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XX. As Juan mused on mutability,
Or on his mistress-terms synonymous No sound except the echo of his sigh
Or step ran sadly through that antique house, When suddenly he heard, or thought so, nigh,
A supernatural agent-or a mouse,
In cowl and beads and dusky garb, appear'd,
With steps that trod as heavy, yet unheard;
He moved as shadowy as the sisters weird,
Of such a spirit in these halls of old, But thought, like most men, there was nothing in 't
Beyond the rumour which such spots unfold, Coin'd from surviving superstition's mint,
Which passes ghosts in currency like gold, But rarely seen, like gold compared with paper. And did he see this ? or was it a vapour
XXIII. Once, twice, thrice pass'd, repass'd—the thing of air
Or earth beneath, or heaven, or t other place ; And Juan gazed upon it with a stare,
Yet could not speak or move ; but, on its base As stands a statue, stood : he felt his hair
Twine like a knot of snakes around his face;
The shadow pass'd away--but where? the hall
To think his vanishing unnatural : Doors there were many, through which, by the laws
Of physics, bodies, whether short or tall, Might come or go; but Juan could not state Through which the spectre seem'd to evaporate.
An age-expectant, powerless, with his eyes Straiu’d on the spot where first the figure gleam'd;
Then by degrees recall’d his energies,
But could not wake ; he was, he did surmise,
Burnt, and not blue, as modest tapers use,
He rubb’d his eyes, and they did not refuse
The paper was right easy to peruse ;
He shut his door, and after having read
Undress'd, and rather slowly went to bed. There, couch'd all snugly on his pillow's nook,
With what he 'd seen his phantasy he fed, And though it was no opiate, slumber crept Upon him by degrees, and so he slept.
his visitant or vision, And whether it ought not to be disclosed,
At risk of being quizzed for superstition. The more he thought, the more his mind was posed;
In the mean time his valet, whose precision Was great, because his master brook'd no less, Knock'd to inform him it was time to dress.
XXIX. He dress'd; and, like young people, he was wont
To take some trouble with his toilet, but This morning rather spent less time
Aside his very mirror soon was put; His curls fell negligently o'er his front,
His clothes were not curb'd to their usual cut, His very
neckcloth's Gordian knot was tied Almost a hair's breadth too much on one side.
He sate him pensive o'er a dish of tea,
Had it not happen'd scalding hot to be,
So much distrait he was, that all could see
Herself; then hastily look'd down and mutter'd
And look’d at Juan hard, but nothing utter’d.
And every body wondering more or less,
He started, and said, “ Yes-no-rather-yes."
And, being present, now began to express
And yet his looks appear'd to sanction both,
Something like illness of a sudden growth
But for the rest, as he himself seem'd loth
Also the muffin whereof he complain'd,
At which he marvell’d, since it had not rain'd;
Her grace replied, his grace was rather pain'd
A few words of condolence on his state : “ You look," quoth he, you
To put the question with an air sedate,
The spirit of these walls ?”—“In truth not I.”
Tells an odd story, of which by the by:
Or that our sires had a more gifted eye
XXXVII. " The last time was,”_66
” said Adeline (Who watch'd the changes of Don Juan's brow, And from its context thought she could divine
Connexions stronger than he chose to avow With this same legend)—"if you
but design To jest, you 'll chuse some other theme just now, Because the present tale has oft been told, And is not much improved by growing old."
XXXVIII. “ Jest !" quoth my lord, “Why, Adeline, you know
That we ourselves—’t was in the honey-moonSaw_"_“Well, no matter, 't was so long ago ;
But come, I 'll set your story to a tune.” Graceful as Dian when she draws her bow,
She seized her harp, whose strings were kindled soon As touch'd, and plaintively began to play The air of “’T was a Friar of Orders Gray.”
XXXIX. “But add the words,” cried Henry," which you made,
For Adeline is half a poetess,"
Of course the others could not but express
By one three talents, for there were no less The voice, the words, the harper's skill, at once Could hardly be united by a dunce.
XL. After some fascinating hesitation
The charming of these charmers, who seem bound, I can't tell why, to this dissimulation,
Fair Adeline, with eyes fix'd on the ground
Added her sweet voice to the lyric sound,
Who sitteth by Norman stone,
And his mass of the days that are gone.
Would not be driven away.
Though he came in his might, with King Henry's right,
To turn church lands to lay,
And he did not seem form’d of clay,
Though he is not seen by day.
It is not mine to say ;
He abideth night and day.
He flits on the bridal eve;
He comes—but not to grieve.
And when aught is to befal
He walks from hall to hall.
you may trace, but not his face,
And they seem of a parted soul.