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Brave men were living before Agamemnon
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.




(CANTO I, cxxii-cxxvii)

'TIS sweet to hear

At midnight on the blue and moonlit deep song and oar of Adria's gondolier, By distance mellow'd, o'er the waters sweep; "Tis sweet to see the evening star appear;

'Tis sweet to listen as the night-winds creep From leaf to leaf; 'tis sweet to view on high The rainbow, based on ocean, span the sky.

'Tis sweet to hear the watch-dog's honest bark

Bay deep-mouth'd welcome as we draw near home; 'Tis sweet to know there is an eye will mark

Our coming, and look brighter when we come ; "Tis sweet to be awaken'd by the lark,

Or lull'd by falling waters; sweet the hum
Of bees, the voice of girls, the song of birds,
The lisp of children, and their earliest words.

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,

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Sweet is revenge-especially to women,
Pillage to soldiers, prize-money to seamen.




Sweet is a legacy, and passing sweet

The unexpected death of some old lady Or gentleman of seventy years complete,

Who've made us youth' wait too-too long already For an estate, or cash, or country seat,

Still breaking, but with stamina so steady
That all the Israelites are fit to mob its
Next owner for their double-damn'd post-obits.

'Tis sweet to win, no matter how, one's laurels, By blood or ink; 'tis sweet to put an end

To strife; 'tis 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
We ne'er forget, though there we are forgot.

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 pluck'd-all's knownAnd life yields nothing further to recall

Worthy of this ambrosial sin, so shown,

No doubt in fable, as the unforgiven

Fire which Prometheus filch'd for us from heaven.



(CANTO I. cxcii—cxcviii).

THEY tell me 'tis decided you depart:
'Tis wise-'tis 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, 'tis not what it appears;
My eyeballs burn and throb, but have no tears.

"I loved, I love you, for this love have lost

State, station, heaven, mankind's, my own esteem, And yet cannot regret what it hath cost,

So dear is still the memory of that dream;
Yet, if I name my guilt, 'tis 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.


Man's love is of man's life a thing apart,

'Tis 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 cannot estrange;
Men have all these resources, we but one,
To love again, and be again undone.

"You will proceed in pleasure, and in pride,
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-]
That word is idle now-but let it go.



'My breast has been all weakness, is so yet;
But still I think I can collect my mind;
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 fix'd soul.

"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


And I must even survive this last adieu,

And bear with life to love and pray for you!

This note was written upon gilt-edged paper
With a neat little crow-quill, slight and new;

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,"
The motto, cut upon a white cornelian ;
The wax was superfine, its hue vermilion.


(CANTO I. cc-cevi)

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 :

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.
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.

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 'tis quite a boro
Their labyrinth of fables to thread through,
Whereas this story 's actually true.

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;
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.

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,
Or, Every Poet his own Aristotle.'

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, the third so quaint and mouthy: 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.

Thou shalt not covet Mr. Sotheby's Muse,
His Pegasus, nor anything that's his;

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Thou shalt not bear falso 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!


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