Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

say,

XVIII.

XXV.
When we have made our love, and gamed our gaming, All this were very well, and can't be better;

Dress'd, voted, shone, and, may be, something more; But even this is difficult, leaven knows!
With dandies dined; heard senators declaiming; So many troubles from her birth beset ber,
Seen beauties brought to market by the score;

Such small distinction between friends and foes! Sad rakes to sadder husbands chastely taming; The gilding wears so soon from off her fetter, There's litte left but to be bored or bore.

That--but ask any woman

if she'd chuse Witness those « ci-devant jeunes hommes » who stem (Take her at thirty, that is) to have been The stream, nor leave the world which leaveth them. Female or male? a schoolboy or a queen! XIX.

XXVI. 'I is said indeed a general complaint

« Petticoat influence » is a great reproach, That no one has succeeded in describing

Which even those who obey would fain be thought The monde exactly as they ought to paint.

To fly from, as from hungry pikes a roach; Some that authors only snatch, by bribing But, since beneath it upon earth we are bronght The porter, some slight scandals strange and quaint, By various joltings of life's hackney-coach, To furnish matter for their moral gibing;

I for one venerate a petticoat-
And that their books have but one style in common A garment of a mystical sublimity,
My lady's pratile, filter'd through her woman.

No matter whether russet, silk, or dimity.
XX.

XXVII.
But this can't well be true, just now; for writers Much I respect, and much I have adored,

Are grown of the beau monde a part potential : In my young days, that chaste and goodly veil, I've seen them balance even the scale with fighters, Which holds a treasure, like a miser's hoard, Especially when young, for that's essential.

And more attracts by all it doth conceal-
Why do their sketches fail them as inditers

A golden scabbard on a Damasque sword,
Of, what they deem themselves most consequential, A loving letter with a mystic seal,
The real portrait of the highest tribe?

A cure for grief-for what can ever rapkle 'T is that, in fact, there's little to describe.

Before a petticoat and peeping ancle ?
XXI.

XXVIII.
« Haud ignaru loquor: » these are nugæ, « quarum And when upon a silent, sullen day
Pars parva fui,» but still art and part.

With a sirocco, for example, blowing,Now I could much more easily sketch a harem, When even the sea looks dim with all its spray, A battle, wreck, or history of the heart,

And sulkıly the river's ripple 's flowing, Than these things; and besides, I wish to spare 'em, And the sky shows that very ancient grey, For reasons which I chuse to keep apart.

The sober, sad antithesis to glowing a Vetabo Cereris sacrum qui vulgarit,»

'T is pleasant, if then any thing is pleasant, Which means, that vulgar people must not share it.

To catch a glimpse even of a pretty peasant. XXII.

XXIX. And therefore what I throw off is ideal

We left our heroes and our heroines Lower'd, leaven'd, like a history of Freemasons; In that fair clime which don't depend on climate, Which bears the same relation to the real,

Quite independent of the Zodiac's signs, As Captain Parry's voyage may do to Jason's.

Though certainly more difficult to rhyme at, The grand arcanum 's not for men to see all;

Because the sun and stars, and aught that shines, My music has some mystic diapasons;

Mountains, and all we can be most sublime at, And there is much which could not be appreciated

Are there oft dull and dreary as a dun-
In any manner by the uninitiated.

Whether a sky's or tradesman's is all one.
XXUI.

XXX.
Alas! worlds fall-and woman, since she felld

And in-door life is less poetical; The world (as, since that history, less polite

And out-of-door liath showers, and mists, and sleet, Thao true, hath been a creed so strictly held),

With which I could not brew a pastoral. las not yet given up the practice quite.

But be it as it may, a bard must meet Poor thing of usages! coerced, compellid,

All difficulties, whether great or small, Victim when wrong, and martyr oft when right, To spoil his undertaking or complete, Condemn'il 10 child-bed, as men, for their sins, And work away like spirit upon matter, Have shaving too entailed upon their chins,

Embarrass'd somewhat both with fire and water XXIV.

XXXI. A daily plague which, in the aggregate,

Juan-in this respect at least like saintsMay average on the whole with parturitiou.

Was all things unto people of all sorts, But as to women, who can penetrate

And lived contentedly, without complaints, The real sufferings of their she condition?

lo camps, in ships, in cottages, or courtsMan's very sympathy with their estate

Born with that happy soul which seldom faints, Has much of selfishness and more suspicion.

And mingling modestly in toils or sports. Their love, their virtue, beauty, education,

He likewise could be most things to all women, But form good housekeepers, to breed a nation, Without the coxcombry of certain she-men.

XXXII.

XXXIX. A for-hunt to a foreigner is strange ;

Chaste were his steps, each kept within due bound, *T is also subject to the double danger

And elegance was sprinkled o'er his figure; of tumbling first, and having in exchange

Like swift Camilla, be scarce skimm'd the ground, Some pleasant jesting at the awkward stranger ; And rather held in than put forth his vigour : But Juan had been early taught to range,

And then he had an ear for music's sound, The wilds, as doth an Arab turn d avenger,

Which might defy a crotchet-critic's rigour. So that his horse, or charger, hunter, hack,

Such classic pas-sans flaws-set off our hero,
Knew that he had a rider on his back.

He glanced like a personified bolero;
XXXIII.

XL.
And now in this new field, with some applause, Or, like a flying hour before Aurora,

He clear'd hedge, ditch, and double post, and rail, In Guido's famous fresco, which alone
And never craned,' and made but few « faux pas, Is worth a tour to Rome, although no more a
And only fretted when the scent 'gan fail.

Remnant were there of the old world's sole throne.
He broke, 't is true, some statutes of the laws The « tout ensemble» of his movements wore a
Of hunting-for the sagest youth is frail;

Grace of the soft ideal, seldom shown,
Rode o'er the bounds, it may be, now and then, And ne'er to be described ; for, to the dolour
And once o'er several country gentlemen.

Of bards and prosers, words are void of colour.
XXXIV.

XLI.
But, on the whole, to general admiration
He acquitted both himself and horse : the squires

No marvel then he was a favourite;
Marvelld at merit of another nation:

A full-grown Cupid, very much admired; The boors cried « Dang it! who'd have thought it?»–| A little spoil'd, but by no means so quite; Sires,

At least he kept his vanity retired, The Nestors of the sporting generation,

Such was his tact, he could alike delight Swore praises, and recalld their former fires;

The chaste, and those who are not so much inspired. The huntsman's self relented to a grin,

The Duchess of Fitz-Fulke, who loved « tracasserie, And rated him almost a whipper-in.

Began to treat him with some small « agacerie.»
XXXV.

XLII.
Such were his trophies ;-not of spear and shield, She was a fine and somewhat full-blown blonde,

But leaps, and bursts, and sometimes foxes' brushes; Desirable, distinguish d, celebrated
Yet I must own,-although in this I yield

For several winters in the grand, grand monde. To patriot sympathy a Briton's blushes,–

I'd rather not say what might be related He thought at heart like courtly Chesterfield, Of her exploits, for this were ticklish ground;

Who, after a long chase o'er hills, dales, bushes, Besides there might be falsehood in what's stated : And what not, though he rode beyond all price, Her late performance had been a dead set Ask'd, next day, «jf men ever hunted twice ?» At Lord Augustus Fitz-Plantagenet, XXXVI.

XLIII. He also had a quality uncommon

This noble personage began to look To early risers after a long chase,

A little black upon this new flirtation; Who wake in winter ere the cock can summon But such small licenses must lovers brook, December's drowsy day to his dull race,

Mere freedoms of the female corporation, A quality agreeable to woman,

Woe to the man who ventures a rebuke! When her soft liquid words run on apace,

'T will but precipitate a situation Who likes a listener, whether saint or sinner, - Extremely disagreeable, but common He did not fall asleep just after dinner.

To calculators when they count on woman.
XXXVII.

XLIV.
But, light and airy, stood on the alert,

The circle smiled, then whisper'd, and then sneerd; And shone in the best part of dialogue,

The Misses bridled, and the matrons frown'd; By humouring always what they might assert, Some hoped things might not turn out as they feard; And listening to the topics most in vogue :

Some would not deem such women could be found; Now grave, now gay, but never dull or pert;

Some ne'er believed one half of what they heard; And smiling but in secret-cunoing rogue!

Some look'd perplex'd, and others look'd profound; He ne'er presumed to make an error clearer;

And several pitied with sincere regret
In short, there never was a better bearer,

Poor Lord Augustus Fitz-Plantagenet.
XXXVIII.

XLV.
And then he danced;-all foreiguers excel

But, what is odd, none ever named the duke, The serious Angles in the eloquence

Who, one might think, was something in the affair. Of pantomime,-he danced, I say, right well, True, he was absent, and, 't was rumour'd, took With emphasis, and also with good sense

But small concern about the when, or where, A thing in footing indispensable :

Or what his consort did : if he could brook He danced without theatrical prelence,

Her gaieties, none had a right to stare : Not like a ballet-master in the van

Theirs was that best of unions, past all doubt, Of his drill'd nymphs, but like a gentleman.

Which never meets, and therefore can't fall out.

XLVI.
But, oh that I should ever pen so sad a line!

Fired with an abstract love of virtue, she,
My Dian of the Ephesians, Lady Adeline,

Began to think the duchess' conduct free; Regretting much that she had chosen so bad a line,

And, waxing chiller in her courtesy,
Look'd grave and pale to see her friend's fragility,
For which most friends reserve their sensibility.

XLVII.
There's nought in this bad world like sympathy:

'T is so becoming to the soul and face; Sets to soft music the harmonious sigh,

And robes sweet friendship in a Brussels lace. Without a friend, what were humanity,

To hunt our errors up with a good grace? Consoling us with—« Would you had thought twice! Ah! if you had but follow'd my advice!»

XLVIII.
Oh, Job! you had two friends : one 's quite enough,

Especially when we are ill at case;
They 're but bad pilots when the weather 's rough,

Doctors less famous for their cures than fees.
Let no man grumble when his friends fall off,

As they will do like leaves at the first brecze : When your affairs come round, one way or t'other, Go to the coffee-house, and take another."

XLIX.
But this is not my maxim : had it been,

Some hcart-aches had been spared me; yet I care notI would not be a tortoise in his screen

Of stubborn shell, which waves and weather wear not. 'T is better on the whole to have felt and seen

That which humanity may bear, or bear not:
'T will teach discernment to the sensitive,
And not to pour their ocean in a sieve.

L.
Of all the horrid, hideous notes of woe,

Sadder than owl-songs or the midnight blast,
Is that portentous plorase, « I told you so,»

l'iter'd by friends, those prophets of the past, Who, 'stead of saying what you now should do,

Own they foresaw that you would fall at last,
And solace your slight lapse 'gainst « bonos mores
With a long memorandum of old stories.

LI.
The Lady Adeline's serene severity

Was not confined to feeling for her friend,
Whose fame she rather doubted with posterity,

Unless her habits should begin to mend;
But Juan also shared in her austerity,

But mix'd with pity, pure as e'er was penn'd:
Ilis inexperience moved her gentle ruth,
And (as her junior by six weeks) his youth.

LII.
These forty days' advantage of her years-

And hers were those wbich can face calculation,
Boldly referring to the list of

peers, And noble births, nor dread the enumerationGave her a right to have maternal fears

For a young gentleman's fit education, Thongh she was far from that leap-year, whose leap, In female dates, strikes time all of a heap.

LIII. This

may be fix'd at somewhere before thirtySay seven-and-twenty; fur I never knew The strictest in chronology and virtue

Advance beyond, while they could pass for new. Oh, time! why dost not pause! Thy scythe, so dirty

With rust, should surely cease to hack and hew.
Reset it, shave more smoothly, also slower,
If but to keep thy credit as a mower.

LIV.
But Adeline was far from that ripe age,

Whose ripeness is but bitter at the best :
'T was rather her experience made her sage,

For she had seen the world, and stood its test, As I have said in-I forget what page;

My Muse despises reference, as you have guess d
By this time;—but strike six from seven-and-twenty,
And you will find her sum of years in plenty.

LV.
At sixteen she came out; presented, vauoted,

She put all coronets into commotion :
At seventeen too the world was still enchanted

With the new Venus of their brilliant ocean:
At eighteen, though below lier feet still panted

A hecatomb of suitors with devotion,
She had consented to create again
That Adam, call d «tbe happiest of men,»

LVI.
Since then she bad sparkled through three glowing

winters, Admired, adored; but also so correct, That she had puzzled all the acutest hinters,

Without the apparel of being circumspect;
They could not even clean the slightest splinters

From off the marble, which had no defect.
She had also snatchi'd a moment since her marriage
To bear a son and heir-aud one miscarriage.

LVII.
Fondly the wheeling fire-flies flew around her,

Those little glitterers of the London night;
But none of these possess'd a sting to wound her-

She was a pitch beyond a coxcomb's Night. i'erhaps she wislid an aspirant profounder;

But, whatsoe'er she wish'd, she acted right;
And whether colduess, pride, or virtue, dignify
A woman, so she's good, wliat does it sigoify?

LVIII.
I hate a motive like a lingering bottle,

Which with the landlord makes too long a stand,
Leaving all claretless the unmoisten'd throttle,

Especially with politics on hand;
I hate it, as I hate a drove of cattle,

Who whirl the dust as simooms whirl the sand;
Uhate it, as I hate an argument,
A laureate's ode, or servile peer's a content.»

LIX.
*T is sad to hack into the roots of things,

They are so much intertwisted with the earth :
So that the branch a goodly verdure flings,

I rock not if an acorn gave it birth.
To trace ali actions to their secret springs

Would make indeed some melancholy mirth:
But this is not at present my concern,
And I refer you to wise Oxenstiern 3

LX.
With the kind view of saving an éclat,

Both to the duchess and diplomatist,
The Lady Adeline, as soon 's she saw

That Juan was unlikely to resist(For foreigners don't know that a faux pas

In England ranks quite on a different list
From those of other lands, unbless'd with juries,
Whose verdict for such sin a perfect cure is) –

LXI.
The Lady Adeline resolved to take

Such measures as she thought might best impede The further progress of this sad mistake.

She thought with some simplicity indeed; But innocence is bold even at the stake,

And simple in the world, and doth not need
Nor use those palisades by dames erected,
Whose virtue lies in never being detected.

LXII.
It was not that she feard the very worst :

His grace was an enduring, married man,
And was not likely all at once to burst

Into a scene, and swell the clients' clan
Of Doctors' Commons; but she dreaded first

The magic of her grace's talisman,
And next a quarrel (as be seem'd to fret)
With Lord Augustus Fitz-Plantagenet.

LXIII.
Her grace too pass'd for being an intrigante,

And somewhat méchante in her amorous sphere; One of those pretty, precious plagues, which haunt

A lover with caprices soft and dear,
That like to make a quarrel, when they can't

Find ope, each day of the delightful year;
Bewitching, torturing, as they freeze or glow,
And-what is worst of all-won't let you go:

LXIV.
The sort of thing to turn a young man's head,

Or make a Werter of him in the end.
No wonder then a purer soul should dread

This sort of chaste liaison for a friend;
It were much better to be wed or dead,

Than wear a heart a woman loves to rend.
'T is best to pause, and think, ere you rush on,
If that a « bonne fortune » be really « bonne.»

LXV.
And first, in the o'erflowing of her heart,

Which really knew or thought it knew no guile, She call'd her husband now and then apart,

And bade him counsel Jaan. With a smile
Lord Henry heard her plans of artless art

To wean Don Juan from the siren's wile ;
And answerd, like a statesman or a prophet,
In such guise that she could make nothing of it.

LXVI.
Firstly, he said, « he never interfered

In any body's business but the king's:»
Next, « that he never judged from what appear'd,

Without strong reason, of those sorts of things :» Thirdly, that « Juan had more brain than beard,

Apd was not to be held in leading-strings;» And fourthly, what need hardly be said twice, « That good but rarely came from good advice.»

LXVII.
And, therefore, doubtless, to approve the truth

Of the last axiom, he advised his spouse
To leave the parties to themselves forsooth,

At least as far as bienséance allows:
That time would temper Juan's faults of youth;

That young men rarely made monastic vows ;
That opposition only more attaches--
But here a messenger brought in dispatches :

LXVIII.
And being of the council callid « the privy,»

Lord Heory walk d into his cabinet,
To furnish matter for some future Livy

To tell how he reduced the nation's debt; And if their full contents I do not give ye,

It is because I do not know them yet,
But I shall add them in a brief appendix,
To come between my epic and its index.

LXIX.
But ere he went, he added a slight bint,

Another gentle common-place or two,
Such as are coin'd in conversation's mint,

And pass, for want of better, though not new: Then, broke bis packet, to see what was in 't,

And having casually glanced it through,
Retired; and, as he went out, calmly kiss'd her,
Less like a young wife than an aged sister.

LXX.
He was a cold, good, honourable man,

Proud of his birth, and proud of every thing:
A goodly spirit for a state divan,

A figure fit to walk before a king;
Tall, stately, form d to lead the courtly van

On birth-days, glorious with a star and string;
The very model of a chamberlain-
And such I mean to make bim when I reign.

LXXI.
But there was something wanting on the whole-

I dont know what, and therefore cannot tellWhich pretty women--the sweet souls!--call soul.

Certes it was not body; he was well Proportion'd, as a poplar or a pole,

A handsome man, that human miracle;
And in each circumstance of love or war
Had still preserv'd his perpendicular,

LXXII.
Still there was something wanting, as I've said-

That undefinable « je ne sais quoi,»
Which, for what I know, may of yore have led

To Homer's Iliad, since it drew to Troy
The Greek Eve, Helen, from the Spartan's bed;

Though on the whole, no doubt, the Dardan boy
Was much inferior to King Menelaus, -
But thus it is some women will betray us.

LXXIII.
There is an awkward thing which much perplexes,

Unless like wise Tiresias we had proved
By turns the difference of the several sexes:

Neither can show quite how they would be loved. The sensual for a short time but connects us-

The sentimental boasts to be unmoved; But both together form a kind of centaur, Upon whose back 't is better not to venture.

LXXIV.

LXXXI. A something all-sufficient for the heart

« An oyster may be crossd in love,»---and why? Is that for which the sex are always seeking;

Because he mopeth idly in his shell, But how to fill up that same vacant part

And beaves a lonely subterraqueous sigh, There lies the rub-aod this they are but weak in. Much as a monk may do within his cell: Frail mariners afloat without a chart,

And à propos of monks, their piety They run before the wiod through high seas breaking ;

With sloth hath found it difficult to dwell;
And when they have made the shore through every shock, Those vegetables of the catholic creed
'Tis odd, or odds, it may turn out a rock.

Are apt exceedingly to run to seed.
LXXV.

LXXXII.
There is a flower call'd « love in idleness,»

Oh, Wilberforce! thou man of black renown,
For whiclı see Shakspeare's ever-blooming garden, - Whose merit none enough can sing or say,
I will not make his great description less,

Thou last struck one immense colossus down,
And beg his Britisha godship's humble pardon,

Thou moral Washington of Africa! If, in my extremity of rhyme's distress,

But there's another little thing, I own, I touch a single leaf where he is warden;

Which you should perpetrate some summer's day, But though the flower is different, with the French And set the other half of earth to rights: Or Swiss Rousseau, cry, « voilà la pervenche ! » You have freed the blacks—now pray shut up the whites. LXXVI.

LXXXIII. Eureka! I have found it! What I mean

Shut

up

the bald-coot bully Alexander; To say is, not that love is idleness,

Ship off the holy three to Senegal; But that in love such idleness has been

Teach them that « sauce for goose is sauce for gander, An accessory, as I have cause to guess.

And ask them how they like to be in thrall. Hard labour's an indifferent go-between ;

Shut up cach high heroic salamander, Your men of business are not apt to express

Who cats fire gratis (since the pay's but small); Muchi passion, since the merchant-ship, the Argo,

Shut up-no, not the king, but the pavilion,
Convey'd Medea as her supercargo.

Or else 't will cost us all another million.
LXXVII.

LXXXIV. « Beatus ille procul » from « negotiis

Shut

up

the world at large; let Bedlam out, Saith Horace; the great little poet 's wrong;

And you will be perlaps surprised to find llis other maxim, « Noscitur a sociis

All things pursue exactly the same route, Is much more to the purpose of his song;

As now with those of soi-disant sound mind. Though even that were sometimes too ferocious, This I could prove beyond a single doubi, Unless good company he kept too long;

Were there a jot of sense among mankind; But, in his teeth, whate'er their state or station,

But till that point d'appui is found, alas!
Thrice happy they who have an occupation!

Like Archimedes, I leave earth as 't was.
LXXVIIT.

LXXXV.
Adam exchanged his paradise for ploughing;

Our gentle Adeline had one defeciEve made up millinery with fig-leaves

Her heart was vacant, though a splendid mansion ; The earliest knowledge from the tree so knowing,

Her conduct had been perfectly correct, As far as I know, that the church receives :

As she had seeu nought claiming its expansion. And since that time it need not cost much showing, I wavering spirit may be easier wreckd, That many of the ills o'er whiclı man grieves,

Because 't is frailer, doubtless, than a stauch one; And still more women, spring from pot employing

But when the latter works its own undoing, Some hours to make the remnant worth enjoying. It's inner crash is like an earthquake's ruin. LXXIS.

LXXXVI. And hence high life is oft a dreary void,

She loved her lord, or thought so; but that love A rack of pleasures, where we must invent

Cost her an effort, which is a sad toil, A something wherewithal to be annoyd.

The stone of Sysiplius, if once we move Bards may sing what they please about content; Our feelings gainst the nature of the soil. Contented, when translated, means but cloy'd;

She had nothing to complain of, or reprove, And hence arise the woes of sentiment,

No bickerings, no connubial turmoil: Blue devils, and blue-stockings, and romances

Their union was a model to behold, Reduced to practice, and perform'd like dances. Sereue and noble,-conjugal but cold, LXXX

LXXXVII. I do declare, upou an affidavit,

There was no great disparity of years, Romances I ne'er read like those I have seen;

Though much in temper; but they never clashd: Nor, if unto the world I ever gave it,

They moved like stars united in their spheres, Would some believe that such a tale had been:

Or like the Rhone by Leman's waters washid, But suclı intent I never had, nor have it;

Where mingled and yet separate appears Some truths are better kept behind a screen,

The river from the lake, all bluely dasha Especially when they would look like lies;

Through the serene and placid glassy deep, I therefore deal in generalities.

Which fain would lull its river-child to sleep.

[ocr errors]
« ZurückWeiter »