may gleam with due adorning.—[MS.]

[FU] Of Cantemir or Knollēs——-.—[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.]

[314] {260}[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.]

[316] {261}["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.]

[317] {262}[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.]

[318] {263}[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.]

[264]

PREFACE TO CANTOS VI., VII., AND VIII.
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The details of the siege of Ismail in two of the following cantos (i.e. the seventh and eighth) are taken from a French Work, entitled Histoire de la Nouvelle Russie.[319] Some of the incidents attributed to Don Juan really occurred, particularly the circumstance of his saving the infant, which was the actual case of the late Duc de Richelieu, then a young volunteer in the Russian service, and afterward the founder and benefactor of Odessa, where his name and memory can never cease to be regarded with reverence.

In the course of these cantos, a stanza or two will be found relative to the late Marquis of Londonderry,[320] but written some time before his decease. Had that person's oligarchy died with him, they would have been suppressed; as it is, I am aware of nothing in the manner of his death or of his life to prevent the free expression of the opinions of all whom his whole existence was consumed in endeavouring to enslave. That he was an amiable man in private life, may or may not be true: but with this the public have nothing to do; and as to lamenting his death, it will be time enough when Ireland has ceased to mourn for his birth. As a minister, I, for one of millions, looked upon him as the most despotic in[265] intention, and the weakest in intellect, that ever tyrannised over a country. It is the first time indeed since the Normans that England has been insulted by a minister (at least) who could not speak English, and that Parliament permitted itself to be dictated to in the language of Mrs. Malaprop.

Of the manner of his death little need be said, except that if a poor radical, such as Waddington or Watson,[321] had cut his throat, he would have been buried in a cross-road, with the usual appurtenances of the stake and mallet. But the minister was an elegant lunatic—a sentimental suicide—he merely cut the "carotid artery," (blessings on their learning!) and lo! the pageant, and the Abbey! and "the syllables of dolour yelled forth"[322] by the newspapers—and the harangue of the Coroner in a eulogy over the bleeding body of the deceased—(an Anthony worthy of such a Cæsar)—and the nauseous and atrocious cant of a degraded crew of conspirators against all that is sincere and honourable. In his death he was necessarily one of two things by the law[323]—a felon or a madman—and in either case no great subject for panegyric.[324] [266] In his life he was—what all the world knows, and half of it will feel for years to come, unless his death prove a "moral lesson" to the surviving Sejani[325] of Europe. It may at least serve as some consolation to the nations, that their oppressors are not happy, and in some instances judge so justly of their own actions as to anticipate the sentence of mankind. Let us hear no more of this man; and let Ireland remove the ashes of her Grattan from the sanctuary of Westminster. Shall the patriot of humanity repose by the Werther of politics!!!

With regard to the objections which have been made on another score to the already published cantos of this poem, I shall content myself with two quotations from Voltaire:—"La pudeur s'est enfuite des coeurs, et s'est refugiée sur les lèvres." ... "Plus les moeurs sont dépravés, plus les expressions deviennent mesurées; on croit regagner en langage ce qu'on a perdu en vertu."

This is the real fact, as applicable to the degraded and hypocritical mass which leavens the present English generation, and is the only answer they deserve. The hackneyed and lavished title of Blasphemer—which, with Radical, Liberal, Jacobin, Reformer, etc., are the changes[267] which the hirelings are daily ringing in the ears of those who will listen—should be welcome to all who recollect on whom it was originally bestowed. Socrates and Jesus Christ were put to death publicly as blasphemers, and so have been and may be many who dare to oppose the most notorious abuses of the name of God and the mind of man. But persecution is not refutation, nor even triumph: the "wretched infidel," as he is called, is probably happier in his prison than the proudest of his assailants. With his opinions I have nothing to do—they may be right or wrong—but he has suffered for them, and that very suffering for conscience' sake will make more proselytes to deism than the example of heterodox[326] Prelates to Christianity, suicide statesmen to oppression, or overpensioned homicides to the impious alliance which insults the world with the name of "Holy!"[327] I have no wish to trample on the dishonoured or the dead; but it would be well if the adherents to the classes from whence those persons sprung should abate a little of the cant which is the crying sin of this double-dealing and false-speaking time of selfish spoilers, and——but enough for the present.

FOOTNOTES:

[319] {264}[The Marquis Gabriel de Castelnau, author of an Essai sur L'Histoire ancienne et moderne de la Nouvelle Russie (Sec. Ed. 3 tom. 1827), was, at one time, resident at Odessa, where he met and made the acquaintance of Armand Emanuel, Duc de Richelieu, who took part in the siege of Ismail. M. Léon de Crousaz-Crétet describes him as "ancien surintendant des théâtres sous l'Empereur Paul."—Le Duc de Richelieu, 1897, p. 83.]

[320] [For Robert Stewart, Viscount Castlereagh, second Marquis of Londonderry (1769-1822), see Letters, 1900, iv. 108, 109, note 1.]

[321] {266}[Samuel Ferrand Waddington, born 1759, hop-grower and radical politician, first came into notice as the chairman of public meetings in favour of making peace with the French in 1793. He was the author, inter alia, of A Key to a Delicate Investigation, 1812, and An Address to the People of the United Kingdom, 1812. He was alive in 1822. James Watson (1766-1838), a radical agitator of the following of Thomas Spence, was engaged, in the autumn of 1816, in an abortive conspiracy to blow up cavalry barracks, barricade the streets, and seize the Bank and the Tower. He was tried for high treason before Lord Ellenborough, and acquitted.]

[322] [Macbeth, act iv. sc. 3, lines 7, 8.]

[323] I say by the law of the land—the laws of humanity judge more gently; but as the legitimates have always the law in their mouths, let them here make the most of it.

[324] [Mr. Joseph Carttar, of Deptford, coroner for the County of Kent, addressed the jury at some length. The following sentences are taken from the report of the inquest, contained in The Annual Biography and Obituary for the year 1823, vol. vii. p. 57: "As a public man, it is impossible for me to weigh his character in any scales that I can hold. In private life I believe the world will admit that a more amiable man could not be found.... If it should unfortunately appear that there is not sufficient evidence to prove what is generally considered the indication of a disordered mind, I trust that the jury will pay some attention to my humble opinion, which is, that no man can be in his proper senses at the moment he commits so rash an act as self-murder. ...The Bible declares that a man clings to nothing so strongly as his own life, I therefore view it as an axiom, and an abstract principle, that a man must necessarily be out of his mind at the moment of destroying himself." Byron, probably, read the report of the inquest in Cobbett's Weekly Register (August 17, 1822, vol. 43, pp. 389-425). The "eulogy" was in perfectly good taste, but there can be little doubt that if "Waddington or Watson" had cut their "carotid arteries," the verdict would have been different.]

[325] From this number must be excepted Canning. Canning is a genius, almost a universal one, an orator, a wit, a poet, a statesman; and no man of talent can long pursue the path of his late predecessor, Lord C. If ever man saved his country, Canning can, but will he? I for one, hope so.

[The phrase, "great moral lesson," was employed by the Duke of Wellington, à propos of the restoration of pictures and statues to their "rightful owners," in a despatch addressed to Castlereagh, under date, Paris, September 19, 1815 (The Dispatches, etc. (ed. by Colonel Gurwood), 1847, viii. 270). The words, "moral lesson," as applied to the French generally, are to be found in Scott's Field of Waterloo (conclusion, stanza vi. line 3), which was written about the same time as the despatch. Byron quotes them in his "Ode from the French," stanza iv. line 8 (see Poetical Works, 1900, iii. 434, note 1). There is a satirical allusion to the Duke's "assumption of the didactic" about teaching a "great moral lesson" in the Preface to the first number of the Liberal (1822, p. xi.).]

[326] {267}When Lord Sandwich said "he did not know the difference between orthodoxy and heterodoxy," Warburton, the bishop, replied, "Orthodoxy, my lord, is my doxy, and heterodoxy is another man's doxy." A prelate of the present day has discovered, it seems, a third kind of doxy, which has not greatly exalted in the eyes of the elect that which Bentham calls "Church-of-Englandism."

[For the "prelate," see Letters, 1902, vi. 101, note 2.]

[327] [For the Duke of Wellington and the Holy Alliance, see the Introduction to The Age of Bronze, Poetical Works, 1901, v. 538, 561.]

[268]

CANTO THE SIXTH.[328]
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I.

"There is a tide in the affairs of men,

Which,—taken at the flood,"—you know the rest,[329]

And most of us have found it now and then:

At least we think so, though but few have guessed

The moment, till too late to come again.

But no doubt everything is for the best—

Of which the surest sign is in the end:

When things are at the worst they sometimes mend.

II.

There is a tide in the affairs of women,

Which, taken at the flood, leads—God knows where:

Those navigators must be able seamen

Whose charts lay down its currents to a hair;

Not all the reveries of Jacob Behmen[330]

With its strange whirls and eddies can compare:[269]

Men with their heads reflect on this and that—

But women with their hearts on Heaven knows what![GB]

III.

And yet a headlong, headstrong, downright She,

Young, beautiful, and daring—who would risk

A throne—the world—the universe—to be

Beloved in her own way—and rather whisk

The stars from out the sky, than not be free[GC]

As are the billows when the breeze is brisk—

Though such a She's a devil (if there be one),

Yet she would make full many a Manichean.

IV.

Thrones, worlds, et cetera, are so oft upset

By commonest ambition, that when Passion

O'erthrows the same, we readily forget,

Or at the least forgive, the loving rash one.

If Anthony be well remembered yet,

'T is not his conquests keep his name in fashion,

But Actium, lost for Cleopatra's eyes,

Outbalances all Cæsar's victories.[GD]

V.

He died at fifty for a queen of forty;

I wish their years had been fifteen and twenty,[GE]

For then wealth, kingdoms, worlds are but a sport—I

Remember when, though I had no great plenty[270]

Of worlds to lose, yet still, to pay my court, I

Gave what I had—a heart;[331] as the world went, I

Gave what was worth a world; for worlds could never

Restore me those pure feelings, gone for ever.

VI.

'T was the boy's "mite," and, like the "widow's," may

Perhaps be weighed hereafter, if not now;

But whether such things do or do not weigh,

All who have loved, or love, will still allow

Life has nought like it. God is Love, they say,

And Love's a god, or was before the brow

Of Earth was wrinkled by the sins and tears

Of—but Chronology best knows the years.

VII.

We left our hero and third heroine in

A kind of state more awkward than uncommon,

For gentlemen must sometimes risk their skin

For that sad tempter, a forbidden woman:

Sultans too much abhor this sort of sin,

And don't agree at all with the wise Roman,

Heroic, stoic Cato, the sententious,

Who lent his lady to his friend Hortensius.[332]

VIII.

I know Gulbeyaz was extremely wrong;

I own it, I deplore it, I condemn it;

But I detest all fiction even in song,

And so must tell the truth, howe'er you blame it.

Her reason being weak, her passions strong,

She thought that her Lord's heart (even could she claim it)[271]

Was scarce enough; for he had fifty-nine

Years, and a fifteen-hundredth concubine.

IX.

I am not, like Cassio, "an arithmetician,"

But by "the bookish theoric"[333] it appears,

If 't is summed up with feminine precision,

That, adding to the account his Highness' years,

The fair Sultana erred from inanition;

For, were the Sultan just to all his dears,

She could but claim the fifteen-hundredth part

Of what should be monopoly—the heart.

X.

It is observed that ladies are litigious

Upon all legal objects of possession,

And not the least so when they are religious,

Which doubles what they think of the transgression:

With suits and prosecutions they besiege us,

As the tribunals show through many a session,

When they suspect that any one goes shares

In that to which the law makes them sole heirs.

XI.

Now, if this holds good in a Christian land,

The heathen also, though with lesser latitude,[GF]

Are apt to carry things with a high hand,

And take, what Kings call "an imposing attitude;"

And for their rights connubial make a stand,

When their liege husbands treat them with ingratitude;

And as four wives must have quadruple claims,

The Tigris hath its jealousies like Thames.

XII.

Gulbeyaz was the fourth, and (as I said)

The favourite; but what's favour amongst four?

Polygamy may well be held in dread,

Not only as a sin, but as a bore:[272]

Most wise men with one moderate woman wed,[GG]

Will scarcely find philosophy for more;

And all (except Mahometans) forbear

To make the nuptial couch a "Bed of Ware."[334]

XIII.

His Highness, the sublimest of mankind,—[GH]

So styled according to the usual forms

Of every monarch, till they are consigned

To those sad hungry Jacobins the worms,

Who on the very loftiest kings have dined,—

His Highness gazed upon Gulbeyaz' charms,

Expecting all the welcome of a lover

(A "Highland welcome"[335] all the wide world over).

XIV.

Now here we should distinguish; for howe'er

Kisses, sweet words, embraces, and all that,

May look like what it is—neither here nor there,[GI]

They are put on as easily as a hat,

Or rather bonnet, which the fair sex wear,

Trimmed either heads or hearts to decorate,

Which form an ornament, but no more part

Of heads, than their caresses of the heart.

XV.

A slight blush, a soft tremor, a calm kind

Of gentle feminine delight, and shown

More in the eyelids than the eyes, resigned

Rather to hide what pleases most unknown,[273]

Are the best tokens (to a modest mind)[GJ]

Of Love, when seated on his loveliest throne,

A sincere woman's breast,—for over-warm

Or over-cold annihilates the charm.

XVI.

For over-warmth, if false, is worse than truth;

If true, 't is no great lease of its own fire;

For no one, save in very early youth,

Would like (I think) to trust all to desire,

Which is but a precarious bond, in sooth,

And apt to be transferred to the first buyer

At a sad discount: while your over chilly

Women, on t' other hand, seem somewhat silly.

XVII.

That is, we cannot pardon their bad taste,

For so it seems to lovers swift or slow,

Who fain would have a mutual flame confessed,

And see a sentimental passion glow,

Even were St. Francis' paramour their guest,

In his monastic concubine of snow;—[336]

In short, the maxim for the amorous tribe is

Horatian, "Medio tu tutissimus ibis"[337]

XVIII.

The "tu" 's too much,—but let it stand,—the verse

Requires it, that's to say, the English rhyme,

And not the pink of old hexameters;

But, after all, there's neither tune nor time

In the last line, which cannot well be worse,[GK]

And was thrust in to close the octave's chime:

I own no prosody can ever rate it

As a rule, but Truth may, if you translate it.

[274]

XIX.

If fair Gulbeyaz overdid her part,

I know not—it succeeded, and success

Is much in most things, not less in the heart

Than other articles of female dress.

Self-love in Man, too, beats all female art;[GL]

They lie, we lie, all lie, but love no less:

And no one virtue yet, except starvation,

Could stop that worst of vices—propagation.

XX.

We leave this royal couple to repose:

A bed is not a throne, and they may sleep,

Whate'er their dreams be, if of joys or woes:

Yet disappointed joys are woes as deep

As any man's clay mixture undergoes.

Our least of sorrows are such as we weep;

'T is the vile daily drop on drop which wears

The soul out (like the stone) with petty cares.[GM]

XXI.

A scolding wife, a sullen son, a bill

To pay, unpaid, protested, or discounted

At a per-centage; a child cross, dog ill,

A favourite horse fallen lame just as he's mounted,

A bad old woman making a worse will,[338]

Which leaves you minus of the cash you counted[GN]

As certain;—these are paltry things, and yet

I've rarely seen the man they did not fret.

XXII.

I'm a philosopher; confound them all![GO]

Bills, beasts, and men, and—no! not womankind![275][GP]

With one good hearty curse I vent my gall,

And then my Stoicism leaves nought behind

Which it can either pain or evil call,

And I can give my whole soul up to mind;

Though what is soul, or mind, their birth or growth,

Is more than I know—the deuce take them both![GQ]

XXIII.

So now all things are damned one feels at ease,

As after reading Athanasius' curse,

Which doth your true believer so much please:

I doubt if any now could make it worse

O'er his worst enemy when at his knees,

'T is so sententious, positive, and terse,

And decorates the Book of Common Prayer,

As doth a rainbow the just clearing air.

XXIV.

Gulbeyaz and her lord were sleeping, or

At least one of them!—Oh, the heavy night,

When wicked wives, who love some bachelor,[GR]

Lie down in dudgeon to sigh for the light

Of the grey morning, and look vainly for

Its twinkle through the lattice dusky quite—

To toss, to tumble, doze, revive, and quake

Lest their too lawful bed-fellow should wake![GS]

XXV.

These are beneath the canopy of heaven,

Also beneath the canopy of beds

Four-posted and silk-curtained, which are given

For rich men and their brides to lay their heads

Upon, in sheets white as what bards call "driven

Snow,"[339] Well! 't is all hap-hazard when one weds.[276]

Gulbeyaz was an empress, but had been

Perhaps as wretched if a peasants quean.

XXVI.

Don Juan in his feminine disguise,[340]

With all the damsels in their long array,

Had bowed themselves before th' imperial eyes,

And at the usual signal ta'en their way

Back to their chambers, those long galleries

In the seraglio, where the ladies lay

Their delicate limbs; a thousand bosoms there

Beating for Love, as the caged bird's for air.

XXVII.

I love the sex, and sometimes would reverse

The Tyrant's[341] wish, "that Mankind only had

One neck, which he with one fell stroke might pierce:"

My wish is quite as wide, but not so bad,[GT]

And much more tender on the whole than fierce;

It being (not now, but only while a lad)

That Womankind had but one rosy mouth,[GU]

To kiss them all at once from North to South.

XXVIII.

Oh, enviable Briareus! with thy hands

And heads, if thou hadst all things multiplied

In such proportion!—But my Muse withstands

The giant thought of being a Titan's bride,[277]

Or travelling in Patagonian lands;

So let us back to Lilliput, and guide

Our hero through the labyrinth of Love

In which we left him several lines above.

XXIX.

He went forth with the lovely Odalisques,[342]

At the given signal joined to their array;

And though he certainly ran many risks,

Yet he could not at times keep, by the way,

(Although the consequences of such frisks

Are worse than the worst damages men pay

In moral England, where the thing's a tax,)

From ogling all their charms from breasts to backs.

XXX.

Still he forgot not his disguise:—along

The galleries from room to room they walked,

A virgin-like and edifying throng,

By eunuchs flanked; while at their head there stalked

A dame who kept up discipline among

The female ranks, so that none stirred or talked,

Without her sanction on their she-parades:

Her title was "the Mother of the Maids."

XXXI.

Whether she was a "Mother," I know not,

Or whether they were "Maids" who called her Mother;

But this is her Seraglio title, got

I know not how, but good as any other;

So Cantemir[343] can tell you, or De Tott:[344]

Her office was to keep aloof or smother

All bad propensities in fifteen hundred

Young women, and correct them when they blundered.

[278]

XXXII.

A goodly sinecure, no doubt! but made

More easy by the absence of all men—

Except his Majesty,—who, with her aid,

And guards, and bolts, and walls, and now and then

A slight example, just to cast a shade

Along the rest, contrived to keep this den

Of beauties cool as an Italian convent,

Where all the passions have, alas! but one vent.

XXXIII.

And what is that? Devotion, doubtless—how

Could you ask such a question?—but we will

Continue. As I said, this goodly row

Of ladies of all countries at the will[345]

Of one good man, with stately march and slow,

Like water-lilies floating down a rill—

Or rather lake—for rills do not run slowly,—

Paced on most maiden-like and melancholy.

XXXIV.

But when they reached their own apartments, there,

Like birds, or boys, or bedlamites broke loose,

Waves at spring-tide, or women anywhere

When freed from bonds (which are of no great use

After all), or like Irish at a fair,

Their guards being gone, and as it were a truce

Established between them and bondage, they

Began to sing, dance, chatter, smile, and play.

XXXV.

Their talk, of course, ran most on the new comer;

Her shape, her hair, her air, her everything:

Some thought her dress did not so much become her,

Or wondered at her ears without a ring;

Some said her years were getting nigh their summer,

Others contended they were but in spring;

Some thought her rather masculine in height,

While others wished that she had been so quite.

[279]

XXXVI.

But no one doubted on the whole, that she

Was what her dress bespoke, a damsel fair,

And fresh, and "beautiful exceedingly,"[346]

Who with the brightest Georgians[347] might compare:

They wondered how Gulbeyaz, too, could be

So silly as to buy slaves who might share

(If that his Highness wearied of his bride)

Her Throne and Power, and everything beside.

XXXVII.

But what was strangest in this virgin crew,

Although her beauty was enough to vex,

After the first investigating view,

They all found out as few, or fewer, specks

In the fair form of their companion new,

Than is the custom of the gentle sex,

When they survey, with Christian eyes or Heathen,

In a new face "the ugliest creature breathing."

XXXVIII.

And yet they had their little jealousies,

Like all the rest; but upon this occasion,

Whether there are such things as sympathies

Without our knowledge or our approbation,

Although they could not see through his disguise,

All felt a soft kind of concatenation,

Like Magnetism, or Devilism, or what

You please—we will not quarrel about that:

XXXIX.

But certain 't is they all felt for their new

Companion something newer still, as 't were[280]

A sentimental friendship through and through,

Extremely pure, which made them all concur

In wishing her their sister, save a few

Who wished they had a brother just like her,

Whom, if they were at home in sweet Circassia,

They would prefer to Padisha[348] or Pacha.

XL.

Of those who had most genius for this sort

Of sentimental friendship, there were three,

Lolah, Katinka,[349] and Dudù—in short

(To save description), fair as fair can be

Were they, according to the best report,

Though differing in stature and degree,

And clime and time, and country and complexion—

They all alike admired their new connection.

XLI.

Lolah was dusk as India and as warm;

Katinka was a Georgian, white and red,

With great blue eyes, a lovely hand and arm,

And feet so small they scarce seemed made to tread,

But rather skim the earth; while Dudù's form

Looked more adapted to be put to bed,

Being somewhat large, and languishing, and lazy,

Yet of a beauty that would drive you crazy.

[281]

XLII.

A kind of sleepy Venus seemed Dudù,

Yet very fit to "murder sleep"[350] in those

Who gazed upon her cheek's transcendent hue,

Her Attic forehead, and her Phidian nose:

Few angles were there in her form, 't is true,

Thinner she might have been, and yet scarce lose;

Yet, after all, 't would puzzle to say where

It would not spoil some separate charm to pare.

XLIII.

She was not violently lively, but

Stole on your spirit like a May-day breaking;

Her eyes were not too sparkling, yet, half-shut,

They put beholders in a tender taking;

She looked (this simile's quite new) just cut

From marble, like Pygmalion's statue waking,

The mortal and the marble still at strife,

And timidly expanding into Life.

XLIV.

Lolah demanded the new damsel's name—

"Juanna."—Well, a pretty name enough.

Katinka asked her also whence she came—

"From Spain."—"But where is Spain?"—"Don't ask such stuff,

Nor show your Georgian ignorance—for shame!"

Said Lolah, with an accent rather rough,

To poor Katinka: "Spain's an island near

Morocco, betwixt Egypt and Tangier."

XLV.

Dudù said nothing, but sat down beside

Juanna, playing with her veil or hair;

And, looking at her steadfastly, she sighed,

As if she pitied her for being there,

A pretty stranger without friend or guide,

And all abashed, too, at the general stare

Which welcomes hapless strangers in all places,

With kind remarks upon their mien and faces.

[282]

XLVI.

But here the Mother of the Maids drew near,

With "Ladies, it is time to go to rest.

I'm puzzled what to do with you, my dear!"

She added to Juanna, their new guest:

"Your coming has been unexpected here,

And every couch is occupied; you had best

Partake of mine; but by to-morrow early

We will have all things settled for you fairly."

XLVII.

Here Lolah interposed—"Mamma, you know

You don't sleep soundly, and I cannot bear

That anybody should disturb you so;

I'll take Juanna; we're a slenderer pair

Than you would make the half of;—don't say no;

And I of your young charge will take due care."

But here Katinka interfered, and said,

"She also had compassion and a bed."

XLVIII.

"Besides, I hate to sleep alone," quoth she.

The matron frowned: "Why so?"—"For fear of ghosts,"

Replied Katinka; "I am sure I see

A phantom upon each of the four posts;

And then I have the worst dreams that can be,

Of Guebres, Giaours, and Ginns, and Gouls in hosts."

The dame replied, "Between your dreams and you,

I fear Juanna's dreams would be but few.

XLIX.

"You, Lolah, must continue still to lie

Alone, for reasons which don't matter; you

The same, Katinka, until by and by:

And I shall place Juanna with Dudù,

Who's quiet, inoffensive, silent, shy,

And will not toss and chatter the night through.

What say you, child?"—Dudù said nothing, as

Her talents were of the more silent class;

[283]

L.

But she rose up, and kissed the matron's brow

Between the eyes, and Lolah on both cheeks,

Katinka too; and with a gentle bow

(Curt'sies are neither used by Turks nor Greeks)

She took Juanna by the hand to show

Their place of rest, and left to both their piques,

The others pouting at the matron's preference

Of Dudù, though they held their tongues from deference.

LI.

It was a spacious chamber (Oda is

The Turkish title), and ranged round the wall

Were couches, toilets—and much more than this

I might describe, as I have seen it all,

But it suffices—little was amiss;

'T was on the whole a nobly furnished hall,

With all things ladies want, save one or two,

And even those were nearer than they knew.

LII.

Dudù, as has been said, was a sweet creature,

Not very dashing, but extremely winning,

With the most regulated charms of feature,

Which painters cannot catch like faces sinning

Against proportion—the wild strokes of nature

Which they hit off at once in the beginning,

Full of expression, right or wrong, that strike,

And pleasing, or unpleasing, still are like.

LIII.

But she was a soft landscape of mild earth,

Where all was harmony, and calm, and quiet,

Luxuriant, budding; cheerful without mirth,

Which, if not happiness, is much more nigh it

Than are your mighty passions and so forth,

Which, some call "the Sublime:" I wish they'd try it:

I've seen your stormy seas and stormy women,

And pity lovers rather more than seamen.

LIV.

But she was pensive more than melancholy,

And serious more than pensive, and serene,[284]

It may be, more than either—not unholy

Her thoughts, at least till now, appear to have been.

The strangest thing was, beauteous, she was wholly

Unconscious, albeit turned of quick seventeen,

That she was fair, or dark, or short, or tall;

She never thought about herself at all.

LV.

And therefore was she kind and gentle as

The Age of Gold (when gold was yet unknown,

By which its nomenclature came to pass;[GV]

Thus most appropriately has been shown

"Lucus à non lucendo," not what was,

But what was not; a sort of style that's grown

Extremely common in this age, whose metal

The Devil may decompose, but never settle:[GW]

LVI.

I think it may be of "Corinthian Brass,"[351]

Which was a mixture of all metals, but

The brazen uppermost). Kind reader! pass

This long parenthesis: I could not shut

It sooner for the soul of me, and class

My faults even with your own! which meaneth, Put

A kind construction upon them and me:

But that you won't—then don't—I am not less free.

LVII.

'T is time we should return to plain narration,

And thus my narrative proceeds:—Dudù,

With every kindness short of ostentation,

Showed Juan, or Juanna, through and through

This labyrinth of females, and each station

Described—what's strange—in words extremely few:

I have but one simile, and that's a blunder,

For wordless woman, which is silent thunder.[GX]

[285]

LVIII.

And next she gave her (I say her, because

The gender still was epicene, at least

In outward show, which is a saving clause)

An outline of the customs of the East,

With all their chaste integrity of laws,

By which the more a Harem is increased,

The stricter doubtless grow the vestal duties

Of any supernumerary beauties.

LIX.

And then she gave Juanna a chaste kiss:

Dudú was fond of kissing—which I'm sure

That nobody can ever take amiss,

Because 't is pleasant, so that it be pure,

And between females means no more than this—

That they have nothing better near, or newer.

"Kiss" rhymes to "bliss" in fact as well as verse—

I wish it never led to something worse.

LX.

In perfect innocence she then unmade

Her toilet, which cost little, for she was

A child of Nature, carelessly arrayed:

If fond of a chance ogle at her glass,

'T was like the fawn, which, in the lake displayed,

Beholds her own shy, shadowy image pass,

When first she starts, and then returns to peep,

Admiring this new native of the deep.

LXI.

And one by one her articles of dress

Were laid aside; but not before she offered

Her aid to fair Juanna, whose excess

Of modesty declined the assistance proffered:

Which passed well off—as she could do no less;

Though by this politesse she rather suffered,

Pricking her fingers with those cursed pins,

Which surely were invented for our sins,—

LXII.

Making a woman like a porcupine,

Not to be rashly touched. But still more dread,[286]

Oh ye! whose fate it is, as once 't was mine,

In early youth, to turn a lady's maid;—

I did my very boyish best to shine

In tricking her out for a masquerade:

The pins were placed sufficiently, but not

Stuck all exactly in the proper spot.

LXIII.

But these are foolish things to all the wise,

And I love Wisdom more than she loves me;

My tendency is to philosophise

On most things, from a tyrant to a tree;

But still the spouseless virgin Knowledge flies.

What are we? and whence came we? what shall be

Our ultimate existence? what's our present?

Are questions answerless, and yet incessant.

LXIV.

There was deep silence in the chamber: dim

And distant from each other burned the lights,

And slumber hovered o'er each lovely limb

Of the fair occupants: if there be sprites,

They should have walked there in their sprightliest trim,

By way of change from their sepulchral sites,

And shown themselves as ghosts of better taste

Than haunting some old ruin or wild waste.

LXV.

Many and beautiful lay those around,

Like flowers of different hue, and clime, and root,

In some exotic garden sometimes found,

With cost, and care, and warmth induced to shoot.

One with her auburn tresses lightly bound,

And fair brows gently drooping, as the fruit

Nods from the tree, was slumbering with soft breath,

And lips apart, which showed the pearls beneath.

LXVI.

One with her flushed cheek laid on her white arm,

And raven ringlets gathered in dark crowd

Above her brow, lay dreaming soft and warm;

And smiling through her dream, as through a cloud[287]

The moon breaks, half unveiled each further charm,

As, slightly stirring in her snowy shroud,

Her beauties seized the unconscious hour of night

All bashfully to struggle into light.

LXVII.

This is no bull, although it sounds so; for

'T was night, but there were lamps, as hath been said.

A third's all pallid aspect offered more

The traits of sleeping sorrow, and betrayed

Through the heaved breast the dream of some far shore

Belovéd and deplored; while slowly strayed

(As night-dew, on a cypress glittering, tinges

The black bough) tear-drops through her eyes' dark fringes.

LXVIII.

A fourth as marble, statue-like and still,

Lay in a breathless, hushed, and stony sleep;

White, cold, and pure, as looks a frozen rill,

Or the snow minaret on an Alpine steep,

Or Lot's wife done in salt,—or what you will;—

My similes are gathered in a heap,

So pick and choose—perhaps you'll be content

With a carved lady on a monument.

LXIX.

And lo! a fifth appears;—and what is she?

A lady of a "certain age,"[352] which means

Certainly agéd—what her years might be

I know not, never counting past their teens;

But there she slept, not quite so fair to see,

As ere that awful period intervenes

Which lays both men and women on the shelf,

To meditate upon their sins and self.

LXX.

But all this time how slept, or dreamed, Dudú?

With strict inquiry I could ne'er discover,[288]

And scorn to add a syllable untrue;

But ere the middle watch was hardly over,

Just when the fading lamps waned dim and blue,

And phantoms hovered, or might seem to hover,

To those who like their company, about

The apartment, on a sudden she screamed out:

LXXI.

And that so loudly, that upstarted all

The Oda, in a general commotion:

Matron and maids, and those whom you may call

Neither, came crowding like the waves of Ocean,

One on the other, throughout the whole hall,

All trembling, wondering, without the least notion

More than I have myself of what could make

The calm Dudù so turbulently wake.

LXXII.

But wide awake she was, and round her bed.

With floating draperies and with flying hair,

With eager eyes, and light but hurried tread,

And bosoms, arms, and ankles glancing bare,

And bright as any meteor ever bred

By the North Pole,—they sought her cause of care,

For she seemed agitated, flushed, and frightened,

Her eye dilated, and her colour heightened.

LXXIII.

But what is strange—and a strong proof how great

A blessing is sound sleep—Juanna lay

As fast as ever husband by his mate

In holy matrimony snores away.

Not all the clamour broke her happy state

Of slumber, ere they shook her,—so they say

At least,—and then she, too, unclosed her eyes,

And yawned a good deal with discreet surprise.[GY]

LXXIV.

And now commenced a strict investigation,

Which, as all spoke at once, and more than once[289]

Conjecturing, wondering, asking a narration,

Alike might puzzle either wit or dunce

To answer in a very clear oration.

Dudú had never passed for wanting sense,

But being "no orator as Brutus is,"[353]

Could not at first expound what was amiss.

LXXV.

At length she said, that in a slumber sound

She dreamed a dream, of walking in a wood—

A "wood obscure," like that where Dante found[354]

Himself in at the age when all grow good;[GZ]

Life's half-way house, where dames with virtue crowned

Run much less risk of lovers turning rude;

And that this wood was full of pleasant fruits,

And trees of goodly growth and spreading roots;

LXXVI.

And in the midst a golden apple grew,—

A most prodigious pippin—but it hung

Rather too high and distant; that she threw

Her glances on it, and then, longing, flung

Stones and whatever she could pick up, to

Bring down the fruit, which still perversely clung

To its own bough, and dangled yet in sight,

But always at a most provoking height;[HA]

LXXVII.

That on a sudden, when she least had hope,

It fell down of its own accord before

Her feet; that her first movement was to stoop

And pick it up, and bite it to the core;

That just as her young lip began to ope[HB]

Upon the golden fruit the vision bore,[290]

A bee flew out, and stung her to the heart,

And so—she woke with a great scream and start.

LXXVIII.

All this she told with some confusion and

Dismay, the usual consequence of dreams

Of the unpleasant kind, with none at hand

To expound their vain and visionary gleams.

I've known some odd ones which seemed really planned

Prophetically, or that which one deems

A "strange coincidence," to use a phrase

By which such things are settled now-a-days.[355]

LXXIX.

The damsels, who had thoughts of some great harm,

Began, as is the consequence of fear,

To scold a little at the false alarm

That broke for nothing on their sleeping ear.

The matron, too, was wroth to leave her warm

Bed for the dream she had been obliged to hear,

And chafed at poor Dudù, who only sighed,

And said, that she was sorry she had cried.

LXXX.

"I've heard of stories of a cock and bull;

But visions of an apple and a bee,

To take us from our natural rest, and pull

The whole Oda from their beds at half-past three,

Would make us think the moon is at its full.

You surely are unwell, child! we must see,

To-morrow, what his Highness's physician

Will say to this hysteric of a vision.

LXXXI.

"And poor Juanna, too, the child's first night

Within these walls, to be broke in upon

With such a clamour—I had thought it right

That the young stranger should not lie alone,[291]

And, as the quietest of all, she might

With you, Dudù, a good night's rest have known:

But now I must transfer her to the charge

Of Lolah—though her couch is not so large."

LXXXII.

Lolah's eyes sparkled at the proposition;

But poor Dudù, with large drops in her own,

Resulting from the scolding or the vision,

Implored that present pardon might be shown

For this first fault, and that on no condition

(She added in a soft and piteous tone)

Juanna should be taken from her, and

Her future dreams should be all kept in hand.

LXXXIII.

She promised never more to have a dream,

At least to dream so loudly as just now;

She wondered at herself how she could scream—

'T was foolish, nervous, as she must allow,

A fond hallucination, and a theme

For laughter—but she felt her spirits low,

And begged they would excuse her; she'd get over

This weakness in a few hours, and recover.

LXXXIV.

And here Juanna kindly interposed,

And said she felt herself extremely well

Where she then was, as her sound sleep disclosed,

When all around rang like a tocsin bell;

She did not find herself the least disposed

To quit her gentle partner, and to dwell

Apart from one who had no sin to show,

Save that of dreaming once "mal-à-propos."

LXXXV.

As thus Juanna spoke, Dudù turned round

And hid her face within Juanna's breast:

Her neck alone was seen, but that was found

The colour of a budding rose's crest.[292][HC]

I can't tell why she blushed, nor can expound

The mystery of this rupture of their test;

All that I know is, that the facts I state

Are true as Truth has ever been of late,

LXXXVI.

And so good night to them,—or, if you will,

Good morrow—for the cock had crown, and light

Began to clothe each Asiatic hill,

And the mosque crescent struggled into sight

Of the long caravan, which in the chill

Of dewy dawn wound slowly round each height

That stretches to the stony belt, which girds

Asia, where Kaff looks down upon the Kurds.[356]

LXXXVII.

With the first ray, or rather grey of morn,

Gulbeyaz rose from restlessness; and pale

As Passion rises, with its bosom worn,

Arrayed herself with mantle, gem, and veil.

The Nightingale that sings with the deep thorn,

Which fable places in her breast of wail,

Is lighter far of heart and voice than those

Whose headlong passions form their proper woes.

LXXXVIII.

And that's the moral of this composition,

If people would but see its real drift;—

But that they will not do without suspicion,

Because all gentle readers have the gift

Of closing 'gainst the light their orbs of vision:

While gentle writers also love to lift

Their voices 'gainst each other, which is natural,

The numbers are too great for them to flatter all.

LXXXIX.

Rose the Sultana from a bed of splendour,

Softer than the soft Sybarite's, who cried[293][357]

Aloud because his feelings were too tender

To brook a ruffled rose-leaf by his side,—

So beautiful that Art could little mend her,

Though pale with conflicts between Love and Pride;—

So agitated was she with her error,

She did not even look into the mirror.

XC.

Also arose about the self-same time,

Perhaps a little later, her great Lord,

Master of thirty kingdoms so sublime,

And of a wife by whom he was abhorred;

A thing of much less import in that clime—

At least to those of incomes which afford

The filling up their whole connubial cargo—

Than where two wives are under an embargo.

XCI.

He did not think much on the matter, nor

Indeed on any other: as a man

He liked to have a handsome paramour

At hand, as one may like to have a fan,

And therefore of Circassians had good store,

As an amusement after the Divan;

Though an unusual fit of love, or duty,

Had made him lately bask in his bride's beauty.

XCII.

And now he rose; and after due ablutions

Exacted by the customs of the East,

And prayers and other pious evolutions,

He drank six cups of coffee at the least,

And then withdrew to hear about the Russians,

Whose victories had recently increased

In Catherine's reign, whom Glory still adores,

As greatest of all sovereigns and w——s.

XCIII.

But oh, thou grand legitimate Alexander![HD][358]

Her son's son, let not this last phrase offend[294]

Thine ear, if it should reach—and now rhymes wander

Almost as far as Petersburgh, and lend

A dreadful impulse to each loud meander

Of murmuring Liberty's wide waves, which blend

Their roar even with the Baltic's—so you be

Your father's son, 't is quite enough for me.

XCIV.

To call men love-begotten, or proclaim[HE]

Their mothers as the antipodes of Timon,

That hater of Mankind, would be a shame,

A libel, or whate'er you please to rhyme on:

But people's ancestors are History's game;[HF]

And if one Lady's slip could leave a crime on

All generations, I should like to know

What pedigree the best would have to show?[359]

XCV.

Had Catherine and the Sultan understood

Their own true interests, which Kings rarely know,

Until 't is taught by lessons rather rude,

There was a way to end their strife, although

Perhaps precarious, had they but thought good,

Without the aid of Prince or Plenipo:

She to dismiss her guards and he his Harem,

And for their other matters, meet and share 'em.

XCVI.

But as it was, his Highness had to hold

His daily council upon ways and means

How to encounter with this martial scold,

This modern Amazon and Queen of queans;[295]

And the perplexity could not be told

Of all the pillars of the State, which leans

Sometimes a little heavy on the backs

Of those who cannot lay on a new tax.

XCVII.

Meantime Gulbeyaz when her King was gone,

Retired into her boudoir, a sweet place

For love or breakfast; private, pleasing, lone,

And rich with all contrivances which grace

Those gay recesses:—many a precious stone

Sparkled along its roof, and many a vase

Of porcelain held in the fettered flowers,

Those captive soothers of a captive's hours.

XCVIII.

Mother of pearl, and porphyry, and marble,

Vied with each other on this costly spot;

And singing birds without were heard to warble;

And the stained glass which lighted this fair grot

Varied each ray;—but all descriptions garble

The true effect,[360] and so we had better not

Be too minute; an outline is the best,—

A lively reader's fancy does the rest.

XCIX.

And here she summoned Baba, and required

Don Juan at his hands, and information

Of what had passed since all the slaves retired,

And whether he had occupied their station:

If matters had been managed as desired,

And his disguise with due consideration[296]

Kept up; and above all, the where and how

He had passed the night, was what she wished to know.

C.

Baba, with some embarrassment, replied

To this long catechism of questions, asked

More easily than answered,—that he had tried

His best to obey in what he had been tasked;

But there seemed something that he wished to hide,

Which Hesitation more betrayed than masked;

He scratched his ear, the infallible resource

To which embarrassed people have recourse.

CI.

Gulbeyaz was no model of true patience,

Nor much disposed to wait in word or deed;

She liked quick answers in all conversations;

And when she saw him stumbling like a steed

In his replies, she puzzled him for fresh ones;

And as his speech grew still more broken-kneed,

Her cheek began to flush, her eyes to sparkle,

And her proud brow's blue veins to swell and darkle.

CII.

When Baba saw these symptoms, which he knew

To bode him no great good, he deprecated

Her anger, and beseeched she'd hear him through—

He could not help the thing which he related:

Then out it came at length, that to Dudù

Juan was given in charge, as hath been stated;

But not by Baba's fault, he said, and swore on

The holy camel's hump, besides the Koran.

CIII.

The chief dame of the Oda,[361] upon whom

The discipline of the whole Harem bore,

As soon as they re-entered their own room,

For Baba's function stopped short at the door,

Had settled all; nor could he then presume

(The aforesaid Baba) just then to do more,[297]

Without exciting such suspicion as

Might make the matter still worse than it was.

CIV.

He hoped, indeed he thought, he could be sure,

Juan had not betrayed himself; in fact

'T was certain that his conduct had been pure,

Because a foolish or imprudent act

Would not alone have made him insecure,

But ended in his being found out and sacked,

And thrown into the sea.—Thus Baba spoke

Of all save Dudù's dream, which was no joke.

CV.

This he discreetly kept in the back ground,

And talked away—and might have talked till now,

For any further answer that he found,

So deep an anguish wrung Gulbeyaz' brow:

Her cheek turned ashes, ears rung, brain whirled round,

As if she had received a sudden blow,

And the heart's dew of pain sprang fast and chilly

O'er her fair front, like Morning's on a lily.

CVI.

Although she was not of the fainting sort,

Baba thought she would faint, but there he erred—

It was but a convulsion, which though short

Can never be described; we all have heard,[HG]

And some of us have felt thus "all amort"[362]

When things beyond the common have occurred;—

Gulbeyaz proved in that brief agony

What she could ne'er express—then how should I?

[298]

CVII.

She stood a moment as a Pythoness

Stands on her tripod, agonized, and full

Of inspiration gathered from distress,

When all the heart-strings like wild horses pull

The heart asunder;—then, as more or less

Their speed abated or their strength grew dull,

She sunk down on her seat by slow degrees,

And bowed her throbbing head o'er trembling knees.

CVIII.

Her face declined and was unseen; her hair

Fell in long tresses like the weeping willow,

Sweeping the marble underneath her chair,

Or rather sofa (for it was all pillow,

A low, soft ottoman), and black Despair

Stirred up and down her bosom like a billow,

Which rushes to some shore whose shingles check

Its farther course, but must receive its wreck.

CIX.

Her head hung down, and her long hair in stooping

Concealed her features better than a veil;

And one hand o'er the ottoman lay drooping,

White, waxen, and as alabaster pale:

Would that I were a painter! to be grouping

All that a poet drags into detail!

Oh that my words were colours! but their tints

May serve perhaps as outlines or slight hints.

CX.

Baba, who knew by experience when to talk

And when to hold his tongue, now held it till

This passion might blow o'er, nor dared to balk

Gulbeyaz' taciturn or speaking will.

At length she rose up, and began to walk

Slowly along the room, but silent still,

And her brow cleared, but not her troubled eye;

The wind was down, but still the sea ran high.

CXI.

She stopped, and raised her head to speak-but paused

And then moved on again with rapid pace;[299]

Then slackened it, which is the march most caused

By deep emotion:—you may sometimes trace

A feeling in each footstep, as disclosed

By Sallust in his Catiline, who, chased

By all the demons of all passions, showed

Their work even by the way in which he trode[363].

CXII.

Gulbeyaz stopped and beckoned Baba:—"Slave!

Bring the two slaves!" she said in a low tone,

But one which Baba did not like to brave,

And yet he shuddered, and seemed rather prone

To prove reluctant, and begged leave to crave

(Though he well knew the meaning) to be shown

What slaves her Highness wished to indicate,

For fear of any error, like the late.

CXIII.

"The Georgian and her paramour," replied

The Imperial Bride—and added, "Let the boat

Be ready by the secret portal's side:

You know the rest." The words stuck in her throat,

Despite her injured love and fiery pride;

And of this Baba willingly took note,

And begged by every hair of Mahomet's beard,

She would revoke the order he had heard.

CXIV.

"To hear is to obey," he said; "but still,

Sultana, think upon the consequence:

It is not that I shall not all fulfil

Your orders, even in their severest sense;

But such precipitation may end ill,

Even at your own imperative expense:

I do not mean destruction and exposure,

In case of any premature disclosure;

[300]

CXV.

"But your own feelings. Even should all the rest

Be hidden by the rolling waves, which hide

Already many a once love-beaten breast

Deep in the caverns of the deadly tide—

You love this boyish, new, Seraglio guest,

And if this violent remedy be tried—

Excuse my freedom, when I here assure you,

That killing him is not the way to cure you."

CXVI.

"What dost thou know of Love or feeling?—Wretch!

Begone!" she cried, with kindling eyes—"and do

My bidding!" Baba vanished, for to stretch

His own remonstrance further he well knew

Might end in acting as his own "Jack Ketch;"

And though he wished extremely to get through

This awkward business without harm to others,

He still preferred his own neck to another's.

CXVII.

Away he went then upon his commission,

Growling and grumbling in good Turkish phrase

Against all women of whate'er condition,

Especially Sultanas and their ways;

Their obstinacy, pride, and indecision,

Their never knowing their own mind two days,

The trouble that they gave, their immorality,

Which made him daily bless his own neutrality.

CXVIII.

And then he called his brethren to his aid,

And sent one on a summons to the pair,

That they must instantly be well arrayed,

And above all be combed even to a hair,

And brought before the Empress, who had made

Inquiries after them with kindest care:

At which Dudù looked strange, and Juan silly;

But go they must at once, and will I—nill I.

CXIX.

And here I leave them at their preparation

For the imperial presence, wherein whether[301]

Gulbeyaz showed them both commiseration,

Or got rid of the parties altogether,

Like other angry ladies of her nation,—

Are things the turning of a hair or feather

May settle; but far be 't from me to anticipate

In what way feminine caprice may dissipate.

CXX.

I leave them for the present with good wishes,

Though doubts of their well doing, to arrange

Another part of History; for the dishes

Of this our banquet we must sometimes change;

And trusting Juan may escape the fishes,

(Although his situation now seems strange,

And scarce secure),—as such digressions are fair,

The Muse will take a little touch at warfare.

End of Canto 6th.

FOOTNOTES:

[328] {268}[Two MSS. (A, B) are extant, A in Byron's handwriting, B a transcription by Mrs. Shelley. The variants are marked respectively MS. A., MS. B.

Motto: "Thinkest thou that because thou art virtuous there shall be no more cakes and ale? Aye! and ginger shall be hot in the mouth too."—Twelfth Night, or What You Will, Shakespeare, act ii. sc. 3, lines 109-112.—[MS. B.]

This motto, in an amended form, which was prefixed to the First Canto in 1833, appears on the title-page of the first edition of Cantos VI., VII., VIII., published by John Hunt in 1823.]

[329] [See Shakespeare, Julius Cæsar, act iv. sc. 3, lines 216, 217.]

[330] [Jacob Behmen (or Boehm) stands for "mystic." Byron twice compares him with Wordsworth (see Letters, 1899, iii. 239, 1900, iv. 238).]

[GB] {269}

Man with his head reflects (as Spurzheim tells),

But Woman with the heart—or something else.

or, Man's pensive part is (now and then) the head,

Woman's the heart or anything instead.—

[MS. A. Alternative reading.]

[GC] Like to a Comet's tail——.—[MS. A. erased.]

[GD]

O'erbalance all the Cæsar's victories.—[MS. A.]

Outbalance all the Cæsar's victories.—[MS. B.]

In the Shelley copy "o'erbalance" has been erased and "outbalance" inserted in Byron's handwriting. The lines must have been intended to run thus

'T is not his conquests keep his name in fashion

But Actium lost; for Cleopatra's eyes

Outbalance all the Cæsar's victories.

[GE] I wish that they had been eighteen——.—[MS. A. erased.]

[331] {270}[To Mary Chaworth. Compare "Our union would have healed feuds ... it would have joined lands broad and rich; it would have joined at least one heart."—Detached Thoughts, 1821, Letters, 1901, v. 441.]

[332] [Cato gave up his wife Martia to his friend Hortensius; but, on the death of the latter, took her back again. This conduct was censured by Cæsar, who observed that Cato had an eye to the main chance. "It was the wealth of Hortensius. He lent the young man his wife, that he might make her a rich widow."—Langhorne's Plutarch, 1838, pp. 539, 547.]

[333] {271}[Othello, act i. sc. i, lines 19-24.]

[GF]—— though with greater latitude.—[MS. A.]

[GG] {272}—— with one foolish woman wed.—[MS. B.]

[334] [The famous bed, measuring twelve feet square, to which an allusion is made by Shakespeare in Twelfth Night, act iii. sc. 2, line 44, was formerly preserved at the Saracen's Head at Ware, in Hertfordshire. The bed was removed from Ware to the Rye House in 1869.]

[GH]

His Highness the sublimest of mankind,

The greatest, wisest, bravest, [and the] best,

Proved by his edicts somewhat blind,

Who saw his virtues as they saw the rest

His Highness quite connubially inclined

Had deigned that night to be Gulbeyaz' guest.—[MS. A.]

[335] See Waverley [chap. xx.]

[GI] May look like what I need not mention here—[MS. A.]

[GJ] {273}Are better signs if such things can be signed.—[MS. A.]

[336] [For St. Francis of Assisi, and the "seven great balls of snow," of which "the greatest" was "his wife," see The Golden Legend, 1900, v. 221, vide ante, p. 32, note 1.]

[337] [The words medio, etc., are to be found in Ovid., Metam., lib. ii. line 137; the doctrine, Virtus est medium vitiorum, in Horace, Epist., lib. i, ep. xviii. line 9.]

[GK]

In the damned line ('t is worth, at least, a curse)

Which I have examined too close.—[MS. erased.]

[GL] {274}Self-love that whetstone of Don Cupid's art.—[MS. A.]

[GM]—— with love despairs.—[MS. A. erased.]

[338] [Lady Noel's will was proved February 22, 1812. She left to the trustees a portrait of Byron ... with directions that it was not to be shown to his daughter Ada till she attained the age of twenty-one; but that if her mother was still living, it was not to be so delivered without Lady Byron's consent.—Letters, 1901, vi. 42, note 1.]

[GN] Which diddles you——.—[MS. A. erased.]

[GO] I'm a philosopher; G—d damn them all.—[MS. B.]

[GP] Bills, women, wives, dogs, horses and mankind.—[MS. B. erased.]

[GQ] {275}Is more than I know, and, so, damn them both.—[MS. A. erased.]

[GR]

When we lie down—wife, spouse, or bachelor

By what we love not, to sigh for the light.—[MS. A. erased.]

[GS] By their infernal bedfellow——.—[MS. A. erased.]

[339] [The comparison of Queen Caroline to snow may be traced to an article in the Times of August 23, 1820: "The Queen may now, we believe, be considered as triumphing! For the first three years at least of her Majesty's painful peregrinations, she stands before her husband's admiring subjects 'as white as unsunned snows.'" Political bards and lampoonists of the king's party thanked the Times for "giving them that word."]

[340] {276} [According to Gronow (Reminiscences, 1889, i. 62), a practical joke of Dan Mackinnon's (vide ante, p. 69, footnote) gave Byron a hint for this scene in the harem: "Lord Wellington was curious about visiting a convent near Lisbon, and the lady abbess made no difficulty. Mackinnon hearing this contrived to get clandestinely within the sacred walls ... at all events, when Lord Wellington arrived Dan Mackinnon was to be seen among the nuns, dressed out in their sacred costume, with his whiskers shaved; and, as he possessed good features, he was declared to be one of the best-looking among those chaste dames. It was supposed that this adventure, which was known to Lord Byron, suggested a similar episode in Don Juan."]

[341] [Caligula—vide Suetonius, De XII. Cæs., C. Cæs. Calig., cap, xxx., "Infensus turbæ faventi adversus studium exclamavit: 'Utinam populus Romanus unam cervicem haberet!'"]

[GT] My wish were general but no worse.—[MS. A. erased.]

[GU] That Womankind had only one—say heart.—[MS. A. erased.]

[342] {277}The ladies of the Seraglio.

[343] [Demetrius Cantemir, hospodar of Moldavia. His work, the History of the Growth and Decay of the Othman Empire, was translated into English by N. Tyndal, 1734. He died in 1723.]

[344] [Baron de Tott, in his Memoirs concerning the State of the Turkish Empire (1786, i. 72), gives the title of this functionary as Kiaya Kadun, i.e. Mistress or Governess of the Ladies.]

[345] {278} [The repetition of the same rhyme-word was noted in Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine, July, 1823, vol. xiv. p. 90.]

[346] {279}

["I guess, 't was frightful there to see

A lady so richly clad as she—

Beautiful exceedingly."

Christabel, Part I. lines 66-68.]

[347] "It is in the adjacent climates of Georgia, Mingrelia, and Circassia, that nature has placed, at least to our eyes, the model of beauty, in the shape of the limbs, the colour of the skin, the symmetry of the features, and the expression of the countenance: the men are formed for action, the women for love."—Gibbon, [Decline and Fall, etc., 1825, iii 126.]

[348] {280}Padisha is the Turkish title of the Grand Signior.

[349] [Katinka was the name of the youngest sister of Theresa, the "Maid of Athens."—See letter to H. Drury, May 3, 1810, Letters, 1898, i. 269, note 1; and Poetical Works, 1900, iii. 15, note 1.

It is probable that the originals of Katinka and Dudù were two Circassians who were presented for sale to Nicolas Ernest Kleeman (see his Voyage de Vienne, etc., 1780, pp. 142, 143) at Kaffa, in the Crimea. Of the first he writes, "Elle me baisa la main, et par l'ordre de son maître, elle se promena en long et en large, pour me faire remarquer sa taille mince et aisée. Elle avoit un joli petit pied.... Quand elle a en ôté son voile elle a présenté à mes yeux une beauté très-attrayante; ses cheveux étoient blonds argentés; elle avoit de grands yeux bleux, le nez un peu long, et les lèvres appétissantes. Sa figure étoit régulière, son teint blanc, délicat, les joues couvertes d'un charmant vermilion.... La seconde étoit un peu petite, assez grasse, et avoit les cheveux roux, l'air sensuel et revenant." Kleeman pretended to offer terms, took notes, and retired. But the Circassians are before us still.]

[350] {281} [Macbeth, act ii. sc. 2, line 36.]

[GV] {284}By which no doubt its Baptism came to pass.—[MS. A. erased.]

[GW] The Devil in Hell might melt but never settle.—[MS. A. erased.]

[351] [Hence the title of the satire, The Age of Bronze.]

[GX] For Woman's silence startles more than thunder.—[MS. A. erased.]

[352] {287}[Compare Beppo, stanza xxii. line 2, Poetical Works, 1901, iv. 166, note 1.]

[GY] With no less true and feminine surprise.—[MS. A. erased.]

[353] {289}[Julius Cæsar, act iii. sc. II, line 216.]

[354]

["Nel mezzo del cammin di nostra vita

Mi ritrovai per una selva oscura," etc.

Inferno, Canto I, lines I, 2.]

[GZ]

Himself in an age when men grow good,

As Life's best half is done——.—[MS. A. erased.]

[HA] But out of reach—a most provoking sight.—[MS. A. erased.]

[HB] That ere her unreluctant lips could ope.—[MS. A.]

[355] {290}[One of the advocates employed for Queen Caroline in the House of Lords spoke of some of the most puzzling passages in the history of her intercourse with Bergami, as amounting to "odd instances of strange coincidence."—Ed. 1833, xvi. 160.]

[HC] {291}At least as red as the Flamingo's breast.—[MS. A. erased.]

[356] {292}[Byron used Kaff for Caucasus, vide ante, English Bards, etc., line 1022, Poetical Works, 1898, i. 378, note 3. But there may be some allusion to the fabulous Kaff, "anciently imagined by the Asiatics to surround the world, to bind the horizon on all sides." There was a proverb "From Kaf to Kaf," i.e. "the wide world through." See, too, D'Herbelot's Bibliothèque Orientale, 1697, art. "Caf."]

[357] [See L.A. Seneca, De Irâ, lib. ii. cap. 25.]

[HD] {293}

Oh thou her lawful grandson Alexander

Let not this quality offend——.—[MS. A. erased.]

[358] [Compare The Age of Bronze, lines 434, sq., Poetical Works, 1901, v. 563, note 1.]

[HE] {294}To call a man a whoreson——.—[MS. A. erased.]

[HF] But a man's grandmother is deemed fair game.—[MS. A.]

[359] [It is probable that Byron knew that there was a "hint of illegitimacy" in his own pedigree. John Byron of Clayton, grandfather of Richard the second Lord Byron, was born, out of wedlock, to Elizabeth, daughter of William Costerden, of Blakesley, in Lancashire, widow to George Halgh of Halgh (sic), and second wife of Sir John Byron of Clayton, "little Sir John with the great beard." He succeeded to Newstead and the Lancashire estates, not as heir-at-law, but by deed of gift. (See letter to Murray, October 20, 1820, Letters, 1901, v. 99, note 2.)]

[360] {295}[Aubry de la Motraye, in describing the interior of the Grand Signior's palace, into which he gained admission as the assistant of a watchmaker who was employed to regulate the clocks, says that the eunuch who received them at the entrance of the harem, conducted them into a hall: "Cette salle est incrustee de porcelaines fines; et le lambris doré et azuré qui orne le fond d'une coupole qui regne au-dessus, est des plus riches.... Une fontaine artificielle et jaillissante, dont le bassin est d'un prétieux marbre verd qui m'a paru serpentin ou jaspe, s'élevoit directement au milieu, sous le dôme.... Je me trouvai la tête si pleine de Sophas de prétieux plafonds, de meubles superbes, en un mot, d'une si grande confusion de matériaux magnifiques, ... qu'il seroit difficile d'en donner une idée claire."—Voyages, 1727, i. 220, 222.]

[361] {296}["Il n'ya point de Religieuses ... point de novices, plus soumises à la volonté de leur abbesse que ces filles [les Odaliques] le sont à leurs maitresses."—A. de la Motraye, Voyages, 1727, i. 338.]

[HG] {297}

——— though seen not heard

For it is silent.—[MS. A. erased.]

[362] ["How fares my Kate? What! sweeting, all amort?"—Taming of the Shrew, act iv. sc. 3, line 36. "Amort" is said to be a corruption of à la mort. Byron must have had in mind his silent ecstasy of grief when the Countess Guiccioli endeavoured to break the announcement of Allegra's death (April, 1822). "'I understand,' said he; 'it is enough; say no more.' A mortal paleness spread itself over his face, his strength failed him, and he sunk into a seat. His look was fixed, and the expression such that I began to fear for his reason; he did not shed a tear" (Life, p. 368).]

[363] {299}["His guilty soul, at enmity with gods and men, could find no rest; so violently was his mind torn and distracted by a consciousness of guilt. Accordingly his countenance was pale, his eyes ghastly, his pace one while quick, another slow [citus modo, modo tardus incessus]; indeed, in all his looks there was an air of distraction."—Sallust, Catilina, cap. xv. sf.]

[302]

CANTO THE SEVENTH.[364]
swash

I.

O Love! O Glory! what are ye who fly

Around us ever, rarely to alight?

There's not a meteor in the polar sky

Of such transcendent and more fleeting flight.

Chill, and chained to cold earth, we lift on high

Our eyes in search of either lovely light;

A thousand and a thousand colours they

Assume, then leave us on our freezing way.

II.

And such as they are, such my present tale is,

A nondescript and ever-varying rhyme,

A versified Aurora Borealis,

Which flashes o'er a waste and icy clime.

When we know what all are, we must bewail us,

But ne'ertheless I hope it is no crime

To laugh at all things—for I wish to know

What, after all, are all things—but a show?

III.

They accuse me—Me—the present writer of

The present poem—of—I know not what[303]—A

tendency to under-rate and scoff

At human power and virtue, and all that;[365]

And this they say in language rather rough.

Good God! I wonder what they would be at!

I say no more than hath been said in Danté's

Verse, and by Solomon and by Cervantes;

IV.

By Swift, by Machiavel, by Rochefoucault,

By Fénélon, by Luther, and by Plato;[HH]

By Tillotson, and Wesley, and Rousseau,

Who knew this life was not worth a potato.

'T is not their fault, nor mine, if this be so,—

For my part, I pretend not to be Cato,

Nor even Diogenes.—We live and die,

But which is best, you know no more than I.

V.

Socrates said, our only knowledge was[366]

"To know that nothing could be known;" a pleasant

Science enough, which levels to an ass

Each man of wisdom, future, past, or present.

Newton (that proverb of the mind), alas!

Declared, with all his grand discoveries recent,

That he himself felt only "like a youth

Picking up shells by the great ocean—Truth."[HI][367]

VI.

Ecclesiastes said, "that all is vanity"—

Most modern preachers say the same, or show it[304]

By their examples of true Christianity:

In short, all know, or very soon may know it;

And in this scene of all-confessed inanity,

By Saint, by Sage, by Preacher, and by Poet,

Must I restrain me, through the fear of strife,

From holding up the nothingness of Life?[HJ]

VII.

Dogs, or men!—for I flatter you[368] in saying

That ye are dogs—your betters far—ye may

Read, or read not, what I am now essaying

To show ye what ye are in every way.

As little as the moon stops for the baying

Of wolves, will the bright Muse withdraw one ray

From out her skies—then howl your idle wrath!

While she still silvers o'er your gloomy path.

VIII.

"Fierce loves and faithless wars"—I am not sure

If this be the right reading—'t is no matter;

The fact's about the same, I am secure;

I sing them both, and am about to batter

A town which did a famous siege endure,

And was beleaguered both by land and water

By Souvaroff,[369] or Anglicè Suwarrow,

Who loved blood as an alderman loves marrow.

IX.

The fortress is called Ismail, and is placed

Upon the Danube's left branch and left bank,[370]

With buildings in the Oriental taste,

But still a fortress of the foremost rank,

Or was at least, unless 't is since defaced,

Which with your conquerors is a common prank:[305]

It stands some eighty versts from the high sea,

And measures round of toises thousands three.[371]

X.

Within the extent of this fortification

A borough is comprised along the height

Upon the left, which from its loftier station

Commands the city, and upon its site

A Greek had raised around this elevation

A quantity of palisades upright,

So placed as to impede the fire of those

Who held the place, and to assist the foe's.[372]

XI.

This circumstance may serve to give a notion

Of the high talents of this new Vauban:

But the town ditch below was deep as Ocean,

The rampart higher than you'd wish to hang:

But then there was a great want of precaution

(Prithee, excuse this engineering slang),

Nor work advanced, nor covered way was there,[373]

To hint, at least, "Here is no thoroughfare."

XII.

But a stone bastion, with a narrow gorge,

And walls as thick as most skulls born as yet;

Two batteries, cap-à-pie, as our St. George,

Casemated[374] one, and t' other "a barbette,"[306][375]

Of Danube's bank took formidable charge;

While two-and-twenty cannon duly set

Rose over the town's right side, in bristling tier,

Forty feet high, upon a cavalier.[376]

XIII.

But from the river the town's open quite,

Because the Turks could never be persuaded

A Russian vessel e'er would heave in sight;[377]

And such their creed was till they were invaded,

When it grew rather late to set things right:

But as the Danube could not well be waded,

They looked upon the Muscovite flotilla,

And only shouted, "Allah!" and "Bis Millah!"

XIV.

The Russians now were ready to attack;

But oh, ye goddesses of War and Glory!

How shall I spell the name of each Cossacque

Who were immortal, could one tell their story?

Alas! what to their memory can lack?

Achilles' self was not more grim and gory

Than thousands of this new and polished nation,

Whose names want nothing but—pronunciation.

XV.

Still I'll record a few, if but to increase

Our euphony: there was Strongenoff, and Strokonoff,

Meknop, Serge Lwow, Arséniew of modern Greece,

And Tschitsshakoff, and Roguenoff, and Chokenoff,[378]

And others of twelve consonants apiece;

And more might be found out, if I could poke enough[307]

Into gazettes; but Fame (capricious strumpet),

It seems, has got an ear as well as trumpet,

XVI.

And cannot tune those discords of narration,[HK]

Which may be names at Moscow, into rhyme;

Yet there were several worth commemoration,

As e'er was virgin of a nuptial chime;

Soft words, too, fitted for the peroration

Of Londonderry drawling against time,

Ending in "ischskin," "ousckin," "iffskchy," "ouski,"

Of whom we can insert but Rousamouski,[379]

XVII.

Scherematoff and Chrematoff, Koklophti,

Koclobski, Kourakin, and Mouskin Pouskin,

All proper men of weapons, as e'er scoffed high[380]

Against a foe, or ran a sabre through skin:

Little cared they for Mahomet or Mufti,

Unless to make their kettle-drums a new skin

Out of their hides, if parchment had grown dear,

And no more handy substitute been near.

XVIII.

Then there were foreigners of much renown,

Of various nations, and all volunteers;[308]

Not fighting for their country or its crown,

But wishing to be one day brigadiers;

Also to have the sacking of a town;—

A pleasant thing to young men at their years.

'Mongst them were several Englishmen of pith,

Sixteen called Thomson, and nineteen named Smith.

XIX.

Jack Thomson and Bill Thomson;—all the rest

Had been called "Jemmy," after the great bard;

I don't know whether they had arms or crest,

But such a godfather's as good a card.

Three of the Smiths were Peters; but the best

Amongst them all, hard blows to inflict or ward,

Was he, since so renowned "in country quarters

At Halifax;"[381] but now he served the Tartars.

XX.

The rest were Jacks and Gills and Wills and Bills,

But when I've added that the elder Jack Smith

Was born in Cumberland among the hills,

And that his father was an honest blacksmith,

I've said all I know of a name that fills

Three lines of the despatch in taking "Schmacksmith,"

A village of Moldavia's waste, wherein

He fell, immortal in a bulletin.

XXI.

I wonder (although Mars no doubt's a god I

Praise) if a man's name in a bulletin

May make up for a bullet in his body?

I hope this little question is no sin,

Because, though I am but a simple noddy,

I think one Shakespeare puts the same thought in[309]

The mouth of some one in his plays so doting,

Which many people pass for wits by quoting.[382]

XXII.

Then there were Frenchmen, gallant, young, and gay;

But I'm too great a patriot to record

Their Gallic names upon a glorious day;

I'd rather tell ten lies than say a word

Of truth;—such truths are treason; they betray

Their country; and as traitors are abhorred,

Who name the French in English, save to show

How Peace should make John Bull the Frenchman's foe.

XXIII.

The Russians, having built two batteries on

An isle near Ismail, had two ends in view;

The first was to bombard it, and knock down

The public buildings and the private too,

No matter what poor souls might be undone:[HL]

The city's shape suggested this, 't is true,

Formed like an amphitheatre—each dwelling

Presented a fine mark to throw a shell in.[383]

XXIV.

The second object was to profit by

The moment of the general consternation,

To attack the Turk's flotilla, which lay nigh

Extremely tranquil, anchored at its station:

But a third motive was as probably

To frighten them into capitulation;[310][384]

A phantasy which sometimes seizes warriors,

Unless they are game as bull-dogs and fox-terriers.[HM]

XXV.

A habit rather blameable, which is

That of despising those we combat with,

Common in many cases, was in this

The cause[385] of killing Tchitchitzkoff and Smith—

One of the valorous "Smiths" whom we shall miss

Out of those nineteen who late rhymed to "pith;"

But 't is a name so spread o'er "Sir" and "Madam,"

That one would think the first who bore it "Adam."

XXVI.

The Russian batteries were incomplete,

Because they were constructed in a hurry;[386]

Thus the same cause which makes a verse want feet,

And throws a cloud o'er Longman and John Murray,

When the sale of new books is not so fleet

As they who print them think is necessary,

May likewise put off for a time what story

Sometimes calls "Murder," and at others "Glory."

XXVII.

Whether it was their engineer's stupidity,

Their haste or waste, I neither know nor care,

Or some contractor's personal cupidity,

Saving his soul by cheating in the ware[311]

Of homicide, but there was no solidity

In the new batteries erected there;

They either missed, or they were never missed,

And added greatly to the missing list.

XXVIII.

A sad miscalculation about distance

Made all their naval matters incorrect;

Three fireships lost their amiable existence

Before they reached a spot to take effect;

The match was lit too soon, and no assistance

Could remedy this lubberly defect;

They blew up in the middle of the river,

While, though 't was dawn, the Turks slept fast as ever.[387]

XXIX.

At seven they rose, however, and surveyed

The Russ flotilla getting under way;

'T was nine, when still advancing undismayed,

Within a cable's length their vessels lay

Off Ismail, and commenced a cannonade,

Which was returned with interest, I may say,

And by a fire of musketry and grape,

And shells and shot of every size and shape.[388]

XXX.

For six hours bore they without intermission

The Turkish fire, and, aided by their own

Land batteries, worked their guns with great precision;

At length they found mere cannonade alone

By no means would produce the town's submission,

And made a signal to retreat at one.

One bark blew up, a second near the works

Running aground, was taken by the Turks.[389]

[312]

XXXI.

The Moslem, too, had lost both ships and men;

But when they saw the enemy retire,

Their Delhis[390] manned some boats, and sailed again,

And galled the Russians with a heavy fire,

And tried to make a landing on the main;

But here the effect fell short of their desire:

Count Damas drove them back into the water

Pell-mell, and with a whole gazette of slaughter.[391]

XXXII.

"If" (says the historian here) "I could report

All that the Russians did upon this day,

I think that several volumes would fall short,

And I should still have many things to say;"[392]

And so he says no more—but pays his court

To some distinguished strangers in that fray;

The Prince de Ligne, and Langeron, and Damas,

Names great as any that the roll of Fame has.[393]

[313]

XXXIII.

This being the case, may show us what Fame is:

For out of these three "preux Chevaliers," how

Many of common readers give a guess

That such existed? (and they may live now

For aught we know.) Renown's all hit or miss;

There's fortune even in Fame, we must allow.

'T is true, the Memoirs of the Prince de Ligne[394]

Have half withdrawn from him Oblivion's screen.

XXXIV.

But here are men who fought in gallant actions

As gallantly as ever heroes fought,

But buried in the heap of such transactions

Their names are rarely found, nor often sought.

Thus even good fame may suffer sad contractions,

And is extinguished sooner than she ought:

Of all our modern battles, I will bet

You can't repeat nine names from each Gazette.

XXXV.

In short, this last attack, though rich in glory,

Showed that somewhere, somehow, there was a fault,

And Admiral Ribas[395] (known in Russian story)

Most strongly recommended an assault;[314]

In which he was opposed by young and hoary,

Which made a long debate; but I must halt,

For if I wrote down every warrior's speech,

I doubt few readers e'er would mount the breach.

XXXVI.

There was a man, if that he was a man,

Not that his manhood could be called in question,

For had he not been Hercules, his span

Had been as short in youth as indigestion

Made his last illness, when, all worn and wan,

He died beneath a tree, as much unblest on

The soil of the green province he had wasted,

As e'er was locust on the land it blasted.

XXXVII.

This was Potemkin[396]—a great thing in days

When homicide and harlotry made great;[315]

If stars and titles could entail long praise,

His glory might half equal his estate.

This fellow, being six foot high, could raise

A kind of phantasy proportionate

In the then Sovereign of the Russian people,

Who measured men as you would do a steeple.

XXXVIII.

While things were in abeyance, Ribas sent

A courier to the Prince, and he succeeded

In ordering matters after his own bent;

I cannot tell the way in which he pleaded,

But shortly he had cause to be content.

In the mean time, the batteries proceeded,

And fourscore cannon on the Danube's border

Were briskly fired and answered in due order.[397]

XXXIX.

But on the thirteenth, when already part

Of the troops were embarked, the siege to raise,

A courier on the spur inspired new heart

Into all panters for newspaper praise,[HN]

As well as dilettanti in War's art,

By his despatches (couched in pithy phrase)

Announcing the appointment of that lover of

Battles to the command, Field-Marshal Souvaroff.[398]

XL.

The letter of the Prince to the same Marshal

Was worthy of a Spartan, had the cause

Been one to which a good heart could be partial—

Defence of freedom, country, or of laws;[316]

But as it was mere lust of Power to o'er-arch all

With its proud brow, it merits slight applause,

Save for its style, which said, all in a trice,

"You will take Ismail at whatever price."[399]

XLI.

"Let there be Light! said God, and there was Light!"

"Let there be Blood!" says man, and there's a sea!

The fiat of this spoiled child of the Night

(For Day ne'er saw his merits) could decree

More evil in an hour, than thirty bright

Summers could renovate, though they should be

Lovely as those which ripened Eden's fruit;

For War cuts up not only branch, but root.

XLII.

Our friends, the Turks, who with loud "Allahs" now

Began to signalise the Russ retreat,[400]

Were damnably mistaken; few are slow

In thinking that their enemy is beat,[401]

(Or beaten, if you insist on grammar, though

I never think about it in a heat,)

But here I say the Turks were much mistaken,

Who hating hogs, yet wished to save their bacon.

XLIII.

For, on the sixteenth, at full gallop, drew

In sight two horsemen, who were deemed Cossacques

For some time, till they came in nearer view:

They had but little baggage at their backs,

For there were but three shirts between the two;

But on they rode upon two Ukraine hacks,

Till, in approaching, were at length descried

In this plain pair, Suwarrow and his guide.[402]

[317]

XLIV.

"Great joy to London now!" says some great fool,

When London had a grand illumination,

Which to that bottle-conjuror, John Bull,

Is of all dreams the first hallucination;

So that the streets of coloured lamps are full,

That sage (said John) surrenders at discretion[HO]

His purse, his soul, his sense, and even his nonsense,

To gratify, like a huge moth, this one sense.

XLV.

'T is strange that he should further "Damn his eyes,"

For they are damned; that once all-famous oath

Is to the Devil now no further prize,

Since John has lately lost the use of both.

Debt he calls Wealth, and taxes Paradise;

And Famine, with her gaunt and bony growth,[318]

Which stare him in the face, he won't examine,

Or swears that Ceres hath begotten Famine.

XLVI.

But to the tale;—great joy unto the camp!

To Russian, Tartar, English, French, Cossacque,

O'er whom Suwarrow shone like a gas lamp,

Presaging a most luminous attack;

Or like a wisp along the marsh so damp,

Which leads beholders on a boggy walk,

He flitted to and fro a dancing light,

Which all who saw it followed, wrong or right.

XLVII.

But, certes, matters took a different face;

There was enthusiasm and much applause,

The fleet and camp saluted with great grace,

And all presaged good fortune to their cause.

Within a cannot-shot length of the place

They drew, constructed ladders, repaired flaws

In former works, made new, prepared fascines,

And all kinds of benevolent machines.

XLVIII.

'T is thus the spirit of a single mind

Makes that of multitudes take one direction,

As roll the waters to the breathing wind,

Or roams the herd beneath the bull's protection;

Or as a little dog will lead the blind,

Or a bell-wether form the flock's connection

By tinkling sounds, when they go forth to victual;

Such is the sway of your great men o'er little.

XLIX.

The whole camp rung with joy; you would have thought

That they were going to a marriage feast

(This metaphor, I think, holds good as aught,

Since there is discord after both at least):

There was not now a luggage boy but sought

Danger and spoil with ardour much increased;

And why? because a little—odd—old man,

Stripped to his shirt, was come to lead the van.

[319]

L.

But so it was; and every preparation

Was made with all alacrity: the first

Detachment of three columns took its station,

And waited but the signal's voice to burst

Upon the foe: the second's ordination

Was also in three columns, with a thirst

For Glory gaping o'er a sea of Slaughter:

The third, in columns two, attacked by water.[403]

LI.

New batteries were erected, and was held

A general council, in which Unanimity,

That stranger to most councils, here prevailed,[404]

As sometimes happens in a great extremity;[HP]

And every difficulty being dispelled,

Glory began to dawn with due sublimity,[HQ]

While Souvaroff, determined to obtain it,

Was teaching his recruits to use the bayonet.[405]

LII.

It is an actual fact, that he, commander

In chief, in proper person deigned to drill

The awkward squad, and could afford to squander

His time, a corporal's duty to fulfil;

Just as you'd break a sucking salamander

To swallow flame, and never take it ill:[HR]

He showed them how to mount a ladder (which

Was not like Jacob's) or to cross a ditch.[406]

[320]

LIII.

Also he dressed up, for the nonce, fascines

Like men with turbans, scimitars, and dirks,

And made them charge with bayonet these machines,

By way of lesson against actual Turks;[407]

And when well practised in these mimic scenes,

He judged them proper to assail the works,—

(At which your wise men sneered in phrases witty),[HS]

He made no answer—but he took the city.

LIV.

Most things were in this posture on the eve

Of the assault, and all the camp was in

A stern repose; which you would scarce conceive;

Yet men resolved to dash through thick and thin

Are very silent when they once believe

That all is settled:—there was little din,

For some were thinking of their home and friends,

And others of themselves and latter ends.[HT]

LV.

Suwarrow chiefly was on the alert,

Surveying, drilling, ordering, jesting, pondering;

For the man was, we safely may assert,

A thing to wonder at beyond most wondering;

Hero, buffoon, half-demon, and half-dirt,

Praying, instructing, desolating, plundering—Now

Mars, now Momus—and when bent to storm

A fortress, Harlequin in uniform.[408]

[321]

LVI.

The day before the assault, while upon drill—

For this great conqueror played the corporal—

Some Cossacques, hovering like hawks round a hill,

Had met a party towards the Twilight's fall,

One of whom spoke their tongue—or well or ill,

'T was much that he was understood at all;

But whether from his voice, or speech, or manner,

They found that he had fought beneath their banner.

LVII.

Whereon immediately at his request

They brought him and his comrades to head-quarters;

Their dress was Moslem, but you might have guessed

That these were merely masquerading Tartars,

And that beneath each Turkish-fashioned vest

Lurked Christianity—which sometimes barters

Her inward grace for outward show, and makes

It difficult to shun some strange mistakes.

[322]

LVIII.

Suwarrow, who was standing in his shirt

Before a company of Calmucks, drilling,

Exclaiming, fooling, swearing at the inert,

And lecturing on the noble art of killing,—

For deeming human clay but common dirt

This great philosopher was thus instilling

His maxims,[409] which to martial comprehension

Proved death in battle equal to a pension;—

LIX.

Suwarrow, when he saw this company

Of Cossacques and their prey, turned round and cast

Upon them his slow brow and piercing eye:—

"Whence come ye?"—"From Constantinople last,

Captives just now escaped," was the reply.

"What are ye?"—"What you see us." Briefly passed

This dialogue; for he who answered knew

To whom he spoke, and made his words but few.

LX.

"Your names?"—"Mine's Johnson, and my comrade's Juan;

The other two are women, and the third

Is neither man nor woman." The Chief threw on

The party a slight glance, then said," I have heard

Your name before, the second is a new one:

To bring the other three here was absurd:

But let that pass:—I think I have heard your name

In the Nikolaiew regiment?"—"The same."

LXI.

"You served at Widdin?"—"Yes."—"You led the attack?"

"I did."—"What next?"—"I really hardly know"—

"You were the first i' the breach?"—"I was not slack

At least to follow those who might be so"[323]—"What

followed?"—"A shot laid me on my back,

And I became a prisoner to the foe"—

"You shall have vengeance, for the town surrounded

Is twice as strong as that where you were wounded.

LXII.

"Where will you serve?"—"Where'er you please."—"I know

You like to be the hope of the forlorn,

And doubtless would be foremost on the foe

After the hardships you've already borne.

And this young fellow—say what can he do?

He with the beardless chin and garments torn?"—

"Why, General, if he hath no greater fault

In War than Love, he had better lead the assault"—

LXIII.

"He shall if that he dare." Here Juan bowed

Low as the compliment deserved. Suwarrow

Continued: "Your old regiment's allowed,

By special providence, to lead to-morrow,

Or, it may be, to-night, the assault: I have vowed

To several Saints, that shortly plough or harrow

Shall pass o'er what was Ismail, and its tusk[410]

Be unimpeded by the proudest mosque.

LXIV.

"So now, my lads, for Glory!"—Here he turned

And drilled away in the most classic Russian,

Until each high heroic bosom burned

For cash and conquest, as if from a cushion

A preacher had held forth (who nobly spurned

All earthly goods save tithes) and bade them push on

To slay the Pagans who resisted, battering

The armies of the Christian Empress Catherine.

LXV.

Johnson, who knew by this long colloquy

Himself a favourite, ventured to address

Suwarrow, though engaged with accents high

In his resumed amusement. "I confess[324]

My debt in being thus allowed to die

Among the foremost; but if you'd express

Explicitly our several posts, my friend

And self would know what duty to attend."

LXVI.

"Right! I was busy, and forgot. Why, you

Will join your former regiment, which should be

Now under arms. Ho! Katskoff, take him to"—

(Here he called up a Polish orderly)

"His post, I mean the regiment Nikolaiew:

The stranger stripling may remain with me;

He's a fine boy. The women may be sent

To the other baggage, or to the sick tent."

LXVII.

But here a sort of scene began to ensue:

The ladies,—who by no means had been bred

To be disposed of in a way so new,

Although their Harem education led,

Doubtless, to that of doctrines the most true,

Passive obedience,—now raised up the head

With flashing eyes and starting tears, and flung

Their arms, as hens their wings about their young,

LXVIII.

O'er the promoted couple of brave men

Who were thus honoured by the greatest Chief

That ever peopled Hell with heroes slain,

Or plunged a province or a realm in grief.

Oh, foolish mortals! Always taught in vain!

Oh, glorious Laurel! since for one sole leaf

Of thine imaginary deathless tree,

Of blood and tears must flow the unebbing sea.[HU]

LXIX.

Suwarrow, who had small regard for tears,

And not much sympathy for blood, surveyed

The women with their hair about their ears

And natural agonies, with a slight shade[325]

Of feeling: for however Habit sears

Men's hearts against whole millions, when their trade

Is butchery, sometimes a single sorrow

Will touch even heroes—and such was Suwarrow.

LXX.

He said,—and in the kindest Calmuck tone,—

"Why, Johnson, what the devil do you mean

By bringing women here? They shall be shown

All the attention possible, and seen

In safety to the waggons, where alone

In fact they can be safe. You should have been

Aware this kind of baggage never thrives;

Save wed a year, I hate recruits with wives"—

LXXI.

"May it please your Excellency," thus replied

Our British friend, "these are the wives of others,

And not our own. I am too qualified

By service with my military brothers

To break the rules by bringing one's own bride

Into a camp: I know that nought so bothers

The hearts of the heroic on a charge,

As leaving a small family at large.

LXXII.

"But these are but two Turkish ladies, who

With their attendant aided our escape,

And afterwards accompanied us through

A thousand perils in this dubious shape.

To me this kind of life is not so new;

To them, poor things, it is an awkward scrape:

I therefore, if you wish me to fight freely,

Request that they may both be used genteelly."

LXXIII.

Meantime these two poor girls, with swimming eyes,

Looked on as if in doubt if they could trust

Their own protectors; nor was their surprise

Less than their grief (and truly not less just)

To see an old man, rather wild than wise

In aspect, plainly clad, besmeared with dust,[326]

Stripped to his waistcoat, and that not too clean,

More feared than all the Sultans ever seen.

LXXIV.

For everything seemed resting on his nod,

As they could read in all eyes. Now to them,

Who were accustomed, as a sort of god,

To see the Sultan, rich in many a gem,

Like an imperial peacock stalk abroad

(That royal bird, whose tail's a diadem,)

With all the pomp of Power, it was a doubt

How Power could condescend to do without.

LXXV.

John Johnson, seeing their extreme dismay,

Though little versed in feelings oriental,

Suggested some slight comfort in his way:

Don Juan, who was much more sentimental,

Swore they should see him by the dawn of day,

Or that the Russian army should repent all:

And, strange to say, they found some consolation

In this—for females like exaggeration.

LXXVI.

And then with tears, and sighs, and some slight kisses,

They parted for the present—these to await,

According to the artillery's hits or misses,

What sages call Chance, Providence, or Fate—

(Uncertainty is one of many blisses,

A mortgage on Humanity's estate;)[HV]

While their belovéd friends began to arm,

To burn a town which never did them harm.

LXXVII.

Suwarrow,—who but saw things in the gross.

Being much too gross to see them in detail,

Who calculated life as so much dross,

And as the wind a widowed nation's wail,

And cared as little for his army's loss

(So that their efforts should at length prevail)

As wife and friends did for the boils of Job,—

What was 't to him to hear two women sob?

[327]

LXXVIII.

Nothing.—The work of Glory still went on

In preparations for a cannonade

As terrible as that of Ilion,

If Homer had found mortars ready made;

But now, instead of slaying Priam's son,

We only can but talk of escalade,

Bombs, drums, guns, bastions, batteries, bayonets, bullets—

Hard words, which stick in the soft Muses' gullets.

LXXIX.

Oh, thou eternal Homer! who couldst charm

All ears, though long; all ages, though so short,

By merely wielding with poetic arm

Arms to which men will never more resort,

Unless gunpowder should be found to harm

Much less than is the hope of every court,

Which now is leagued young Freedom to annoy;

But they will not find Liberty a Troy:—

LXXX.

Oh, thou eternal Homer! I have now

To paint a siege, wherein more men were slain,

With deadlier engines and a speedier blow,

Than in thy Greek gazette of that campaign;

And yet, like all men else, I must allow,

To vie with thee would be about as vain

As for a brook to cope with Ocean's flood,—

But still we moderns equal you in blood:[HW]

LXXXI.

If not in poetry, at least in fact;

And fact is Truth, the grand desideratum!

Of which, howe'er the Muse describes each act,

There should be ne'ertheless a slight substratum.

But now the town is going to be attacked;

Great deeds are doing—how shall I relate 'em?[328]

Souls of immortal Generals! Phoebus watches

To colour up his rays from your despatches.[HX]

LXXXII.

Oh, ye great bulletins of Bonaparte!

Oh, ye less grand long lists of killed and wounded!

Shade of Leonidas, who fought so hearty,

When my poor Greece was once, as now, surrounded!

Oh, Cæsar's Commentaries! now impart, ye

Shadows of Glory! (lest I be confounded),

A portion of your fading twilight hues—

So beautiful, so fleeting—to the Muse.

LXXXIII.

When I call "fading" martial immortality,

I mean, that every age and every year,

And almost every day, in sad reality,

Some sucking hero is compelled to rear,

Who, when we come to sum up the totality

Of deeds to human happiness most dear,

Turns out to be a butcher in great business,

Afflicting young folks with a sort of dizziness.

LXXXIV.

Medals, rank, ribands, lace, embroidery, scarlet,

Are things immortal to immortal man,

As purple to the Babylonian harlot;[HY]

An uniform to boys is like a fan

To women; there is scarce a crimson varlet

But deems himself the first in Glory's van.

But Glory's glory; and if you would find

What that is—ask the pig who sees the wind!

LXXXV.

At least he feels it, and some say he sees,

Because he runs before it like a pig;

Or, if that simple sentence should displease,

Say, that he scuds before it like a brig,[329]

A schooner, or—but it is time to ease

This Canto, ere my Muse perceives fatigue.

The next shall ring a peal to shake all people,

Like a bob-major from a village steeple.

LXXXVI.

Hark! through the silence of the cold, dull night,

The hum of armies gathering rank on rank!

Lo! dusky masses steal in dubious sight

Along the leaguered wall and bristling bank

Of the armed river, while with straggling light

The stars peep through the vapours dim and dank,

Which curl in various wreaths:—how soon the smoke

Of Hell shall pall them in a deeper cloak!

LXXXVII.

Here pause we for the present—as even then

That awful pause, dividing Life from Death,

Struck for an instant on the hearts of men,—

Thousands of whom were drawing their last breath!

A moment—and all will be Life again!

The march! the charge! the shouts of either faith,

Hurrah! and Allah! and one moment more—

The death-cry drowning in the Battle's roar.[HZ][411]

FOOTNOTES:

[364] {302}["These [the seventh and eighth] Cantos contain a full detail (like the storm in Canto Second) of the siege and assault of Ismael, with much of sarcasm on those butchers in large business, your mercenary soldiery.... With these things and these fellows it is necessary, in the present clash of philosophy and tyranny, to throw away the scabbard. I know it is against fearful odds; but the battle must be fought; and it will be eventually for the good of mankind, whatever it may be for the individual who risks himself."—Letter to Moore, August 8, 1822, Letters, 1901, vi. 101.]

[365] §§[Byron attributes this phrase to Orator Henley (Letters, 1898, i. 227); and to Bayes in the Duke of Buckingham's play, The Rehearsal (Letters, 1901, v. 80).]

[HH] Of Fenelon, of Calvin and of Christ.—[MS. erased.]

[366] [Compare Childe Harold, Canto II. stanza vii. line 1, Poetical Works, 1899, ii. 103, note 2.]

[HI] Picking a pebble on the shore of Truth.—[MS. erased.]

[367] ["Sir Isaac Newton, a little before he died, said, 'I don't know what I may seem to the world; but, as to myself, I seem to have been only like a boy playing on the sea shore, and diverting myself in now and then finding a smoother pebble or a prettier shell than ordinary whilst the great ocean of truth lay all undiscovered before me.'"—Spence, Anecdotes (quoting Chevalier Ramsay), 1858, p. 40.]

[HJ] {304}From fools who dread to know the truth of Life.—[MS. erased.]

[368] [Compare "Inscription on the Monument of a Newfoundland Dog," lines 7, sq., Poetical Works, 1898, i. 280.]

[369] [Aleksandr Vasilievitch Suvóroff (1729-1800) opened his attack on Ismail, November 30, 1790. His forces, including Kossacks, exceeded 27,000 men.—Essai sur l'Histoire Ancienne et Moderne de la Nouvelle Russie, par le Marquis Gabriel de Castelnau, 1827, ii. 201.]

[370] ["Ismaël est situé sur la rive gauche du bras gauche (i.e. the ilia) du Danube."—Ibid..]

[371] {305}[——"à peu près à quatre-vingts verstes de la mer: elle a près de trois milles toises de tour."—Hist. de la Nouvelle Russie, ii. 201.]

[372] ["On a compris dans ces fortifications un faubourg moldave, situé à la gauche de la ville, sur une hauteur qui la domine: l'ouvrage a été terminé par un Grec. Pour donner une idée des talens de cet ingénieur, il suffira de dire qu'il fit placer les palissades perpendiculairement sur le parapet, de manière qu'elles favorisaient les assiégeans, et arrêtaient le feu des assiégés."—Ibid., p. 202.]

[373] ["Le rempart en terre est prodigieusement élevé à cause de l'immense profondeur du fossé; il est cependant absolument rasant: il n'y a ni ouvrage avancé, ni chemin couvert."—Ibid., p. 202.]

[374] [Casemate is a work made under the rampart, like a cellar or cave, with loopholes to place guns in it, and is bomb proof.—Milit. Dict.]

[375] [When the breastwork of a battery is only of such height that the guns may fire over it without being obliged to make embrasures, the guns are said to fire in barbet.—Ibid.]

[376] {306}["Un bastion de pierres, ouvert par une gorge très-étroite, et dont les murailles son fort épaisses, a une batterie casematée et une à barbette; il défend la rive du Danube. Du côté droit de la ville est un cavalier de quarante pieds d'élévation à pic, garni de vingt-deux pièces de canon, et qui défend la partie gauche."—Hist. de la Nouvelle Russie, ii. 202.]

[377] ["Du côté du fleuve, la ville est absolument ouverte; les Turcs ne croyaient pas que les Russes pussent jamais avoir une flotille dans le Danube."—Ibid., p. 203.]

[378] [Meknop [supposed to be a corruption of McNab], etc., in line three, are real names: Strongenoff stands for Strogonof, Tschitsshakoff for Tchitchagof, and, perhaps, Chokenoff for Tchoglokof.]

[HK] {307}—— these discords of damnation.—[MS. erased.]

[379] ["La première attaque était composée de trois colonnes, commandées par les lieutenans-generaux Paul Potiemkin, Serge Lwow, les généraux-majors Maurice Lascy, Théodore Meknop.... Trois autres colonnes ... avaient pour chefs le comte de Samoïlow, les généraux Êlie de Bezborodko, Michel Koutousow; les brigadiers Orlow, Platow, Ribaupierre.... La troisième attaque par eau n'avait que deux colonnes, sous les ordres des généraux-majors Ribas et Arséniew, des brigadiers Markoff et Tchépéga," etc.—Hist. de la Nouvelle Russie, ii. 207.

Compare—

"Oscharoffsky and Rostoffsky,

And all the others that end in-offsky.


And Kutousoff he cut them off," etc.

Southey's March to Moscow, 1813.]

[380] [Count Boris Petrowitch Scheremetov, Russian general, died 1819; Prince Alexis Borisovitch Kourakin (1759-1829), and Count Alexis Iwanowitch Moussine-Pouschkine (1744-1817) were distinguished statesmen; Chrematoff is, perhaps, a rhyming double of Scherematoff, and Koklophti "a match-piece" to Koclobski.]

[381] {308}[Captain Smith, in the song—

"A Captain bold, in Halifax,

That dwelt in country quarters,

Seduc'd a maid who hang'd herself

One Monday in her garters."

See George Colman's farce, Love Laughs at Locksmiths, 1818, p. 31.]

[382] {309}[Compare—

"While to my shame I see

The imminent death of twenty thousand men,

That for a fantasy and trick of fame

Go to their graves like beds."

Hamlet, act iv. sc. 4, lines 56-59.]

[HL] The Conquest seemed not difficult——.—[MS. erased.]

[383] ["On s'était proposé deux buts également avantageux, par la construction de deux batteries sur l'île qui avoisine Ismaël: le premier, de bombarder la place, d'en abattre les principaux édifices avec du canon de quarante-huit, effet d'autant plus probable, que la ville étant bâtie en amphithéâtre, presque aucun coup ne serait perdu."—Hist. de la Nouvelle Russie, ii. 203.]

[384] ["Le second objet était de profiter de ce moment d'alarme pour que la flottille, agissant en même temps, put détruire celle des Turcs. Un troisième motif, et vraisemblablement le plus plausible, était de jeter la consternation parmi les Turcs, et de les engager à capituler."—Hist. de la Nouvelle Russie, ii. 203.]

[HM] {310}

Unless they are as game as bull-dogs or even tarriers.

or, A thing which sometimes hath occurred to warriors,

Unless they happened to be as game as tarriers.—

[MS. A. Alternative reading.]

Unless they are Game as bull-dogs or even terriers.—[MS. B.]

(Byron erased the reading of MS. B. and superscribed the reading of the text.)

[385] ["Une habitude blâmable, celle de mépriser son ennemi, fut la cause."—Ibid., p. 203.]

[386] [" ... du défaut de perfection dans la construction des batteries; on voulait agir promptement, et on négligea de donner aux ouvrages la solidité qu'ils exigaient."—Ibid., p. 203.]

[387] {311}["Le même esprit fit manquer l'effet de trois brûlots; on calcula mal la distance; on se pressa d'allumer la méche, ils brûlèrent au milieu du fleuve, et quoiqu'il fût six heures du matin, les Turcs, encore couchés, n'en prirent aucun ombrage."—Hist. de la Nouvelle Russie, ii. 203.]

[388] ["1er Dec. 1790. La flottille russe s'avança vers les sept heures; il en était neuf lorsqu'elle se trouva à cinquante toises de la ville [d'Ismaël]: elle souffrit, avec une constance calme, un feu de mitraille et de mousqueterie...."—Ibid., p. 204.]

[389] [" ... près de six heures ... les batteries de terre secondaient la flottille; mais on reconnut alors que les canonnades ne suffiraient pas pour réduire la place, on fit la retraite à une heure. Un lançon sauta pendant l'action, un autre dériva par la force du courant, et fut pris par l'ennemi."'—Hist. de la Nouvelle Russie, ii. 204.]

[390] {312}[For Delhis, see Poetical Works, 1899, ii., note 1.]

[391] ["Les Turcs perdirent beaucoup de monde et plusieurs vaisseaux. A peine la retraite des Russes fut-elle remarquée, que les plus braves d'entre les ennemis se jetèrent dans de petites barques et essayèrent une descente: le Comte de Damas les mit en fuite, et leur tua plusieurs officiers et grand nombre de soldats."—Hist. de la Nouvelle Russie, p. 204.]

[392] ["On ne tarirait pas si on voulait rapporter tout ce que les Russes firent de mémorable dans cette journée; pour conter les hauts faits d'armes, pour particulariser toutes les actions d'éclat, il faudrait composer des volumes."—Ibid., p. 204.]

[393] ["Parmi les étrangers, le prince de Ligne se distingua de manière à mériter l'estime générale; de vrais chevaliers français, attirés par l'amour de la gloire, se montrèrent dignes d'elle: les plus marquans étaient le jeune Duc de Richelieu, les Comtes de Langeron et de Damas."—Ibid., p. 204.

Andrault, Comte de Langeron, born at Paris, January 13, 1763, on the outbreak of the Revolution (1790) took service in the Russian Army. He fought against the Swedes in 1790, and the Turks in 1791, and, after serving as a volunteer in the army of the Duke of Brunswick (1792-93), returned to Russia, and was raised to the rank of general in 1799. He commanded a division of the Russian Army in the German campaign of 1813, and entered Paris with Blücher, March 30, 1814. He was afterwards Governor of Odessa and of New Russia; and, a second time, fought against the Turks in 1828. He died at St. Petersburg, July 4, 1831. Joseph Elizabeth Roger, Comte de Damas d'Antigny, born at Paris, September 4, 1765, owed his commission in the Russian Army to the influence of the Prince de Ligne. He fought against the Turks in 1787-88, and was distinguished for bravery and daring. At the Restoration in 1814 he re-entered the French Army, was made Governor of Lyons; shared the temporary exile of Louis XVIII. at Ghent in 1815, and, in the following year, as commandant of a division, took part in repressing the revolutionary disturbances in the central and southern departments of France. He died at Cirey, September 3, 1823.—La Grande Encyclopédie.]

[394] {313}[Charles Joseph, Prince de Ligne, was born at Brussels, May 12, 1735. In 1782 he visited St. Petersburg as envoy of the Emperor Joseph II., won Catherine's favour, and was appointed Field Marshal in the Russian Army. In 1788 he was sent to assist Potemkin at the siege of Ochakof. His Mélanges Militaires, etc., were first published in 1795. He died in November, 1814.

Josef de Ribas (1737-c. 1797).]

[395] ["L'Amiral de Ribas ... déclara, en plein conseil, que ce n'était qu'en donnant l'assaut qu'on obtiendrait la place: cet avis parut hardi; on lui opposa mille raisons, auxquelles il répondit par de meilleures." —Hist. de la Nouvelle Russie, ii, 205.]

[396] {314}[Prince (Gregor Alexandrovitch) Potemkin, born 1736, died October 15, 1791. "He alighted from his carriage in the midst of the highway, threw himself on the grass, and died under a tree" (Life of Catherine II., by W. Tooke, 1880, iii. 324). His character has been drawn by Louis Philippe, Comte de Ségur, who, writes Tooke (ibid., p. 326), "lived a long time in habits of intimacy with him, and was so obliging as to delineate it at our solicitation." "In his person were collected the most opposite defects and advantages of every kind. He was avaricious and ostentatious, ... haughty and obliging, politic and confiding, licentious and superstitious, bold and timid, ambitious and indiscreet; lavish of his bounties to his relations, his mistresses, and his favourites, yet frequently paying neither his household nor his creditors. His consequence always depended on a woman, and he was always unfaithful to her. Nothing could equal the activity of his mind, nor the indolence of his body. No dangers could appal his courage; no difficulties force him to abandon his projects. But the success of an enterprise always brought on disgust.... Everything with him was desultory; business, pleasure, temper, carriage. His presence was a restraint on every company. He was morose to all that stood in awe of him, and caressed all such as accosted him with familiarity.... None had read less than he; few people were better informed.... One while he formed the project of becoming Duke of Courland; at another he thought of bestowing on himself the crown of Poland. He frequently gave intimations of an intention to make himself a bishop, or even a simple monk. He built a superb palace, and wanted to sell it before it was finished. In his youth he had pleased her [Catherine] by the ardour of his passion, by his valour, and by his masculine beauty.... Become the rival of Orloff, he performed for his sovereign whatever the most romantic passion could inspire. He put out his eye, to free it from a blemish which diminished his beauty. Banished by his rival, he ran to meet death in battle, and returned with glory."]

[397] {315}["Ce projet, remis à un autre jour, éprouva encore les plus grandes difficultés; son courage les surmonta: il ne s'agíssait que de déterminer le Prince Potiemkin; il y réussit. Tandis qu'il se démenait pour l'exécution de projet agréé, on construisait de nouvelles batteries; on comptait, le 12 décembre, quatre-vingts pièces de canon sur le bord du Danube, et cette journée se passa en vives canonnades."—Histoire de la Nouvelle Russie, ii. 205.]

[HN] Into all aspirants for martial praise.—[MS. erased.]

[398] ["Le 13e, une partie des troupes était embarquée; on allait lever le siège: un courrier arrive.... Ce courrier annonce, de la part du prince, que le maréchal Souwarow va prendre le commandement des forces réunies sous Ismaël."—Ibid., p. 205.]

[399] {316}["La lettre du Prince Potiemkin à Souwarow est très courte; elle peint le caractere de ces deux personnages. La voici dans toute sa teneur: 'Vous prendrez Ismaël à quel frix que ce soit!'"—Hist, de la Nouvelle Russie, ii. 205.]

[400] ["[Le courrier] est témoin des cris de joie du Turc, qui se croyait à la fin de ses maux."-Ibid., p. 205.]

[401] ["Beat," as in "dead-beat," is occasionally used for "beaten."—See N.E.D., art. "Beat," 10.]

[402] ["Le 16e, on voit venir de loin deux hommes courant à toute bride: on les prit pour des Kozaks; l'un était Souwarow, et l'autre son guide, portant un paquet gros comme le poing, et renfermant le bagage du general."-Hist, de la Nouvelle Russie, ii. 205.

M. de Castelnau in his description of the arrival of Suvóroff on the field of battle (Hist, de la N.R., 1827, ii. pp, 205, 206) summarizes the Journal of the Duc de Richelieu. The original passage runs as follows:—

"L'arrivée du comte Souvorow produisit un grand effet parmi les troupes.... La manière d'être plus que simple, puis-qu'il logeait sous une canonnière, et qu'il n'avait pas même de chaises dans sa tente, son affabilité, sa bonhomie lui conciliaient l'affection de tous les individus de son armée. Cet homme singulier qui ressemble plus à un chef de cosaques ou de Tartares, qu'au général d'une armée européenne, est doué d'une intrépidité et d'une hardiesse peu communes.... La manière de vivre, de s'habiller et de parler du comte Souvorow, est aussi singulière que ses opinions militaires.... II mangeait dans sa tente assis par terre autour d'une natte sur laquelle il prenait le plus détestable repas. L'après-midi, un semblable repas lui servait de souper, il s'endormait ensuite pendant quelques heures, passait une partie de la nuit à chanter, et a la pointe du jour il sortait presque nu et se roulait sur l'herbe assurant que cet exercice lui était necessaire pour le préserver des rhumatismes.... Sa manière de s'exprimer dans toutes les langues est aussi singulière que toute sa façon d'être, ses phrases sont incohérentes, et s'il n'est pas insensé, il dit et fait du moins tout ce qu'il faut pour le paraître; mais il est heureux et cette qualité dont le Cardinal Mazarin faisait tant de cas, est, à bon droit, fort estimée de l'Impératrice et du Prince Potemkin ... Le moment de l'arrivée du Comte Souvorow fut annoncé par une décharge générale des batteries ou camp et de la flotte."—Journal de mon Voyage en Allemagne. Soc, Imp. d'Hist de Russie, 1886, tom. liv. pp. 168, 169.]

[HO] {317}That sage John Bull——.—[MS.]

That fool John Bull——.—[MS. erased.]

[403] {319}["La première attaque était composée de trois colonnes ... Trois autres colonnes, destinées a la seconde attaque, avaient pour chefs, etc.... La troisième attaque par eau n'avait que deux colonnes."—Hist, de la Nouvelle Russie, ii. 207.]

[404] ["On construisit de nouvelles batteries le 18e.... On tint un conseil de guerre, on y examina les plans pour l'assaut proposés par M. de Ribas, ils réunirent tous les souffrages."—Ibid., p. 208.]

[HP] For once by some odd sort of magnanimity.—[MS. erased.]

[HQ] Bellona shook her spear with much sublimity.—[MS. erased.]

[405] Fact: Suwaroff did this in person.

[HR]—— and neither swerve nor spill.—[MS. erased.]

[406] ["Le 19e et le 20e, Souwarow exerçailes soldats; il leur montra comment il fallait s'y prendre pour escalader; il enseigna aux recrues la manière de donner le coup de baïonnette."—Ibid., p. 208.]

[407] {320}["Pour ces exercices d'un nouveau genre, il se servit de fascines disposées de manière a représenter un Turc."-Hist, de la Nauvelle Russie, ii. 208.]

[HS]

At which your wise men laughed, but all their Wit is

Lost, for his repartee was taking cities.—[MS. erased.]

[HT]

For some were thinking of their wives and families,

And others of themselves (as poet Samuel is).

—[MS. Alternative reading.]

And others of themselves (as my friend Samuel is).

—[MS. erased.]

[408] [For a detailed account of Suvóroff's personal characteristics, see The Life of Field-Marshal Souvaroff, by L.M.P. Tranchant de Laverne, 1814, pp. 267-291; and Suvóroff, by Lieut.-Colonel Spalding, 1890, pp. 222-229.

Byron's epithet "buffoon" (line 5) may, perhaps, be traced to the following anecdote recorded by Tranchant de Laverne (p. 281): "During the first war of Poland ... he published, in the order of the day, that at the first crowing of the cock the troops would march to attack the enemy, and caused the spy to send word that the Russians would be upon them some time after midnight. But about eight o'clock Souvarof ran through the camp, imitating the crowing of a cock.... The enemy, completely surprised, lost a great number of men."

For his "praying" (line 6), vide ibid., pp. 272, 273: "He made a short prayer after each meal, and again when going to bed. He usually performed his devotions before an image of St. Nicholas, the patron saint of Russia."

"Half-dirt" (line 5) is, however, a calumny (ibid. p. 272): "It was his custom to rise at the earliest dawn; several buckets of cold water were thrown over his naked body."

The same writer (p. 268) repudiates the charges of excessive barbarity and cruelty brought against Suvóroff by C.F.P. Masson, in his Mémoires Secrets sur la Russie (vide, e.g., ed. 1800, i. 311): "Souvorow ne scroit que le plus ridicule bouffon, s'il n'étoit pas montré le plus barbare guerrier. C'est un monstre, qui renferme dans le corps d'un singe l'âme d'un chien de boucher. Attila, son compatriote, et don't il descend, peut-être ne fut ni si heureux, ni si féroce."

Suvóroff did not regard himself as "half-demon." "Your pencil," he reminded the artist Müller, "will delineate the features of my face. These are visible: but my inner man is hidden. I must tell you that I have shed rivers of blood. I tremble, but I love my neighbour. In my whole life I have made no one unhappy; not an insect hath perished by my hand. I was little; I was big. In fortune's ebb and flow, relying on God, I stood immovable—even as now." (Suvóroff, 1890, p. 228, note.)]

[409] {322}[See, for instance, The Storm, in "Souvarof's Catechism," Appendix (pp. 299-305) to the Life, etc., by Tranchant de Laverne, 1814: "Break down the fence.... Fly over the walls! Stab them on the ramparts!... Fire down the streets! Fire briskly!... Kill every enemy in the streets! Let the cavalry hack them!" etc.]

[410] {323}[The "tusk" of the plough is the coulter or share. Compare "Dens vomeris" (Virg., Georg., i. 22).]

[HU] {324}

Of thine imaginary deathless bough

The unebbing sea of blood and tears must flow.—[MS. erased.]

[HV] {326}Entailed upon Humanity's estate.—[MS. erased.]

[HW] {327}

As a brook's stream to cope with Ocean's flood shed

But still we moderns equal you in bloodshed.—[MS. erased.]

[HX] {328}

As in a General's letter when well whacked

Whatever deeds be done I will relate 'em,

With some small variations in the text

Of killed and wounded who will not be missed.—[MS. erased.]

[HY] Whose leisure hours are wasted on an harlot.—[MS. erased.]

[HZ] {329}The desperate death-cry and the Battle's roar.—[MS. erased.]

[411] End of Canto 7. 1822.—[MS.]

[330]

CANTO THE EIGHTH.
swash

I.

Oh, blood and thunder! and oh, blood and wounds!

These are but vulgar oaths, as you may deem,

Too gentle reader! and most shocking sounds:—

And so they are; yet thus is Glory's dream

Unriddled, and as my true Muse expounds

At present such things, since they are her theme,

So be they her inspirers! Call them Mars,

Bellona, what you will—they mean but wars.

II.

All was prepared—the fire, the sword, the men

To wield them in their terrible array,—

The army, like a lion from his den,

Marched forth with nerve and sinews bent to slay,—

A human Hydra, issuing from its fen

To breathe destruction on its winding way,

Whose heads were heroes, which cut off in vain

Immediately in others grew again.

III.

History can only take things in the gross;

But could we know them in detail, perchance

In balancing the profit and the loss,

War's merit it by no means might enhance,

To waste so much gold for a little dross,

As hath been done, mere conquest to advance.

The drying up a single tear has more

Of honest fame, than shedding seas of gore.

[331]

IV.

And why?—because it brings self-approbation;

Whereas the other, after all its glare,

Shouts, bridges, arches, pensions from a nation,

Which (it may be) has not much left to spare,

A higher title, or a loftier station,

Though they may make Corruption gape or stare,

Yet, in the end, except in Freedom's battles,

Are nothing but a child of Murder's rattles.

V.

And such they are—and such they will be found:

Not so Leonidas and Washington,

Whose every battle-field is holy ground,

Which breathes of nations saved, not worlds undone.

How sweetly on the ear such echoes sound!

While the mere victor's may appal or stun

The servile and the vain—such names will be

A watchword till the Future shall be free.

VI.

The night was dark, and the thick mist allowed

Nought to be seen save the artillery's flame,

Which arched the horizon like a fiery cloud,

And in the Danube's waters shone the same—[412]

A mirrored Hell! the volleying roar, and loud

Long booming of each peal on peal, o'ercame

The ear far more than thunder; for Heaven's flashes

Spare, or smite rarely—Man's make millions ashes!

VII.

The column ordered on the assault scarce passed

Beyond the Russian batteries a few toises,

When up the bristling Moslem rose at last,

Answering the Christian thunders with like voices:

Then one vast fire, air, earth, and stream embraced,

Which rocked as 't were beneath the mighty noises;[332]

While the whole rampart blazed like Etna, when

The restless Titan hiccups in his den;[413]

VIII.

And one enormous shout of "Allah!"[414] rose

In the same moment, loud as even the roar

Of War's most mortal engines, to their foes

Hurling defiance: city, stream, and shore

Resounded "Allah!" and the clouds which close

With thickening canopy the conflict o'er,

Vibrate to the Eternal name. Hark! through

All sounds it pierceth—"Allah! Allah Hu!"[415]

IX.

The columns were in movement one and all,

But of the portion which attacked by water,

Thicker than leaves the lives began to fall,[416]

Though led by Arseniew, that great son of slaughter,

As brave as ever faced both bomb and ball.

"Carnage" (so Wordsworth tells you) "is God's daughter:"[333][417]

If he speak truth, she is Christ's sister, and

Just now behaved as in the Holy Land.

X.

The Prince de Ligne was wounded in the knee;

Count Chapeau-Bras,[IA]—too, had a ball between

His cap and head,[418] which proves the head to be

Aristocratic as was ever seen,

Because it then received no injury

More than the cap; in fact, the ball could mean

No harm unto a right legitimate head;

"Ashes to ashes"—why not lead to lead?

XI.

Also the General Markow, Brigadier,

Insisting on removal of the Prince

Amidst some groaning thousands dying near,—

All common fellows, who might writhe and wince,

And shriek for water into a deaf ear,—

The General Markow, who could thus evince[334]

His sympathy for rank, by the same token,

To teach him greater, had his own leg broken.[419]

XII.

Three hundred cannon threw up their emetic,

And thirty thousand muskets flung their pills

Like hail, to make a bloody Diuretic.[420]

Mortality! thou hast thy monthly bills:

Thy plagues—thy famines—thy physicians—yet tick,

Like the death-watch, within our ears the ills

Past, present, and to come;—but all may yield

To the true portrait of one battle-field;

XIII.

There the still varying pangs, which multiply

Until their very number makes men hard

By the infinities of agony,

Which meet the gaze, whate'er it may regard—

The groan, the roll in dust, the all-white eye

Turned back within its socket,—these reward

Your rank and file by thousands, while the rest

May win perhaps a riband at the breast!

XIV.

Yet I love Glory;—Glory's a great thing:—

Think what it is to be in your old age

Maintained at the expense of your good King:

A moderate pension shakes full many a sage,

And Heroes are but made for bards to sing,

Which is still better—thus, in verse, to wage

Your wars eternally, besides enjoying

Half-pay for life, make Mankind worth destroying.

XV.

The troops, already disembarked, pushed on

To take a battery on the right: the others,[335]

Who landed lower down, their landing done,

Had set to work as briskly as their brothers:

Being grenadiers, they mounted one by one,

Cheerful as children climb the breasts of mothers,

O'er the intrenchment and the palisade,[421]

Quite orderly, as if upon parade.

XVI.

And this was admirable: for so hot

The fire was, that were red Vesuvius loaded,

Besides its lava, with all sorts of shot

And shells or hells, it could not more have goaded.

Of officers a third fell on the spot,

A thing which Victory by no means boded

To gentlemen engaged in the assault:

Hounds, when the huntsman tumbles, are at fault.

XVII.

But here I leave the general concern

To track our Hero on his path of Fame:

He must his laurels separately earn—

For fifty thousand heroes, name by name,

Though all deserving equally to turn

A couplet, or an elegy to claim,

Would form a lengthy lexicon of Glory,

And, what is worse still, a much longer story:

XVIII.

And therefore we must give the greater number

To the Gazette—which doubtless fairly dealt

By the deceased, who lie in famous slumber

In ditches, fields, or wheresoe'er they felt

Their clay for the last time their souls encumber;—

Thrice happy he whose name has been well spelt

In the despatch: I knew a man whose loss

Was printed Grove, although his name was Grose.[422]

[336]

XIX.

Juan and Johnson joined a certain corps,

And fought away with might and main, not knowing

The way which they had never trod before,

And still less guessing where they might be going;

But on they marched, dead bodies trampling o'er,

Firing, and thrusting, slashing, sweating, glowing,

But fighting thoughtlessly enough to win,

To their two selves, one whole bright bulletin.

XX.

Thus on they wallowed in the bloody mire

Of dead and dying thousands,—sometimes gaining

A yard or two of ground, which brought them nigher

To some odd angle for which all were straining;

At other times, repulsed by the close fire,

Which really poured as if all Hell were raining

Instead of Heaven, they stumbled backwards o'er

A wounded comrade, sprawling in his gore.

XXI.

Though 't was Don Juan's first of fields, and though

The nightly muster and the silent march

In the chill dark, when Courage does not glow

So much as under a triumphal arch,

Perhaps might make him shiver, yawn, or throw

A glance on the dull clouds (as thick as starch,

Which stiffened Heaven) as if he wished for day;—

Yet for all this he did not run away.

XXII.

Indeed he could not. But what if he had?

There have been and are heroes who begun[337]

With something not much better, or as bad:

Frederick the Great from Molwitz[423] deigned to run,

For the first and last time; for, like a pad,

Or hawk, or bride, most mortals after one

Warm bout are broken in to their new tricks,

And fight like fiends for pay or politics.

XXIII.

He was what Erin calls, in her sublime

Old Erse or Irish, or it may be Punic;—

(The antiquarians[424]—who can settle Time,

Which settles all things, Roman, Greek, or Runic—

Swear that Pat's language sprung from the same clime

With Hannibal, and wears the Tyrian tunic

Of Dido's alphabet—and this is rational

As any other notion, and not national;)—

XXIV.

But Juan was quite "a broth of a boy,"

A thing of impulse and a child of song;

Now swimming in the sentiment of joy,

Or the sensation (if that phrase seem wrong),

And afterward, if he must needs destroy,

In such good company as always throng[338]

To battles, sieges, and that kind of pleasure,

No less delighted to employ his leisure;

XXV.

But always without malice: if he warred

Or loved, it was with what we call "the best

Intentions," which form all Mankind's trump card,

To be produced when brought up to the test.

The statesman—hero—harlot—lawyer—ward

Off each attack, when people are in quest

Of their designs, by saying they meant well;

'T is pity "that such meaning should pave Hell."[425]

XXVI.

I almost lately have begun to doubt

Whether Hell's pavement—if it be so paved

Must not have latterly been quite worn out,

Not by the numbers good intent hath saved,

But by the mass who go below without

Those ancient good intentions, which once shaved

And smoothed the brimstone of that street of Hell

Which bears the greatest likeness to Pall Mall.[IB]

XXVII.

Juan, by some strange chance, which oft divides

Warrior from warrior in their grim career,

Like chastest wives from constant husbands' sides

Just at the close of the first bridal year,

By one of those odd turns of Fortune's tides,

Was on a sudden rather puzzled here,

When, after a good deal of heavy firing,

He found himself alone, and friends retiring.

XXVIII.

I don't know how the thing occurred—it might

Be that the greater part were killed or wounded,

And that the rest had faced unto the right

About; a circumstance which has confounded[339]

Cæsar himself, who, in the very sight

Of his whole army, which so much abounded

In courage, was obliged to snatch a shield,

And rally back his Romans to the field.[426]

XXIX.

Juan, who had no shield to snatch, and was

No Cæsar, but a fine young lad, who fought

He knew not why, arriving at this pass,

Stopped for a minute, as perhaps he ought

For a much longer time; then, like an ass

(Start not, kind reader, since great Homer[427] thought

This simile enough for Ajax, Juan

Perhaps may find it better than a new one);

XXX.

Then, like an ass, he went upon his way,

And, what was stranger, never looked behind;

But seeing, flashing forward, like the day

Over the hills, a fire enough to blind

Those who dislike to look upon a fray,

He stumbled on, to try if he could find

A path, to add his own slight arm and forces

To corps, the greater part of which were corses.

XXXI.

Perceiving then no more the commandant

Of his own corps, nor even the corps, which had

Quite disappeared—the gods know how! (I can't

Account for everything which may look bad

In history; but we at least may grant

It was not marvellous that a mere lad,[340]

In search of Glory, should look on before,

Nor care a pinch of snuff about his corps:)—[IC]

XXXII.

Perceiving nor commander nor commanded,

And left at large, like a young heir, to make

His way to—where he knew not—single handed;

As travellers follow over bog and brake

An "ignis fatuus;" or as sailors stranded

Unto the nearest hut themselves betake;

So Juan, following Honour and his nose,

Rushed where the thickest fire announced most foes.[428]

XXXIII.

He knew not where he was, nor greatly cared,

For he was dizzy, busy, and his veins

Filled as with lightning—for his spirit shared

The hour, as is the case with lively brains;

And where the hottest fire was seen and heard,

And the loud cannon pealed his hoarsest strains,

He rushed, while earth and air were sadly shaken

By thy humane discovery, Friar Bacon![ID][429]

XXXIV.

And as he rushed along, it came to pass he

Fell in with what was late the second column,

Under the orders of the General Lascy,

But now reduced, as is a bulky volume[341]

Into an elegant extract (much less massy)

Of heroism, and took his place with solemn

Air 'midst the rest, who kept their valiant faces

And levelled weapons still against the Glacis.[IE]

XXXV.

Just at this crisis up came Johnson too,

Who had "retreated," as the phrase is when

Men run away much rather than go through

Destruction's jaws into the Devil's den;

But Johnson was a clever fellow, who

Knew when and how "to cut and come again,"

And never ran away, except when running

Was nothing but a valorous kind of cunning.

XXXVI.

And so, when all his corps were dead or dying,

Except Don Juan, a mere novice, whose

More virgin valour never dreamt of flying,

From ignorance of danger, which indues

Its votaries, like Innocence relying

On its own strength, with careless nerves and thews,—

Johnson retired a little, just to rally

Those who catch cold in "shadows of Death's valley."

XXXVII.

And there, a little sheltered from the shot,

Which rained from bastion, battery, parapet,

Rampart, wall, casement, house—for there was not

In this extensive city, sore beset

By Christian soldiery, a single spot

Which did not combat like the Devil, as yet,—

He found a number of Chasseurs, all scattered

By the resistance of the chase they battered.

XXXVIII.

And these he called on; and, what 's strange, they came

Unto his call, unlike "the spirits from[342]

The vasty deep," to whom you may exclaim,

Says Hotspur, long ere they will leave their home:—[430]

Their reasons were uncertainty, or shame

At shrinking from a bullet or a bomb,

And that odd impulse, which in wars or creeds[IF]

Makes men, like cattle, follow him who leads.

XXXIX.

By Jove! he was a noble fellow, Johnson,

And though his name, than Ajax or Achilles,

Sounds less harmonious, underneath the sun soon

We shall not see his likeness: he could kill his

Man quite as quietly as blows the Monsoon

Her steady breath (which some months the same still is):

Seldom he varied feature, hue, or muscle,

And could be very busy without bustle;

XL.

And therefore, when he ran away, he did so

Upon reflection, knowing that behind

He would find others who would fain be rid so

Of idle apprehensions, which like wind

Trouble heroic stomachs. Though their lids so

Oft are soon closed, all heroes are not blind,

But when they light upon immediate death,

Retire a little, merely to take breath.

XLI.

But Johnson only ran off, to return

With many other warriors, as we said,

Unto that rather somewhat misty bourne,

Which Hamlet tells us is a pass of dread.[431]

To Jack, howe'er, this gave but slight concern:

His soul (like galvanism upon the dead)

Acted upon the living as on wire,

And led them back into the heaviest fire.

[343]

XLII.

Egad! they found the second time what they

The first time thought quite terrible enough

To fly from, malgré all which people say

Of Glory, and all that immortal stuff

Which fills a regiment (besides their pay,

That daily shilling which makes warriors tough)—

They found on their return the self-same welcome,

Which made some think, and others know, a hell come.

XLIII.

They fell as thick as harvests beneath hail,

Grass before scythes, or corn below the sickle,

Proving that trite old truth, that Life's as frail

As any other boon for which men stickle.

The Turkish batteries thrashed them like a flail,

Or a good boxer, into a sad pickle

Putting the very bravest, who were knocked

Upon the head before their guns were cocked.

XLIV.

The Turks behind the traverses and flanks

Of the next bastion, fired away like devils,

And swept, as gales sweep foam away, whole ranks:

However, Heaven knows how, the Fate who levels

Towns—nations—worlds, in her revolving pranks,

So ordered it, amidst these sulphury revels,

That Johnson, and some few who had not scampered,

Reached the interior "talus"[432] of the rampart.[433]

XLV.

First one or two, then five, six, and a dozen

Came mounting quickly up, for it was now[344]

All neck or nothing, as, like pitch or rosin,

Flame was showered forth above, as well 's below,

So that you scarce could say who best had chosen,

The gentlemen that were the first to show

Their martial faces on the parapet,

Or those who thought it brave to wait as yet.

XLVI.

But those who scaled, found out that their advance

Was favoured by an accident or blunder:

The Greek or Turkish Cohorn's[434] ignorance

Had pallisadoed in a way you'd wonder

To see in forts of Netherlands or France—

(Though these to our Gibraltar must knock under)—

Right in the middle of the parapet

Just named, these palisades were primly set:[435]

XLVII.

So that on either side some nine or ten

Paces were left, whereon you could contrive

To march; a great convenience to our men,

At least to all those who were left alive,

Who thus could form a line and fight again;

And that which farther aided them to strive

Was, that they could kick down the palisades,

Which scarcely rose much higher than grass blades.[436]

XLVIII.

Among the first,—I will not say the first,

For such precedence upon such occasions[345]

Will oftentimes make deadly quarrels burst

Out between friends as well as allied nations:

The Briton must be bold who really durst

Put to such trial John Bull's partial patience,

As say that Wellington at Waterloo

Was beaten,—though the Prussians say so too;—

XLIX.

And that if Blucher, Bulow, Gneisenau,

And God knows who besides in "au" and "ow,"

Had not come up in time to cast an awe[437]

Into the hearts of those who fought till now

As tigers combat with an empty craw,

The Duke of Wellington had ceased to show

His Orders—also to receive his pensions,

Which are the heaviest that our history mentions.

L.

But never mind;—"God save the King!" and Kings!

For if he don't, I doubt if men will longer—

I think I hear a little bird, who sings

The people by and by will be the stronger:

The veriest jade will wince whose harness wrings

So much into the raw as quite to wrong her

Beyond the rules of posting,—and the mob

At last fall sick of imitating Job.

LI.

At first it grumbles, then it swears, and then,

Like David, flings smooth pebbles 'gainst a Giant;

At last it takes to weapons such as men

Snatch when Despair makes human hearts less pliant.[346]

Then comes "the tug of war;"—'t will come again,

I rather doubt; and I would fain say "fie on 't,"

If I had not perceived that Revolution

Alone can save the earth from Hell's pollution.

LII.

But to continue:—I say not the first,

But of the first, our little friend Don Juan

Walked o'er the walls of Ismail, as if nursed

Amidst such scenes—though this was quite a new one

To him, and I should hope to most. The thirst

Of Glory, which so pierces through and through one,

Pervaded him—although a generous creature,

As warm in heart as feminine in feature.[IG]

LIII.

And here he was—who upon Woman's breast,

Even from a child, felt like a child; howe'er

The Man in all the rest might be confessed,

To him it was Elysium to be there;

And he could even withstand that awkward test

Which Rousseau points out to the dubious fair,

"Observe your lover when he leaves your arms;"

But Juan never left them—while they had charms,

LIV.

Unless compelled by Fate, or wave, or wind,

Or near relations—who are much the same.

But here he was!—where each tie that can bind

Humanity must yield to steel and flame:

And he whose very body was all mind,

Flung here by Fate or Circumstance, which tame

The loftiest, hurried by the time and place,

Dashed on like a spurred blood-horse in a race.

LV.

So was his blood stirred while he found resistance,

As is the hunter's at the five-bar gate,

Or double post and rail, where the existence

Of Britain's youth depends upon their weight[347]—The

lightest being the safest: at a distance

He hated cruelty, as all men hate

Blood, until heated—and even then his own

At times would curdle o'er some heavy groan.

LVI.

The General Lascy, who had been hard pressed,

Seeing arrive an aid so opportune

As were some hundred youngsters all abreast,

Who came as if just dropped down from the moon

To Juan, who was nearest him, addressed

His thanks, and hopes to take the city soon,

Not reckoning him to be a "base Bezonian"[438]

(As Pistol calls it), but a young Livonian.[439]

LVII.

Juan, to whom he spoke in German, knew

As much of German as of Sanscrit, and

In answer made an inclination to

The General who held him in command;

For seeing one with ribands, black and blue,

Stars, medals, and a bloody sword in hand,

Addressing him in tones which seemed to thank,

He recognised an officer of rank.

LVIII.

Short speeches pass between two men who speak

No common language; and besides, in time

Of war and taking towns, when many a shriek

Rings o'er the dialogue, and many a crime

Is perpetrated ere a word can break

Upon the ear, and sounds of horror chime

In like church-bells, with sigh, howl, groan, yell, prayer,

There cannot be much conversation there.

[348]

LIX.

And therefore all we have related in

Two long octaves, passed in a little minute;

But in the same small minute, every sin

Contrived to get itself comprised within it.

The very cannon, deafened by the din,

Grew dumb, for you might almost hear a linnet,

As soon as thunder, 'midst the general noise

Of Human Nature's agonizing voice!

LX.

The town was entered. Oh Eternity!—

"God made the country, and man made the town,"

So Cowper says[440]—and I begin to be

Of his opinion, when I see cast down

Rome—Babylon-Tyre-Carthage—Nineveh—

All walls men know, and many never known;

And pondering on the present and the past,

To deem the woods shall be our home at last:—

LXI.

Of all men, saving Sylla,[441] the man-slayer,

Who passes for in life and death most lucky,

Of the great names which in our faces stare,

The General Boon, back-woodsman of Kentucky,[349][442]

Was happiest amongst mortals anywhere;

For killing nothing but a bear or buck, he

Enjoyed the lonely, vigorous, harmless days

Of his old age in wilds of deepest maze.

LXII.

Crime came not near him—she is not the child

Of solitude; Health shrank not from him—for

Her home is in the rarely trodden wild,

Where if men seek her not, and death be more

Their choice than life, forgive them, as beguiled

By habit to what their own hearts abhor—

In cities caged. The present case in point I

Cite is, that Boon lived hunting up to ninety;

[350]

LXIII.

And, what's still stranger, left behind a name

For which men vainly decimate the throng,

Not only famous, but of that good fame,

Without which Glory's but a tavern song—

Simple, serene, the antipodes of Shame,

Which Hate nor Envy e'er could tinge with wrong;

An active hermit, even in age the child

Of Nature—or the Man of Ross[443] run wild.

LXIV.

'T is true he shrank from men even of his nation,

When they built up unto his darling trees,—

He moved some hundred miles off, for a station

Where there were fewer houses and more ease;

The inconvenience of civilisation

Is, that you neither can be pleased nor please;

But where he met the individual man,

He showed himself as kind as mortal can.

LXV.

He was not all alone: around him grew

A sylvan tribe of children of the chase,

Whose young, unwakened world was ever new,

Nor sword nor sorrow yet had left a trace

On her unwrinkled brow, nor could you view

A frown on Nature's or on human face;

The free-born forest found and kept them free,

And fresh as is a torrent or a tree.

LXVI.

And tall, and strong, and swift of foot were they,

Beyond the dwarfing city's pale abortions,

Because their thoughts had never been the prey

Of care or gain: the green woods were their portions;

No sinking spirits told them they grew grey,

No fashion made them apes of her distortions;

Simple they were, not savage—and their rifles,

Though very true, were not yet used for trifles.

[351]

LXVII.

Motion was in their days, Rest in their slumbers,

And Cheerfulness the handmaid of their toil;

Nor yet too many nor too few their numbers;

Corruption could not make their hearts her soil;

The lust which stings, the splendour which encumbers,

With the free foresters divide no spoil;

Serene, not sullen, were the solitudes

Of this unsighing people of the woods.

LXVIII.

So much for Nature:—by way of variety,

Now back to thy great joys, Civilisation!

And the sweet consequence of large society,

War—pestilence—the despot's desolation,

The kingly scourge, the lust of notoriety,

The millions slain by soldiers for their ration,

The scenes like Catherine's boudoir at threescore,[444]

With Ismail's storm to soften it the more.

LXIX.

The town was entered: first one column made

Its sanguinary way good—then another;

The reeking bayonet and the flashing blade

Clashed 'gainst the scimitar, and babe and mother

With distant shrieks were heard Heaven to upbraid:—

Still closer sulphury clouds began to smother

The breath of morn and man, where foot by foot

The maddened Turks their city still dispute.

LXX.

Koutousow,[445] he who afterwards beat back

(With some assistance from the frost and snow)[352]

Napoleon on his bold and bloody track,

It happened was himself beat back just now:

He was a jolly fellow, and could crack

His jest alike in face of friend or foe,

Though Life, and Death, and Victory were at stake;[446]

But here it seemed his jokes had ceased to take:

LXXI.

For having thrown himself into a ditch,

Followed in haste by various grenadiers,

Whose blood the puddle greatly did enrich,

He climbed to where the parapet appears;

But there his project reached its utmost pitch

('Mongst other deaths the General Ribaupierre's

Was much regretted), for the Moslem men

Threw them all down into the ditch again.[447]

LXXII.

And had it not been for some stray troops landing

They knew not where, being carried by the stream

To some spot, where they lost their understanding,

And wandered up and down as in a dream,

Until they reached, as daybreak was expanding,

That which a portal to their eyes did seem,—

The great and gay Koutousow might have lain

Where three parts of his column yet remain.[448]

LXXIII.

And scrambling round the rampart, these same troops,

After the taking of the "Cavalier,"[353][449]

Just as Koutousow's most "forlorn" of "hopes"

Took, like chameleons, some slight tinge of fear,

Opened the gate called "Kilia," to the groups[450]

Of baffled heroes, who stood shyly near,

Sliding knee-deep in lately frozen mud,

Now thawed into a marsh of human blood.

LXXIV.

The Kozacks, or, if so you please, Cossacques—

(I don't much pique myself upon orthography,

So that I do not grossly err in facts,

Statistics, tactics, politics, and geography)—

Having been used to serve on horses' backs,

And no great dilettanti in topography

Of fortresses, but fighting where it pleases

Their chiefs to order,—were all cut to pieces.[451]

LXXV.

Their column, though the Turkish batteries thundered

Upon them, ne'ertheless had reached the rampart,[452]

And naturally thought they could have plundered

The city, without being farther hampered;

But as it happens to brave men, they blundered—

The Turks at first pretended to have scampered,

Only to draw them 'twixt two bastion corners,[453]

From whence they sallied on those Christian scorners.

LXXVI.

Then being taken by the tail—a taking

Fatal to bishops as to soldiers—these[IH]

Cossacques were all cut off as day was breaking,

And found their lives were let at a short lease[354]—But

perished without shivering or shaking,

Leaving as ladders their heaped carcasses,

O'er which Lieutenant-Colonel Yesouskoi

Marched with the brave battalion of Polouzki:—[454]

LXXVII.

This valiant man killed all the Turks he met,

But could not eat them, being in his turn

Slain by some Mussulmans,[455] who would not yet,

Without resistance, see their city burn.

The walls were won, but 't was an even bet

Which of the armies would have cause to mourn:

'T was blow for blow, disputing inch by inch,

For one would not retreat, nor 't other flinch.

LXXVIII.

Another column also suffered much:—

And here we may remark with the historian,

You should but give few cartridges to such

Troops as are meant to march with greatest glory on:

When matters must be carried by the touch

Of the bright bayonet, and they all should hurry on;

They sometimes, with a hankering for existence,

Keep merely firing at a foolish distance.[456]

LXXIX.

A junction of the General Meknop's men

(Without the General, who had fallen some time[355]

Before, being badly seconded just then)

Was made at length with those who dared to climb

The death-disgorging rampart once again;

And, though the Turk's resistance was sublime,

They took the bastion, which the Seraskier

Defended at a price extremely dear.[457]

LXXX.

Juan and Johnson, and some volunteers,

Among the foremost, offered him good quarter,

A word which little suits with Seraskiers,

Or at least suited not this valiant Tartar.

He died, deserving well his country's tears,

A savage sort of military martyr:

An English naval officer, who wished

To make him prisoner, was also dished:

LXXXI.

For all the answer to his proposition

Was from a pistol-shot that laid him dead;[458]

On which the rest, without more intermission,

Began to lay about with steel and lead—

The pious metals most in requisition

On such occasions: not a single head

Was spared;—three thousand Moslems perished here,

And sixteen bayonets pierced the Seraskier.[459]

LXXXII.

The city's taken—only part by part—

And Death is drunk with gore: there's not a street

Where fights not to the last some desperate heart

For those for whom it soon shall cease to beat.[356][460]

Here War forgot his own destructive art

In more destroying Nature; and the heat

Of Carnage, like the Nile's sun-sodden slime,

Engendered monstrous shapes of every crime.

LXXXIII.

A Russian officer, in martial tread

Over a heap of bodies, felt his heel

Seized fast, as if 't were by the serpent's head

Whose fangs Eve taught her human seed to feel;

In vain he kicked, and swore, and writhed, and bled,

And howled for help as wolves do for a meal—

The teeth still kept their gratifying hold,

As do the subtle snakes described of old.[II]

LXXXIV.

A dying Moslem, who had felt the foot

Of a foe o'er him, snatched at it, and bit

The very tendon which is most acute—

(That which some ancient Muse or modern wit

Named after thee, Achilles!) and quite through't

He made the teeth meet, nor relinquished it

Even with his life—for (but they lie) 't is said

To the live leg still clung the severed head.

LXXXV.

However this may be, 't is pretty sure

The Russian officer for life was lamed,

For the Turk's teeth stuck faster than a skewer,

And left him 'midst the invalid and maimed:

The regimental surgeon could not cure

His patient, and, perhaps, was to be blamed

More than the head of the inveterate foe,

Which was cut off, and scarce even then let go.

LXXXVI.

But then the fact's a fact—and 't is the part

Of a true poet to escape from fiction

Whene'er he can; for there is little art

in leaving verse more free from the restriction[357]

Of Truth than prose, unless to suit the mart

For what is sometimes called poetic diction,

And that outrageous appetite for lies

Which Satan angles with for souls, like flies.[IJ]

LXXXVII.

The city's taken, but not rendered!—No!

There's not a Moslem that hath yielded sword:

The blood may gush out, as the Danube's flow

Rolls by the city wall; but deed nor word

Acknowledge aught of dread of Death or foe:

In vain the yell of victory is roared

By the advancing Muscovite—the groan

Of the last foe is echoed by his own.

LXXXVIII.

The bayonet pierces and the sabre cleaves,

And human lives are lavished everywhere,

As the year closing whirls the scarlet leaves[IK]

When the stripped forest bows to the bleak air,

And groans; and thus the peopled city grieves,

Shorn of its best and loveliest, and left bare;

But still it falls in vast and awful splinters,

As oaks blown down with all their thousand winters.

LXXXIX.

It is an awful topic—but 't is not

My cue for any time to be terrific:

For checkered as is seen our human lot

With good, and bad, and worse, alike prolific

Of melancholy merriment, to quote

Too much of one sort would be soporific;—

Without, or with, offence to friends or foes,

I sketch your world exactly as it goes.

XC.

And one good action in the midst of crimes

Is "quite refreshing," in the affected phrase[358][461]

Of these ambrosial, Pharisaic times,

With all their pretty milk-and-water ways,

And may serve therefore to bedew these rhymes,

A little scorched at present with the blaze

Of conquest and its consequences, which

Make Epic poesy so rare and rich.

XCI.

Upon a taken bastion, where there lay

Thousands of slaughtered men, a yet warm group

Of murdered women, who had found their way

To this vain refuge, made the good heart droop

And shudder;—while, as beautiful as May,

A female child of ten years tried to stoop

And hide her little palpitating breast

Amidst the bodies lulled in bloody rest.[462]

XCII.

Two villanous Cossacques pursued the child

With flashing eyes and weapons: matched with them,

The rudest brute that roams Siberia's wild

Has feelings pure and polished as a gem,—

The bear is civilised, the wolf is mild;

And whom for this at last must we condemn?

Their natures? or their sovereigns, who employ

All arts to teach their subjects to destroy?

XCIII.

Their sabres glittered o'er her little head,

Whence her fair hair rose twining with affright,

Her hidden face was plunged amidst the dead:

When Juan caught a glimpse of this sad sight,

I shall not say exactly what he said,

Because it might not solace "ears polite;"[359][463]

But what he did, was to lay on their backs,

The readiest way of reasoning with Cossacques.

XCIV.

One's hip he slashed, and split the other's shoulder,

And drove them with their brutal yells to seek

If there might be chirurgeons who could solder

The wounds they richly merited,[464] and shriek

Their baffled rage and pain; while waxing colder

As he turned o'er each pale and gory cheek,

Don Juan raised his little captive from

The heap a moment more had made her tomb.

XCV.

And she was chill as they, and on her face

A slender streak of blood announced how near

Her fate had been to that of all her race;

For the same blow which laid her mother here

Had scarred her brow, and left its crimson trace,

As the last link with all she had held dear;[465]

But else unhurt, she opened her large eyes,

And gazed on Juan with a wild surprise.

XCVI.

Just at this instant, while their eyes were fixed

Upon each other, with dilated glance,[360]

In Juan's look, pain, pleasure, hope, fear, mixed

With joy to save, and dread of some mischance

Unto his protégée; while hers, transfixed

With infant terrors, glared as from a trance,

A pure, transparent, pale, yet radiant face,

Like to a lighted alabaster vase:—[466]

XCVII.

Up came John Johnson (I will not say "Jack,"

For that were vulgar, cold, and common-place