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The Works of Lord Byron, Volume 6
by Lord Byron
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XXII.

A modest hope—but Modesty's my forte, And Pride my feeble:[741]—let us ramble on. I meant to make this poem very short, But now I can't tell where it may not run.[no] No doubt, if I had wished to pay my court To critics, or to hail the setting sun Of Tyranny of all kinds, my concision[742] Were more;—but I was born for opposition.

XXIII.

But then 't is mostly on the weaker side; So that I verily believe if they Who now are basking in their full-blown pride[np] Were shaken down, and "dogs had had their day,"[743] Though at the first I might perchance deride Their tumble, I should turn the other way, And wax an ultra-royalist in Loyalty, Because I hate even democratic Royalty.[nq]

XXIV.

I think I should have made a decent spouse, If I had never proved the soft condition; I think I should have made monastic vows But for my own peculiar superstition: 'Gainst rhyme I never should have knocked my brows, Nor broken my own head, nor that of Priscian,[744] Nor worn the motley mantle of a poet, If some one had not told me to forego it.[745]

XXV.

But laissez aller—Knights and Dames I sing, Such as the times may furnish. 'T is a flight Which seems at first to need no lofty wing, Plumed by Longinus or the Stagyrite:[nr] The difficulty lies in colouring (Keeping the due proportions still in sight) With Nature manners which are artificial, And rend'ring general that which is especial.

XXVI.

The difference is, that in the days of old Men made the Manners; Manners now make men— Pinned like a flock, and fleeced too in their fold, At least nine, and a ninth beside of ten. Now this at all events must render cold Your writers, who must either draw again Days better drawn before, or else assume The present, with their common-place costume.

XXVII.

We'll do our best to make the best on 't:—March! March, my Muse! If you cannot fly, yet flutter; And when you may not be sublime, be arch, Or starch, as are the edicts statesmen utter. We surely may find something worth research: Columbus found a new world in a cutter, Or brigantine, or pink, of no great tonnage, While yet America was in her non-age.[746]

XXVIII.

When Adeline, in all her growing sense Of Juan's merits and his situation, Felt on the whole an interest intense,— Partly perhaps because a fresh sensation, Or that he had an air of innocence, Which is for Innocence a sad temptation,— As Women hate half measures, on the whole,[ns] She 'gan to ponder how to save his soul.

XXIX.

She had a good opinion of Advice, Like all who give and eke receive it gratis, For which small thanks are still the market price, Even where the article at highest rate is: She thought upon the subject twice or thrice, And morally decided—the best state is For Morals—Marriage; and, this question carried, She seriously advised him to get married.

XXX.

Juan replied, with all becoming deference, He had a predilection for that tie; But that, at present, with immediate reference To his own circumstances, there might lie Some difficulties, as in his own preference, Or that of her to whom he might apply: That still he'd wed with such or such a lady, If that they were not married all already.

XXXI.

Next to the making matches for herself, And daughters, brothers, sisters, kith or kin, Arranging them like books on the same shelf, There's nothing women love to dabble in More (like a stock-holder in growing pelf) Than match-making in general: 't is no sin Certes, but a preventative, and therefore That is, no doubt, the only reason wherefore.

XXXII.

But never yet (except of course a miss Unwed, or mistress never to be wed, Or wed already, who object to this) Was there chaste dame who had not in her head Some drama of the marriage Unities, Observed as strictly both at board and bed, As those of Aristotle, though sometimes They turn out Melodrames or Pantomimes.

XXXIII.

They generally have some only son, Some heir to a large property, some friend Of an old family, some gay Sir John, Or grave Lord George, with whom perhaps might end A line, and leave Posterity undone, Unless a marriage was applied to mend The prospect and their morals: and besides, They have at hand a blooming glut of brides.

XXXIV.

From these they will be careful to select, For this an heiress, and for that a beauty; For one a songstress who hath no defect, For t' other one who promises much duty; For this a lady no one can reject, Whose sole accomplishments were quite a booty; A second for her excellent connections; A third, because there can be no objections.

XXXV.

When Rapp the Harmonist embargoed Marriage[747] In his harmonious settlement—(which flourishes Strangely enough as yet without miscarriage, Because it breeds no more mouths than it nourishes, Without those sad expenses which disparage What Nature naturally most encourages)— Why called he "Harmony" a state sans wedlock? Now here I've got the preacher at a dead lock.

XXXVI.

Because he either meant to sneer at Harmony Or Marriage, by divorcing them thus oddly. But whether reverend Rapp learned this in Germany Or no, 't is said his sect is rich and godly, Pious and pure, beyond what I can term any Of ours, although they propagate more broadly. My objection's to his title, not his ritual. Although I wonder how it grew habitual.[nt]

XXXVII.

But Rapp is the reverse of zealous matrons, Who favour, malgre Malthus, Generation— Professors of that genial art, and patrons Of all the modest part of Propagation; Which after all at such a desperate rate runs, That half its produce tends to Emigration, That sad result of passions and potatoes— Two weeds which pose our economic Catos.

XXXVIII.

Had Adeline read Malthus? I can't tell; I wish she had: his book's the eleventh commandment, Which says, "Thou shall not marry," unless well: This he (as far as I can understand) meant. 'T is not my purpose on his views to dwell, Nor canvass what "so eminent a hand" meant;[748] But, certes, it conducts to lives ascetic, Or turning Marriage into Arithmetic.

XXXIX.

But Adeline, who probably presumed That Juan had enough of maintenance, Or separate maintenance, in case 't was doomed— As on the whole it is an even chance That bridegrooms, after they are fairly groomed, May retrograde a little in the Dance Of Marriage—(which might form a painter's fame, Like Holbein's "Dance of Death"[749]—but 't is the same)—

XL.

But Adeline determined Juan's wedding In her own mind, and that's enough for Woman: But then, with whom? There was the sage Miss Reading, Miss Raw, Miss Flaw, Miss Showman, and Miss Knowman,[nu] And the two fair co-heiresses Giltbedding. She deemed his merits something more than common: All these were unobjectionable matches, And might go on, if well wound up, like watches.

XLI.

There was Miss Millpond, smooth as summer's sea,[nv] That usual paragon, an only daughter, Who seemed the cream of Equanimity, Till skimmed—and then there was some milk and water, With a slight shade of blue too, it might be, Beneath the surface; but what did it matter? Love's riotous, but Marriage should have quiet, And being consumptive, live on a milk diet.

XLII.

And then there was the Miss Audacia Shoestring, A dashing demoiselle of good estate, Whose heart was fixed upon a star or blue string; But whether English Dukes grew rare of late, Or that she had not harped upon the true string, By which such Sirens can attract our great, She took up with some foreign younger brother, A Russ or Turk—the one's as good as t' other.

XLIII.

And then there was—but why should I go on, Unless the ladies should go off?—there was Indeed a certain fair and fairy one, Of the best class, and better than her class,— Aurora Raby, a young star who shone O'er Life, too sweet an image for such glass, A lovely being, scarcely formed or moulded, A rose with all its sweetest leaves yet folded;

XLIV.

Rich, noble, but an orphan—left an only Child to the care of guardians good and kind— But still her aspect had an air so lonely; Blood is not water; and where shall we find Feelings of Youth like those which overthrown lie By Death, when we are left, alas! behind, To feel, in friendless palaces, a home Is wanting, and our best ties in the tomb?

XLV.

Early in years, and yet more infantine In figure, she had something of Sublime In eyes which sadly shone, as Seraphs' shine. All Youth—but with an aspect beyond Time; Radiant and grave—as pitying Man's decline; Mournful—but mournful of another's crime, She looked as if she sat by Eden's door, And grieved for those who could return no more.

XLVI.

She was a Catholic, too, sincere, austere, As far as her own gentle heart allowed, And deemed that fallen worship far more dear Perhaps because 't was fallen: her Sires were proud Of deeds and days when they had filled the ear Of nations, and had never bent or bowed To novel power; and as she was the last, She held their old faith and old feelings fast.

XLVII.

She gazed upon a World she scarcely knew, As seeking not to know it; silent, lone, As grows a flower, thus quietly she grew, And kept her heart serene within its zone. There was awe in the homage which she drew; Her Spirit seemed as seated on a throne Apart from the surrounding world, and strong In its own strength—most strange in one so young!

XLVIII.

Now it so happened, in the catalogue Of Adeline, Aurora was omitted, Although her birth and wealth had given her vogue, Beyond the charmers we have already cited; Her beauty also seemed to form no clog Against her being mentioned as well fitted, By many virtues, to be worth the trouble Of single gentlemen who would be double.

XLIX.

And this omission, like that of the bust Of Brutus at the pageant of Tiberius,[750] Made Juan wonder, as no doubt he must. This he expressed half smiling and half serious; When Adeline replied with some disgust, And with an air, to say the least, imperious, She marvelled "what he saw in such a baby As that prim, silent, cold Aurora Raby?"

L.

Juan rejoined—"She was a Catholic, And therefore fittest, as of his persuasion; Since he was sure his mother would fall sick, And the Pope thunder excommunication, If—" But here Adeline, who seemed to pique Herself extremely on the inoculation Of others with her own opinions, stated— As usual—the same reason which she late did.

LI.

And wherefore not? A reasonable reason, If good, is none the worse for repetition; If bad, the best way's certainly to tease on, And amplify: you lose much by concision, Whereas insisting in or out of season Convinces all men, even a politician; Or—what is just the same—it wearies out. So the end's gained, what signifies the route?

LII.

Why Adeline had this slight prejudice— For prejudice it was—against a creature As pure, as Sanctity itself, from Vice,— With all the added charm of form and feature,— For me appears a question far too nice, Since Adeline was liberal by nature; But Nature's Nature, and has more caprices Than I have time, or will, to take to pieces.

LIII.

Perhaps she did not like the quiet way With which Aurora on those baubles looked, Which charm most people in their earlier day: For there are few things by Mankind less brooked, And Womankind too, if we so may say, Than finding thus their genius stand rebuked, Like "Antony's by Caesar,"[751] by the few Who look upon them as they ought to do.

LIV.

It was not envy—Adeline had none; Her place was far beyond it, and her mind: It was not scorn—which could not light on one Whose greatest fault was leaving few to find: It was not jealousy, I think—but shun Following the ignes fatui of Mankind: It was not——but 't is easier far, alas! To say what it was not than what it was.

LV.

Little Aurora deemed she was the theme Of such discussion. She was there a guest; A beauteous ripple of the brilliant stream Of Rank and Youth, though purer than the rest, Which flowed on for a moment in the beam Time sheds a moment o'er each sparkling crest. Had she known this, she would have calmly smiled— She had so much, or little, of the child.

LVI.

The dashing and proud air of Adeline Imposed not upon her: she saw her blaze Much as she would have seen a glow-worm shine, Then turned unto the stars for loftier rays. Juan was something she could not divine, Being no Sibyl in the new world's ways; Yet she was nothing dazzled by the meteor, Because she did not pin her faith on feature.

LVII.

His fame too,—for he had that kind of fame Which sometimes plays the deuce with Womankind, A heterogeneous mass of glorious blame, Half virtues and whole vices being combined; Faults which attract because they are not tame; Follies tricked out so brightly that they blind:— These seals upon her wax made no impression, Such was her coldness or her self-possession.

LVIII.

Juan knew nought of such a character— High, yet resembling not his lost Haidee; Yet each was radiant in her proper sphere: The island girl, bred up by the lone sea, More warm, as lovely, and not less sincere, Was Nature's all: Aurora could not be, Nor would be thus:—the difference in them Was such as lies between a flower and gem.

LIX.

Having wound up with this sublime comparison, Methinks we may proceed upon our narrative, And, as my friend Scott says, "I sound my warison;"[752] Scott, the superlative of my comparative— Scott, who can paint your Christian knight or Saracen, Serf—Lord—Man, with such skill as none would share it, if There had not been one Shakespeare and Voltaire, Of one or both of whom he seems the heir.[nw]

LX.

I say, in my slight way I may proceed To play upon the surface of Humanity. I write the World, nor care if the World read, At least for this I cannot spare its vanity. My Muse hath bred, and still perhaps may breed More foes by this same scroll: when I began it, I Thought that it might turn out so—now I know it,[753] But still I am, or was, a pretty poet.

LXI.

The conference or congress (for it ended As Congresses of late do) of the Lady Adeline and Don Juan rather blended Some acids with the sweets—for she was heady; But, ere the matter could be marred or mended, The silvery bell rang, not for "dinner ready," But for that hour, called half-hour, given to dress, Though ladies' robes seem scant enough for less.

LXII.

Great things were now to be achieved at table, With massy plate for armour, knives and forks For weapons; but what Muse since Homer's able (His feasts are not the worst part of his works) To draw up in array a single day-bill Of modern dinners? where more mystery lurks, In soups or sauces, or a sole ragout, Than witches, b—ches, or physicians, brew.

LXIII.

There was a goodly "soupe a la bonne femme"[754] Though God knows whence it came from; there was, too, A turbot for relief of those who cram, Relieved with "dindon a la Perigeux;" There also was——the sinner that I am! How shall I get this gourmand stanza through?— "Soupe a la Beauveau," whose relief was dory, Relieved itself by pork, for greater glory.

LXIV.

But I must crowd all into one grand mess Or mass; for should I stretch into detail, My Muse would run much more into excess, Than when some squeamish people deem her frail; But though a bonne vivante, I must confess Her stomach's not her peccant part; this tale However doth require some slight refection, Just to relieve her spirits from dejection.

LXV.

Fowls "a la Conde," slices eke of salmon, With "sauces Genevoises," and haunch of venison; Wines too, which might again have slain young Ammon—[755] A man like whom I hope we sha'n't see many soon; They also set a glazed Westphalian ham on, Whereon Apicius would bestow his benison; And then there was champagne with foaming whirls, As white as Cleopatra's melted pearls.

LXVI.

Then there was God knows what "a l'Allemande," "A l'Espagnole," "timballe," and "salpicon"— With things I can't withstand or understand, Though swallowed with much zest upon the whole; And "entremets" to piddle with at hand, Gently to lull down the subsiding soul; While great Lucullus' Robe triumphal muffles— (There's fame)—young partridge fillets, decked with truffles.[756]

LXVII.

What are the fillets on the Victor's brow To these? They are rags or dust. Where is the arch Which nodded to the nation's spoils below? Where the triumphal chariots' haughty march? Gone to where Victories must like dinners go. Farther I shall not follow the research: But oh! ye modern Heroes with your cartridges, When will your names lend lustre e'en to partridges?

LXVIII.

Those truffles too are no bad accessaries, Followed by "petits puits d'amour"—a dish Of which perhaps the cookery rather varies, So every one may dress it to his wish, According to the best of dictionaries, Which encyclopedize both flesh and fish; But even, sans confitures, it no less true is, There's pretty picking in those petits puits.[757]

LXIX.

The mind is lost in mighty contemplation Of intellect expanded on two courses; And Indigestion's grand multiplication Requires arithmetic beyond my forces. Who would suppose, from Adam's simple ration, That cookery could have called forth such resources, As form a science and a nomenclature From out the commonest demands of Nature?

LXX.

The glasses jingled, and the palates tingled; The diners of celebrity dined well; The ladies with more moderation mingled In the feast, pecking less than I can tell; Also the younger men too: for a springald Can't, like ripe Age, in gourmandise excel, But thinks less of good eating than the whisper (When seated next him) of some pretty lisper.

LXXI.

Alas! I must leave undescribed the gibier, The salmi, the consomme, the puree, All which I use to make my rhymes run glibber Than could roast beef in our rough John Bull way: I must not introduce even a spare rib here, "Bubble and squeak" would spoil my liquid lay: But I have dined, and must forego, alas! The chaste description even of a "becasse;"

LXXII.

And fruits, and ice, and all that Art refines From Nature for the service of the goutTaste or the gout,—pronounce it as inclines Your stomach! Ere you dine, the French will do; But after, there are sometimes certain signs Which prove plain English truer of the two. Hast ever had the gout? I have not had it— But I may have, and you too, reader, dread it.

LXXIII.

The simple olives, best allies of wine, Must I pass over in my bill of fare? I must, although a favourite plat of mine In Spain, and Lucca, Athens, everywhere: On them and bread 'twas oft my luck to dine— The grass my table-cloth, in open air, On Sunium or Hymettus, like Diogenes, Of whom half my philosophy the progeny is.[758]

LXXIV.

Amidst this tumult of fish, flesh, and fowl, And vegetables, all in masquerade, The guests were placed according to their roll, But various as the various meats displayed: Don Juan sat next an "a l'Espagnole"— No damsel, but a dish, as hath been said;[nx] But so far like a lady, that 'twas drest Superbly, and contained a world of zest.

LXXV.

By some odd chance too, he was placed between Aurora and the Lady Adeline— A situation difficult, I ween, For man therein, with eyes and heart, to dine. Also the conference which we have seen Was not such as to encourage him to shine, For Adeline, addressing few words to him, With two transcendent eyes seemed to look through him.

LXXVI.

I sometimes almost think that eyes have ears: This much is sure, that, out of earshot, things Are somehow echoed to the pretty dears, Of which I can't tell whence their knowledge springs. Like that same mystic music of the spheres, Which no one hears, so loudly though it rings, 'Tis wonderful how oft the sex have heard Long dialogues—which passed without a word!

LXXVII.

Aurora sat with that indifference Which piques a preux chevalier—as it ought: Of all offences that's the worst offence, Which seems to hint you are not worth a thought. Now Juan, though no coxcomb in pretence, Was not exactly pleased to be so caught; Like a good ship entangled among ice— And after so much excellent advice.

LXXVIII.

To his gay nothings, nothing was replied, Or something which was nothing, as Urbanity Required. Aurora scarcely looked aside, Nor even smiled enough for any vanity. The Devil was in the girl! Could it be pride? Or modesty, or absence, or inanity? Heaven knows! But Adeline's malicious eyes Sparkled with her successful prophecies,

LXXIX.

And looked as much as if to say, "I said it;" A kind of triumph I'll not recommend, Because it sometimes, as I have seen or read it, Both in the case of lover and of friend, Will pique a gentleman, for his own credit, To bring what was a jest to a serious end: For all men prophesy what is or was, And hate those who won't let them come to pass.

LXXX.

Juan was drawn thus into some attentions, Slight but select, and just enough to express, To females of perspicuous comprehensions, That he would rather make them more than less. Aurora at the last (so history mentions, Though probably much less a fact than guess) So far relaxed her thoughts from their sweet prison, As once or twice to smile, if not to listen.

LXXXI.

From answering she began to question: this With her was rare; and Adeline, who as yet Thought her predictions went not much amiss, Began to dread she'd thaw to a coquette— So very difficult, they say, it is To keep extremes from meeting, when once set In motion; but she here too much refined— Aurora's spirit was not of that kind.

LXXXII.

But Juan had a sort of winning way, A proud humility, if such there be, Which showed such deference to what females say, As if each charming word were a decree. His tact, too, tempered him from grave to gay, And taught him when to be reserved or free: He had the art of drawing people out, Without their seeing what he was about.

LXXXIII.

Aurora, who in her indifference Confounded him in common with the crowd Of flatterers, though she deemed he had more sense Than whispering foplings, or than witlings loud— Commenced[759] (from such slight things will great commence) To feel that flattery which attracts the proud Rather by deference than compliment, And wins even by a delicate dissent.[ny]

LXXXIV.

And then he had good looks;—that point was carried Nem. con. amongst the women, which I grieve To say leads oft to crim. con. with the married— A case which to the juries we may leave, Since with digressions we too long have tarried. Now though we know of old that looks deceive, And always have done,—somehow these good looks Make more impression than the best of books.

LXXXV.

Aurora, who looked more on books than faces, Was very young, although so very sage, Admiring more Minerva than the Graces, Especially upon a printed page. But Virtue's self, with all her tightest laces, Has not the natural stays of strict old age; And Socrates, that model of all duty, Owned to a penchant, though discreet, for beauty.

LXXXVI.

And girls of sixteen are thus far Socratic, But innocently so, as Socrates; And really, if the Sage sublime and Attic At seventy years had phantasies like these, Which Plato in his dialogues dramatic Has shown, I know not why they should displease In virgins—always in a modest way, Observe,—for that with me's a sine qua.[760]

LXXXVII.

Also observe, that, like the great Lord Coke (See Littleton), whene'er I have expressed Opinions two, which at first sight may look Twin opposites, the second is the best. Perhaps I have a third too, in a nook, Or none at all—which seems a sorry jest: But if a writer should be quite consistent, How could he possibly show things existent?

LXXXVIII.

If people contradict themselves, can I Help contradicting them, and everybody, Even my veracious self?—But that's a lie: I never did so, never will—how should I? He who doubts all things nothing can deny: Truth's fountains may be clear—her streams are muddy, And cut through such canals of contradiction, That she must often navigate o'er fiction.

LXXXIX.

Apologue, Fable, Poesy, and Parable, Are false, but may be rendered also true, By those who sow them in a land that's arable: 'Tis wonderful what Fable will not do! 'Tis said it makes Reality more bearable: But what's Reality? Who has its clue? Philosophy? No; she too much rejects. Religion? Yes; but which of all her sects?

XC.

Some millions must be wrong, that's pretty clear; Perhaps it may turn out that all were right. God help us! Since we have need on our career To keep our holy beacons always bright, 'Tis time that some new prophet should appear, Or old indulge man with a second sight. Opinions wear out in some thousand years, Without a small refreshment from the spheres.

XCI.

But here again, why will I thus entangle Myself with Metaphysics? None can hate So much as I do any kind of wrangle; And yet, such is my folly, or my fate, I always knock my head against some angle About the present, past, or future state: Yet I wish well to Trojan and to Tyrian, For I was bred a moderate Presbyterian.

XCII.

But though I am a temperate theologian, And also meek as a metaphysician, Impartial between Tyrian and Trojan, As Eldon[761] on a lunatic commission,— In politics my duty is to show John Bull something of the lower world's condition. It makes my blood boil like the springs of Hecla,[762] To see men let these scoundrel Sovereigns break law.

XCIII.

But Politics, and Policy, and Piety, Are topics which I sometimes introduce, Not only for the sake of their variety, But as subservient to a moral use; Because my business is to dress society, And stuff with sage that very verdant goose. And now, that we may furnish with some matter all Tastes, we are going to try the Supernatural.

XCIV.

And now I will give up all argument; And positively, henceforth, no temptation Shall "fool me to the top up of my bent:"—[763] Yes, I'll begin a thorough reformation. Indeed, I never knew what people meant By deeming that my Muse's conversation Was dangerous;—I think she is as harmless As some who labour more and yet may charm less.

XCV.

Grim reader! did you ever see a ghost? No; but you have heard—I understand—be dumb! And don't regret the time you may have lost, For you have got that pleasure still to come: And do not think I mean to sneer at most Of these things, or by ridicule benumb That source of the Sublime and the Mysterious:— For certain reasons my belief is serious.

XCVI.

Serious? You laugh;—you may: that will I not; My smiles must be sincere or not at all. I say I do believe a haunted spot Exists—and where? That shall I not recall, Because I'd rather it should be forgot, "Shadows the soul of Richard"[764] may appal. In short, upon that subject I've some qualms very Like those of the philosopher of Malmsbury.[765]

XCVII.

The night—(I sing by night—sometimes an owl, And now and then a nightingale)—is dim, And the loud shriek of sage Minerva's fowl Rattles around me her discordant hymn: Old portraits from old walls upon me scowl— I wish to Heaven they would not look so grim; The dying embers dwindle in the grate— I think too that I have sat up too late:

XCVIII.

And therefore, though 'tis by no means my way To rhyme at noon—when I have other things To think of, if I ever think—I say I feel some chilly midnight shudderings, And prudently postpone, until mid-day, Treating a topic which, alas! but brings Shadows;—but you must be in my condition, Before you learn to call this superstition.

XCIX.

Between two worlds Life hovers like a star, 'Twixt Night and Morn, upon the horizon's verge. How little do we know that which we are! How less what we may be![766] The eternal surge Of Time and Tide rolls on and bears afar Our bubbles; as the old burst, new emerge, Lashed from the foam of ages; while the graves Of Empires heave but like some passing waves.[767]

FOOTNOTES:

{544}[733] [It is impossible to persuade the metaphor to march "on all-fours," but, to drag it home, by a kind of "frog's march," the unfulfilled wants of the soul, the "lurking thoughts" are as it were bubbles, which we would fain "break on the invisible Ocean" of Passion or Emotion the begetter of bubbles—Passion which, like the visible Ocean, images Eternity and portrays, but not to the sensual eye, the beatific vision of the things which are not seen, and, even so, "ministers to the Soul's delight"! But "who can tell"?]

{545}[ni] While all without's indicative of rest.—[MS. erased.]

{546}[nj] A thing on which dull Time should never print age, For whom stern Nature should forego her debt.—[MS.]

[734] [Ransom and Morland were Byron's bankers. Douglas Kinnaird Was a partner in the firm. (See Letters, 1898, ii. 85, note 2.)]

[nk] Old Skeleton with ages for your booty.—[MS. erased.]

{547}[735] ["He turned himself into all manner of forms with more ease than the chameleon changes his colour.... Thus at Sparta he was all for exercise, frugal in his diet, and severe in his manners. In Asia he was as much for mirth and pleasure, luxury and ease."—Plutarch, Alcibiades, Langhorne's translation, 1838, p. 150.]

[736] [For the phrase "Cupidon Dechaine," applied to Count D'Orsay, vide ante, p. 526, note 4.]

[737] [Plautus, Truculentus, act ii. sc. 8, line 14.]

[738] [Raphael's "Transfiguration" is in the Vatican.]

[739] As it is necessary in these times to avoid ambiguity, I say that I mean, by "Diviner still," CHRIST. If ever God was man—or man God—he was both. I never arraigned his creed, but the use—or abuse made of it. Mr. Canning one day quoted Christianity to sanction negro slavery, and Mr. Wilberforce had little to say in reply. And was Christ crucified, that black men might be scourged? If so, He had better been born a Mulatto, to give both colours an equal chance of freedom, or at least salvation.

[In a debate in the House of Commons, May 15, 1823 (Parl. Deb., N.S. vol. ix. pp. 278, 279), Canning, replying to Fowell Buxton's motion for the Abolition of Slavery, said, "God forbid that I should contend that the Christian religion is favourable to slavery ... but if it be meant that in the Christian religion there is a special denunciation against slavery, that slavery and Christianity cannot exist together,—I think that the honourable gentleman himself must admit that the proposition is historically false."]

{549}[nl] —— and One Name Greater still Whose lot it was to be the most mistaken.—[MS, erased.]

[nm] To leave the world by bigot fashions shaken.—[MS. erased.]

[nn] Which never flatters either Whig or Tory.—[MS. erased.]

{550}[740] [Martial, Epig., x. 46.]

[741] ["Feeble" for "foible" is found in the writings of Mrs. Behn and Sir R. L'Estrange (N. Engl. Dict.).]

[no] But now I can't tell when it will be done.—[MS. erased.]

[742] [The N. Engl. Dict. quotes W. Hooper's Rational Recreations (1794) as an earlier authority for the use of "concision" in the sense of conciseness.]

[np] Who now are weltering——.—[MS. erased.]

[743] ["The cat will mew and dog will have his day." Hamlet, act v. sc. 1, line 280.]

[nq] I should not be the foremost to deride Their fault—but quickly take a sword the other way, And wax an Ultra-royalist, where Royalty Had nothing left it but a desperate Loyalty.—[MS. erased.]

{551}[744]

["And hold no sin so deeply red As that of breaking Priscian's head."

Butler's Hudibras, Part II. Canto II. lines 223, 224.]

[745] [Brougham, in the famous critique of Hours of Idleness (Edinburgh Review, January, 1808, vol. xi. pp. 285-289), was pleased "to counsel him that he do forthwith abandon poetry and turn his talents, which are considerable, and his opportunities, which are great, to better account." Others, however, gave him encouragement. See, for instance, a review by J.H. Markland, who afterwards made his name as editor of the Roxburgh Club issue of the Chester Mysteries (whence, perhaps, Byron derived his knowledge of "Mysteries and Moralities"), which concludes thus: "Heartily hoping that the 'illness and depression of spirits,' which evidently pervade the greater part of these effusions, are entirely dispelled; confident that 'George Gordon, Lord Byron' will have a conspicuous niche in the future editions of 'Royal and Noble Authors,' etc."—Gent. Mag., 1807, vol. lxxvii. p. 1217.]

[nr] To marshal onwards to the Delphian Height.—[MS.]

{552}[746] ["Three small vessels were apparently all that Columbus had requested. Two of them were light barques, called caravels, not superior to river and coasting craft of more modern days.... That such long and perilous expeditions into unknown seas, should be undertaken in vessels without decks, and that they should live through the violent tempests by which they were frequently assailed, remain among the singular circumstances of those daring voyages."—History of the Life and Voyages of Christopher Columbus, by Washington Irving, 1831, i. 78.]

[ns] As Women seldom think by halves——.—[MS. erased.]

{554}[747] This extraordinary and flourishing German colony in America does not entirely exclude matrimony, as the "Shakers" do; but lays such restrictions upon it as prevents more than a certain quantum of births within a certain number of years; which births (as Mr. Hulme [perhaps Thomas Hulme, whose Journal is quoted in Hints to Emigrants, 1817, pp. 5-18] observes) generally arrive "in a little flock like those of a farmer's lambs, all within the same month perhaps." These Harmonists (so called from the name of their settlement) are represented as a remarkably flourishing, pious, and quiet people. See the various recent writers on America.

[The Harmonists were emigrants from Wuertemburg, who settled (1803-1805) under the auspices of George Rapp, in a township 120 miles north of Philadelphia. This they sold, and "trekked" westwards to Indiana. One of their customs was to keep watch by nights and to cry the hours to this tune: "Again a day is past and a step made nearer to our end. Our time runs away, and the joys of Heaven are our reward." (See The Philanthropist, No. xx., 1815, vol. v, pp. 277-288.)]

[nt] Which test I leave unto the Lords spiritual.—[MS. erased.]

{555}[748] Jacob Tonson, according to Mr. Pope, was accustomed to call his writers "able pens," "persons of honour," and, especially, "eminent hands." Vide Correspondence, etc., etc.

["Perhaps I should myself be much better pleased, if I were told you called me your little friend, than if you complimented me with the title of a 'great genius,' or an eminent hand, as Jacob does all his authors."—Pope to Steele, November 29, 1712, Works of Alexander Pope, 1871, vi. 396.]

[749] [See D'Israeli's Curiosities of Literature, 1841, pp. 450-452, and the Dissertation prefixed to Francis Douce's edition of Holbein's Dance of Death, 1858, pp. 1-218.]

{556}[nu] —— Miss Allman and Miss Noman.—[MS. erased.]

[nv] —— that smooth placid sea Which did not show and yet concealed a storm.—[MS. erased.]

{558}[750] [Compare Childe Harold, Canto IV. stanza lix. line 3, Poetical Works, 1899, ii. 374, note 2.]

{559}[751]

[" ... And, under him, My Genius is rebuked; as it is said Mark Antony's was by Caesar."

Macbeth, act iii, sc. 1, lines 54-56.]

{560}[752] [Warison—cri-de-guerre—note of assault:—

"Either receive within these towers Two hundred of my master's powers, Or straight they sound their warrison, And storm and spoil this garrison."

Lay of the Last Minstrel, Canto IV. stanza xxiv, lines 17-20.]

{561}[nw] And adds a third to what was late a pair.—[MS. erased.]

[753] [Compare:

"Life's a jest, and all things show it; I thought so once, and now I know it."

Gay's Epitaph.]

[754] [For "Potage a la bonne femme," "Dindon a la Perigueux," "Soupe a la Beauveau," "Le dorey garni d'eperlans frits," "Le cuisseau de pore a demi sel, garni de choux," "Le salmi de perdreaux a l'Espagnole," "Les becasses," see "Bill of Fare for November," The French Cook, by Louis Eustache Ude, 1813, p. viii. For "Les poulardes a la Conde." "Le jambon de Westphalie a l'Espagnole," "Les petites timballes d'un salpicon a la Monglas" (?Montglat), "Les filets de perdreaux sautes a la Lucullus," vide ibid., p. ix., and for "Petits puits d'amour garnis de confitures," vide Plate of Second Course (to face) p. vi.]

{562}[755] [Alexander the Great.]

{563}[756] A dish "a la Lucullus." This hero, who conquered the East, has left his more extended celebrity to the transplantation of cherries (which he first brought into Europe), and the nomenclature of some very good dishes;—and I am not sure that (barring indigestion) he has not done more service to mankind by his cookery than by his conquests. A cherry tree may weigh against a bloody laurel; besides, he has contrived to earn celebrity from both.

[According to Pliny (Nat, Hist., lib. xv. cap. xxv. ed. 1593, ii. 131), there were no cherry trees in Italy until L. Lucullus brought them home with him from Pontus after the Mithridatic War (B.C. 74), and it was not for another hundred and twenty years that the cherry tree crossed the Channel and was introduced into Britain.]

[757] "Petits puits d'amour garnis de confitures,"—a classical and well-known dish for part of the flank of a second course [vide ante, p. 562].

{564}[758] ["To-day in a palace, to-morrow in a cow-house—this day with a Pacha, the next with a shepherd."—Letter to his mother, July 30, 1810, Letters, 1898, i. 295.]

[nx] No lady but a dish——.—[MS.]

{567}[759] ["This construction ('commence' with the infinitive) has been objected to by stylists," says the New English Dictionary (see art. "Commence"). Its use is sanctioned by the authority of Pope, Landor, Helps, and Lytton; but even so, it is questionable, if not objectionable.]

[ny] Sweet Lord! she was so sagely innocent.—[MS.]

{568}[760] Subauditur "non;" omitted for the sake of euphony.

{569}[761] [John Scott, Earl of Eldon, Lord Chancellor, 1801 to 1827, sat as judge (November 7, 1822) to hear the petition of Henry Wallop Fellowes, that a commission of inquiry should be issued to ascertain whether his uncle, Lord Portsmouth (who married Mary Anne Hanson, the daughter of Byron's solicitor), was of sound mind, "and capable of managing his own person and property." The Chancellor gave judgment that a commission be issued, and the jury, February, 1823, returned a verdict that Lord Portsmouth had been a lunatic since 1809. (See Letters, 1898, ii. 393, note 3, et ibid., 1901, vi. 170, note i.)]

[762] Hecla is a famous hot-spring in Iceland. [Byron seems to mistake the volcano for the Geysers.]

{570}[763] [Hamlet, act iii. sc. 2, line 367.]

[764]

["By the apostle Paul, shadows to-night Have struck more terror to the soul of Richard Than can the substance of ten thousand soldiers," etc.

Richard III., act v. sc. 3, lines 216-218.]

[765] Hobbes: who, doubting of his own soul, paid that compliment to the souls of other people as to decline their visits, of which he had some apprehension.

[Bayle (see art. "Hobbes" [Dict. Crit. and Hist., 1736, iii. 471, note N.]) quotes from Vita Hobb., p. 106: "He was as falsely accused by some of being unwilling to be alone, because he was afraid of spectres and apparitions, vain bugbears of fools, which he had chased away by the light of his Philosophy," and proceeds to argue that, perhaps, after all, Hobbes was afraid of the dark. "He was timorous to the last degree, and consequently he had reason to distrust his imagination when he was alone in a chamber in the night; for in spite of him the memory of what he had read and heard concerning apparitions would revive, though he was not persuaded of the reality of these things." See, however, for his own testimony that he was "not afrayd of sprights," Letters and Lives of Eminent Persons, by John Aubrey, 1813, vol. ii. pt. ii. p. 624.]

{571}[766] [Hamlet, act iv. sc. 5, lines 41, 42.]

[767] End of Canto 15^th^. M^ch^. 25, 1823. B.—[MS.]



CANTO THE SIXTEENTH.[768]

I.

The antique Persians taught three useful things, To draw the bow, to ride, and speak the truth,[769] This was the mode of Cyrus, best of kings— A mode adopted since by modern youth. Bows have they, generally with two strings; Horses they ride without remorse or ruth; At speaking truth perhaps they are less clever, But draw the long bow better now than ever.

II.

The cause of this effect, or this defect,— "For this effect defective comes by cause,"—[770] Is what I have not leisure to inspect; But this I must say in my own applause, Of all the Muses that I recollect, Whate'er may be her follies or her flaws In some things, mine's beyond all contradiction The most sincere that ever dealt in fiction.

III.

And as she treats all things, and ne'er retreats From anything, this Epic will contain A wilderness of the most rare conceits, Which you might elsewhere hope to find in vain. 'Tis true there be some bitters with the sweets, Yet mixed so slightly, that you can't complain, But wonder they so few are, since my tale is "De rebus cunctis et quibusdam aliis."[771]

IV.

But of all truths which she has told, the most True is that which she is about to tell. I said it was a story of a ghost— What then? I only know it so befell. Have you explored the limits of the coast, Where all the dwellers of the earth must dwell? 'Tis time to strike such puny doubters dumb as The sceptics who would not believe Columbus.

V.

Some people would impose now with authority, Turpin's or Monmouth Geoffry's Chronicle; Men whose historical superiority Is always greatest at a miracle. But Saint Augustine has the great priority, Who bids all men believe the impossible, Because 'tis so. Who nibble, scribble, quibble, he Quiets at once with "quia impossibile."[772]

VI.

And therefore, mortals, cavil not at all; Believe:—if 'tis improbable, you must, And if it is impossible, you shall: 'Tis always best to take things upon trust. I do not speak profanely to recall Those holier Mysteries which the wise and just Receive as Gospel, and which grow more rooted, As all truths must, the more they are disputed:

VII.

I merely mean to say what Johnson said, That in the course of some six thousand years, All nations have believed that from the dead A visitant at intervals appears:[773] And what is strangest upon this strange head, Is, that whatever bar the reason rears 'Gainst such belief, there's something stronger still In its behalf—let those deny who will.

VIII.

The dinner and the soiree too were done, The supper too discussed, the dames admired, The banqueteers had dropped off one by one— The song was silent, and the dance expired: The last thin petticoats were vanished, gone Like fleecy clouds into the sky retired, And nothing brighter gleamed through the saloon Than dying tapers—and the peeping moon.

IX.

The evaporation of a joyous day Is like the last glass of champagne, without The foam which made its virgin bumper gay; Or like a system coupled with a doubt; Or like a soda bottle when its spray Has sparkled and let half its spirit out; Or like a billow left by storms behind, Without the animation of the wind;

X.

Or like an opiate, which brings troubled rest, Or none; or like—like nothing that I know Except itself;—such is the human breast; A thing, of which similitudes can show No real likeness,—like the old Tyrian vest Dyed purple, none at present can tell how, If from a shell-fish or from cochineal.[774] So perish every Tyrant's robe piece-meal!

XI.

But next to dressing for a rout or ball, Undressing is a woe; our robe de chambre May sit like that of Nessus,[775] and recall Thoughts quite as yellow, but less clear than amber. Titus exclaimed, "I've lost a day!"[776] Of all The nights and days most people can remember, (I have had of both, some not to be disdained,) I wish they'd state how many they have gained.

XII.

And Juan, on retiring for the night, Felt restless, and perplexed, and compromised: He thought Aurora Raby's eyes more bright Than Adeline (such is advice) advised; If he had known exactly his own plight, He probably would have philosophised: A great resource to all, and ne'er denied Till wanted; therefore Juan only sighed.

XIII.

He sighed;—the next resource is the full moon, Where all sighs are deposited; and now It happened luckily, the chaste orb shone As clear as such a climate will allow; And Juan's mind was in the proper tone To hail her with the apostrophe—"O thou!" Of amatory egotism the Tuism,[777] Which further to explain would be a truism.

XIV.

But Lover, Poet, or Astronomer— Shepherd, or swain—whoever may behold, Feel some abstraction when they gaze on her; Great thoughts we catch from thence (besides a cold Sometimes, unless my feelings rather err); Deep secrets to her rolling light are told; The Ocean's tides and mortals' brains she sways, And also hearts—if there be truth in lays.

XV.

Juan felt somewhat pensive, and disposed For contemplation rather than his pillow: The Gothic chamber, where he was enclosed, Let in the rippling sound of the lake's billow, With all the mystery by midnight caused: Below his window waved (of course) willow; And he stood gazing out on the cascade That flashed and after darkened in the shade.

XVI.

Upon his table or his toilet,[778]—which Of these is not exactly ascertained,— (I state this, for I am cautious to a pitch Of nicety, where a fact is to be gained,) A lamp burned high, while he leant from a niche, Where many a Gothic ornament remained, In chiselled stone and painted glass, and all That Time has left our fathers of their Hall.

XVII.

Then, as the night was clear though cold, he threw His chamber door wide open[779]—and went forth Into a gallery of a sombre hue, Long, furnished with old pictures of great worth, Of knights and dames heroic and chaste too, As doubtless should be people of high birth; But by dim lights the portraits of the dead Have something ghastly, desolate, and dread.

XVIII.

The forms of the grim Knight and pictured Saint Look living in the moon; and as you turn Backward and forward to the echoes faint Of your own footsteps—voices from the Urn Appear to wake, and shadows wild and quaint Start from the frames which fence their aspects stern, As if to ask how you can dare to keep A vigil there, where all but Death should sleep.

XIX.

And the pale smile of Beauties in the grave, The charms of other days, in starlight gleams, Glimmer on high; their buried locks still wave Along the canvas; their eyes glance like dreams On ours, or spars within some dusky cave,[780] But Death is imaged in their shadowy beams. A picture is the past; even ere its frame Be gilt, who sate hath ceased to be the same.

XX.

As Juan mused on Mutability, Or on his Mistress—terms synonymous— No sound except the echo of his sigh Or step ran sadly through that antique house; When suddenly he heard, or thought so, nigh, A supernatural agent—or a mouse, Whose little nibbling rustle will embarrass Most people as it plays along the arras.

XXI.

It was no mouse—but lo! a monk, arrayed[781] In cowl and beads, and dusky garb, appeared, Now in the moonlight, and now lapsed in shade, With steps that trod as heavy, yet unheard; His garments only a slight murmur made; He moved as shadowy as the Sisters weird,[782] But slowly; and as he passed Juan by, Glanced, without pausing, on him a bright eye.

XXII.

Juan was petrified; he had heard a hint Of such a Spirit in these halls of old, But thought, like most men, that there was nothing in 't Beyond the rumour which such spots unfold, Coined from surviving Superstition's mint, Which passes ghosts in currency like gold, But rarely seen, like gold compared with paper. And did he see this? or was it a vapour?

XXIII.

Once, twice, thrice passed, repassed—the thing of air, Or earth beneath, or Heaven, or t' other place; And Juan gazed upon it with a stare, Yet could not speak or move; but, on its base As stands a statue, stood: he felt his hair Twine like a knot of snakes around his face; He taxed his tongue for words, which were not granted, To ask the reverend person what he wanted.

XXIV.

The third time, after a still longer pause, The shadow passed away—but where? the hall Was long, and thus far there was no great cause To think his vanishing unnatural: Doors there were many, through which, by the laws Of physics, bodies whether short or tall Might come or go; but Juan could not state Through which the Spectre seemed to evaporate.

XXV.

He stood—how long he knew not, but it seemed An age—expectant, powerless, with his eyes Strained on the spot where first the figure gleamed Then by degrees recalled his energies, And would have passed the whole off as a dream, But could not wake; he was, he did surmise, Waking already, and returned at length Back to his chamber, shorn of half his strength.

XXVI.

All there was as he left it: still his taper Burned, and not blue, as modest tapers use, Receiving sprites with sympathetic vapour; He rubbed his eyes, and they did not refuse Their office: he took up an old newspaper; The paper was right easy to peruse; He read an article the King attacking, And a long eulogy of "Patent Blacking."

XXVII.

This savoured of this world; but his hand shook: He shut his door, and after having read A paragraph, I think about Horne Tooke, Undressed, and rather slowly went to bed. There, couched all snugly on his pillow's nook, With what he had seen his phantasy he fed; And though it was no opiate, slumber crept Upon him by degrees, and so he slept.

XXVIII.

He woke betimes; and, as may be supposed, Pondered upon his visitant or vision, And whether it ought not to be disclosed, At risk of being quizzed for superstition. The more he thought, the more his mind was posed: In the mean time, his valet, whose precision Was great, because his master brooked no less, Knocked to inform him it was time to dress.

XXIX.

He dressed; and like young people he was wont To take some trouble with his toilet, but This morning rather spent less time upon 't; Aside his very mirror soon was put; His curls fell negligently o'er his front, His clothes were not curbed to their usual cut, His very neckcloth's Gordian knot was tied Almost an hair's breadth too much on one side.

XXX.

And when he walked down into the Saloon, He sate him pensive o'er a dish of tea, Which he perhaps had not discovered soon, Had it not happened scalding hot to be, Which made him have recourse unto his spoon; So much distrait he was, that all could see That something was the matter—Adeline The first—but what she could not well divine.

XXXI.

She looked, and saw him pale, and turned as pale Herself; then hastily looked down, and muttered Something, but what's not stated in my tale. Lord Henry said, his muffin was ill buttered; The Duchess of Fitz-Fulke played with her veil, And looked at Juan hard, but nothing uttered. Aurora Raby with her large dark eyes Surveyed him with a kind of calm surprise.

XXXII.

But seeing him all cold and silent still, And everybody wondering more or less, Fair Adeline inquired, "If he were ill?" He started, and said, "Yes—no—rather—yes." The family physician had great skill, And being present, now began to express His readiness to feel his pulse and tell The cause, but Juan said, he was "quite well."

XXXIII.

"Quite well; yes,—no."—These answers were mysterious, And yet his looks appeared to sanction both, However they might savour of delirious; Something like illness of a sudden growth Weighed on his spirit, though by no means serious: But for the rest, as he himself seemed both To state the case, it might be ta'en for granted It was not the physician that he wanted.

XXXIV.

Lord Henry, who had now discussed his chocolate, Also the muffin whereof he complained, Said, Juan had not got his usual look elate, At which he marvelled, since it had not rained; Then asked her Grace what news were of the Duke of late? Her Grace replied, his Grace was rather pained With some slight, light, hereditary twinges Of gout, which rusts aristocratic hinges.

XXXV.

Then Henry turned to Juan, and addressed A few words of condolence on his state: "You look," quoth he, "as if you had had your rest Broke in upon by the Black Friar of late." "What Friar?" said Juan; and he did his best To put the question with an air sedate, Or careless; but the effort was not valid To hinder him from growing still more pallid.

XXXVI.

"Oh! have you never heard of the Black Friar? The Spirit of these walls?"—"In truth not I." "Why Fame—but Fame you know's sometimes a liar— Tells an odd story, of which by and by: Whether with time the Spectre has grown shyer, Or that our Sires had a more gifted eye For such sights, though the tale is half believed, The Friar of late has not been oft perceived.

XXXVII.

"The last time was——"—"I pray," said Adeline— (Who watched the changes of Don Juan's brow, And from its context thought she could divine Connections stronger than he chose to avow With this same legend)—"if you but design To jest, you'll choose some other theme just now, Because the present tale has oft been told, And is not much improved by growing old."

XXXVIII.

"Jest!" quoth Milor; "why, Adeline, you know That we ourselves—'twas in the honey moon Saw——"—"Well, no matter, 'twas so long ago; But, come, I'll set your story to a tune." Graceful as Dian when she draws her bow, She seized her harp, whose strings were kindled soon As touched, and plaintively began to play The air of "'Twas a Friar of Orders Gray."[nz]

XXXIX.

"But add the words," cried Henry, "which you made; For Adeline is half a poetess," Turning round to the rest, he smiling said. Of course the others could not but express In courtesy their wish to see displayed By one three talents, for there were no less— The voice, the words, the harper's skill, at once, Could hardly be united by a dunce.

XL.

After some fascinating hesitation,— The charming of these charmers, who seem bound, I can't tell why, to this dissimulation,— Fair Adeline, with eyes fixed on the ground At first, then kindling into animation, Added her sweet voice to the lyric sound, And sang with much simplicity,—a merit Not the less precious, that we seldom hear it.

1.

Beware! beware! of the Black Friar, Who sitteth by Norman stone, For he mutters his prayer in the midnight air, And his mass of the days that are gone. When the Lord of the Hill, Amundeville, Made Norman Church his prey, And expelled the friars, one friar still Would not be driven away.

2.

Though he came in his might, with King Henry's right, To turn church lands to lay, With sword in hand, and torch to light Their walls, if they said nay; A monk remained, unchased, unchained, And he did not seem formed of clay, For he's seen in the porch, and he's seen in the church, Though he is not seen by day.

3.

And whether for good, or whether for ill, It is not mine to say; But still with the house of Amundeville He abideth night and day. By the marriage-bed of their lords, 'tis said, He flits on the bridal eve; And 'tis held as faith, to their bed of Death[oa] He comes—but not to grieve.

4.

When an heir is born, he's heard to mourn, And when aught is to befall That ancient line, in the pale moonshine He walks from hall to hall. His form you may trace, but not his face, 'Tis shadowed by his cowl; But his eyes may be seen from the folds between, And they seem of a parted soul.

5.

But beware! beware! of the Black Friar, He still retains his sway, For he is yet the Church's heir, Whoever may be the lay. Amundeville is Lord by day, But the monk is Lord by night; Nor wine nor wassail could raise a vassal To question that Friar's right.

6.

Say nought to him as he walks the Hall, And he'll say nought to you; He sweeps along in his dusky pall, As o'er the grass the dew. Then grammercy! for the Black Friar; Heaven sain him! fair or foul,— And whatsoe'er may be his prayer, Let ours be for his soul.

XLI.

The lady's voice ceased, and the thrilling wires Died from the touch that kindled them to sound; And the pause followed, which when song expires Pervades a moment those who listen round; And then of course the circle much admires, Nor less applauds, as in politeness bound, The tones, the feeling, and the execution, To the performer's diffident confusion.

XLII.

Fair Adeline, though in a careless way, As if she rated such accomplishment As the mere pastime of an idle day, Pursued an instant for her own content, Would now and then as 'twere without display, Yet with display in fact, at times relent To such performances with haughty smile, To show she could, if it were worth her while.

XLIII.

Now this (but we will whisper it aside) Was—pardon the pedantic illustration— Trampling on Plato's pride with greater pride, As did the Cynic on some like occasion; Deeming the sage would be much mortified, Or thrown into a philosophic passion, For a spoilt carpet—but the "Attic Bee" Was much consoled by his own repartee.[783]

XLIV.

Thus Adeline would throw into the shade (By doing easily, whene'er she chose, What dilettanti do with vast parade) Their sort of half profession; for it grows To something like this when too oft displayed; And that it is so, everybody knows, Who have heard Miss That or This, or Lady T'other, Show off—to please their company or mother.

XLV.

Oh! the long evenings of duets and trios! The admirations and the speculations; The "Mamma Mia's!" and the "Amor Mio's!" The "Tanti palpiti's" on such occasions: The "Lasciami's," and quavering "Addio's," Amongst our own most musical of nations! With "Tu mi chamas's" from Portingale,[784] To soothe our ears, lest Italy should fail.[785]

XLVI.

In Babylon's bravuras—as the Home- Heart-Ballads of Green Erin or Grey Highlands, That bring Lochaber back to eyes that roam O'er far Atlantic continents or islands, The calentures[786] of music which o'ercome All mountaineers with dreams that they are nigh lands, No more to be beheld but in such visions— Was Adeline well versed, as compositions.

XLVII.

She also had a twilight tinge of "Blue," Could write rhymes, and compose more than she wrote, Made epigrams occasionally too Upon her friends, as everybody ought. But still from that sublimer azure hue,[787] So much the present dye, she was remote; Was weak enough to deem Pope a great poet, And what was worse, was not ashamed to show it.

XLVIII.

Aurora—since we are touching upon taste, Which now-a-days is the thermometer By whose degrees all characters are classed— Was more Shakespearian, if I do not err. The worlds beyond this World's perplexing waste Had more of her existence, for in her There was a depth of feeling to embrace Thoughts, boundless, deep, but silent too as Space.

XLIX.

Not so her gracious, graceful, graceless Grace, The full-grown Hebe of Fitz-Fulke, whose mind, If she had any, was upon her face, And that was of a fascinating kind. A little turn for mischief you might trace Also thereon,—but that's not much; we find Few females without some such gentle leaven, For fear we should suppose us quite in Heaven.

L.

I have not heard she was at all poetic, Though once she was seen reading the Bath Guide,[788] And Hayley's Triumphs,[789] which she deemed pathetic, Because she said her temper had been tried So much, the bard had really been prophetic Of what she had gone through with—since a bride. But of all verse, what most ensured her praise Were sonnets to herself, or bouts rimes.

LI.

'Twere difficult to say what was the object Of Adeline, in bringing this same lay To bear on what appeared to her the subject Of Juan's nervous feelings on that day. Perhaps she merely had the simple project To laugh him out of his supposed dismay; Perhaps she might wish to confirm him in it, Though why I cannot say—at least this minute.

LII.

But so far the immediate effect Was to restore him to his self-propriety, A thing quite necessary to the elect, Who wish to take the tone of their society: In which you cannot be too circumspect, Whether the mode be persiflage or piety, But wear the newest mantle of hypocrisy, On pain of much displeasing the gynocracy.[790]

LIII.

And therefore Juan now began to rally His spirits, and without more explanation To jest upon such themes in many a sally. Her Grace, too, also seized the same occasion, With various similar remarks to tally, But wished for a still more detailed narration Of this same mystic friar's curious doings, About the present family's deaths and wooings.

LIV.

Of these few could say more than has been said; They passed as such things do, for superstition With some, while others, who had more in dread The theme, half credited the strange tradition; And much was talked on all sides on that head: But Juan, when cross-questioned on the vision, Which some supposed (though he had not avowed it) Had stirred him, answered in a way to cloud it.

LV.

And then, the mid-day having worn to one, The company prepared to separate; Some to their several pastimes, or to none, Some wondering 'twas so early, some so late. There was a goodly match too, to be run Between some greyhounds on my Lord's estate, And a young race-horse of old pedigree, Matched for the spring, whom several went to see.

LVI.

There was a picture-dealer who had brought A special Titian, warranted original, So precious that it was not to be bought, Though Princes the possessor were besieging all— The King himself had cheapened it, but thought The civil list he deigns to accept (obliging all His subjects by his gracious acceptation)— Too scanty, in these times of low taxation.

LVII.

But as Lord Henry was a connoisseur,— The friend of Artists, if not Arts,—the owner, With motives the most classical and pure, So that he would have been the very donor, Rather than seller, had his wants been fewer, So much he deemed his patronage an honour, Had brought the capo d'opera, not for sale, But for his judgment—never known to fail.

LVIII.

There was a modern Goth, I mean a Gothic Bricklayer of Babel, called an architect,[ob] Brought to survey these grey walls which, though so thick, Might have from Time acquired some slight defect; Who, after rummaging the Abbey through thick And thin, produced a plan whereby to erect New buildings of correctest conformation, And throw down old—which he called restoration.[791]

LIX.

The cost would be a trifle—an "old song," Set to some thousands ('tis the usual burden Of that same tune, when people hum it long)— The price would speedily repay its worth in An edifice no less sublime than strong, By which Lord Henry's good taste would go forth in Its glory, through all ages shining sunny, For Gothic daring shown in English money.[792]

LX.

There were two lawyers busy on a mortgage Lord Henry wished to raise for a new purchase; Also a lawsuit upon tenures burgage,[793] And one on tithes, which sure as Discord's torches, Kindling Religion till she throws down her gage, "Untying" squires "to fight against the churches;"[794] There was a prize ox, a prize pig, and ploughman, For Henry was a sort of Sabine showman.

LXI.

There were two poachers caught in a steel trap, Ready for gaol, their place of convalescence; There was a country girl in a close cap And scarlet cloak (I hate the sight to see, since— Since—since—in youth, I had the sad mishap— But luckily I have paid few parish fees since):[795] That scarlet cloak, alas! unclosed with rigour, Presents the problem of a double figure.

LXII.

A reel within a bottle is a mystery, One can't tell how it e'er got in or out; Therefore the present piece of natural history I leave to those who are fond of solving doubt; And merely state, though not for the Consistory, Lord Henry was a Justice, and that Scout The constable, beneath a warrant's banner, Had bagged this poacher upon Nature's manor.

LXIII.

Now Justices of Peace must judge all pieces Of mischief of all kinds, and keep the game And morals of the country from caprices Of those who have not a licence for the same; And of all things, excepting tithes and leases, Perhaps these are most difficult to tame: Preserving partridges and pretty wenches Are puzzles to the most precautions benches.

LXIV.

The present culprit was extremely pale, Pale as if painted so; her cheek being red By nature, as in higher dames less hale 'Tis white, at least when they just rise from bed. Perhaps she was ashamed of seeming frail, Poor soul! for she was country born and bred, And knew no better in her immorality Than to wax white—for blushes are for quality.

LXV.

Her black, bright, downcast, yet espiegle eye, Had gathered a large tear into its corner, Which the poor thing at times essayed to dry, For she was not a sentimental mourner Parading all her sensibility, Nor insolent enough to scorn the scorner, But stood in trembling, patient tribulation, To be called up for her examination.

LXVI.

Of course these groups were scattered here and there, Not nigh the gay saloon of ladies gent.[796] The lawyers in the study; and in air The prize pig, ploughman, poachers: the men sent From town, viz. architect and dealer, were Both busy (as a General in his tent Writing despatches) in their several stations, Exulting in their brilliant lucubrations.

LXVII.

But this poor girl was left in the great hall, While Scout, the parish guardian of the frail, Discussed (he hated beer yclept the "small") A mighty mug of moral double ale. She waited until Justice could recall Its kind attentions to their proper pale, To name a thing in nomenclature rather[oc] Perplexing for most virgins—a child's father.

LXVIII.

You see here was enough of occupation For the Lord Henry, linked with dogs and horses. There was much bustle too, and preparation Below stairs on the score of second courses; Because, as suits their rank and situation, Those who in counties have great land resources Have "public days," when all men may carouse, Though not exactly what's called "open house."

LXIX.

But once a week or fortnight, uninvited (Thus we translate a general invitation) All country gentlemen, esquired or knighted, May drop in without cards, and take their station At the full board, and sit alike delighted With fashionable wines and conversation; And, as the isthmus of the grand connection, Talk o'er themselves the past and next election.

LXX.

Lord Henry was a great electioneerer, Burrowing for boroughs like a rat or rabbit. But county contests cost him rather dearer, Because the neighbouring Scotch Earl of Giftgabbit Had English influence, in the self-same sphere here; His son, the Honourable Dick Dicedrabbit, Was member for the "other interest" (meaning The same self-interest, with a different leaning).

LXXI.

Courteous and cautious therefore in his county, He was all things to all men, and dispensed To some civility, to others bounty, And promises to all—which last commenced To gather to a somewhat large amount, he Not calculating how much they condensed; But what with keeping some, and breaking others, His word had the same value as another's.

LXXII.

A friend to Freedom and freeholders—yet No less a friend to Government—he held, That he exactly the just medium hit Twixt Place and Patriotism—albeit compelled, Such was his Sovereign's pleasure, (though unfit, He added modestly, when rebels railed,) To hold some sinecures he wished abolished, But that with them all Law would be demolished.

LXXIII.

He was "free to confess"—(whence comes this phrase? Is 't English? No—'tis only parliamentary) That Innovation's spirit now-a-days Had made more progress than for the last century. He would not tread a factious path to praise, Though for the public weal disposed to venture high; As for his place, he could but say this of it, That the fatigue was greater than the profit.

LXXIV.

Heaven, and his friends, knew that a private life Had ever been his sole and whole ambition; But could he quit his King in times of strife, Which threatened the whole country with perdition? When demagogues would with a butcher's knife Cut through and through (oh! damnable incision!) The Gordian or the Geordi-an knot, whose strings Have tied together Commons, Lords, and Kings.

LXXV.

Sooner "come Place into the Civil List And champion him to the utmost[797]—" he would keep it, Till duly disappointed or dismissed: Profit he cared not for, let others reap it; But should the day come when Place ceased to exist, The country would have far more cause to weep it: For how could it go on? Explain who can! He gloried in the name of Englishman.

LXXVI.

He was as independent—aye, much more— Than those who were not paid for independence, As common soldiers, or a common——shore, Have in their several arts or parts ascendance O'er the irregulars in lust or gore, Who do not give professional attendance. Thus on the mob all statesmen are as eager To prove their pride, as footmen to a beggar.

LXXVII.

All this (save the last stanza) Henry said, And thought. I say no more—I've said too much; For all of us have either heard or read— Off—or upon the hustings—some slight such Hints from the independent heart or head Of the official candidate. I'll touch No more on this—the dinner-bell hath rung, And grace is said; the grace I should have sung

LXXVIII.

But I'm too late, and therefore must make play. 'Twas a great banquet, such as Albion old Was wont to boast—as if a glutton's tray Were something very glorious to behold. But 'twas a public feast and public day,— Quite full—right dull—guests hot, and dishes cold,— Great plenty, much formality, small cheer,— And everybody out of their own sphere.

LXXIX.

The squires familiarly formal, and My Lords and Ladies proudly condescending; The very servants puzzling how to hand Their plates—without it might be too much bending From their high places by the sideboard's stand— Yet, like their masters, fearful of offending; For any deviation from the graces Might cost both man and master too—their places.

LXXX.

There were some hunters bold, and coursers keen, Whose hounds ne'er erred, nor greyhounds deigned to lurch; Some deadly shots too, Septembrizers,[798] seen Earliest to rise, and last to quit the search Of the poor partridge through his stubble screen. There were some massy members of the church, Takers of tithes, and makers of good matches, And several who sung fewer psalms than catches.

LXXXI.

There were some country wags too—and, alas! Some exiles from the Town, who had been driven To gaze, instead of pavement, upon grass, And rise at nine in lieu of long eleven. And lo! upon that day it came to pass, I sate next that o'erwhelming son of Heaven, The very powerful parson, Peter Pith,[799] The loudest wit I e'er was deafened with.

LXXXII.

I knew him in his livelier London days, A brilliant diner-out, though but a curate, And not a joke he cut but earned its praise, Until Preferment, coming at a sure rate, (O Providence! how wondrous are thy ways! Who would suppose thy gifts sometimes obdurate?) Gave him, to lay the Devil who looks o'er Lincoln,[800] A fat fen vicarage, and nought to think on.

LXXXIII.

His jokes were sermons, and his sermons jokes; But both were thrown away amongst the fens; For Wit hath no great friend in aguish folks.[od] No longer ready ears and short-hand pens Imbibed the gay bon-mot, or happy hoax:[oe] The poor priest was reduced to common sense, Or to coarse efforts very loud and long, To hammer a hoarse laugh from the thick throng.[of]

LXXXIV.

There is a difference, says the song, "between A beggar and a Queen,"[801] or was (of late The latter worse used of the two we've seen— But we 'll say nothing of affairs of state); A difference "'twixt a Bishop and a Dean," A difference between crockery ware and plate, As between English beef and Spartan broth— And yet great heroes have been bred by both.

LXXXV.

But of all Nature's discrepancies, none Upon the whole is greater than the difference Beheld between the Country and the Town, Of which the latter merits every preference From those who have few resources of their own. And only think, or act, or feel, with reference To some small plan of interest or ambition— Both which are limited to no condition.

LXXXVI.

But En avant! The light loves languish o'er Long banquets and too many guests, although A slight repast makes people love much more, Bacchus and Ceres being, as we know, Even from our grammar upwards, friends of yore With vivifying Venus,[802] who doth owe To these the invention of champagne and truffles: Temperance delights her, but long fasting ruffles.

LXXXVII.

Dully passed o'er the dinner of the day; And Juan took his place, he knew not where, Confused, in the confusion, and distrait, And sitting as if nailed upon his chair: Though knives and forks clanked round as in a fray, He seemed unconscious of all passing there, Till some one, with a groan, expressed a wish (Unheeded twice) to have a fin of fish.

LXXXVIII.

On which, at the third asking of the banns, He started; and perceiving smiles around Broadening to grins, he coloured more than once, And hastily—as nothing can confound A wise man more than laughter from a dunce— Inflicted on the dish a deadly wound, And with such hurry, that, ere he could curb it, He had paid his neighbour's prayer with half a turbot.

LXXXIX.

This was no bad mistake, as it occurred, The supplicator being an amateur; But others, who were left with scarce a third, Were angry—as they well might, to be sure, They wondered how a young man so absurd Lord Henry at his table should endure; And this, and his not knowing how much oats Had fallen last market, cost his host three votes.

XC.

They little knew, or might have sympathized, That he the night before had seen a ghost, A prologue which but slightly harmonized With the substantial company engrossed By matter, and so much materialised, That one scarce knew at what to marvel most Of two things—how (the question rather odd is) Such bodies could have souls, or souls such bodies!

XCI.

But what confused him more than smile or stare From all the 'squires and 'squiresses around, Who wondered at the abstraction of his air, Especially as he had been renowned For some vivacity among the fair, Even in the country circle's narrow bound— (For little things upon my Lord's estate Were good small talk for others still less great)—

XCII.

Was, that he caught Aurora's eye on his, And something like a smile upon her cheek. Now this he really rather took amiss; In those who rarely smile, their smile bespeaks A strong external motive; and in this Smile of Aurora's there was nought to pique, Or Hope, or Love—with any of the wiles Which some pretend to trace in ladies' smiles.

XCIII.

'Twas a mere quiet smile of contemplation, Indicative of some surprise and pity; And Juan grew carnation with vexation, Which was not very wise, and still less witty, Since he had gained at least her observation, A most important outwork of the city— As Juan should have known, had not his senses By last night's Ghost been driven from their defences.

XCIV.

But what was bad, she did not blush in turn, Nor seem embarrassed—quite the contrary; Her aspect was as usual, still—not stern— And she withdrew, but cast not down, her eye, Yet grew a little pale—with what? concern? I know not; but her colour ne'er was high— Though sometimes faintly flushed—and always clear, As deep seas in a sunny atmosphere.

XCV.

But Adeline was occupied by fame This day; and watching, witching, condescending To the consumers of fish, fowl, and game, And dignity with courtesy so blending, As all must blend whose part it is to aim (Especially as the sixth year is ending) At their lord's, son's, or similar connection's Safe conduct through the rocks of re-elections.

XCVI.

Though this was most expedient on the whole And usual—Juan, when he cast a glance On Adeline while playing her grand role, Which she went through as though it were a dance, Betraying only now and then her soul By a look scarce perceptibly askance (Of weariness or scorn), began to feel Some doubt how much of Adeline was real;

XCVII.

So well she acted all and every part By turns—with that vivacious versatility, Which many people take for want of heart. They err—'tis merely what is called mobility,[803] A thing of temperament and not of art, Though seeming so, from its supposed facility; And false—though true; for, surely, they're sincerest Who are strongly acted on by what is nearest.

XCVIII.

This makes your actors, artists, and romancers, Heroes sometimes, though seldom—sages never: But speakers, bards, diplomatists, and dancers, Little that's great, but much of what is clever; Most orators, but very few financiers, Though all Exchequer Chancellors endeavour, Of late years, to dispense with Cocker's rigours,[804] And grow quite figurative with their figures.

XCIX.

The poets of Arithmetic are they Who, though they prove not two and two to be Five, as they might do in a modest way, Have plainly made it out that four are three, Judging by what they take, and what they pay: The Sinking Fund's unfathomable sea, That most unliquidating liquid, leaves The debt unsunk, yet sinks all it receives.

C.

While Adeline dispensed her airs and graces, The fair Fitz-Fulke seemed very much at ease; Though too well bred to quiz men to their faces, Her laughing blue eyes with a glance could seize The ridicules of people in all places— That honey of your fashionable bees— And store it up for mischievous enjoyment; And this at present was her kind employment.

CI.

However, the day closed, as days must close; The evening also waned—and coffee came. Each carriage was announced, and ladies rose, And curtsying off, as curtsies country dame, Retired: with most unfashionable bows Their docile Esquires also did the same, Delighted with their dinner and their Host, But with the Lady Adeline the most.

CII.

Some praised her beauty: others her great grace; The warmth of her politeness, whose sincerity Was obvious in each feature of her face, Whose traits were radiant with the rays of verity. Yes; she was truly worthy her high place! No one could envy her deserved prosperity. And then her dress—what beautiful simplicity Draperied her form with curious felicity![805]

CIII.

Meanwhile sweet Adeline deserved their praises, By an impartial indemnification For all her past exertion and soft phrases, In a most edifying conversation, Which turned upon their late guests' miens and faces, Their families, even to the last relation; Their hideous wives, their horrid selves and dresses, And truculent distortion of their tresses.

CIV.

True, she said little—'twas the rest that broke Forth into universal epigram; But then 'twas to the purpose what she spoke: Like Addison's "faint praise,"[806] so wont to damn, Her own but served to set off every joke, As music chimes in with a melodrame. How sweet the task to shield an absent friend! I ask but this of mine, to——not defend.

CV.

There were but two exceptions to this keen Skirmish of wits o'er the departed; one, Aurora, with her pure and placid mien; And Juan, too, in general behind none In gay remark on what he had heard or seen, Sate silent now, his usual spirits gone: In vain he heard the others rail or rally, He would not join them in a single sally.

CVI.

'Tis true he saw Aurora look as though She approved his silence; she perhaps mistook Its motive for that charity we owe But seldom pay the absent, nor would look Farther—it might or it might not be so. But Juan, sitting silent in his nook, Observing little in his reverie, Yet saw this much, which he was glad to see.

CVII.

The Ghost at least had done him this much good, In making him as silent as a ghost, If in the circumstances which ensued He gained esteem where it was worth the most; And, certainly, Aurora had renewed In him some feelings he had lately lost, Or hardened; feelings which, perhaps ideal, Are so divine, that I must deem them real:—

CVIII.

The love of higher things and better days; The unbounded hope, and heavenly ignorance Of what is called the World, and the World's ways; The moments when we gather from a glance More joy than from all future pride or praise, Which kindle manhood, but can ne'er entrance The Heart in an existence of its own, Of which another's bosom is the zone.

CIX.

Who would not sigh [Greek: Ai)/ ai)/ ta
Kythe/reian][807] That hath a memory, or that had a heart? Alas! her star must fade like that of Dian: Ray fades on ray, as years on years depart. Anacreon only had the soul to tie an Unwithering myrtle round the unblunted dart Of Eros: but though thou hast played us many tricks, Still we respect thee,"Alma Venus Genetrix!"[808]

CX.

And full of sentiments, sublime as billows Heaving between this World and Worlds beyond, Don Juan, when the midnight hour of pillows Arrived, retired to his; but to despond Rather than rest. Instead of poppies, willows Waved o'er his couch; he meditated, fond Of those sweet bitter thoughts which banish sleep, And make the worldling sneer, the youngling weep.

CXI.

The night was as before: he was undrest, Saving his night-gown, which is an undress; Completely sans culotte, and without vest; In short, he hardly could be clothed with less: But apprehensive of his spectral guest, He sate with feelings awkward to express (By those who have not had such visitations), Expectant of the Ghost's fresh operations.

CXII.

And not in vain he listened;—Hush! what's that? I see—I see—Ah, no!—'t is not—yet 't is— Ye powers! it is the—the—the—Pooh! the cat! The Devil may take that stealthy pace of his! So like a spiritual pit-a-pat, Or tiptoe of an amatory Miss, Gliding the first time to a rendezvous, And dreading the chaste echoes of her shoe.

CXIII.

Again—what is 't? The wind? No, no,—this time It is the sable Friar as before, With awful footsteps regular as rhyme, Or (as rhymes may be in these days) much more. Again through shadows of the night sublime, When deep sleep fell on men,[809] and the World wore The starry darkness round her like a girdle Spangled with gems—the Monk made his blood curdle.

CXIV.

A noise like to wet fingers drawn on glass,[810] Which sets the teeth on edge; and a slight clatter, Like showers which on the midnight gusts will pass, Sounding like very supernatural water, Came over Juan's ear, which throbbed, alas! For Immaterialism's a serious matter; So that even those whose faith is the most great In Souls immortal, shun them tete-a-tete.

CXV.

Were his eyes open?—Yes! and his mouth too. Surprise has this effect—to make one dumb, Yet leave the gate which Eloquence slips through As wide as if a long speech were to come. Nigh and more nigh the awful echoes drew, Tremendous to a mortal tympanum: His eyes were open, and (as was before Stated) his mouth. What opened next?—the door.

CXVI.

It opened with a most infernal creak, Like that of Hell. "Lasciate ogni speranza, Voi, ch' entrate!"[811] The hinge seemed to speak, Dreadful as Dante's rima, or this stanza; Or—but all words upon such themes are weak: A single shade's sufficient to entrance a Hero—for what is Substance to a Spirit? Or how is 't Matter trembles to come near it?[og]

CXVII.

The door flew wide, not swiftly,—but, as fly The sea-gulls, with a steady, sober flight— And then swung back; nor close—but stood awry, Half letting in long shadows on the light, Which still in Juan's candlesticks burned high, For he had two, both tolerably bright, And in the doorway, darkening darkness, stood The sable Friar in his solemn hood.

CXVIII.

Don Juan shook, as erst he had been shaken The night before; but being sick of shaking, He first inclined to think he had been mistaken; And then to be ashamed of such mistaking; His own internal ghost began to awaken Within him, and to quell his corporal quaking— Hinting that Soul and Body on the whole Were odds against a disembodied Soul.

CXIX.

And then his dread grew wrath, and his wrath fierce, And he arose, advanced—the Shade retreated; But Juan, eager now the truth to pierce, Followed, his veins no longer cold, but heated, Resolved to thrust the mystery carte and tierce, At whatsoever risk of being defeated: The Ghost stopped, menaced, then retired, until He reached the ancient wall, then stood stone still.

CXX.

Juan put forth one arm—Eternal powers! It touched no soul, nor body, but the wall, On which the moonbeams fell in silvery showers, Chequered with all the tracery of the Hall; He shuddered, as no doubt the bravest cowers When he can't tell what 'tis that doth appal. How odd, a single hobgoblin's nonentity Should cause more fear than a whole host's identity!

CXXI.

But still the Shade remained: the blue eyes glared, And rather variably for stony death; Yet one thing rather good the grave had spared, The Ghost had a remarkably sweet breath: A straggling curl showed he had been fair-haired; A red lip, with two rows of pearls beneath, Gleamed forth, as through the casement's ivy shroud The Moon peeped, just escaped from a grey cloud.

CXXII.

And Juan, puzzled, but still curious, thrust His other arm forth—Wonder upon wonder! It pressed upon a hard but glowing bust, Which beat as if there was a warm heart under. He found, as people on most trials must, That he had made at first a silly blunder, And that in his confusion he had caught Only the wall, instead of what he sought.

CXXIII.

The Ghost, if Ghost it were, seemed a sweet soul As ever lurked beneath a holy hood: A dimpled chin,[oh] a neck of ivory, stole Forth into something much like flesh and blood; Back fell the sable frock and dreary cowl, And they revealed—alas! that e'er they should! In full, voluptuous, but not o'ergrown bulk, The phantom of her frolic Grace—Fitz-Fulke![812]

FOOTNOTES:

{572}[768] March 29, 1823.

[769] [Herodotus, Hist., i. 136.]

[770] [Hamlet, act ii. sc. 2, line 103.]

{573}[771] [The story is told of St. Thomas Aquinas, that he wrote a work De Omnibus Rebus, which was followed by a second treatise, De Quibusdam Aliis.]

[772] [Not St. Augustine, but Tertullian. See his treatise, De Carne Christi, cap. V. c. (Opera, 1744, p. 310): "Crucifixus est Dei filius: non pudet, quia pudendum est: et mortuus est Dei filius: prorsus credibile est, quia ineptum est: et sepultus resurrexit: certum est quia impossibile est."]

{574}[773] ["That the dead are seen no more," said Imlac, "I will not undertake to maintain, against the concurrent and unvaried testimony of all ages, and of all nations. There is no people, rude or unlearned, among whom apparitions of the dead are not related and believed. This opinion, which perhaps prevails as far as human nature is diffused, could become universal only by its truth; those that never heard of one another would not have agreed in a tale which nothing but experience can make credible. That it is doubted by single cavillers, can very little weaken the general evidence; and some, who deny it with their tongues, confess it with their fears."—Rasselas, chap. xxx., Works, ed. 1806, iii. 372, 373.]

{575}[774] The composition of the old Tyrian purple, whether from a shell-fish, or from cochineal, or from kermes, is still an article of dispute; and even its colour—some say purple, others scarlet: I say nothing.

[Kermes is cochineal, the Greek [Greek: kokkinon.] The shell-fish (murex) is the Purpura patula. Both substances were used as dyes.]

[775] [See Ovid, Heroid, Epist. ix. line 161.]

[776] [Titus used to promise to "bear in mind," "to keep on his list," the petitions of all his supplicants, and once, at dinner-time, his conscience smote him, that he had let a day go by without a single grant, or pardon, or promotion. Hence his confession. "Amici, diem perdidi!" Vide Suetonius, De XII. Caes., "Titus," lib. viii. cap. 8.]

[777] [Tuism is not in Johnson's Dictionary. Coleridge has a note dated 1800 (Literary Remains, i. 292), on "egotizing in tuism" but it was not included in Southey's Omniana of 1812, and must have been unknown to Byron.]

{576}[778] [Sc. toilette, a Gallicism.]

[779] [Byron loved to make fact and fancy walk together, but, here, his memory played him false, or his art kept him true. The Black Friar walked and walks in the Guests' Refectory (or Banqueting Hall, or "Gallery" of this stanza), which adjoins the Prior's Parlour, but the room where Byron slept (in a four-post bed-a coronet, at each corner, atop) is on the floor above the Prior's Parlour, and can only be approached by a spiral staircase. Both rooms look west, and command a view of the "lake's billow" and the "cascade." Moreover, the Guests' Refectory was never hung with "old pictures." It would seem that Don Juan (perhaps Byron on an emergency) slept in the Prior's Parlour, and that in the visionary Newstead the pictures forsook the Grand Drawing-Room for the Hall. Hence the scene! El Libertado steps out of the Gothic Chamber "forth" into the "gallery," and lo! "a monk in cowl and beads." But, Quien sabe? The Psalmist's caution with regard to princes is not inapplicable to poets.]

{577}[780] [Compare Mariner's description of the cave in Hoonga Island (Poetical Works, 1901, v. 629, note 1).]

{578}[781] ["The place," wrote Byron to Moore, August 13, 1814, "is worth seeing as a ruin, and I can assure you there was some fun there, even in my time; but that is past. The ghosts, however, and the Gothics, and the waters, and the desolation, make it very lively still." "It was," comments Moore (Life, p. 262, note 1), "if I mistake not, during his recent visit to Newstead, that he himself actually fancied he saw the ghost of the Black Friar, which was supposed to have haunted the Abbey from the time of the dissolution of the monasteries, and which he thus describes from the recollection, perhaps, of his own fantasy, in Don Juan.... It is said that the Newstead ghost appeared, also, to Lord Byron's cousin, Miss Fanny Parkins, and that she made a sketch of him from memory." The legend of the Black Friar may, it is believed at Newstead (et vide post, "Song," stanza ii. line 5, p. 583), be traced to the alarm and suspicion of the country-folk, who, on visiting the Abbey, would now and then catch sight of an aged lay-brother, or monkish domestic, who had been retained in the service of the Byrons long after the Canons had been "turned adrift." He would naturally keep out of sight of a generation who knew not monks, and, when surprised in the cloisters or ruins of the church, would glide back to his own quarters in the dormitories.]

[782]

["Shew his eyes, and grieve his heart; Come like shadows, so depart."

Macbeth, act iv. sc. 1, lines 110, 111.]

{582}[nz] With that she rose as graceful as a Roe Slips from the mountain in the month of June, And opening her Piano 'gan to play Forthwith—"It was a Friar of Orders Gray."—[MS. erased.]

{584}[oa] By their bed of death he receives their [breath].—[MS. erased.]

{585}[783] I think that it was a carpet on which Diogenes trod, with—"Thus I trample on the pride of Plato!"—"With greater pride," as the other replied. But as carpets are meant to be trodden upon, my memory probably misgives me, and it might be a robe, or tapestry, or a table-cloth, or some other expensive and uncynical piece of furniture.

[It was Plato's couch or lounge which Diogenes stamped upon. "So much for Plato's pride!" "And how much for yours, Diogenes?" "Calco Platonis fastum!" "Ast fastu alio?" (Vide Diogenis Laertii De Vita et Sententiis, lib. vi. ed. 1595, p. 321.)

For "Attic Bee," vide Cic. I. De Div., xxxvi. Sec. 78, "At Platoni cum in cunis parvulo dormienti apes in labellis consedissent, responsum est, singulari illum suavitate orationis fore."]

{586}[784] [For two translations of this Portuguese song, see Poetical Works, 1900, iii. 71.]

[785] I remember that the mayoress of a provincial town, somewhat surfeited with a similar display from foreign parts, did rather indecorously break through the applauses of an intelligent audience—intelligent, I mean, as to music—for the words, besides being in recondite languages (it was some years before the peace, ere all the world had travelled, and while I was a collegian), were sorely disguised by the performers:—this mayoress, I say, broke out with, "Rot your Italianos! for my part, I loves a simple ballat!" Rossini will go a good way to bring most people to the same opinion some day. Who would imagine that he was to be the successor of Mozart? However, I state this with diffidence, as a liege and loyal admirer of Italian music in general, and of much of Rossini's; but we may say, as the connoisseur did of painting in The Vicar of Wakefield, that "the picture would be better painted if the painter had taken more pains."

[A little while, and Rossini is being lauded at the expense of a degenerate modern rival. Compare Browning's Bishop Blougram's Apology. "Where sits Rossini patient in his stall."—Poetical Works, ed. 1868, v. 276.]

[786] [Compare The Two Foscari, act iii. sc. 1, line 172, Poetical Works, 1901, v. 159, note 1.]

{587}[787] [Of Lady Beaumont, who was "weak enough" to admire Wordsworth, see The Blues, Ecl. II. line 47, sq., Poetical Works, 1901, iv. 582.]

[788] [Christopher Anstey (1724-1802) published his New Bath Guide in 1766.]

[789] [Compare English Bards, etc., lines 309-318, Poetical Works, 1898, i. 321, note 1.]

{588}[790] [For "Gynocracy," vide ante, p. 473, note 1.]

{589}[ob] Thrower down of buildings——.—[MS. erased.]

[791] [Byron had, no doubt, inspected the plan of Colonel Wildman's elaborate restoration of the Abbey, which was carried out at a cost of one hundred thousand pounds (see stanza lix. lines 1, 2). The kitchen and domestic offices, which extended at right angles to the west front of the Abbey (see "Newstead from a Picture by Peter Tilleman, circ. 1720" Letters, 1898, i. (to face p.) 216), were pulled down and rebuilt, the massive Sussex Tower (so named in honour of H.R.H. the Duke of Sussex) was erected at the south-west corner of the Abbey, and the south front was, in part, rebuilt and redecorated. Byron had been ready to "leave everything" with regard to his beloved Newstead to Wildman's "own feelings, present or future" (see his letter, November 18, 1818, Letters, 1900, iv. 270); but when the time came, the necessary and, on the whole, judicious alterations of his successor, must have cost the "banished Lord" many a pang.]

{590}[792] "Ausu Romano, sere Veneto" is the inscription (and well inscribed in this instance) on the sea walls between the Adriatic and Venice. The walls were a republican work of the Venetians; the inscription, I believe, Imperial; and inscribed by Napoleon the First. It is time to continue to him that title—there will be a second by and by, "Spes altera mundi," if he live; let him not defeat it like his father. But in any case, he will be preferable to "Imbeciles." There is a glorious field for him, if he know how to cultivate it.

[Francis Charles Joseph Napoleon, Duke of Reichstadt, died at Vienna, July 22, 1832. But, none the less, Byron's prophecy was fulfilled.]

[793] [Burgage, or tenure in burgage, is where the king or some other person is lord of an ancient borough, in which the tenements are held by a yearly rent certain.]

[794]

["I conjure you, by that which you profess, (Howe'er you come to know it) answer me: Though you untie the winds, and let them fight Against the churches."

Macbeth, act iv. sc. 1, lines 50-53.]

{591}[795] [See the lines "To my Son," Poetical Works, 1898, i. 260, note 1.]

{592}[796] [See Spenser's Faery Queen, Book I. Canto IX. stanza 6, line 1.]

[oc] To name what passes for a puzzle rather, Although there must be such a thing—a father.—[MS. erased.]

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