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Here the twelfth canto of our introduction
Ends. When the body of the book 's begun, You 'll find it of a different construction
From what some people say't will be when done: The plan at present 's simply in concoction.
I can't oblige you, reader, to read on;
And if my thunderbolt not always rattles,
Remember, reader! you have had before
, Besides the most sublime of—Heaven knows what else:
An usurer could scarce expect much moreBut my best canto, save one on astronomy, Will turn upon « political economy.»
That is your present theme for popularity:
Now that the public hedge hath scarce a stake, It grows an act of patriotic charity,
To show the people the best way to break.
Reserve it) will be very sure to take.
END OF CANTO XII.
NOTES TO CANTO XII.
Note 1, page 107, stanza xix.
Gives, with Greek truth, the good old Greek the lie. See Mitford's Greece. « Græcia Verax.» His great pleasure consists in praising tyrants, abusing Plutarch, spelling oddly, and writing quaintly; and what is strange after all, his is the best modern history of Greece in any language, and he is perhaps the best of all modern historians whatsoever. Having named his sins, it is but fair to state his virtues-learning, labour, research, wrath, and partiality. I call the latter virtues in a writer, because they make him write in earnest. and native country of the aurora boreales, see Parry's Voyage in search of a North-west Passage.
Note 2, page 113, stanza xxxvII.
A hazy widower turn'd of forty 's sure etc. This line may puzzle the commentators more than the present generation.
Note 3, page 125, stanza LXXIII.
Like Russians rushing from hot baths to snows etc. The Russians, as is well known, run out from their hot baths to plunge into the Neva; a pleasant practical antithesis, which it seems does them no harm.
Note 4, page 128, stanza LxxxII.
-those northern lighis Which flash'd as far as where the musk-bull browscs: etc. For a description and print of this inhabitant of the Polar region
Note 5, page 129, stanza LXXXVI.
As Philip's son proposed to do with Athos. A sculptor projected to hew Mount Athos into a statue of Alexander, with a city in one hand, and, I believe, a river in his pocket, with various other similar devices. But Alexander 's gone, and Athos remains, I trust, ere long, to look over a nation of freemen.
I now mean to be serious;—it is time,
Since laughter now-a-days is deem'd too serious, A jest at vice by virtue 's called a crime,
And critically held as deleterious: Besides, the sad 's a source of the sublime,
Although when long a little apt to weary us; And therefore shall my lay soar high and solemn, As an old temple dwindled to a column.
The Lady Adeline Amundeville
('T is an old Norman name, and to be found In pedigrees by those who wander still
Along the last fields of that Gothic ground) Was high-born, wealthy by her father's will,
And beauteous, even where beauties most abound, In Britain—which of course true patriots find The goodliest soil of body and of mind.
I 'll not gainsay them; it is not my cue;
I leave them to their taste, no doubt the best. An eye's an eye, and whether black or blue,
Is no great matter, so't is in request, 'T is nonsense to dispute about a hue-
The kindest may be taken as a test. The fair sex should be always fair; and no man, Till thirty, should perceive there's a plain woman.
And after that serene and somewhat dull
Epoch, that awkward corner turn'd for days
We may presume to criticise or praise;
ways; Also because the figure and the face Hint, that 't is time to give the younger place.
I know that some would fain postpone this era,
Reluctant as all placemen to resign Their post; but-theirs is merely a chimera,
For they have passed life's equinoctial line:
To irrigate the dryness of decline;