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The night (I sing by night-sometimes an owl,
And therefore, though 't is by no means my way
I feel some chilly midnight shudderings,
Between two worlds life hovers like a star,
How less what we may be! The eternal surge
Our bubbles; as the old burst, new emerge, Lash'd from the foam of ages; while the graves Of empires heave but like some passing waves.
And therefore, mortals, cavil not at all;
'Tis always best to take things upon trust. I do not speak profanely to recall
Those holier mysteries, which the wise and just
I merely mean to say what Johnson said,
That in the course of some six thousand years,
And what is strangest upon this strange head,
THE antique Persians taught three useful things,-The dinner and the soirée too were done,
To draw the bow, to ride, and speak the truth.
The cause of this effect, or this defect,
"For this effect defective comes by cause," Is what I have not leisure to inspect;
But this I must say in my own applause,
Whate'er niay be her follies or her flaws
And as she treats all things, and ne'er retreats
A wilderness of the most rare conceits,
The supper too discuss'd, the dames admired,
The evaporation of a joyous day
Is like the last glass of champagne, without
Has sparkled and let half its spirit out;
Or like an opiate which brings troubled rest,
But next to dressing for a rout or ball,
The nights and days most people can remember,
And Juan, on retiring for the night,
Felt restless and perplex'd, and compromised;
He sigh'd;-the next resource is the full moon,
As clear as such a climate will allow;
Which further to explain would be a truism.
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.
Juan felt somewhat pensive, and disposed
Below his window waved (of course) a willow;
Upon his table or his toilet-which
Of these is not exactly ascertain'd
(I state this, for I am cautious to a pitch
A lamp burn'd high, while he leant from a niche,
Then, as the night was clear, though cold, he threw
Long, furnish'd 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.
The forms of the grim knights and pictured saints Look living in the moon; and as you turn Backward and forward to the echoes faint
Of your own footsteps-voices from the urn
And the pale smile of beauties in the grave,
But death is imaged in their shadowy beams.
As Juan mused on mutability,
Or on his mistress-terms synonymousNo 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, array'd
In cowl and beads and dusky garb, appear'd, 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,
Juan was petrified; he had heard a hint
Which passes ghosts in currency like gold,
Once, twice, thrice pass'd, repass'd-the thing of an 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 tax'd 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 pass'd 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 seen'd to evaporate.
And would have pass'd the whole off as a dream,
All there was as he left it; still his taper
This savour'd of this world; but his hand shook-
He woke betimes; and, as may be supposed,
At risk of being quizz'd for superstition.
He dress'd; and, like young people, he was wont
His clothes were not curb'd to their usual cut,
And when he walk'd down into the saloon,
Had it not happen'd scalding hot to be,
She look'd and saw him pale, and turn'd as pale Herself; then hastily look'd down and mutter'd Something, but what's not stated in my tale.
Lord Henry said, his muffin was ill butter'd; The Duchess of Fitz-Fulke play'd with her veil, And look'd at Juan hard, but nothing utter'd. Aurora Raby, with her large dark eyes, Survey'd him with a kind of calm surprise. 3 M 2 93
But seeing him all cold and silent still,
And, being present, now began to express
"Quite well; yes, no."-These answers were myste rious,
And yet his looks appear'd to sanction both, However they might savour of delirious;
Something like illness of a sudden growth Weigh'd on his spirit, though by no means serious. But for the rest, as he himself seem'd loth 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 discuss'd his chocolate, Also the muffin, whereof he complain'd,
Said, Juan had not got his usual look elate,
At which he marvell'd, since it had not rain'd; Then ask'd her grace what news were of the duke of late? Her grace replied, his grace was rather pain'd With some slight, light, hereditary twinges Of gout, which rusts aristocratic hinges.
Then Henry turn'd to Juan, and address'd
"Oh! have you never heard of the Black Friar?
"The last time was-" "I pray," said Adeline(Who watch'd the changes of Don Juan's brow, And from its context thought she could divine
Connexions stronger than he chose to avow With this same legend),-" if you but design
To jest, you'll 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-'t was in the honey-moonSaw" "Well, no matter, 't was so long ago; But come, I'll set your story to a tune." Graceful as Dian when she draws her bow,
She seized her harp, whose strings were kindled som As touch'd, and plaintively began to play The air of ""T was a Friar of Orders Gray."
"But add the words," cried Henry, "which you made, Say nought to him as he walks the hall, For Adeline is half a poetess,"
Turning round to the rest, he smiling said.
By one three talents, for there were no less-
After some fascinating hesitation,
The charming of these charmers, who seem bound, I can't tell why, to this dissimulation
Fair Adeline, with eyes fix'd on the ground
Added her sweet voice to the lyric sound,
Beware! beware! of the Black Friar,
Who sitteth by Norman stone,
For he mutters his prayer in the midnight air,
And expell'd the friars, one friar still
And he'll say nought to you:
As o'er the grass the dew.
The lady's voice ceased, and the thrilling wires
Fair Adeline, though in a careless way,
Pursued an instant for her own content,
Though he came in his might, with King Henry's right, Now this (but we will whisper it aside)
To turn church lands to lay,
With sword in hand, and torch to light
Their walls, if they said nay,
A monk remain'd, unchased, unchain'd,
And he did not seem form'd of clay,
Was-pardon the pedantic illustration—
For he's seen in the porch, and he's seen in the church, For a spoil'd carpet-but the "Attic Bee"
And whether for good, or whether for ill,
But still to the house of Amundeville,
By the marriage-bed of their lords, 't is said,
And 't is held as faith, to their bed of death
When an heir is born, he is heard to mourn,
That ancient line, in the pale moonshine
He walks from hall to hall.
His form you may trace, but not his face,
'Tis shadow'd by his cowl;
Was much consoled by his own repartee.*
Thus Adeline would throw into the shade
Their sort of half profession: for it grows
Who've heard Miss That or This, or Lady T' other
Oh! the long evenings of duets and trios!
But his eyes may be seen from the folds between, With "Tu mi chamases" from Portingale,
She also had a twilight tinge of "Blue,"
Upon her friends, as every body ought.
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
Not so her gracious, graceful, graceless grace,
And that was of a fascinating kind.
Also thereon, but that's not much; we find
I have not heard she was at all poetic,
Though once she was seen reading the "Bath Guide," And "Hayley's Triumphs," which she deem'd 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 insured her praise Were sonnets to herself, or "bouts rimés."
"Twere difficult to say what was the object
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.
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. 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 wish'd for a still more detail'd narration Of this same mystic friar's curious doings, About the present family's deaths and wooings.
Of these few could say more than has been said;
And then, the mid-day having worn to one,
Between some grayhounds on my lord's estate,
There was a picture-dealer, who had brought
Though princes the possessor were besieging all.
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 deem'd his patronage an honour, Had brought the capo d'opéra, not for sale, But for his Judgment,-never known to fail.
There was a modern Goth, I mean a Gothic
Might have from time acquired some slight defect; Who, after rummaging the Abbey through thick
And thin, produced a plan, whereby to erect
The cost would be a trifle-an "old song,"
Set to some thousands ('tis the usual burthen
By which Lord Henry's good taste would go forth m
There were two lawyers busy on a mortgage
And one on tithes which sure are discord's torches.