« AnteriorContinuar »
There was a we in the homage which she drew: It was not jealousy, I think; but shun
Following the ignes fatui of mankind :
To say what it was not than what it was.
Little Aurora deem'd she was the theme Of Adeline, Aurora was omitted,
of such discussion. She was there a guest Although her birth and wealth had given her vogue, A beauteous ripple of the brilliant stream Beyond the charmers we've already cited :
Of rank and youth, though purer than the rest, 1ler beauty also seem'd to formi no clog
Which flow'd on for a moment in the beam Against her being mention'd as well fitted
Time sheds a moment o'er each sparkling crest. By many virtucs to be worth the trouble
Had she known this, she would hare calmly Of single gentlemen, who would be double.
She had so much, or little, of the child. (smiledXLIX.
LVI. And this omission, like that of the bust
The dashing and proud air of Adeline Of Brutus at the pageant of Tiberius,
Impose l not upon her; she saw her blaze Made Juan wonder, as no doubt he must.
Much as she would have seen a glow-worm shine, This he express'd, half smiling and half serious;
Then turn'd unto the stars for loftier rays. When Adeline replied, with some disgust,
Juan was something she could not divine, And with an air, to say the least, imperious,
Being no sibyl in the new world's ways; She marvell'd 'what he saw in such a baby,
Yet she was nothing dazzled by the meteor, As that prim, silent, cold Aurora Raby!'
Because she did not pin her faith on feature.
LVII. Juan rejoined, she was a Catholic,
His fame, too-for he had that kind of fame And therefore fittest, as of his persuasion ;
Which sometimes plays the deuce with womanSince he was sure his mother would fall sick,
kindAnd the Pope thunder excommunication,
A heterogeneous mass of glorious blame, If --' But here Adeline, who seem'd to pique
Half virtues and whole vices being combined : Herself extremely on the inoculation
Faults which attract because they are not tame; of others with her own opinions, stated
Follies trick'd out 90 brightly that they blind: As usual-the same reason which she late did. These seals upon her wax made no impression, LI
Such was her coldness or her self-possession. And wherefore not? A reasonable reason,
LVIII. If good, is none the worse for repetition ;
Juan knew nought of such a characterIf bad, the best way's certainly to tease on,
High, yet resembling not his lost Haidée: And amplify-you lose much by concision! Yet cach was radiant in her proper sphere. Whereas insisting in or out of season
The island girl, bred up by the lonc sea, Convinces all men, even a politician ;
More warm, as lovely, and not less sincere, Or-what is just the same-it wearies out:
Was Nature's all: Aurora could not be, So the end's gain'd, what signifies the route ?
Nor would be, thus: the difference in thiem
Was such as lies between a flower and gem.
LIX. l'or prejudice it was-against a creature
Having wound up with this sublime comparison, As pure as sanctity itself from vice,
Methinks we may proceed upon our narrative, With all the added charm of form and feature, And, as my friend Scott says, I sound my wariFor me appears a question far too nice,
son;' Since Adeline was liberal by nature?
Scott, the superlative of my comparativeBut nature's nature, and has more caprices
Scott, who can paint your Christian knight or Than I have time, or will, to take to picces.
Serf, lord, man, with such skill as none would LIII. Perhaps she did not like the quiet way
share it, if With which Aurora on those baubles look',
There had not been one Shakspeare and Voltaire, Which charm most people in their earlier day;
Of one or both of whom he seems the heir, For there are few things by mankind less brook'd,
IX. And womankind too, if we so may say,
I say, in my slight way I inay proceed Than finding thus their genius stand rebuked, To play upon the surface of humanity. Like · Antony's by Caesar,' by the few
I write the world, nor care if the world read;
At least for this I cannot spare its vanity.
My muse hath bred, and still perhaps may breed, It was not envy-Adeline had none;
More foes by this same scrol: when I began Her place was far beyond it, and her mind :
it, I It was not scorn-which could not light on one Thought that it might turn out so—no. 1.5n0w it;
Whose greatest fault was leaving few to find : But still I am, or was, a pretty poet,
LXVII. The conference or congress (for it ended
What are the filicts on the victor's brow As congresses of late do) of the Lady
To these? They are rags or dust. Where is Adeline and Don Juan rather blended
the arch Some acids with the sweets-for she was heady; Which nodded to the nation's spoils below: But ere the matter could be marr'd or mended, Where the triumphal chariot's haughty "narch?
The silvery bell rang, not for dinner ready,' Gone to where victories must, like dinners, go. But for that hour, call'd half-hour, given to dress, Further I shall not follow the research; Though ladies' robes seem scant enough for less. But oh, ye modern heroes, with your cartridges, LXII.
When will your names lend lustre c'en to par. Great things were now to be achieved at table,
LXVIII. With massy plate for armour, knives and forks
Those truffles, too, are no bad accessories, For weapons ; but what Muse since Homer's able (His feasts are not the worst part of his works)
Follow'd by petits puits d'amour-a dish To draw up in array a single day-bill
Of which perhaps the cookery rather varies : Of modern dinners, where more mystery lurks
So every one may dress it to his wish, In soups or sauces, or a sole ragout,
According to the best of dictionaries,
Which encyclopedize both flesh and fish;
But even sans confitures, it no less true is
There's pretty picking in those petits puits. Though God knows whence it came from; there
LXIX. was, too,
The mind is lost in mighty contemplation A turbot, for relief of those who cram,
Of intellect, expanded on two courses ; Relieved with dindon a la Perigeux;
And indigestion's grand multiplication There also was the sinner that I am!
Requires arithmetic beyond my forces. How shall I get this gourmand stanza through ?-
Who would suppose, from Adam's simple ration, Soupe à la Beauveau, whose relief was dory,
That cookery could have called forth such Relieved itself by pork, for greater glory.
As form a science and a nomenclature,
From out the commonest demands of nature ?
LXX. My Muse would run much more into excess,
The glasses jingled, and the palates tingled ; Than when some squeamish people deem her The diners of celebrity dined well; frail.
The ladies with more moderation mingled But though a bonne vivante, I must confess
In the feast, pecking less than I can tell. Her stomach's not her peccant part: this tale, Also the younger men, too; for a springald However, doth require some slight resection,
Can't, like ripe age, in gourmandise excel ; Just to relieve her spirits from dejection.
But thinks less of good eating than the whisper LXV.
(When seated next him) of some pretty lisper. Fowls à la Condé, slices eke of salmon,
All which I use to make my rhymes run glibber, A man like whom I hope we shan't see many Than could roast beef in our rough John Bull soon,
way: They also set a glazed Westphalian ham on,
I must not introduce even a spare-rib here: Whereon Apicius would bestow his benison:
• Bubble and squeak'would spoil my liquid lay; And then there was champagne, with foaming But I have dined, and must forego, alas, whirls,
The chaste description even of a bécasse,
And fruits, and ice, and all that art refines
Taste or the gout-pronounce it as inclines With things I can't withstand or understand,
Your stomach : ere you dine, the French will do; Though swallow'd with much zest, upon the
whole; And entremets to piddle with, at hand,
transplantation of cherries (which he first brought
into Europe), and the nomenclature of soine very Gently to lull down the subsiding soul;
good dishes; and I am not sure that (barring indigesWhile great Lucullus'* robe triıımphale muffles lion) he has not done more service to mankind by his (There's fame) young partridge fillets, deck'd with weigh against a bloody laurel: besides, he has con
cookery than by his conquests. A cherry-tree may truffles.
trived to earn celebrity from both.
* Petits puits d'amour garnis des confitures, a • A dish à la Lucullus. This hero, who conquered classical and well-known dish for part of the Aank of thc East, has left his more extended celebrity to the a second course.
But after, there are sometimes certain signs
Because it sometimes, as I've seen or read it, Which prove plain English truer of the two.
Both in the case of lover and of friend, Hast ever had the gout? I have not had it Will pique a gentleman, for his own credit, But I may have; and you, too, reader, dread it. To bring what was a jest to a serious end:
For all men prophecy what is or was,
And hate those who wont let them come to pass.
LXXX. I must, although a favourite plat of mine
Juan was drawn thus into some attentions, In Spain, and Lucca, Athens, everywhere.
Slight but select, and just enough to express, On them and bread 'twas oft iny luck to dine,
To females of conspicuous comprehensions, The grass my table-cloth, in open air,
That he would rather make them more than less On Sunium or Hymettus, like Diogenes,
Aurora, at the last (so history mentions, Of whom half my philosophy the progeny is.
Though probably much less a fact than guess). LXXIV.
So far relax'd her thoughts from their sweet prison, Amidst this tumult of fish, flesh, and fowl,
As once or twice to smile, if not to listen. And vegetables, all in masquerade,
LXXXI. The guests were placed according to their roll; From answering, she began to question : this But various as the various meats display'd :
With her was rare ; and Adeline, who as yet Don Juan sat next an à l'Espagnole,
Thought her predictions went not much an iss, No damsel, but a dish, as hath been said;
Began to dread she'd thaw to a coquette-But so far like a lady, that 'twas drest
So very difficult, they say, it is Superbly, and contain'd a world of zest,
To keep extremes from inecting, when once set
In motion; but she here too much refined -
Aurora's spirit was not of that kind.
LXXX. A situation difficult, I ween,
But Juan had a sort of winning way, For man therein, with eyes and heart, to dine. A proud humility, if such there be, Also the conference which we have seen,
Which show'd such deference to what females say, Was not such as to encourage him to shine;
As if each charming word were a decree. For Adeline, addressing few words to him,
His tact, too, temper'd him from grave to gay, With two transcendent eyes seem'd to look And taught him when to be reserved or free: through him.
He had the art of drawing people out,
Without their seeing what he was about.
Aurora, who, in her indifference, Of which I can't tell whence their knowledge
Confounded him in common with the crowd springs;
Of flatterers, though she deem'd he had more sens Like that same mystic music of the spheres,
Than whispering foplings, or than witlings loud, Which no one hears, so loudly though it rings.
Commenced (from such slight things will great 'Tis wonderful how oft the sex have heard
commence) Long dialogues—which pass'd without a word !
To feel that Aattery which attracts the proud
Rather by deference than compliment,
And wins even by a delicate dissent.
LXXXIV. Of all offences, that's the worst offence,
And then he had good looks: that point was car. Which seems to hint you are not worth a thouglit. ried Now Juan, though no coxcomb in pretence,
Nem.con. amongst the women, which I grieve Was not exactly pleased to be so caught,
To say leads oft to crim. con, with the married Like a good ship entangled among ice,
A case which to the juries we may leave, And after so much excellent advice.
Since with digressions we too long have tarried. LXXVIII.
Now, though we know of old that looks deceive, To his gay nothings nothing was replied,
And always have done, somehow these good looks Or something which was nothing, as urbanity
Make more impressions than the best of books. Required. Aurora scarcely look'd aside,
LXXXV. Nor even smiled enough for any vanity.
Aurora, who look'd more on books than faces, The devil was in the girl! Could it be pride ?
Was very young, although so very sage; Or modesty, or absence, or inanity!
Admiring more Minerva than the Graces, Heaven knows! But Adeline's malicious eyes
Especially upon a printed page.
But Virtue's self, with all her tightest laces,
Has not the natural stays of strict old age;
And Socrates, that model of ali duty, A kind of triumph I'll not recommend,
Own'd to a penchant, though discreet, for beauty
In politics my duty is to show Jolin And girls of sixteen are thus far Socratic;
Bull something of the lower world's condition.' But innocently so, as Socrates:
It makes my blood boit like the springs of Hecla And really, if the sage sublime and Attic
To see men let these scoundrel sovereigns break At seventy years had phantasies like these,
But politics, and policy, and piety,
Are topics which I sometimes introduce, In virgins-always in a modest way,
Not only for the sake of their variety,
But as subservient to a moral use;
Because my business is to dress society,
And stuff with sage that very verdant goose; Also observe that, like the great Lord Coke (See Littleton), whene'er I have express'd
And now, that we inay furnish with some matter Opinions two, which at first sight may look
Tastes, we are going to try the supernatural. Twin opposites, the second is the best.
XCIV. Perhaps I have a third, too, in a nook,
And now I will give up all argument ; Or none at all-which seems a sorry jest;
And positively henceforth no temptation But if a writer should be quite consistent,
Shall 'fool me to the top up of my bent.'*
Yes, I'll begin a thorough reformation.
Indeed, I never knew what people meant,
By dreaming that my Muse's conversation Help contradicting them, and everybody,
Was dangerous : I think she is as harınless Even my veracious self? But that's a lie:
As some who labour more, and yet may charmless. I never did so, never will-how should I?
XcV. He who doubts all things, nothing can deny :
Grim reader, did you ever see a ghost? Truth's fountains may be clear-her streams are
No; but you've heard- I understand-be dumb ! muddy,
And don't regret the time you may have lost, And cut through such canals of contradiction,
For you have got that pleasure still to come; That she must often navigate o'er fiction.
And do not think I mean to sneer at most
Of these things, or by ridicule benumb
That source of the sublime and the mysterious : Are false, but may be render'd also true,
For certain reasons, my belief is serious. By those who sow them in a land that's arable. 'Tis wonderful what fable will not do !
XCVI. 'Tis said it makes reality more bearable ;
Serious? You laugh-you may: that will I not. But what's reality? Who has its clue ?
My smiles must be sincere or not at all, Philosophy? No: she too much rejects.
I say I do believe a haunted spot Religion? Yes; but which of all her sects?
Exists and where? That shall I not recall,
Because I'd rather it should be forgot :
•Shadows the soul of Richard' may appal. Some millions must be wrong, that's pretty clear:
In short, upon that subject I've some qualms very Perhaps it may turn out that all were right.
Like those of the philosopher of Malmsbury.t God help us! Since we've need, on our career, To keep our holy beacons always bright,
XCVII. 'Tis time that some new prophet should appear, The night (I sing by night-sometimes an owl, Or old ndulge man with a second sight.
And now and then a nightingale) is dim; Opinions wear out in soine thousand years,
And the loud shriek of sage Minerva's fowl
Rattles around me her discordant hymn :
Old portraits from old walls upon me scowl-
I wish to heaven they would not look so grim; Myself with metaphysics ? None can liate
The dying embers dwindle in the grateSo much as I do any kind of wrangle;
I think, too, that I have sate up too late :
And therefore, though 'tis by no means my way
To rhyme at noon-when I have other things Yet I wish well to Trojan and to Tyrian,
To think of, if I ever think I say
I feel some chilly midnight shudderings,
And prudently postpone until mid-day
Treating a topic which, alas, but brings
* Hamlet, act iii. scene 2.
compliment to the souls of other people as to decline • Subauditur .non,' omitted for the sake of euphony. their visits, of which he had some apprehension.
Shadows ;-but you must be in my condition,
How little do we know that which we are ! Before you learn to call this superstition,
How less what we may be! The eternal surge XCIX.
Of time and tide rolls on, and bears afar Between two worlds life hovers like a star,
Our bubbles: as the old burst, new emerge, 'Twixt night and morn, upon the horizon's Lash'd from the foam of ages; while the graves verge:
Of empires heave but like some passing waves.
CANTO THE SIXTEENTH.
i. THE antique Persians taught three useful things,
To draw the bow, to ride, and speak the truth. This was the mode of Cyrus, best of kings
A mode adopted since by modern youth.
Horses they ride without remorse or ruth :
For this etfect defective comes by cause't-
But this I must say in my own applause,
Whate'cr may be her follies or her flaws
From anything, this epic will contain
Which you might elsewhere hope to find in vain. 'Tis true there be some bitters with the sweets,
Yet mix'd so slightly, that you can't complain,
True is that which she is about tell.
What then? I only know it so berell. Have you explored the liinits of the coast,
Where all the dwellers of the earth must dwell! 'Tis time to strike such puny doubters dumb as The sceptics who would not believe Columbus.
Turpin's or Monmouth Geoffry's Chronicle ;
Is always greatest at a miracle.
Who bids all inen believe the impossible, Because 'lis so. Who nibble, scribble, quibble, he Quiets at once with 'quia impossibile.'
Believe:-if'tis improbable, you must;
'Tis always best to take things upon trust.
I do not speak profanely, to recall
Those holier mysteries which the wise and just
That, in the course of some six thousand years,
A visitant at intervals appears.
Is that, whatever bar the reason rears 'Gainst such belief, there's something stronger still In its behalf, let those deny who will.
The supper, tco, discuss'd, the daines admired: The banqueteers had dropp'd off one by one
The song was silent and the dance expired: The last thin petticoats were vanish'd, gone
Like fleecy clouds into the sky retired;
Is like the last glass of champagne, without
Or like a system coupled with a doubt; Or like a soda bottle, when its spray
Has sparkled and let half its spirit out;
Or none;--or like-like nothing that I know,
A thing, of which similitudes can show
Dyed purple, nonc at present can tell how,
Undressing is a woe: our robe de chambre
Thoughts quite as yellow, but less clear than
The nights and days most people can remember (I've had of both, some not to be disdain'd). I wish they'd state how many they have gain d.
• The composition of the old Tyrian purple, whe ther from a shell-fish or from cochineal, or from kermes, is still an article of dispute; and even its colour-sone say purple, others scarlet : I say nothing
* Xenophon, Cyrop. + Hamit, act ii, scene B,