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But I'm relapsing into metaphysics,

That labyrinth, whose clue is of the same Construction as your cures for hectic phthisics,

Those bright moths fluttering round a dying flame: And this reflection brings me to plain physics,

And to the beauties of a foreign dame, Compared with those of our pure pearls of price, Those Polar summers, all and some ice.



Or say they are like virtuous mermaids, whose

Beginnings are fair faces, ends mere fishes;Not that there 's not a quantity of those

Who have a due respect for their own wishes.
Like Russians rushing from hot baths to snows3

Are they, at bottom virtuous e'en when vicious:
They warm into a scrape, but keep of course,
As a reserve, a plunge into remorse.


But this has nought to do with their outsides.

I said that Juan did not think them pretty At the first blush; for a fair Briton hides

Half her attractions—probably from pityAnd rather calmly into the heart glides,

Than storms it as a foe would take a city; But once there (if you doubt this, prithee try) She keeps it for you like a true ally.


She cannot step as does an Arab barb,

Or Andalusian girl from mass returning, Nor wear as gracefully as Gauls her garb,

Nor in her eye Ausonia's glance is burning; Her voice, though sweet, is not so fit to warb

le those bravuras (which I still am learning To like, though I have been seven years in Italy, And have, or had, an ear that served me prettily);


She cannot do these things, nor one or two

Others, in that off-hand and dąshing style Which takes so much to give the devil his due;

Nor is she quite so ready with her smile, Nor settles all things in one interview,

(A thing approved as saving time and toil);But though the soil may give you time and trouble, Well cultivated, it will render double.


And if in fact she takes to a « grande passion,»

It is a very serious thing indeed:
Nine times in ten 't is but caprice or fashion,

Coquetry, or a wish to take the lead,
The pride of a mere child with a new sash on,

Or wish to make a rival's bosom bleed;
But the tenth instance will be a tornado,
For there 's no saying what they will or may



The reason 's obvious : if there's an eclat,

They lose their caste at once, as do the Parias; And when the delicacies of the law

Have fill'd their papers with their comments various, Society, that china without flaw,

(The hypocrite!) will banish them like Marius, To sit amidst the ruins of their guilt: For fame's a Carthage not so soon rebuilt.


Perhaps this is as it should be;-it is

A comment on the gospel's a sin no more, And be thy sins forgiven:»--but upon this

I leave the saints to settle their own score. Abroad, though doubtless they do much amiss,

An erring woman finds an open door For her return to virtue—as they call That lady who should be at home to all.


For me, I leave the matter where I find it,

Knowing that such uneasy virtue leads People some ten times less in fact to mind it,

And care but for discoveries and not deeds.
And as for chastity, you 'll never bind it

By all the laws the strictest lawyer pleads,
But aggravate the crime you have not prevented,
By rendering desperate those who 'd else repented.


But Juan was no casuist, nor had pondered

Upon the moral lessons of mankind :
Besides, he had not seen of several hundred

A lady altogether to his mind.
A little blasé't is not to be wondered

At, that his heart had got a tougher rind:
And though not vainer from his past success,
No doubt his sensibilities were less.


He also had been busy seeing sights

The parliament and all the other houses; Had sat beneath the gallery at nights,

To hear debates whose thunder roused (not rouses) The world to gaze upon those northern lights

Which flash'd as far as where the musk-bull browses: He had also stood at times behind the throneBut Grey was not arrived, and Chatham gone.


He saw however, at the closing session,

That noble sight, when really free the nation, A king in constitutional possession

Of such a throne as is the proudest station, Though despots know it not—till the progression

Of freedom shall complete their education. 'T is not mere splendour makes the show august To eye or heart—it is the people's trust.


There too he saw (whate'er he may be now)

A prince, the prince of princes at the time, With fascination in his very bow,

And full of promise, as the spring of prime.
Though royalty was written on his brow,

He had then the grace too, rare in every clime,
Of being, without alloy of fop or beau,
A finished gentleman from top to toe.


And Juan was received, as hath been said,

Into the best society: and there Occurred what often happens, I 'm afraid,

However disciplined and debonaire:The talent and good humour he display'd,

Besides the marked distinction of his air, Exposed him, as was natural, to temptation, Even though himself avoided the occasion.


But what, and where, with whom, and when, and why,

Is not to be put hastily together; And as my morality

(Whatever people say) I dont know whether I'll leave a single reader's eyelid dry,

But harrow up his feelings till they wither,
And hew out a huge monument of pathos,
As Philip's son proposed to do with Athos."



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