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XCII. Our gentle Adeline had one defect
She was, or thought she was, his friend--and this Her heart was vacant, though a splendid mansion, Without the farce of friendship, or romance Her conduct had been perfectly correct,
Of Platonism which leads so oft amiss As she had seen nought claiming its expansion. Ladies who ve studied friendship but in France A wavering spirit may be easier wreck'd,
Or Germany, where people purely kiss. Because 'tis frailer, doubtless, than a staunch one: To thus much Adeline would not advance; But when the latter works its own undoing,
But of such friendship as man's may to man bc, Its inner crash is like an earthquake's ruin.
She was as capable as woman can be.
Will there, as also in the ties of blood,
An innocent predominance annex, Our feelings 'gainst the nature of the soil.
And tune the concord to a finer inood. She had nothing to complain of, or reprove, If free from passion, which all friendship checks, No bickerings, no connubial turinoil :
And your true feelings fully understood, Their union was a model to behold,
No friend like to a woman earth discovers, Serene and noble-conjugal, but cold.
So that you have not been, nor will be, lovers. LXXXVII.
XCIV. There was no great disparity of years,
Love bears within its breast the very germ Though much in temper; but they never clash'd : of change; and how should this be otherwise They moved like stars united in their spheres, That violent things more quickly find a term,
Or like the Rhone by Leman's waters wash'd, Is shown through nature's whole analogies; Where mingled, and yet separate, appears
And how should the most fierce of all be firm? The river from the lake all bluely dash'd
Would you have endless lightning in the skies? Through the serene and placid glassy deep,
Methinks Love's very title says enough: Which fain would lull its river-child to sleep.
How should the tender passion e'er be tough? LXXXVIII.
XCV. Now, when she once had ta'en an interest
Alas! by all experience, seldom yet In anything, however she might flatter
(I merely quote what I have heard from many) Herself that her intentions were the best,
Had lovers not some reason to regret Intense intentions are a dangerous matter :
The passion which made Solomon a zany. Impressions were much stronger than she guessd, I've also seen some wives (not to forget
And gather'd as they ran, like growing water, The marriage state, the best or worst of any) Upon her mind; the more so, as her breast
Who were the very paragons of wives,
Yet made the misery of at least two lives.
But true-as, if expedient, I could prove) Firmness yclept in heroes, kings, and seamen, That faithful were through thick and thin, abroad,
That is, when they succeed; but greatly blamed, At home, far more than ever yet was love-
Who did not quit me when Oppression trod Whene'er their triumplı pales, or star is tamed: Upon me; whom no scandal could remove; And 'twill perplex the casuist in morality,
Who fought, and fight, in absence, too, my battles, To fix the due bounds of this dangerous quality. Despite the snake Society's loud rattles. XC.
XCVII. Had Buonaparte won at Waterloo,
Whether Don Juan and chaste Adeline It had been firinness; now 'tis pertinacity:
Grew friends in this or any other sense, Must the event decide between the two?
Will be discuss'd hereafter, I opine : I leave it to your people of sagacity
At present I am glad of a pretence To draw the line between the false and true,
To leave them hovering, as the effect is fine, If such can e'er be drawn by man's capacity : And keeps the atrocious reader in suspense ; My business is with Lady Adeline,
The surest way for ladies and for books,
To bait their tender, or their tenter, hooks.
To read Don Quixote in the original, so, she would have had the strength to fly
A pleasure before which all others vanish, The wild sensation, unto her a new one.
Whether their talk was of the kind called ' small,' She merely felt a common sympathy
Or serious, are the topics I must banish (I will not say it was a false or true one)
To the next canto; where perhaps I shall In him, because she thought he was in danger Say something to the purpose, and display Her husband's friend, her own, young, and a stranger. Considerable talent in my way.
CI Above all, I beg all men to forbear
'Tis strange, but true: for truth is always strange; Anticipating aught about the matter.
Stranger than fiction: if it could be told, They'll only make mistakes about the fair,
How much would novels gain by the exchange! And Juan too, especially the latter.
How differently the world would inen behold ! And I shall take a much more serious air
How oft would vice and virtue places change! Than I have yet done in this epic satire.
The new world would be nothing to the old, It is not clear that Adeline and Juan
If some Columbus of the moral seas
Would show mankind their souls' antipodes.
Would be discover'd in the human soul ! As e'er brought man and woman to the brink What icebergs in the hearts of mighty men, of ruin, rose from such a slight occasion,
With self-love in the centre as their pole ! As few would ever dream could forin the link
What Anthropophagi are nine of ten of such a sentimental situation ?
Of those who hold the kingdoms in control! You'll never guess, I'll bet you millions, milliards : Were things but only call'd by their riglit name, It all sprung from a harmless game at billiards. Caesar himself would be ashamed of fame.
CANTO THE FIFTEENTH.
A pretty name as one would wish to read,
Must perch harmonious on my tuneful quill.
There's music in the gushing of a rill;
1. AH!-What should follow slips from my reflection :
Whatever follows ne'ertheless may be As à propos of hope or retrospection,
As though the lurking thought had follow'd free. All present life is but an interjection,
An ‘Oh!' or 'Ah!' of joy or inisery,
Or a singultus-emblems of emotion,
Wherewith we break our bubbles on the ocean, That watery outline of eternity,
Or miniature, at least, as is my notion,
Corroding in the cavern of the heart,
And turning human nature to an art.
Dissimulation always sets apart
Remember, without telling, passion's errors?
Hath got blue devils for his morning mirrors: What though on Lethe's stream he seem to float,
He cannot sink his tremors or his terrors:
The Lady Adeline Amundeville,
And honour'd, ran a risk of growing less so:
In their resolves-alas, that I should say so!
When once decanted ;-I presume to guess so,
The unmingled essence of the grape; and yet
Or glorious as a diamond richly set ;
And for which Nature might forego her debt-
Knockest at doors, at first with modest tap.
Some splendid debtor he would take by sap;
Advances with exasperated rap,
She is so rare, and thou hast so much prey.
duty ? Tlie more's the reason why you ought to stay
Gaunt Gourmand! with whole nations for your Imagination's quite enough for that:
So that the outline's tolerably fair,
If once their phantasies be brought to bear
Upon an object, whether sad or playful,
They can transfigure brighter than a Raphael.
Adeline, no deep judge of character, To like too readily, or too high bred
Was apt to add a colouring froin her own : To show it (points we need not now discuss),
"Tis thus the good will amiably err, Would give up artlessly both heart and head
And eke the wise, as has been often shown, Unto such feelings as seen'd innocent,
Experience is the chief philosopher, For objects worthy of the sentiment.
But saddest when his science is well known: XI.
And persecuted sages teach the schools
Their folly in forgetting there are fools.
Was it not so, great Locker and greater Bacon? Such aberrations, than we men of rigour:
Great Socrates ? And thou, Diviner still, * Besides his conduct since in England grew more
Whose lot it is by man to be mistaken, Strict, and his mind assumed a manlier vigour;
And Thy pure creed made sanction of all ill? Because he had, like Alcibiades,
Redeeming worlds to be by bigots shaken, The art of living in all climes with ease.
How was Thy toil rewarded! We might fill
Volumes with similar sad illustrations,
But leave them to the conscience of the nations.
XIX. Nothing affected, studied, or constructive,
I perch upon an humbler promontory, Of coxcombry or conquest ; no abuse
Amidst life's infinite variety; of his attractions marrd the fair perspective,
With no great care for what is nicknamed glory, To indicate a Cupidon broke loose,
But speculating as I cast mine eye And seem to say, “Resist us if you can
On what may suit, or may not suit, my story,
And never straining hard to versify,
I rattle on exactly as I'd talk
XX. But, right or wrong. Don Juan was without it:
I don't know that there may be much ability In fact, his manner was liis own alone.
Shown in this sort of clesultory rhyme; Sincere he was-at least you could not doubt it,
But there's a conversational facility, In listening merely to his voice's tone.
Which may round off an hour upon a time. The devil hath not, in all his quiver's choice,
of this I'm sure, at least there's no servility An arrow for the heart like a sweet voice.
In mine irregularity of chime,
Which rings what's upperniost of new or hoary, By nature soft, his whole address held off
Just as I feel the Improvisatore,
Omnia vult belle Matho dicere--dic aliquando Perhaps 'twas hardly quite assured enough,
Et bene, dic neutrum, dic aliquando male.' But modesty's at times its own reward,
The first is rather more than mortal can do: Like virtue ; and the absence of pretension
The second may be sadly done or gaily ; Will go much further than there's need to mention.
The third is still more difficult to stand to;
The fourth we hear, and see, and say too, daily: XV.
The whole together is what I could wish
To serve in this conundruin of a dish.
* As it is necessary in these times to avoid amProud with the proud, yet courteously proud,
biguity, I say that I mean by Diviner still,' Christ. Sa as to make them feel he knew his station
If ever God was man, or man God, He was both. I
never arraigned His creed, but the use, or abuse, And theirs : without a struggle for priority,
made of it. Mr. Canning one day quoted ChrisHe neither brook'd nor claimed superiority
tianity to sanction negro slavery, and Mr. Wilberfor ha litti
to say in reply. And was Christ XVI.
crucified that black men might be scourged! If
so, He had better been born a Mulatto, to give That is, with men : with women he was what
both colours an equal chance of freedom, or at They pleased to make or take him for; and their least salvation.
XXIX. A modest hope--but modesty's my forte,
She had a good opinion of advice, And pride my foible: let us ramble on.
Like all who give and eke receive it gratis, I meant to make this poem very short;
For which small thanks are still the market price, But now I can't tell where it may not run.
Even where the article at highest rate is. No doubt, if I had wished to pay my court
She thought upon the subject twice or thrice, To critics, or to hail the setting sun
And morally decided the best state is, Of tyranny of all kinds, my concision
For morals, marriage; and this question carried, Were more ; but I was born for opposition.
She seriously advised him to get married
Juan replied, with all becoming deference, So that I verily believe, if they
He had a predilection for that tie; Who now are basking in their full-blown pride But that at present, with immediate reference
Were shaken down, and dogs had had their day,' To his own circumstances, there might lie Though at the first I might perchance deride Some dificulties, as in his own preference, Their tumble, I should turn the other way,
Or that of her to whom he might apply ; And wax an ultra-royalist in loyalty,
That still he'd wed with such or such a lady,
If that they were not married all already,
And daughters, brothers, sisters, kith or kin, I think I should have made monastic vows,
Arranging them like books on the same shell, But for iny own peculiar superstition: [brows, There's nothing women love to dabble in 'Gainst rhyme I never should have knock'd my More (like a stockholder in growing pelf)
Nor broken my own head, nor that of Priscian, Than matchmaking in general: 'tis no sin,
Certes, but a preventative, and therefore
That is, no doubt, the only reason wherefore,
Unwed, or mistress never to be wed,
Or wed already, who object to this) Plumed by Longinus or the Stagyrite,
Was there chaste dame who had not, in her head, The difficulty lies in colouring
Some drama of the marriage unities, (Keeping the due proportions still in sight)
Observed as strictly, both at board and bed, With nature, manners which are artificial,
As those of Aristotle, though sometimes And rendering general that which is especial. They turn out melodrames or pantomimes, XXVI.
XXXIII. The difference is, that in the days of old,
They generally have some only son, Men made the manners: manners now make men- Some heir to a large property, some friend Pinn'd like a flock, and fleeced too in their fold, Of an old family, some gay Sir John, At least nine, and a ninth beside of ten.
Or grave Lord George, with whom perhaps might Now this at all events must render cold
A line, and leave posterity undone,
(end, Your writers, who must either draw again
Unless a marriage was applied to mend Days better drawn before, or else assume
The prospect and their inorals; and, besides, The present, with their commonplace costume. They have at hand a blooming glut of brides. XXVII.
March, my Muse ! if you cannot fly, yet flutter; For this an heiress, and for that a beauty :
For one, a songstress who hath no defect;
For t'other, one who promises much duty :
Whose sole accomplishments were quite a booty; Or brigantine, or pink, of no great tonnage,
A second for her excellent connections;
A third because there can be no objections.
When Rapp the Harmonist embargoed marriage of Juan's merits and his situation,
In his harmonious settlement* (which flourishes Felt on the whole an interest intensePartly perhaps because a fresh sensation,
* This extraordinary and flourishing Gerinan coOr that he had an air of innocence,
lony in America does not entirely exclude matrimony, Which is for innocence a sad temptation
as the Shakers' do, but lays such restrictions upon it As woinen hate half measures, on the whole,
as prevent more than a certain quantum of births
within a certain number of years, which births las Sic 'gan to ponder how to save his soul.
Mr. Hulme observes) 'generally arrive in a little flock
Strangely enough as yet without miscarriage, All these were unobjectionable matches, Because it breeds no more mouths than it And might go on, if well wound up, like watches. nourishes,
XLI. Without those sad expenses which disparage There was Miss Millpond, smooth as summer's sea, What Nature naturally most encourages),
That usual paragon, an only daughter, Why callid heHarmony' a state sans wedlock ? Who seein'd the cream of equanimity, Now here I've got the preacher at a dead lock. Till skimm'd-and then there was some milk and XXXVI.
water, Because he either meant to sneer at harmony With a slight shade of blue, too, it might he, Or inarriage, by divorcing them thus oddly;
Beneath the surface ; but what did it matter? But whether reverend Rapp learn'd this in Ger- Love's riotous, but marriage should have quiet, many
And, being consumptive, live on a milk diet.
Of ours, although they propagate more broadly. A dashing demoiselle of good estate, My objection's to his title, not his ritual,
Whose heart was fixed upon a star or blue string ; Although I wonder how it grew habitual.
But whether English dukes grew rare of late, XXXVII.
Or that she had not harp'd upon the true string But Rapp is the reverse of zealous matrons,
By which such sirens can attract our great, Who favour, malgré Malthus, generation
She took up with some foreign younger brother, Professors of that genial art, and patrons
A Russ or Turk-the one's as good as t'other. of all the modest part of propagation;
XLIII. Which, after all, at such a desperate rate runs, And then there was--but why should I go on, That half its produce tends to emigration,
Unless the ladies should go off?—there was That sad result of passions and potatoes
Indeed a certain fair and fairy one, ['wo weeds which pose our economic Catos.
of the best class, and better than her class XXXVIIT.
Aurora Raby, a young star who shone Had Adeline read Malthus! I can't tell :
O'er life, too sweet an image for such glass; I wish she had; his book's the eleventh com- A lovely being, scarcely forni'd or moulded, mandment,
A rose with all its sweetest leaves yet folded ; Which says, “Thou shalt not marry,' unless well;
XLIV. This he (as far as I can understand) meant. Rich, noble, but an orphan; left an only 'Tis not my purpose on his views to dwell,
Child to the care of guardians good and kind; Nor canvass what so eminent a hand"* meant ; But still her aspect had an air so lonely! But certes it conducts to lives ascetic,
Blood is not water; and where shall we find Or turning marriage into arithmetic.
Feelings of youth like those which overthrown lie XXXIX.
By death, when we are left, alas, behind, But Adeline, who probably presumed
To feel in friendless palaces, a home That Juan had enough of maintenance,
Is wanting, and our best ties in the tomb ! Or separate maintenance, in case 'twas doom'd
XLV. As on the whole it is an even chance
Early in years, and yet more infantine That bridegrooms, after they are fairly groom'd, In figure, she had something of sublime May retrograde a little in the dance
In eyes, which sadly shone, as seraphs' shine : Of marriage (which might form a painter's fame, All youth--but with an aspect beyond time : Like Holbein's Dance of Death-but 'tis the Radiant and grave-as pitying man's decline ; san:e):
Mournful-but mournful of another's crime; XL.
She look'd as if she sat by Eden's door, But Adeline determined Juan's wedding
And grieved for those who could return no more. In her own mind, and that's enough for woman :
She was a Catholic, too, sincere, austere,
As far as her own gentle heart allow'd ;
And deem'd that fallen worship far more dear, Miss Knowman,
Perhaps, because 'twas fallen : her sires were And the two fair cocheiresses Giltbedding.
proud She deem'd his merits something more than
Of deeds and days, when they had filled the ear common :
Of nations, and had never bent or bow'd like those of a fariner's lambs, all within the same
To novel power; and as she was the last, month perhaps. These Harmonists (so called from She held their old faith and old feelings fast. the name of their settlement) arc represented as a remarkably flourishing, pious, and quiet people. See
XLVII. the various recent writers on America.
She gazed upon a world she scarcely knew, * Jacob Tonson, according to Mr. Pope, was accus.) As seeking not to know it; silent, lone, tomed to call his writers able pens, 'persons of honour,' and especially eminent hands. Vide Corre
As grows a flower, thus quietly she grew, spondence, etc.
And kept her heart serene within its zone,