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The Works of Lord Byron, Volume 6
by Lord Byron
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THE WORKS OF LORD BYRON.

A NEW, REVISED AND ENLARGED EDITION, WITH ILLUSTRATIONS.

Poetry. Vol. VI.

EDITED BY ERNEST HARTLEY COLERIDGE, M.A., HON. F.R.S.L.

LONDON: JOHN MURRAY, ALBEMARLE STREET. NEW YORK: CHARLES SCRIBNER'S SONS.

1903

THIS EDITION OF A GREAT POEM IS DEDICATED WITH HIS PERMISSION

TO

ALGERNON CHARLES SWINBURNE.

MDCCCCII.



TRANSCRIBER'S NOTES

This etext is a Latin-1 file. The original contained a few phrases or lines of Greek text. These are represented here as Beta-code transliterations, for example [Greek: nous]. The original text used a other characters not found in the Latin-1 character set. These have been represented using bracket notation, as follows: ⱥ a with macron; ø o with macron; ĕ e with breve. In Canto X, Stanza XLI Byron used three pharmaceutical symbols, represented as [ezh] (looks like a "3"), [)ezh] (same, with caron), and [Rx] (prescription symbol).

An important feature of this edition is its copious footnotes. Footnotes indexed with arabic numbers (e.g. [17], [221]) are informational. Note text in square brackets is the work of editor E.H. Coleridge, and is unique to this edition. Other note text is from earlier editions and is by a preceding editor or Byron himself.

Footnotes indexed with letters (e.g. [c], [bf]) document variant forms of the text from manuscripts and other sources.

In the original, footnotes were printed at the foot of the page on which they were referenced, and their indices started over on each page. In this etext, footnotes have been collected at the ends of each preface or Canto, and have been numbered consecutively throughout. However, in the blocks of footnotes are numbers in braces: {321}. These represent the page number on which following notes originally appeared, and can be used to find notes by page. For example, the Preface directs you to "a note (pp. 495..." and you can locate this note in its new location by searching for {495}.



PREFACE TO THE SIXTH VOLUME.

The text of this edition of Don Juan has been collated with original MSS. in the possession of the Lady Dorchester and Mr. John Murray. The fragment of a Seventeenth Canto, consisting of fourteen stanzas, is now printed and published for the first time.

I have collated with the original authorities, and in many instances retranscribed, the numerous quotations from Sir G. Dalzell's Shipwrecks and Disasters at Sea (1812, 8vo) [Canto II. stanzas xxiv.-civ. pp. 87-112], and from a work entitled Essai sur l'Histoire Ancienne et Moderne de la Nouvelle Russie, par le Marquis Gabriel de Castelnau (1827, 8vo) [Canto VII. stanzas ix.—liii. pp. 304-320, and Canto VIII. stanzas vi.—cxxvii. pp. 331-368], which were first included in the notes to the fifteenth and sixteenth volumes of the edition of 1833, and have been reprinted in subsequent issues of Lord Byron's Poetical Works.

A note (pp. 495-497) illustrative of the famous description of Newstead Abbey (Canto XIII. stanzas lv.-lxxii.) contains particulars not hitherto published. My thanks and acknowledgments are due to Lady Chermside and Miss Ethel Webb, for the opportunity afforded me of visiting Newstead Abbey, and for invaluable assistance in the preparation of this and other notes.

The proof-sheets of this volume have been read by Mr. Frank E. Taylor. I am indebted to his care and knowledge for many important corrections and emendations.

I must once more record my gratitude to Dr. Garnett, C.B., for the generous manner in which he has devoted time and attention to the solution of difficulties submitted to his consideration.

I am also indebted, for valuable information, to the Earl of Rosebery, K.G.; to Mr. J. Willis Clark, Registrar of the University of Cambridge; to Mr. W.P. Courtney; to my friend Mr. Thomas Hutchinson; to Miss Emily Jackson, of Hucknall Torkard; and to Mr. T.E. Page, of the Charterhouse.

On behalf of the publisher, I beg to acknowledge the kindness of the Lady Frances Trevanion, Sir J.G. Tollemache Sinclair, Bart., and Baron Dimsdale, in permitting the originals of portraits and drawings in their possession to be reproduced in this volume.



NOTE.

It was intended that the whole of Lord Byron's Poetical Works should be included in six volumes, corresponding to the six volumes of the Letters, and announcements to this effect have been made; but this has been found to be impracticable. The great mass of new material incorporated in the Introductions, notes, and variants, has already expanded several of the published volumes to a disproportionate size, and Don Juan itself occupies 612 pages.

Volume Seven, which will complete the work, will contain Occasional Poems, Epigrams, etc., a Bibliography more complete than has ever hitherto been published, and an exhaustive Index.



CONTENTS OF VOL. VI.

Dedication v Preface to Vol. VI. of the Poems vii Introduction to DON JUAN xv Dedication to Robert Southey, Esq. 3 DON JUAN— Canto I 11 Canto II 81 Canto III 143 Canto IV 183 Canto V 218 Preface to Cantos VI., VII., and VIII 264 Canto VI 268 Canto VII 302 Canto VIII 330 Canto IX 373 Canto X 400 Canto XI 427 Canto XII 455 Canto XIII 481 Canto XIV 516 Canto XV 544 Canto XVI 572 Canto XVII 608



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS.

1. PORTRAIT OF LORD BYRON, FROM A DRAWING FROM THE LIFE BY J. HOLMES, FORMERLY THE PROPERTY OF THE LATE HUGH CHARLES TREVANION, ESQ. frontispiece

2. WILLIAM WORDSWORTH, FROM THE PORTRAIT BY H.W. PICKERSGILL, R.A., IN THE NATIONAL PORTRAIT GALLERY To face p. 4

3. NINON DE LENCLOS, FROM A MINIATURE IN THE POSSESSION OF SIR J.G. TOLLEMACHE SINCLAIR, BART. 246

4. FOUNTAIN AT NEWSTEAD ABBEY 500



INTRODUCTION TO DON JUAN

Byron was a rapid as well as a voluminous writer. His Tales were thrown off at lightning speed, and even his dramas were thought out and worked through with unhesitating energy and rapid achievement. Nevertheless, the composition of his two great poems was all but coextensive with his poetical life. He began the first canto of Childe Harold in the autumn of 1809, and he did not complete the fourth canto till the spring of 1818. He began the first canto of Don Juan in the autumn of 1818, and he was still at work on a seventeenth canto in the spring of 1823. Both poems were issued in parts, and with long intervals of unequal duration between the parts; but the same result was brought about by different causes and produced a dissimilar effect. Childe Harold consists of three distinct poems descriptive of three successive travels or journeys in foreign lands. The adventures of the hero are but the pretext for the shifting of the diorama; whereas in Don Juan the story is continuous, and the scenery is exhibited as a background for the dramatic evolution of the personality of the hero. Childe Harold came out at intervals, because there were periods when the author was stationary; but the interruptions in the composition and publication of Don Juan were due to the disapproval and discouragement of friends, and the very natural hesitation and procrastination of the publisher. Canto I. was written in September, 1818; Canto II. in December-January, 1818-1819. Both cantos were published on July 15, 1819. Cantos III., IV. were written in the winter of 1819-1820; Canto V., after an interval of nine months, in October-November, 1820, but the publication of Cantos III., IV., V. was delayed till August 8, 1821. The next interval was longer still, but it was the last. In June, 1822, Byron began to work at a sixth, and by the end of March, 1823, he had completed a sixteenth canto. But the publication of these later cantos, which had been declined by Murray, and were finally entrusted to John Hunt, was spread over a period of several months. Cantos VI., VII., VIII., with a Preface, were published July 15; Cantos IX., X., XI, August 29; Cantos XII., XIII., XIV., December 17, 1823; and, finally, Cantos XV., XVI., March 26, 1824. The composition of Don Juan, considered as a whole, synchronized with the composition of all the dramas (except Manfred) and the following poems: The Prophecy of Dante, (the translation of) The Morgante Maggiore, The Vision of Judgment, The Age of Bronze, and The Island.

There is little to be said with regard to the "Sources" of Don Juan. Frere's Whistlecraft had suggested Beppo, and, at the same time, had prompted and provoked a sympathetic study of Frere's Italian models, Berni and Pulci (see "Introduction to Beppo," Poetical Works, 1901, iv. 155-158; and "Introduction to The Morgante Maggiore" ibid., pp. 279-281); and, again, the success of Beppo, and, still more, a sense of inspiration and the conviction that he had found the path to excellence, suggested another essay of the ottava rima, a humorous poem "a la Beppo" on a larger and more important scale. If Byron possessed more than a superficial knowledge of the legendary "Don Juan," he was irresponsive and unimpressed. He speaks (letter to Murray, February 16, 1821) of "the Spanish tradition;" but there is nothing to show that he had read or heard of Tirso de Molina's (Gabriel Tellez) El Burlador de Sevilla y Convidado de Piedra (The Deceiver of Seville and the Stone Guest), 1626, which dramatized the "ower true tale" of the actual Don Juan Tenorio; or that he was acquainted with any of the Italian (e.g. Convitato di Pietra, del Dottor Giacinto Andrea Cicognini, Fiorentino [see L. Allacci Dramaturgia, 1755, 4, p. 862]) or French adaptations of the legend (e.g. Le Festin de Pierre, ou le fils criminel, Tragi-comedie de De Villiers, 1659; and Moliere's Dom Juan, ou Le Festin de Pierre, 1665). He had seen (vide post, p. 11, note 2) Delpini's pantomime, which was based on Shadwell's Libertine, and he may have witnessed, at Milan or Venice, a performance of Mozart's Don Giovanni; but in taking Don Juan for his "hero," he took the name only, and disregarded the "terrible figure" "of the Titan of embodied evil, the likeness of sin made flesh" (see Selections from the Works of Lord Byron, by A.C. Swinburne, 1885, p. xxvi.), "as something to his purpose nothing"!

Why, then, did he choose the name, and what was the scheme or motif of his poem? Something is to be gathered from his own remarks and reflections; but it must be borne in mind that he is on the defensive, and that his half-humorous paradoxes were provoked by advice and opposition. Writing to Moore (September 19, 1818), he says, "I have finished the first canto ... of a poem in the style and manner of Beppo, encouraged by the good success of the same. It is ... meant to be a little quietly facetious upon every thing. But I doubt whether it is not—at least as far as it has gone—too free for these very modest days." The critics before and after publication thought that Don Juan was "too free," and, a month after the two first cantos had been issued, he writes to Murray (August 12, 1819), "You ask me for the plan of Donny Johnny; I have no plan—I had no plan; but I had or have materials.... You are too earnest and eager about a work never intended to be serious. Do you suppose that I could have any intention but to giggle and make giggle?—a playful satire, with as little poetry as could be helped, was what I meant." Again, after the completion but before the publication of Cantos III., IV., V., in a letter to Murray (February 16, 1821), he writes, "The Fifth is so far from being the last of Don Juan, that it is hardly the beginning. I meant to take him the tour of Europe, with a proper mixture of siege, battle, and adventure, and to make him finish as Anacharsis Cloots in the French Revolution.... I meant to have made him a Cavalier Servente in Italy, and a cause for a divorce in England, and a Sentimental 'Werther-faced' man in Germany, so as to show the different ridicules of the society in each of these countries, and to have displayed him gradually gate and blase, as he grew older, as is natural. But I had not quite fixed whether to make him end in Hell, or in an unhappy marriage, not knowing which would be the severest."

Byron meant what he said, but he kept back the larger truth. Great works, in which the poet speaks ex animo, and the man lays bare the very pulse of the machine, are not conceived or composed unconsciously and at haphazard. Byron did not "whistle" Don Juan "for want of thought." He had found a thing to say, and he meant to make the world listen. He had read with angry disapproval, but he had read, Coleridge's Critique on [Maturin's] Bertram (vide post, p. 4, note 1), and, it may be, had caught an inspiration from one brilliant sentence which depicts the Don Juan of the legend somewhat after the likeness of Childe Harold, if not of Lord Byron: "Rank, fortune, wit, talent, acquired knowledge, and liberal accomplishments, with beauty of person, vigorous health, ... all these advantages, elevated by the habits and sympathies of noble birth and natural character, are ... combined in Don Juan, so as to give him the means of carrying into all its practical consequences the doctrine of a godless nature ... Obedience to nature is the only virtue." Again, "It is not the wickedness of Don Juan ... which constitutes the character an abstraction, ... but the rapid succession of the correspondent acts and incidents, his intellectual superiority, and the splendid accumulation of his gifts and desirable qualities as coexistent with entire wickedness in one and the same person." Here was at once a suggestion and a challenge.

Would it not be possible to conceive and to depict an ideal character, gifted, gracious, and delightful, who should "carry into all its practical consequences" the doctrine of a mundane, if not godless doctrine, and, at the same time, retain the charities and virtues of uncelestial but not devilish manhood? In defiance of monition and in spite of resolution, the primrose path is trodden by all sorts and conditions of men, sinners no doubt, but not necessarily abstractions of sin, and to assert the contrary makes for cant and not for righteousness. The form and substance of the poem were due to the compulsion of Genius and the determination of Art, but the argument is a vindication of the natural man. It is Byron's "criticism of life." Don Juan was taboo from the first. The earlier issues of the first five cantos were doubly anonymous. Neither author nor publisher subscribed their names on the title-page. The book was a monster, and, as its maker had foreseen, "all the world" shuddered. Immoral, in the sense that it advocates immoral tenets, or prefers evil to good, it is not, but it is unquestionably a dangerous book, which (to quote Kingsley's words used in another connection) "the young and innocent will do well to leave altogether unread." It is dangerous because it ignores resistance and presumes submission to passion; it is dangerous because, as Byron admitted, it is "now and then voluptuous;" and it is dangerous, in a lesser degree, because, here and there, the purport of the quips and allusions is gross and offensive. No one can take up the book without being struck and arrested by these violations of modesty and decorum; but no one can master its contents and become possessed of it as a whole without perceiving that the mirror is held up to nature, that it reflects spots and blemishes which, on a survey of the vast and various orb, dwindle into natural and so comparative insignificance. Byron was under no delusion as to the grossness of Don Juan. His plea or pretence, that he was sheltered by the superior grossness of Ariosto and La Fontaine, of Prior and of Fielding, is nihil ad rem, if it is not insincere. When Murray (May 3, 1819) charges him with "approximations to indelicacy," he laughs himself away at the euphemism, but when Hobhouse and "the Zoili of Albemarle Street" talked to him "about morality," he flames out, "I maintain that it is the most moral of poems." He looked upon his great work as a whole, and he knew that the "raison d'etre of his song" was not only to celebrate, but, by the white light of truth, to represent and exhibit the great things of the world—Love and War, and Death by sea and land, and Man, half-angel, half-demon—the comedy of his fortunes, and the tragedy of his passions and his fate.

Don Juan has won great praise from the great. Sir Walter Scott (Edinburgh Weekly Journal, May 19, 1824) maintained that its creator "has embraced every topic of human life, and sounded every string of the divine harp, from its slightest to its most powerful and heart-astounding tones." Goethe (Kunst und Alterthum, 1821 [ed. Weimar, iii. 197, and Saemmtliche Werke, xiii. 637]) described Don Juan as "a work of boundless genius." Shelley (letter to Byron, October 21, 1821), on the receipt of Cantos III., IV., V., bore testimony to his "wonder and delight:" "This poem carries with it at once the stamp of originality and defiance of imitation. Nothing has ever been written like it in English, nor, if I may venture to prophesy, will there be, unless carrying upon it the mark of a secondary and borrowed light.... You are building up a drama," he adds, "such as England has not yet seen, and the task is sufficiently noble and worthy of you." Again, of the fifth canto he writes (Shelley's Prose Works, ed. H. Buxton Forman, iv. 219), "Every word has the stamp of immortality.... It fulfils, in a certain degree, what I have long preached of producing—something wholly new and relative to the age, and yet surpassingly beautiful." Finally, a living poet, neither a disciple nor encomiast of Byron, pays eloquent tribute to the strength and splendour of Don Juan: "Across the stanzas ... we swim forward as over the 'broad backs of the sea;' they break and glitter, hiss and laugh, murmur and move like waves that sound or that subside. There is in them a delicious resistance, an elastic motion, which salt water has and fresh water has not. There is about them a wide wholesome air, full of vivid light and constant wind, which is only felt at sea. Life undulates and Death palpitates in the splendid verse.... This gift of life and variety is the supreme quality of Byron's chief poem" (A Selection, etc., by A.C. Swinburne, 1885, p. x.).

Cantos I., II. of Don Juan were reviewed in Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine, August, 1819, vol. v. pp. 512-518; Cantos III., IV., V., August, 1821, vol. x. pp. 107-115; and Cantos VI., VII., VIII., July, 1823, vol. xiv. pp. 88-92: in the British Critic, Cantos I., II. were reviewed August, 1819, vol. xii. pp. 195-205; and Cantos III., IV., V., September, 1821, vol. xvi. pp. 251-256: in the British Review, Cantos I., II. were reviewed August, 1819, vol. xiv. pp. 266-268; and Cantos III., IV., V., December, 1821, vol. xviii. pp. 245-265: in the Examiner, Cantos I., II. were reviewed October 31, 1819; Cantos III., IV., V., August 26, 1821; and Cantos XV., XVI., March 14 and 21, 1824: in the Literary Gazette, Cantos I., II. were reviewed July 17 and 24, 1819; Cantos III., IV., V., August 11 and 18, 1821; Cantos VI., VII., VIII., July 19, 1823; Cantos IX., X., XL, September 6, 1823; Cantos XII., XIII., XIV., December 6, 1823; and Cantos XV., XVI., April 3, 1824: in the Monthly Review., Cantos I., II. were reviewed July, 1819, Enlarged Series, vol. 89, p. 309; Cantos III., IV., V., August, 1821, vol. 95, p. 418; Cantos VI., VII., VIII., July, 1823, vol. 101, p. 316; Cantos IX., X., XI., October, 1823, vol. 102, p. 217; Cantos XII., XIII., XIV., vol. 103, p. 212; and Cantos XV., XVI., April, 1824, vol. 103, p. 434: in the New Monthly Magazine, Cantos I., II. were reviewed August, 1819, vol. xii. p. 75. See, too, an article on the "Morality of Don Juan," Dublin University Magazine, May, 1875, vol. lxxxv. pp. 630-637.

Neither the Quarterly nor the Edinburgh Review devoted separate articles to Don Juan; but Heber, in the Quarterly Review (Lord Byron's Dramas), July, 1822, vol. xxvii. p. 477, and Jeffrey, in the Edinburgh Review (Lord Byron's Tragedies), February, 1822, vol. 36, pp. 446-450, took occasion to pass judgment on the poem and its author.

For the history of the legend, see History of Spanish Literature, by George Ticknor, 1888, vol. ii. pp. 380, 381; and Das Kloster, von J. Scheible, 1846, vol. iii. pp. 663-765. See, too, Notes sur le Don Juanisme, par Henri de Bruchard, Mercure de France, Avril, 1898, vol. xxvi. pp. 58-73; and Don Juan, par Gustave Kahn, Revue Encyclopedique, 1898, tom. viii. pp. 326-329.



DON JUAN.



FRAGMENT ON THE BACK OF THE MS. OF CANTO I.

I WOULD to Heaven that I were so much clay, As I am blood, bone, marrow, passion, feeling— Because at least the past were passed away, And for the future—(but I write this reeling, Having got drunk exceedingly to-day, So that I seem to stand upon the ceiling) I say—the future is a serious matter— And so—for God's sake—hock and soda-water!



DEDICATION.[1]

I.

BOB SOUTHEY! You're a poet—Poet-laureate, And representative of all the race; Although 't is true that you turned out a Tory at Last,—yours has lately been a common case; And now, my Epic Renegade! what are ye at? With all the Lakers, in and out of place? A nest of tuneful persons, to my eye Like "four and twenty Blackbirds in a pye;

II.

"Which pye being opened they began to sing," (This old song and new simile holds good), "A dainty dish to set before the King," Or Regent, who admires such kind of food;— And Coleridge, too, has lately taken wing, But like a hawk encumbered with his hood,— Explaining Metaphysics to the nation— I wish he would explain his Explanation.[2]

III.

You, Bob! are rather insolent, you know, At being disappointed in your wish To supersede all warblers here below, And be the only Blackbird in the dish; And then you overstrain yourself, or so, And tumble downward like the flying fish Gasping on deck, because you soar too high, Bob, And fall, for lack of moisture, quite a-dry, Bob![3]

IV.

And Wordsworth, in a rather long "Excursion," (I think the quarto holds five hundred pages), Has given a sample from the vasty version Of his new system[4] to perplex the sages; 'T is poetry-at least by his assertion, And may appear so when the dog-star rages— And he who understands it would be able To add a story to the Tower of Babel.

V.

You—Gentlemen! by dint of long seclusion From better company, have kept your own At Keswick, and, through still continued fusion Of one another's minds, at last have grown To deem as a most logical conclusion, That Poesy has wreaths for you alone: There is a narrowness in such a notion, Which makes me wish you'd change your lakes for Ocean.

VI.

I would not imitate the petty thought, Nor coin my self-love to so base a vice, For all the glory your conversion brought, Since gold alone should not have been its price. You have your salary; was 't for that you wrought? And Wordsworth has his place in the Excise.[5] You're shabby fellows—true—but poets still, And duly seated on the Immortal Hill.

VII.

Your bays may hide the baldness of your brows— Perhaps some virtuous blushes;—let them go— To you I envy neither fruit nor boughs— And for the fame you would engross below, The field is universal, and allows Scope to all such as feel the inherent glow: Scott, Rogers, Campbell, Moore, and Crabbe, will try 'Gainst you the question with posterity.

VIII.

For me, who, wandering with pedestrian Muses, Contend not with you on the winged steed, I wish your fate may yield ye, when she chooses, The fame you envy, and the skill you need; And, recollect, a poet nothing loses In giving to his brethren their full meed Of merit—and complaint of present days Is not the certain path to future praise.

IX.

He that reserves his laurels for posterity (Who does not often claim the bright reversion) Has generally no great crop to spare it, he Being only injured by his own assertion; And although here and there some glorious rarity Arise like Titan from the sea's immersion, The major part of such appellants go To—God knows where—for no one else can know.

X.

If, fallen in evil days on evil tongues,[6] Milton appealed to the Avenger, Time, If Time, the Avenger, execrates his wrongs, And makes the word "Miltonic" mean "Sublime," He deigned not to belie his soul in songs, Nor turn his very talent to a crime; He did not loathe the Sire to laud the Son, But closed the tyrant-hater he begun.

XI.

Think'st thou, could he—the blind Old Man—arise Like Samuel from the grave, to freeze once more The blood of monarchs with his prophecies, Or be alive again—again all hoar With time and trials, and those helpless eyes, And heartless daughters—worn—and pale[7]—and poor; Would he adore a sultan? he obey The intellectual eunuch Castlereagh?[8]

XII.

Cold-blooded, smooth-faced, placid miscreant! Dabbling its sleek young hands in Erin's gore, And thus for wider carnage taught to pant, Transferred to gorge upon a sister shore, The vulgarest tool that Tyranny could want, With just enough of talent, and no more, To lengthen fetters by another fixed, And offer poison long already mixed.

XIII.

An orator of such set trash of phrase Ineffably—legitimately vile, That even its grossest flatterers dare not praise, Nor foes—all nations—condescend to smile,— Nor even a sprightly blunder's spark can blaze From that Ixion grindstone's ceaseless toil, That turns and turns to give the world a notion Of endless torments and perpetual motion.

XIV.

A bungler even in its disgusting trade, And botching, patching, leaving still behind Something of which its masters are afraid— States to be curbed, and thoughts to be confined, Conspiracy or Congress to be made— Cobbling at manacles for all mankind— A tinkering slave-maker, who mends old chains, With God and Man's abhorrence for its gains.

XV.

If we may judge of matter by the mind, Emasculated to the marrow It Hath but two objects, how to serve, and bind, Deeming the chain it wears even men may fit, Eutropius of its many masters,[9]—blind To worth as freedom, wisdom as to wit, Fearless—because no feeling dwells in ice, Its very courage stagnates to a vice.[10]

XVI.

Where shall I turn me not to view its bonds, For I will never feel them?—Italy! Thy late reviving Roman soul desponds Beneath the lie this State-thing breathed o'er thee[11]— Thy clanking chain, and Erin's yet green wounds, Have voices—tongues to cry aloud for me. Europe has slaves—allies—kings—armies still— And Southey lives to sing them very ill.

XVII.

Meantime, Sir Laureate, I proceed to dedicate, In honest simple verse, this song to you. And, if in flattering strains I do not predicate, 'T is that I still retain my "buff and blue;"[12] My politics as yet are all to educate: Apostasy's so fashionable, too, To keep one creed's a task grown quite Herculean; Is it not so, my Tory, ultra-Julian?[13]

Venice, Sept. 16, 1818.

FOOTNOTES:

{3}[1] ["As the Poem is to be published anonymously, omit the Dedication. I won't attack the dog in the dark. Such things are for scoundrels and renegadoes like himself" [Revise]. See, too, letter to Murray, May 6, 1819 (Letters, 1900, iv. 294); and Southey's letter to Bedford, July 31, 1819 (Selections from the Letters, etc., 1856, in. 137, 138). According to the editor of the Works of Lord Byron, 1833 (xv. 101), the existence of the Dedication "became notorious" in consequence of Hobhouse's article in the Westminster Review, 1824. He adds, for Southey's consolation and encouragement, that "for several years the verses have been selling in the streets as a broadside," and that "it would serve no purpose to exclude them on the present occasion." But Southey was not appeased. He tells Allan Cunningham (June 3, 1833) that "the new edition of Byron's works is ... one of the very worst symptoms of these bad times" (Life and Correspondence, 1850, vi. 217).]

{4}[2] [In the "Critique on Bertram," which Coleridge contributed to the Courier, in 1816, and republished in the Biographia Literaria, in 1817 (chap, xxiii.), he gives a detailed analysis of "the old Spanish play, entitled Atheista Fulminato [vide ante, the 'Introduction to Don Juan'] ... which under various names (Don Juan, the Libertine, etc.) has had its day of favour in every country throughout Europe ... Rank, fortune, wit, talent, acquired knowledge, and liberal accomplishments, with beauty of person, vigorous health, and constitutional hardihood,—all these advantages, elevated by the habits and sympathies of noble birth and national character, are supposed to have combined in Don Juan, so as to give him the means of carrying into all its practical consequences the doctrine of a godless nature, as the sole ground and efficient cause not only of all things, events, and appearances, but likewise of all our thoughts, sensations, impulses, and actions. Obedience to nature is the only virtue." It is possible that Byron traced his own lineaments in this too life-like portraiture, and at the same time conceived the possibility of a new Don Juan, "made up" after his own likeness. His extreme resentment at Coleridge's just, though unwise and uncalled-for, attack on Maturin stands in need of some explanation. See letter to Murray, September 17, 1817 (Letters, 1900, iv. 172).]

[3] ["Have you heard that Don Juan came over with a dedication to me, in which Lord Castlereagh and I (being hand in glove intimates) were coupled together for abuse as 'the two Roberts'? A fear of persecution (sic) from the one Robert is supposed to be the reason why it has been suppressed" (Southey to Rev. H. Hill, August 13, 1819, Selections from the Letters, etc., 1856, iii. 142). For "Quarrel between Byron and Southey," see Introduction to The Vision of Judgment, Poetical Works, 1901, iv. 475-480; and Letters, 1901, vi. 377-399 (Appendix I.).]

[4] [The reference must be to the detailed enumeration of "the powers requisite for the production of poetry," and the subsequent antithesis of Imagination and Fancy contained in the Preface to the collected Poems of William Wordsworth, published in 1815. In the Preface to the Excursion (1814) it is expressly stated that "it is not the author's intention formally to announce a system."]

{5}[5] Wordsworth's place may be in the Customs—it is, I think, in that or the Excise—besides another at Lord Lonsdale's table, where this poetical charlatan and political parasite licks up the crumbs with a hardened alacrity; the converted Jacobin having long subsided into the clownish sycophant [despised retainer,—MS. erased] of the worst prejudices of the aristocracy.

[Wordsworth obtained his appointment as Distributor of Stamps for the county of Westmoreland in March, 1813, through Lord Lonsdale's "patronage" (see his letter, March 6, 1813). The Excursion was dedicated to Lord Lonsdale in a sonnet dated July 29, 1814—

"Oft through thy fair domains, illustrious Peer, In youth I roamed ... Now, by thy care befriended, I appear Before thee, Lonsdale, and this Work present." ]

{6}[6] [Paradise Lost, vii. 25, 26.]

{7}[7] "Pale, but not cadaverous:"—Milton's two elder daughters are said to have robbed him of his books, besides cheating and plaguing him in the economy of his house, etc., etc. His feelings on such an outrage, both as a parent and a scholar, must have been singularly painful. Hayley compares him to Lear. See part third, Life of Milton, by W. Hayley (or Hailey, as spelt in the edition before me).

[The Life of Milton, by William Hailey (sic), Esq., Basil, 1799, p. 186.]

[8] Or—

"Would he subside into a hackney Laureate— A scribbling, self-sold, soul-hired, scorned Iscariot?"

I doubt if "Laureate" and "Iscariot" be good rhymes, but must say, as Ben Jonson did to Sylvester, who challenged him to rhyme with—

"I, John Sylvester, Lay with your sister."

Jonson answered—"I, Ben Jonson, lay with your wife." Sylvester answered,—"That is not rhyme."—"No," said Ben Jonson; "but it is true."

[For Robert Stewart, Viscount Castlereagh, see The Age of Bronze, line 538, Poetical Works, 1901, v. 568, note 2; and Letters, 1900, iv. 108, note 1.]

{8}[9] For the character of Eutropius, the eunuch and minister at the court of Arcadius, see Gibbon, [Decline and Fall, 1825, ii. 307, 308].

[10] ["Mr. John Murray,—As publisher to the Admiralty and of various Government works, if the five stanzas concerning Castlereagh should risk your ears or the Navy List, you may omit them in the publication—in that case the two last lines of stanza 10 [i.e. 11] must end with the couplet (lines 7, 8) inscribed in the margin. The stanzas on Castlerighi (as the Italians call him) are 11, 12, 13, 14, 15."—MS. M.]

[11] [Commenting on a "pathetic sentiment" of Leoni, the author of the Italian translation of Childe Harold ("Sciagurata condizione di questa mia patria!"), Byron affirms that the Italians execrated Castlereagh "as the cause, by the conduct of the English at Genoa." "Surely," he exclaims, "that man will not die in his bed: there is no spot of the earth where his name is not a hissing and a curse. Imagine what must be the man's talent for Odium, who has contrived to spread his infamy like a pestilence from Ireland to Italy, and to make his name an execration in all languages."—Letter to Murray, May 8, 1820, Letters, 1901, v. 22, note 1.]

{9}[12] [Charles James Fox and the Whig Club of his time adopted a uniform of blue and buff. Hence the livery of the Edinburgh Review.]

[13] I allude not to our friend Landor's hero, the traitor Count Julian, but to Gibbon's hero, vulgarly yclept "The Apostate."



DON JUAN

CANTO THE FIRST.[14]

I.

I WANT a hero: an uncommon want, When every year and month sends forth a new one, Till, after cloying the gazettes with cant, The age discovers he is not the true one; Of such as these I should not care to vaunt, I'll therefore take our ancient friend Don Juan— We all have seen him, in the pantomime,[15] Sent to the Devil somewhat ere his time.

II.

Vernon,[16] the butcher Cumberland, Wolfe, Hawke, Prince Ferdinand, Granby, Burgoyne, Keppel, Howe, Evil and good, have had their tithe of talk, And filled their sign-posts then, like Wellesley now; Each in their turn like Banquo's monarchs stalk, Followers of Fame, "nine farrow"[17] of that sow: France, too, had Buonaparte[18] and Dumourier[19] Recorded in the Moniteur and Courier.

III.

Barnave, Brissot, Condorcet, Mirabeau, Petion, Clootz, Danton, Marat, La Fayette[20] Were French, and famous people, as we know; And there were others, scarce forgotten yet, Joubert, Hoche, Marceau, Lannes, Desaix, Moreau,[21] With many of the military set, Exceedingly remarkable at times, But not at all adapted to my rhymes.

IV.

Nelson was once Britannia's god of War, And still should be so, but the tide is turned; There's no more to be said of Trafalgar, 'T is with our hero quietly inurned; Because the army's grown more popular, At which the naval people are concerned; Besides, the Prince is all for the land-service. Forgetting Duncan, Nelson, Howe, and Jervis.

V.

Brave men were living before Agamemnon[22] 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.

VI.

Most epic poets plunge "in medias res"[23] (Horace makes this the heroic turnpike road), And then your hero tells, whene'er you please, What went before—by way of episode, While seated after dinner at his ease, Beside his mistress in some soft abode, Palace, or garden, paradise, or cavern, Which serves the happy couple for a tavern.

VII.

That is the usual method, but not mine— My way is to begin with the beginning; The regularity of my design Forbids all wandering as the worst of sinning, And therefore I shall open with a line (Although it cost me half an hour in spinning), Narrating somewhat of Don Juan's father, And also of his mother, if you'd rather.

VIII.

In Seville was he born, a pleasant city, Famous for oranges and women,—he Who has not seen it will be much to pity, So says the proverb[24]—and I quite agree; Of all the Spanish towns is none more pretty, Cadiz perhaps—but that you soon may see;— Don Juan's parents lived beside the river, A noble stream, and called the Guadalquivir.

IX.

His father's name was Jose-Don, of course,— A true Hidalgo, free from every stain Of Moor or Hebrew blood, he traced his source Through the most Gothic gentlemen of Spain; A better cavalier ne'er mounted horse, Or, being mounted, e'er got down again, Than Jose, who begot our hero, who Begot—but that's to come——Well, to renew:

X.[25]

His mother was a learned lady, famed For every branch of every science known— In every Christian language ever named, With virtues equalled by her wit alone: She made the cleverest people quite ashamed, And even the good with inward envy groan, Finding themselves so very much exceeded, In their own way, by all the things that she did.

XI.

Her memory was a mine: she knew by heart All Calderon and greater part of Lope; So, that if any actor missed his part, She could have served him for the prompter's copy; For her Feinagle's were an useless art,[26] And he himself obliged to shut up shop—he Could never make a memory so fine as That which adorned the brain of Donna Inez.

XII.

Her favourite science was the mathematical, Her noblest virtue was her magnanimity, Her wit (she sometimes tried at wit) was Attic all, Her serious sayings darkened to sublimity;[a] In short, in all things she was fairly what I call A prodigy—her morning dress was dimity, Her evening silk, or, in the summer, muslin, And other stuffs, with which I won't stay puzzling.

XIII.

She knew the Latin—that is, "the Lord's prayer," And Greek—the alphabet—I'm nearly sure; She read some French romances here and there, Although her mode of speaking was not pure; For native Spanish she had no great care, At least her conversation was obscure; Her thoughts were theorems, her words a problem, As if she deemed that mystery would ennoble 'em.

XIV.

She liked the English and the Hebrew tongue, And said there was analogy between 'em; She proved it somehow out of sacred song, But I must leave the proofs to those who've seen 'em; But this I heard her say, and can't be wrong, And all may think which way their judgments lean 'em, "'T is strange—the Hebrew noun which means 'I am,' The English always use to govern d—n."

XV.

Some women use their tongues—she looked a lecture, Each eye a sermon, and her brow a homily, An all-in-all sufficient self-director, Like the lamented late Sir Samuel Romilly,[27] The Law's expounder, and the State's corrector, Whose suicide was almost an anomaly— One sad example more, that "All is vanity,"— (The jury brought their verdict in "Insanity!")

XVI.

In short, she was a walking calculation, Miss Edgeworth's novels stepping from their covers,[28] Or Mrs. Trimmer's books on education,[29] Or "Coelebs' Wife"[30] set out in quest of lovers, Morality's prim personification, In which not Envy's self a flaw discovers; To others' share let "female errors fall,"[31] For she had not even one—the worst of all.

XVII.

Oh! she was perfect past all parallel— Of any modern female saint's comparison; So far above the cunning powers of Hell, Her Guardian Angel had given up his garrison; Even her minutest motions went as well As those of the best time-piece made by Harrison:[32] In virtues nothing earthly could surpass her, Save thine "incomparable oil," Macassar![33]

XVIII.

Perfect she was, but as perfection is Insipid in this naughty world of ours, Where our first parents never learned to kiss Till they were exiled from their earlier bowers, Where all was peace, and innocence, and bliss,[b] (I wonder how they got through the twelve hours), Don Jose, like a lineal son of Eve, Went plucking various fruit without her leave.

XIX.

He was a mortal of the careless kind, With no great love for learning, or the learned, Who chose to go where'er he had a mind, And never dreamed his lady was concerned; The world, as usual, wickedly inclined To see a kingdom or a house o'erturned, Whispered he had a mistress, some said two. But for domestic quarrels one will do.

XX.

Now Donna Inez had, with all her merit, A great opinion of her own good qualities; Neglect, indeed, requires a saint to bear it, And such, indeed, she was in her moralities;[c] But then she had a devil of a spirit, And sometimes mixed up fancies with realities, And let few opportunities escape Of getting her liege lord into a scrape.

XXI.

This was an easy matter with a man Oft in the wrong, and never on his guard; And even the wisest, do the best they can, Have moments, hours, and days, so unprepared, That you might "brain them with their lady's fan;"[34] And sometimes ladies hit exceeding hard, And fans turn into falchions in fair hands, And why and wherefore no one understands.

XXII.

'T is pity learned virgins ever wed With persons of no sort of education, Or gentlemen, who, though well born and bred, Grow tired of scientific conversation: I don't choose to say much upon this head, I'm a plain man, and in a single station, But—Oh! ye lords of ladies intellectual, Inform us truly, have they not hen-pecked you all?

XXIII.

Don Jose and his lady quarrelled—why, Not any of the many could divine, Though several thousand people chose to try, 'T was surely no concern of theirs nor mine; I loathe that low vice—curiosity; But if there's anything in which I shine, 'T is in arranging all my friends' affairs, Not having, of my own, domestic cares.

XXIV.

And so I interfered, and with the best Intentions, but their treatment was not kind; I think the foolish people were possessed, For neither of them could I ever find, Although their porter afterwards confessed— But that's no matter, and the worst's behind, For little Juan o'er me threw, down stairs, A pail of housemaid's water unawares.

XXV.

A little curly-headed, good-for-nothing, And mischief-making monkey from his birth; His parents ne'er agreed except in doting Upon the most unquiet imp on earth; Instead of quarrelling, had they been but both in Their senses, they'd have sent young master forth To school, or had him soundly whipped at home, To teach him manners for the time to come.

XXVI.

Don Jose and the Donna Inez led For some time an unhappy sort of life, Wishing each other, not divorced, but dead;[d] They lived respectably as man and wife, Their conduct was exceedingly well-bred, And gave no outward signs of inward strife, Until at length the smothered fire broke out, And put the business past all kind of doubt.

XXVII.

For Inez called some druggists and physicians, And tried to prove her loving lord was mad,[35] But as he had some lucid intermissions, She next decided he was only bad; Yet when they asked her for her depositions, No sort of explanation could be had, Save that her duty both to man and God[36] Required this conduct—which seemed very odd.[37]

XXVIII.

She kept a journal, where his faults were noted, And opened certain trunks of books and letters,[38] All which might, if occasion served, be quoted; And then she had all Seville for abettors, Besides her good old grandmother (who doted); The hearers of her case became repeaters, Then advocates, inquisitors, and judges, Some for amusement, others for old grudges.

XXIX.

And then this best and meekest woman bore With such serenity her husband's woes, Just as the Spartan ladies did of yore, Who saw their spouses killed, and nobly chose Never to say a word about them more— Calmly she heard each calumny that rose, And saw his agonies with such sublimity, That all the world exclaimed, "What magnanimity!"

XXX.

No doubt this patience, when the world is damning us, Is philosophic in our former friends; 'T is also pleasant to be deemed magnanimous, The more so in obtaining our own ends; And what the lawyers call a "malus animus" Conduct like this by no means comprehends: Revenge in person's certainly no virtue, But then 't is not my fault, if others hurt you.

XXXI.

And if our quarrels should rip up old stories, And help them with a lie or two additional, I'm not to blame, as you well know—no more is Any one else—they were become traditional; Besides, their resurrection aids our glories By contrast, which is what we just were wishing all: And Science profits by this resurrection— Dead scandals form good subjects for dissection.

XXXII.

Their friends had tried at reconciliation,[e] Then their relations, who made matters worse. ('T were hard to tell upon a like occasion To whom it may be best to have recourse— I can't say much for friend or yet relation) The lawyers did their utmost for divorce,[f] But scarce a fee was paid on either side Before, unluckily, Don Jose died.

XXXIII.

He died: and most unluckily, because, According to all hints I could collect From Counsel learned in those kinds of laws, (Although their talk's obscure and circumspect) His death contrived to spoil a charming cause; A thousand pities also with respect To public feeling, which on this occasion Was manifested in a great sensation.

XXXIV.

But ah! he died; and buried with him lay The public feeling and the lawyers' fees: His house was sold, his servants sent away, A Jew took one of his two mistresses, A priest the other—at least so they say: I asked the doctors after his disease— He died of the slow fever called the tertian, And left his widow to her own aversion.

XXXV.

Yet Jose was an honourable man, That I must say, who knew him very well; Therefore his frailties I'll no further scan, Indeed there were not many more to tell: And if his passions now and then outran Discretion, and were not so peaceable As Numa's (who was also named Pompilius), He had been ill brought up, and was born bilious.[g]

XXXVI.

Whate'er might be his worthlessness or worth, Poor fellow! he had many things to wound him. Let's own—since it can do no good on earth—[h] It was a trying moment that which found him Standing alone beside his desolate hearth, Where all his household gods lay shivered round him:[39] No choice was left his feelings or his pride, Save Death or Doctors' Commons—so he died.[i]

XXXVII.

Dying intestate, Juan was sole heir To a chancery suit, and messuages, and lands, Which, with a long minority and care, Promised to turn out well in proper hands: Inez became sole guardian, which was fair, And answered but to Nature's just demands; An only son left with an only mother Is brought up much more wisely than another.

XXXVIII.

Sagest of women, even of widows, she Resolved that Juan should be quite a paragon, And worthy of the noblest pedigree, (His Sire was of Castile, his Dam from Aragon) Then, for accomplishments of chivalry, In case our Lord the King should go to war again, He learned the arts of riding, fencing, gunnery, And how to scale a fortress—or a nunnery.

XXXIX.

But that which Donna Inez most desired, And saw into herself each day before all The learned tutors whom for him she hired, Was, that his breeding should be strictly moral: Much into all his studies she inquired, And so they were submitted first to her, all, Arts, sciences—no branch was made a mystery To Juan's eyes, excepting natural history.

XL.

The languages, especially the dead, The sciences, and most of all the abstruse, The arts, at least all such as could be said To be the most remote from common use, In all these he was much and deeply read: But not a page of anything that's loose, Or hints continuation of the species, Was ever suffered, lest he should grow vicious.

XLI.

His classic studies made a little puzzle, Because of filthy loves of gods and goddesses, Who in the earlier ages raised a bustle, But never put on pantaloons or bodices;[40] His reverend tutors had at times a tussle, And for their AEneids, Iliads, and Odysseys,[j] Were forced to make an odd sort of apology, For Donna Inez dreaded the Mythology.

XLII.

Ovid's a rake, as half his verses show him, Anacreon's morals are a still worse sample, Catullus scarcely has a decent poem, I don't think Sappho's Ode a good example, Although Longinus[41] tells us there is no hymn Where the Sublime soars forth on wings more ample; But Virgil's songs are pure, except that horrid one Beginning with "Formosum Pastor Corydon."[42]

XLIII.

Lucretius' irreligion is too strong For early stomachs, to prove wholesome food; I can't help thinking Juvenal was wrong, Although no doubt his real intent was good, For speaking out so plainly in his song, So much indeed as to be downright rude; And then what proper person can be partial To all those nauseous epigrams of Martial?

XLIV.

Juan was taught from out the best edition, Expurgated by learned men, who place, Judiciously, from out the schoolboy's vision, The grosser parts; but, fearful to deface Too much their modest bard by this omission,[k] And pitying sore his mutilated case, They only add them all in an appendix,[43] Which saves, in fact, the trouble of an index;

XLV.

For there we have them all "at one fell swoop," Instead of being scattered through the pages; They stand forth marshalled in a handsome troop, To meet the ingenuous youth of future ages, Till some less rigid editor shall stoop To call them back into their separate cages, Instead of standing staring all together, Like garden gods—and not so decent either.

XLVI.

The Missal too (it was the family Missal) Was ornamented in a sort of way Which ancient mass-books often are, and this all Kinds of grotesques illumined; and how they, Who saw those figures on the margin kiss all, Could turn their optics to the text and pray, Is more than I know—But Don Juan's mother Kept this herself, and gave her son another.

XLVII.

Sermons he read, and lectures he endured, And homilies, and lives of all the saints; To Jerome and to Chrysostom inured, He did not take such studies for restraints; But how Faith is acquired, and then insured, So well not one of the aforesaid paints As Saint Augustine in his fine Confessions, Which make the reader envy his transgressions.[44]

XLVIII.

This, too, was a sealed book to little Juan— I can't but say that his mamma was right, If such an education was the true one. She scarcely trusted him from out her sight; Her maids were old, and if she took a new one, You might be sure she was a perfect fright; She did this during even her husband's life— I recommend as much to every wife.

XLIX.

Young Juan waxed in goodliness and grace; At six a charming child, and at eleven With all the promise of as fine a face As e'er to Man's maturer growth was given: He studied steadily, and grew apace, And seemed, at least, in the right road to Heaven, For half his days were passed at church, the other Between his tutors, confessor, and mother.

L.

At six, I said, he was a charming child, At twelve he was a fine, but quiet boy; Although in infancy a little wild, They tamed him down amongst them: to destroy His natural spirit not in vain they toiled, At least it seemed so; and his mother's joy Was to declare how sage, and still, and steady, Her young philosopher was grown already.

LI.

I had my doubts, perhaps I have them still, But what I say is neither here nor there: I knew his father well, and have some skill In character—but it would not be fair From sire to son to augur good or ill: He and his wife were an ill-sorted pair— But scandal's my aversion—I protest Against all evil speaking, even in jest.

LII.

For my part I say nothing—nothing—but This I will say—my reasons are my own— That if I had an only son to put To school (as God be praised that I have none), 'T is not with Donna Inez I would shut Him up to learn his catechism alone, No—no—I'd send him out betimes to college, For there it was I picked up my own knowledge.

LIII.

For there one learns—'t is not for me to boast, Though I acquired—but I pass over that, As well as all the Greek I since have lost: I say that there's the place—but "Verbum sat," I think I picked up too, as well as most, Knowledge of matters—but no matter what— I never married—but, I think, I know That sons should not be educated so.

LIV.

Young Juan now was sixteen years of age, Tall, handsome, slender, but well knit: he seemed Active, though not so sprightly, as a page; And everybody but his mother deemed Him almost man; but she flew in a rage[45] And bit her lips (for else she might have screamed) If any said so—for to be precocious Was in her eyes a thing the most atrocious.

LV.

Amongst her numerous acquaintance, all Selected for discretion and devotion, There was the Donna Julia, whom to call Pretty were but to give a feeble notion Of many charms in her as natural As sweetness to the flower, or salt to Ocean, Her zone to Venus, or his bow to Cupid, (But this last simile is trite and stupid.)

LVI.

The darkness of her Oriental eye Accorded with her Moorish origin; (Her blood was not all Spanish; by the by, In Spain, you know, this is a sort of sin;) When proud Granada fell, and, forced to fly, Boabdil wept:[46] of Donna Julia's kin Some went to Africa, some stayed in Spain— Her great great grandmamma chose to remain.

LVII.

She married (I forget the pedigree) With an Hidalgo, who transmitted down His blood less noble than such blood should be; At such alliances his sires would frown, In that point so precise in each degree That they bred in and in, as might be shown, Marrying their cousins—nay, their aunts, and nieces, Which always spoils the breed, if it increases.

LVIII.

This heathenish cross restored the breed again, Ruined its blood, but much improved its flesh; For from a root the ugliest in Old Spain Sprung up a branch as beautiful as fresh; The sons no more were short, the daughters plain: But there's a rumour which I fain would hush,[l] 'T is said that Donna Julia's grandmamma Produced her Don more heirs at love than law.

LIX.

However this might be, the race went on Improving still through every generation, Until it centred in an only son, Who left an only daughter; my narration May have suggested that this single one Could be but Julia (whom on this occasion I shall have much to speak about), and she Was married, charming, chaste, and twenty-three.

LX.

Her eye (I'm very fond of handsome eyes) Was large and dark, suppressing half its fire Until she spoke, then through its soft disguise Flashed an expression more of pride than ire, And love than either; and there would arise A something in them which was not desire, But would have been, perhaps, but for the soul Which struggled through and chastened down the whole.

LXI.

Her glossy hair was clustered o'er a brow Bright with intelligence, and fair, and smooth; Her eyebrow's shape was like the aerial bow, Her cheek all purple with the beam of youth, Mounting, at times, to a transparent glow, As if her veins ran lightning; she, in sooth, Possessed an air and grace by no means common: Her stature tall—I hate a dumpy woman.

LXII.

Wedded she was some years, and to a man Of fifty, and such husbands are in plenty; And yet, I think, instead of such a ONE 'T were better to have TWO of five-and-twenty, Especially in countries near the sun: And now I think on 't, "mi vien in mente", Ladies even of the most uneasy virtue Prefer a spouse whose age is short of thirty.[m]

LXIII.

'T is a sad thing, I cannot choose but say, And all the fault of that indecent sun, Who cannot leave alone our helpless clay, But will keep baking, broiling, burning on, That howsoever people fast and pray, The flesh is frail, and so the soul undone: What men call gallantry, and gods adultery, Is much more common where the climate's sultry,

LXIV.

Happy the nations of the moral North! Where all is virtue, and the winter season Sends sin, without a rag on, shivering forth ('T was snow that brought St. Anthony[47] to reason); Where juries cast up what a wife is worth, By laying whate'er sum, in mulct, they please on The lover, who must pay a handsome price, Because it is a marketable vice.

LXV.

Alfonso was the name of Julia's lord, A man well looking for his years, and who Was neither much beloved nor yet abhorred: They lived together as most people do, Suffering each other's foibles by accord, And not exactly either one or two; Yet he was jealous, though he did not show it, For Jealousy dislikes the world to know it.

LXVI.

Julia was—yet I never could see why— With Donna Inez quite a favourite friend; Between their tastes there was small sympathy, For not a line had Julia ever penned: Some people whisper (but, no doubt, they lie, For Malice still imputes some private end) That Inez had, ere Don Alfonso's marriage, Forgot with him her very prudent carriage;

LXVII.

And that still keeping up the old connection, Which Time had lately rendered much more chaste, She took his lady also in affection, And certainly this course was much the best: She flattered Julia with her sage protection, And complimented Don Alfonso's taste; And if she could not (who can?) silence scandal, At least she left it a more slender handle.

LXVIII.

I can't tell whether Julia saw the affair With other people's eyes, or if her own Discoveries made, but none could be aware Of this, at least no symptom e'er was shown; Perhaps she did not know, or did not care, Indifferent from the first, or callous grown: I'm really puzzled what to think or say, She kept her counsel in so close a way.

LXIX.

Juan she saw, and, as a pretty child, Caressed him often—such a thing might be Quite innocently done, and harmless styled, When she had twenty years, and thirteen he; But I am not so sure I should have smiled When he was sixteen, Julia twenty-three; These few short years make wondrous alterations, Particularly amongst sun-burnt nations.

LXX.

Whate'er the cause might be, they had become Changed; for the dame grew distant, the youth shy, Their looks cast down, their greetings almost dumb, And much embarrassment in either eye; There surely will be little doubt with some That Donna Julia knew the reason why, But as for Juan, he had no more notion Than he who never saw the sea of Ocean.

LXXI.

Yet Julia's very coldness still was kind, And tremulously gentle her small hand Withdrew itself from his, but left behind A little pressure, thrilling, and so bland And slight, so very slight, that to the mind 'T was but a doubt; but ne'er magician's wand Wrought change with all Armida's[48] fairy art Like what this light touch left on Juan's heart.

LXXII.

And if she met him, though she smiled no more, She looked a sadness sweeter than her smile, As if her heart had deeper thoughts in store She must not own, but cherished more the while For that compression in its burning core; Even Innocence itself has many a wile, And will not dare to trust itself with truth, And Love is taught hypocrisy from youth.

LXXIII.

But Passion most dissembles, yet betrays Even by its darkness; as the blackest sky Foretells the heaviest tempest, it displays Its workings through the vainly guarded eye, And in whatever aspect it arrays Itself, 't is still the same hypocrisy; Coldness or Anger, even Disdain or Hate, Are masks it often wears, and still too late.

LXXIV.

Then there were sighs, the deeper for suppression, And stolen glances, sweeter for the theft, And burning blushes, though for no transgression, Tremblings when met, and restlessness when left; All these are little preludes to possession, Of which young Passion cannot be bereft, And merely tend to show how greatly Love is Embarrassed at first starting with a novice.

LXXV.

Poor Julia's heart was in an awkward state; She felt it going, and resolved to make The noblest efforts for herself and mate, For Honour's, Pride's, Religion's, Virtue's sake: Her resolutions were most truly great, And almost might have made a Tarquin quake: She prayed the Virgin Mary for her grace, As being the best judge of a lady's case.[49]

LXXVI.

She vowed she never would see Juan more, And next day paid a visit to his mother, And looked extremely at the opening door, Which, by the Virgin's grace, let in another; Grateful she was, and yet a little sore— Again it opens, it can be no other, 'T is surely Juan now—No! I'm afraid That night the Virgin was no further prayed.[50]

LXXVII.

She now determined that a virtuous woman Should rather face and overcome temptation, That flight was base and dastardly, and no man Should ever give her heart the least sensation, That is to say, a thought beyond the common Preference, that we must feel, upon occasion, For people who are pleasanter than others, But then they only seem so many brothers.

LXXVIII.

And even if by chance—and who can tell? The Devil's so very sly—she should discover That all within was not so very well, And, if still free, that such or such a lover Might please perhaps, a virtuous wife can quell Such thoughts, and be the better when they're over; And if the man should ask, 't is but denial: I recommend young ladies to make trial.

LXXIX.

And, then, there are such things as Love divine, Bright and immaculate, unmixed and pure, Such as the angels think so very fine, And matrons, who would be no less secure, Platonic, perfect, "just such love as mine;" Thus Julia said—and thought so, to be sure; And so I'd have her think, were I the man On whom her reveries celestial ran.

LXXX.

Such love is innocent, and may exist Between young persons without any danger. A hand may first, and then a lip be kissed; For my part, to such doings I'm a stranger, But hear these freedoms form the utmost list Of all o'er which such love may be a ranger: If people go beyond, 't is quite a crime, But not my fault—I tell them all in time.

LXXXI.

Love, then, but Love within its proper limits, Was Julia's innocent determination In young Don Juan's favour, and to him its Exertion might be useful on occasion; And, lighted at too pure a shrine to dim its Ethereal lustre, with what sweet persuasion He might be taught, by Love and her together— I really don't know what, nor Julia either.

LXXXII.

Fraught with this fine intention, and well fenced In mail of proof—her purity of soul[51]— She, for the future, of her strength convinced, And that her honour was a rock, or mole,[n] Exceeding sagely from that hour dispensed With any kind of troublesome control; But whether Julia to the task was equal Is that which must be mentioned in the sequel.

LXXXIII.

Her plan she deemed both innocent and feasible, And, surely, with a stripling of sixteen Not Scandal's fangs could fix on much that's seizable, Or if they did so, satisfied to mean Nothing but what was good, her breast was peaceable— A quiet conscience makes one so serene! Christians have burnt each other, quite persuaded That all the Apostles would have done as they did.

LXXXIV.

And if in the mean time her husband died, But Heaven forbid that such a thought should cross Her brain, though in a dream! (and then she sighed) Never could she survive that common loss; But just suppose that moment should betide, I only say suppose it—inter nos: (This should be entre nous, for Julia thought In French, but then the rhyme would go for nought.)

LXXXV.

I only say, suppose this supposition: Juan being then grown up to man's estate Would fully suit a widow of condition, Even seven years hence it would not be too late; And in the interim (to pursue this vision) The mischief, after all, could not be great, For he would learn the rudiments of Love, I mean the seraph way of those above.

LXXXVI.

So much for Julia! Now we'll turn to Juan. Poor little fellow! he had no idea Of his own case, and never hit the true one; In feelings quick as Ovid's Miss Medea,[52] He puzzled over what he found a new one, But not as yet imagined it could be a Thing quite in course, and not at all alarming, Which, with a little patience, might grow charming.

LXXXVII.

Silent and pensive, idle, restless, slow, His home deserted for the lonely wood, Tormented with a wound he could not know, His, like all deep grief, plunged in solitude: I'm fond myself of solitude or so, But then, I beg it may be understood, By solitude I mean a Sultan's (not A Hermit's), with a haram for a grot.

LXXXVIII.

"Oh Love! in such a wilderness as this, Where Transport and Security entwine, Here is the Empire of thy perfect bliss, And here thou art a God indeed divine."[53] The bard I quote from does not sing amiss, With the exception of the second line, For that same twining "Transport and Security" Are twisted to a phrase of some obscurity.

LXXXIX.

The Poet meant, no doubt, and thus appeals To the good sense and senses of mankind, The very thing which everybody feels, As all have found on trial, or may find, That no one likes to be disturbed at meals Or love.—I won't say more about "entwined" Or "Transport," as we knew all that before, But beg "Security" will bolt the door.

XC.

Young Juan wandered by the glassy brooks, Thinking unutterable things; he threw Himself at length within the leafy nooks Where the wild branch of the cork forest grew; There poets find materials for their books, And every now and then we read them through, So that their plan and prosody are eligible, Unless, like Wordsworth, they prove unintelligible.

XCI.

He, Juan (and not Wordsworth), so pursued His self-communion with his own high soul, Until his mighty heart, in its great mood, Had mitigated part, though not the whole Of its disease; he did the best he could With things not very subject to control, And turned, without perceiving his condition, Like Coleridge, into a metaphysician.[54]

XCII.

He thought about himself, and the whole earth, Of man the wonderful, and of the stars, And how the deuce they ever could have birth: And then he thought of earthquakes, and of wars, How many miles the moon might have in girth, Of air-balloons, and of the many bars To perfect knowledge of the boundless skies;— And then he thought of Donna Julia's eyes.

XCIII.

In thoughts like these true Wisdom may discern Longings sublime, and aspirations high, Which some are born with, but the most part learn To plague themselves withal, they know not why: 'T was strange that one so young should thus concern His brain about the action of the sky;[o] If you think 't was Philosophy that this did, I can't help thinking puberty assisted.

XCIV.

He pored upon the leaves, and on the flowers, And heard a voice in all the winds; and then He thought of wood-nymphs and immortal bowers, And how the goddesses came down to men: He missed the pathway, he forgot the hours, And when he looked upon his watch again, He found how much old Time had been a winner— He also found that he had lost his dinner.

XCV.

Sometimes he turned to gaze upon his book, Boscan,[55] or Garcilasso;[56]—by the wind Even as the page is rustled while we look, So by the poesy of his own mind Over the mystic leaf his soul was shook, As if 't were one whereon magicians bind Their spells, and give them to the passing gale, According to some good old woman's tale.

XCVI.

Thus would he while his lonely hours away Dissatisfied, not knowing what he wanted; Nor glowing reverie, nor poet's lay, Could yield his spirit that for which it panted, A bosom whereon he his head might lay, And hear the heart beat with the love it granted, With——several other things, which I forget, Or which, at least, I need not mention yet.

XCVII.

Those lonely walks, and lengthening reveries, Could not escape the gentle Julia's eyes; She saw that Juan was not at his ease; But that which chiefly may, and must surprise, Is, that the Donna Inez did not tease Her only son with question or surmise; Whether it was she did not see, or would not, Or, like all very clever people, could not.

XCVIII.

This may seem strange, but yet 't is very common; For instance—gentlemen, whose ladies take Leave to o'erstep the written rights of Woman, And break the——Which commandment is 't they break? (I have forgot the number, and think no man Should rashly quote, for fear of a mistake;) I say, when these same gentlemen are jealous, They make some blunder, which their ladies tell us.

XCIX.

A real husband always is suspicious, But still no less suspects in the wrong place,[p] Jealous of some one who had no such wishes, Or pandering blindly to his own disgrace, By harbouring some dear friend extremely vicious; The last indeed's infallibly the case: And when the spouse and friend are gone off wholly, He wonders at their vice, and not his folly.

C.

Thus parents also are at times short-sighted: Though watchful as the lynx, they ne'er discover, The while the wicked world beholds delighted, Young Hopeful's mistress, or Miss Fanny's lover, Till some confounded escapade has blighted The plan of twenty years, and all is over; And then the mother cries, the father swears, And wonders why the devil he got heirs.

CI.

But Inez was so anxious, and so clear Of sight, that I must think, on this occasion, She had some other motive much more near For leaving Juan to this new temptation, But what that motive was, I sha'n't say here; Perhaps to finish Juan's education, Perhaps to open Don Alfonso's eyes, In case he thought his wife too great a prize.

CII.

It was upon a day, a summer's day;— Summer's indeed a very dangerous season, And so is spring about the end of May; The sun, no doubt, is the prevailing reason; But whatsoe'er the cause is, one may say, And stand convicted of more truth than treason, That there are months which nature grows more merry in,— March has its hares, and May must have its heroine.

CIII.

'T was on a summer's day—the sixth of June: I like to be particular in dates, Not only of the age, and year, but moon; They are a sort of post-house, where the Fates Change horses, making History change its tune,[q] Then spur away o'er empires and o'er states, Leaving at last not much besides chronology, Excepting the post-obits of theology.[r]

CIV.

'T was on the sixth of June, about the hour Of half-past six—perhaps still nearer seven— When Julia sate within as pretty a bower As e'er held houri in that heathenish heaven Described by Mahomet, and Anacreon Moore,[57] To whom the lyre and laurels have been given, With all the trophies of triumphant song— He won them well, and may he wear them long!

CV.

She sate, but not alone; I know not well How this same interview had taken place, And even if I knew, I should not tell— People should hold their tongues in any case; No matter how or why the thing befell, But there were she and Juan, face to face— When two such faces are so, 't would be wise, But very difficult, to shut their eyes.

CVI.

How beautiful she looked! her conscious heart Glowed in her cheek, and yet she felt no wrong: Oh Love! how perfect is thy mystic art, Strengthening the weak, and trampling on the strong! How self-deceitful is the sagest part Of mortals whom thy lure hath led along!— The precipice she stood on was immense, So was her creed in her own innocence.[s]

CVII.

She thought of her own strength, and Juan's youth, And of the folly of all prudish fears, Victorious Virtue, and domestic Truth, And then of Don Alfonso's fifty years: I wish these last had not occurred, in sooth, Because that number rarely much endears, And through all climes, the snowy and the sunny, Sounds ill in love, whate'er it may in money.

CVIII.

When people say, "I've told you fifty times," They mean to scold, and very often do; When poets say, "I've written fifty rhymes," They make you dread that they 'll recite them too; In gangs of fifty, thieves commit their crimes; At fifty love for love is rare, 't is true, But then, no doubt, it equally as true is, A good deal may be bought for fifty Louis.

CIX.

Julia had honour, virtue, truth, and love For Don Alfonso; and she inly swore, By all the vows below to Powers above, She never would disgrace the ring she wore, Nor leave a wish which wisdom might reprove; And while she pondered this, besides much more, One hand on Juan's carelessly was thrown, Quite by mistake—she thought it was her own;

CX.

Unconsciously she leaned upon the other, Which played within the tangles of her hair; And to contend with thoughts she could not smother She seemed by the distraction of her air. 'T was surely very wrong in Juan's mother To leave together this imprudent pair,[t] She who for many years had watched her son so— I'm very certain mine would not have done so.

CXI.

The hand which still held Juan's, by degrees Gently, but palpably confirmed its grasp, As if it said, "Detain me, if you please;" Yet there's no doubt she only meant to clasp His fingers with a pure Platonic squeeze; She would have shrunk as from a toad, or asp, Had she imagined such a thing could rouse A feeling dangerous to a prudent spouse.

CXII.

I cannot know what Juan thought of this, But what he did, is much what you would do; His young lip thanked it with a grateful kiss, And then, abashed at its own joy, withdrew In deep despair, lest he had done amiss,— Love is so very timid when 't is new: She blushed, and frowned not, but she strove to speak, And held her tongue, her voice was grown so weak.

CXIII.

The sun set, and up rose the yellow moon: The Devil's in the moon for mischief; they Who called her CHASTE, methinks, began too soon Their nomenclature; there is not a day, The longest, not the twenty-first of June, Sees half the business in a wicked way, On which three single hours of moonshine smile— And then she looks so modest all the while!

CXIV.

There is a dangerous silence in that hour, A stillness, which leaves room for the full soul To open all itself, without the power Of calling wholly back its self-control; The silver light which, hallowing tree and tower, Sheds beauty and deep softness o'er the whole, Breathes also to the heart, and o'er it throws A loving languor, which is not repose.

CXV.

And Julia sate with Juan, half embraced And half retiring from the glowing arm, Which trembled like the bosom where 't was placed; Yet still she must have thought there was no harm, Or else 't were easy to withdraw her waist; But then the situation had its charm, And then—God knows what next—I can't go on; I'm almost sorry that I e'er begun.

CXVI.

Oh Plato! Plato! you have paved the way, With your confounded fantasies, to more Immoral conduct by the fancied sway Your system feigns o'er the controlless core Of human hearts, than all the long array Of poets and romancers:—You're a bore, A charlatan, a coxcomb—and have been, At best, no better than a go-between.

CXVII.

And Julia's voice was lost, except in sighs, Until too late for useful conversation; The tears were gushing from her gentle eyes, I wish, indeed, they had not had occasion; But who, alas! can love, and then be wise? Not that Remorse did not oppose Temptation; A little still she strove, and much repented, And whispering "I will ne'er consent"—consented.

CXVIII.

'T is said that Xerxes offered a reward[58] To those who could invent him a new pleasure: Methinks the requisition's rather hard, And must have cost his Majesty a treasure: For my part, I'm a moderate-minded bard, Fond of a little love (which I call leisure); I care not for new pleasures, as the old Are quite enough for me, so they but hold.

CXIX.

Oh Pleasure! you're indeed a pleasant thing,[59] Although one must be damned for you, no doubt: I make a resolution every spring Of reformation, ere the year run out, But somehow, this my vestal vow takes wing, Yet still, I trust, it may be kept throughout: I'm very sorry, very much ashamed, And mean, next winter, to be quite reclaimed.

CXX.

Here my chaste Muse a liberty must take— Start not! still chaster reader—she'll be nice hence- Forward, and there is no great cause to quake; This liberty is a poetic licence, Which some irregularity may make In the design, and as I have a high sense Of Aristotle and the Rules, 't is fit To beg his pardon when I err a bit.

CXXI.

This licence is to hope the reader will Suppose from June the sixth (the fatal day, Without whose epoch my poetic skill For want of facts would all be thrown away), But keeping Julia and Don Juan still In sight, that several months have passed; we'll say 'T was in November, but I'm not so sure About the day—the era's more obscure.

CXXII.

We'll talk of that anon.—'T is sweet to hear At midnight on the blue and moonlit deep The song and oar of Adria's gondolier,[60] By distance mellowed, o'er the waters sweep; 'T is sweet to see the evening star appear; 'T is sweet to listen as the night-winds creep From leaf to leaf; 't is sweet to view on high The rainbow, based on ocean, span the sky.

CXXIII.

'T is sweet to hear the watch-dog's honest bark Bay deep-mouthed welcome as we draw near home; 'T is sweet to know there is an eye will mark Our coming, and look brighter when we come;[u] 'T is sweet to be awakened by the lark, Or lulled by falling waters; sweet the hum Of bees, the voice of girls, the song of birds, The lisp of children, and their earliest words.

CXXIV.

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

CXXV.

Sweet is a legacy, and passing sweet[v] The unexpected death of some old lady, Or gentleman of seventy years complete, Who've made "us youth"[61] 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-damned post-obits.[w]

CXXVI.

'T is sweet to win, no matter how, one's laurels, By blood or ink; 't is sweet to put an end To strife; 't is 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[62] We ne'er forget, though there we are forgot.

CXXVII.

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 plucked—all 's known— And Life yields nothing further to recall Worthy of this ambrosial sin, so shown, No doubt in fable, as the unforgiven Fire which Prometheus filched for us from Heaven.

CXXVIII.

Man's a strange animal, and makes strange use Of his own nature, and the various arts, And likes particularly to produce Some new experiment to show his parts; This is the age of oddities let loose, Where different talents find their different marts; You'd best begin with truth, and when you've lost your Labour, there's a sure market for imposture.

CXXIX.

What opposite discoveries we have seen! (Signs of true genius, and of empty pockets.) One makes new noses[63], one a guillotine, One breaks your bones, one sets them in their sockets; But Vaccination certainly has been A kind antithesis to Congreve's rockets,[64] With which the Doctor paid off an old pox, By borrowing a new one from an ox.[65]

CXXX.

Bread has been made (indifferent) from potatoes: And Galvanism has set some corpses grinning,[66] But has not answered like the apparatus Of the Humane Society's beginning, By which men are unsuffocated gratis: What wondrous new machines have late been spinning! I said the small-pox has gone out of late; Perhaps it may be followed by the great.[67]

CXXXI.

'T is said the great came from America; Perhaps it may set out on its return,— The population there so spreads, they say 'T is grown high time to thin it in its turn, With war, or plague, or famine—any way, So that civilisation they may learn; And which in ravage the more loathsome evil is— Their real lues, or our pseudo-syphilis?

CXXXII.

This is the patent age of new inventions For killing bodies, and for saving souls, All propagated with the best intentions: Sir Humphry Davy's lantern,[68] by which coals Are safely mined for in the mode he mentions, Tombuctoo travels,[69] voyages to the Poles[70] Are ways to benefit mankind, as true, Perhaps, as shooting them at Waterloo.

CXXXIII.

Man's a phenomenon, one knows not what, And wonderful beyond all wondrous measure; 'T is pity though, in this sublime world, that Pleasure's a sin, and sometimes Sin's a pleasure;[x] Few mortals know what end they would be at, But whether Glory, Power, or Love, or Treasure, The path is through perplexing ways, and when The goal is gained, we die, you know—and then——

CXXXIV.

What then?—I do not know, no more do you— And so good night.—Return we to our story: 'T was in November, when fine days are few, And the far mountains wax a little hoary, And clap a white cape on their mantles blue;[y] And the sea dashes round the promontory, And the loud breaker boils against the rock, And sober suns must set at five o'clock.

CXXXV.

'T was, as the watchmen say, a cloudy night;[z] No moon, no stars, the wind was low or loud By gusts, and many a sparkling hearth was bright With the piled wood, round which the family crowd; There's something cheerful in that sort of light, Even as a summer sky's without a cloud: I'm fond of fire, and crickets, and all that,[aa][71] A lobster salad[72], and champagne, and chat.

CXXXVI.

'T was midnight—Donna Julia was in bed, Sleeping, most probably,—when at her door Arose a clatter might awake the dead, If they had never been awoke before, And that they have been so we all have read, And are to be so, at the least, once more;— The door was fastened, but with voice and fist First knocks were heard, then "Madam—Madam—hist!

CXXXVII.

"For God's sake, Madam—Madam—here's my master,[73] With more than half the city at his back—Was ever heard of such a curst disaster! 'T is not my fault—I kept good watch—Alack! Do pray undo the bolt a little faster— They're on the stair just now, and in a crack Will all be here; perhaps he yet may fly— Surely the window's not so very high!"

CXXXVIII.

By this time Don Alfonso was arrived, With torches, friends, and servants in great number; The major part of them had long been wived, And therefore paused not to disturb the slumber Of any wicked woman, who contrived By stealth her husband's temples to encumber: Examples of this kind are so contagious, Were one not punished, all would be outrageous.

CXXXIX.

I can't tell how, or why, or what suspicion Could enter into Don Alfonso's head; But for a cavalier of his condition It surely was exceedingly ill-bred, Without a word of previous admonition, To hold a levee round his lady's bed, And summon lackeys, armed with fire and sword, To prove himself the thing he most abhorred.

CXL.

Poor Donna Julia! starting as from sleep, (Mind—that I do not say—she had not slept), Began at once to scream, and yawn, and weep; Her maid, Antonia, who was an adept, Contrived to fling the bed-clothes in a heap, As if she had just now from out them crept:[ab] I can't tell why she should take all this trouble To prove her mistress had been sleeping double.

CXLI.

But Julia mistress, and Antonia maid, Appeared like two poor harmless women, who Of goblins, but still more of men afraid, Had thought one man might be deterred by two, And therefore side by side were gently laid, Until the hours of absence should run through, And truant husband should return, and say, "My dear,—I was the first who came away."

CXLII.

Now Julia found at length a voice, and cried, "In Heaven's name, Don Alfonso, what d' ye mean? Has madness seized you? would that I had died Ere such a monster's victim I had been![ac] What may this midnight violence betide, A sudden fit of drunkenness or spleen? Dare you suspect me, whom the thought would kill? Search, then, the room!"—Alfonso said, "I will."

CXLIII.

He searched, they searched, and rummaged everywhere, Closet and clothes' press, chest and window-seat, And found much linen, lace, and several pair Of stockings, slippers, brushes, combs, complete, With other articles of ladies fair, To keep them beautiful, or leave them neat: Arras they pricked and curtains with their swords, And wounded several shutters, and some boards.

CXLIV.

Under the bed they searched, and there they found— No matter what—it was not that they sought; They opened windows, gazing if the ground Had signs or footmarks, but the earth said nought; And then they stared each others' faces round: 'T is odd, not one of all these seekers thought, And seems to me almost a sort of blunder, Of looking in the bed as well as under.

CXLV.

During this inquisition Julia's tongue[ad] Was not asleep—"Yes, search and search," she cried, "Insult on insult heap, and wrong on wrong! It was for this that I became a bride! For this in silence I have suffered long A husband like Alfonso at my side; But now I'll bear no more, nor here remain, If there be law or lawyers in all Spain.

CXLVI.

"Yes, Don Alfonso! husband now no more, If ever you indeed deserved the name, Is 't worthy of your years?—you have threescore— Fifty, or sixty, it is all the same— Is 't wise or fitting, causeless to explore For facts against a virtuous woman's fame? Ungrateful, perjured, barbarous Don Alfonso, How dare you think your lady would go on so?

CXLVII.

"Is it for this I have disdained to hold The common privileges of my sex? That I have chosen a confessor so old And deaf, that any other it would vex, And never once he has had cause to scold, But found my very innocence perplex So much, he always doubted I was married— How sorry you will be when I've miscarried!

CXLVIII.

"Was it for this that no Cortejo[74] e'er I yet have chosen from out the youth of Seville? Is it for this I scarce went anywhere, Except to bull-fights, mass, play, rout, and revel? Is it for this, whate'er my suitors were, I favoured none—nay, was almost uncivil? Is it for this that General Count O'Reilly, Who took Algiers,[75] declares I used him vilely?

CXLIX.

"Did not the Italian Musico Cazzani Sing at my heart six months at least in vain? Did not his countryman, Count Corniani,[76] Call me the only virtuous wife in Spain? Were there not also Russians, English, many? The Count Strongstroganoff I put in pain, And Lord Mount Coffeehouse, the Irish peer, Who killed himself for love (with wine) last year.

CL.

"Have I not had two bishops at my feet? The Duke of Ichar, and Don Fernan Nunez; And is it thus a faithful wife you treat? I wonder in what quarter now the moon is: I praise your vast forbearance not to beat Me also, since the time so opportune is— Oh, valiant man! with sword drawn and cocked trigger, Now, tell me, don't you cut a pretty figure?

CLI.

"Was it for this you took your sudden journey, Under pretence of business indispensable With that sublime of rascals your attorney, Whom I see standing there, and looking sensible Of having played the fool? though both I spurn, he Deserves the worst, his conduct's less defensible, Because, no doubt, 't was for his dirty fee, And not from any love to you nor me.

CLII.

"If he comes here to take a deposition, By all means let the gentleman proceed; You've made the apartment in a fit condition:— There's pen and ink for you, sir, when you need— Let everything be noted with precision, I would not you for nothing should be fee'd— But, as my maid's undressed, pray turn your spies out." "Oh!" sobbed Antonia, "I could tear their eyes out."

CLIII.

"There is the closet, there the toilet, there The antechamber—search them under, over; There is the sofa, there the great arm-chair, The chimney—which would really hold a lover.[ae] I wish to sleep, and beg you will take care And make no further noise, till you discover The secret cavern of this lurking treasure— And when 't is found, let me, too, have that pleasure.

CLIV.

"And now, Hidalgo! now that you have thrown Doubt upon me, confusion over all, Pray have the courtesy to make it known Who is the man you search for? how d' ye call Him? what's his lineage? let him but be shown— I hope he's young and handsome—is he tall? Tell me—and be assured, that since you stain My honour thus, it shall not be in vain.

CLV.

"At least, perhaps, he has not sixty years, At that age he would be too old for slaughter, Or for so young a husband's jealous fears— (Antonia! let me have a glass of water.) I am ashamed of having shed these tears, They are unworthy of my father's daughter; My mother dreamed not in my natal hour, That I should fall into a monster's power.

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