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By this time Don Alfonso was arrived,
With torches, friends, and servants in great number; The major part of them had long been wived,
And therefore paused not to disturb the slumber
By stealth her husband's temples to encumber:
I can't tell how, or why, or what suspicion
It surely was exceedingly ill-bred,
To hold a levee round his lady's bed,
Poor Donna Julia! starting as from sleep
(Mind-that I do not say-she had not slept),
As if she had just now from out them crept:
But Julia mistress, and Antonia maid,
Appear'd like two poor harmless women, who Of goblins, but still more of men, afraid,
Had thought one man might be deterr'd by two, And therefore side by side were gently laid,
Until the hours of absence should run through, And truant husband should return, and say,
My dear, I was the first who came away."
Now Julia found at length a voice, and cried,
A sudden fit of drunkenness or spleen?
He search'd, they search'd, and rummaged every where,
Of stockings, slippers, brushes, combs, complete,
To keep them beautiful, or leave them neat: Arras they prick'd and curtains with their swords, And wounded several shutters, and some boards.
During this inquisition Julia's tongue
Was not asleep "Yes, search and search," she cried, "Insult on insult heap, and wrong on wrong!
It was for this that I became a bride!
"Yes, Don Alfonso, husband now no more,
Is 't wise or fitting causeless to explore
For facts against a virtuous woman's fame? Ungrateful, perjured, barbarous Don Alfonso! How dare you think your lady would go on so? CXLVII.
"Is it for this I have disdain'd to hold
The common privileges of my sex?
So much, he always doubted I was married-
"Was it for this that no Cortejo ere
I yet have chosen from out the youth of Seville ? Is it for this I scarce went any where,
Except to bull-fights, mass, play, rout, and revel?
I favour'd none-nay, was almost uncivil?
"Did not the Italian Musico Cazzani
Sing at my heart six months at least in vain?
Call me the only virtuous wife in Spain?
"Have I not had two bishops at my feet,
I praise your vast forbearance not to beat
Under the bed they search'd, and there they found-"Was it for this you took your sudden journey,
Had signs or foot-marks, but the earth said nought:
"T is odd, not one of all these seekers thought, And seems to me almost a sort of blunder, Of looking in the bed as well as under.
Under pretence of business indispensable,
"If he comes here to take a deposition,
By all means let the gentleman proceed; You've made the apartment in a fit condition: There's pen and ink for you, sir, when you needLet every thing be noted with precision,
I would not you for nothing should be fee'dBut, as my maid's undress'd, pray turn your spies out." "Oh!" sobb'd Antonia, "I could tear their eyes out." CLIII.
"There is the closet, there the toilet, there
The ante-chamber-search them under, over: There is the sofa, there the great arm-chair, The chimney-which would really hold a lover. I wish to sleep, and beg you will take care
And make no further noise till you discover The secret cavern of this lurking treasureAnd, when't is found, let me, too, have that pleasure. CLIV.
"And now, Hidalgo! now that you have thrown Doubt upon me, confusion over all,
Pray have the courtesy to make it known
Who is the man you search for? how d' ye call Him? what's his lineage? let him but be shownI hope he's young and handsome-is he tall? Tell me and be assured, that since you stain My honour thus, it shall not be in vain.
"At least, perhaps, he has not sixty yearsAt that age he would be too old for slaughter, Or for so young a husband's jealous fears
(Antonia! let me have a glass of water). I am ashamed of having shed these tears, They are unworthy of my father's daughter; My mother dream'd not in my natal hour That I should fall into a monster's power. CLVI.
"Perhaps 't is of Antonia you are jealous,
You saw that she was sleeping by my side
Or for the sake of decency abide
"And now, sir, I have done, and say no more;
I leave you to your conscience as before,
"I will one day ask you why you used me so? God grant you feel not then the bitterest grief!Antonia! where's my pocket-handkerchief?"
She ceased, and turn'd upon her pillow; pale
Waved and o'ershading her wan cheek, appears
The Senhor Don Alfonso stood confused;
With prying snub-nose, and small eyes, he stood
For reputation he had little care:
Small pity had he for the young and fair,
But Don Alfonso stood with downcast looks,
And treating a young wife with so much rigour,
At first he tried to hammer an excuse,
To which the sole reply were tears and sobs, And indications of hysterics, whose
Prologue is always certain throes and throbs,
He stood in act to speak, or rather stammer,
With "Pray, sir, leave the room, and say no mort,
With him retired his "posse comitatus,"
The attorney last, who linger'd near the door,
Antonia let him-not a little sore
No sooner was it bolted, than-Oh shame!
But to proceed-for there is more behind: With much heart-felt reluctance be it said, Young Juan slipp'd, half-smother'd, from the bed
He had been hid-I don't pretend to say How, nor can I indeed describe the whereYoung, slender, and pack'd easily, he lay,
No doubt, in little compass, round or square; But pity him I neither must nor may
His suffocation by that pretty pair;
'T were better, sure, to die so, than be shut, With maudlin Clarence, in his Malmsev butt. CLXVII.
And, secondly, I pity not, because
He had no business to commit a sin,
So much as when we call our old debts in At sixty years, and draw the accounts of evil, And find a deuced balance with the devil.
Of his position I can give no notion:
Prescribed, by way of blister, a young belle,
What's to be done? Alfonso will be back
But no device could be brought into play-
Besides, it wanted but few hours of day:
He turn'd his lip to hers, and with his hand
Call'd back the tangles of her wandering hair; Even then their love they could not all command, And half forgot their danger and despair: Antonia's patience now was at a stand
"Come, come, 'tis no time now for fooling there," She whisper'd in great wrath-"I must deposit This pretty gentleman within the closet:
Now, Don Alfonso entering, but alone, Closed the oration of the trusty maid: She loiter'd, and he told her to be gone, An order somewhat sullenly obey'd; However, present remedy was none,
And no great good seem'd answer'd if she stay'd Regarding both with slow and sidelong view, She snuff'd the candle, curtsied, and withdrew. CLXXIV.
Alfonso paused a minute-then begun
Some strange excuses for his late proceeding; He would not justify what he had done,
To say the best, it was extreme ill-breeding:
Of which he specified in this his pleading:
Julia said nought; though all the while there rose
By a few timely words to turn the tables,
Even if it should comprise a pack of fables; 'Tis to retort with firmness, and when he Suspects with one, do you reproach with three. CLXXVI.
Julia, in fact, had tolerable grounds,
Alfonso's loves with Inez were well known; But whether 't was that one's own guilt confoundsBut that can't be, as has been often shown; A lady with apologies abounds:
It might be that her silence sprang alone From delicacy to Don Juan's ear,
To whom she knew his mother's fame was dear.
There might be one more motive, which makes two :
Had been the happy lover, he concluded,
His mind the more o'er this its mystery brooded; To speak of Inez now were, one may say, Like throwing Juan in Alfonso's way. CLXXVIII.
hint, in tender cases, is enough; Silence is best, besides there is a tact (That modern phrase appears to me sad stuff,
"Pray keep your nonsense for some luckier night-A
Why, don't you know that it may end in blood?
"Had it but been for a stout cavalier
Of twenty-five or thirty-(come, make haste) But for a child, what piece of work is here! I really, madam, wonder at your taste(Come, sir, get in)-my master must be near. There, for the present at the least he's fast, And, if we can but till the morning keep Our counsel (Juan, mind you must not sleep)."
But it will serve to keep iny verse compact) Which keeps, when push'd by questions rather rough A lady always distant from the factThe charming creatures lie with such a grace, There's nothing so becoming to the face.
They blush, and we believe them; at least 1
For then their eloquence grows quite profuse, And when at length they 're out of breath, they sigh, And cast the languid eyes down, and let loose
A tear or two, and then we make it up;
Alfonso closed his speech, and begg'd her pardon,
A pair of shoes!-what then? not much, if they
My teeth begin to chatter, my veins freeze-
He left the room for his relinquish'd sword,
66 Fly, Juan, fly! for Heaven's sake-not a word-
Here is the garden-key-fly-fly-adieu!
None can say that this was not good advice,
A sort of income-tax laid on by fate:
Who threaten'd death-so Juan knock'd him down.
Dire was the scuffle, and out went the light,
Antonia cried out "Rape!" and Julia "Fire!" But not a servant stirr'd to aid the fight.
Alfonso, pommell'd to his heart's desire, Swore lustily he'd be revenged this night;
And Juan, too, blasphemed an octave higher; His blood was up; though young, he was a Tartar, And not at all disposed to prove a martyr.
Alfonso's sword had dropp'd ere he could draw it,
His temper not being under great command, If at that moment he had chanced to claw it, Alfonso's days had not been in the land Much longer. Think of husbands', lovers' lives And how you may be doubly widows—wives! CLXXXVI.
Alfonso grappled to detain the foe,
And Juan throttled him to get away,
And then his only garment quite gave way;
Lights came at length, and men and maids, who found
Alfonso leaning, breathless, by the door;
Here ends this Canto.-Need I sing or say,
The nine days' wonder which was brought to light,
If you would like to see the whole proceedings,
There's more than one edition, and the readings
But Donna Inez, to divert the train
Of one of the most circulating scandals That had for centuries been known in Spain,
At least since the retirement of the Vandals, First vow'd (and never had she vow'd in vain)
To Virgin Mary several pounds of candies;
She had resolved that he should travel through
Especially in France and Italy,
(At least this is the thing most people do).
"They tell me 't is decided, you depart :
'Tis wise-'t is well, but not the less a pain:
I used ;-I write in haste, and if a stain
"I loved, I love you; for this love have lost State, station, heaven, mankind's, my own esteem, And yet cannot regret what it hath cost,
So dear is still the memory of that dream; Yet, if I name my guilt, 't is not to boast,
None can deem harshlier of me than I deemn.
I trace this scrawl because I cannot rest-
"Man's love is of man's life a thing apart,
"Tis woman's whole existence; man may range
And few there are whom these cannot estrange:
"You will proceed in pleasure and in pride,
Beloved and loving many; all is o'er
The passion, which still rages as before,
"My breast has been all weakness, is so yet;
To all, except one image, madly blind:
"I have no more to say, but linger still,
My misery can scarce be more complete:
This note was written upon gilt-edged paper,
With a neat little crow-quill, slight and new: Her small white hand could hardly reach the taper, It trembled as magnetic needles do,
And yet she did not let one tear escape her;
The seal a sun-flower; "Elle vous suit partout,"
This was Don Juan's earliest scrape; but whether
We'll see, however, what they say to this
And no great mischief's done by their caprice);
And, if their approbation we experience,
All these things will be specified in time,
Which makes so many poets and some fools;
There's only one slight difference between
They so embellish, that 't is quite a bore
If any person doubt it, I appeal
To history, tradition, and to facts,
But that which more completely faith exacts
If ever I should condescend to prose,
Thou shalt believe in Milton, Dryden, Pope:
And Campbell's Hippocrene is somewhat drouthy:
Thou shalt not covet Mr. Sotheby's Muse,
Perhaps they'll have some more about a year hence. But if you don't, I'll lay it on, by G-d!
My poem's epic, and is meant to be
Divided in twelve books; each book containing, With love, and war, a heavy gale at sea,
A list of ships, and captains, and kings reigning, New characters; the episodes are three:
A panorama view of hell's in training, After the style of Virgil and of Homer, So that my name of Epic's no misnomer.
If any person should presume to assert
The story is not moral, first, I pray
That this is not a moral tale, though gay;