Imágenes de páginas

LXXVII. High barrows, without marble or a name, A vast, untill'd, and mountain-skirted plain, And Ida in the distance, still the same,

And old Scamander (if 'tis he), remain;
The situation seems still form'd for fame-
A hundred thousand men might fight again
With ease; but where I sought for Ilion's walls.
The quiet sheep feeds, and the tortoise crawls;

Troops of untended horses; here and there
Some little hamlets, with new names uncouth;
Some shepherds (unlike Paris), led to stare
A moment at the European youth

Whom to the spot their school-boy feelings bear;
A Turk, with beads in hand and pipe in mouth,
Extremely taken with his own religion,


"And then there are the dancers; there's the Nini,
With more than one profession, gains by all;
Then there's that laughing slut, the Pellegrini,
She too was fortunate last carnival,
And made at least five hundred good zecchini,

But spends so fast, she has not now a paul; And then there's the Grotesca-such a dancer! Where men have souls or bodies, she must answer. LXXXV.

"As for the figuranti, they are like

The rest of all that tribe; with here and there A pretty person, which perhaps may strike, The rest are hardly fitted for a fair;

There's one, though tall, and stiffer than a pike, Yet has a sentimental kind of air,

Which might go far, but she don't dance with vigour, Are what I found there-but the devil a Phrygian. The more's the pity, with her face and figure.


Don Juan, here permitted to emerge

From his dull cabin, found himself a slave; Forlorn, and gazing on the deep-blue surge,

O'ershadow'd there by many a hero's grave: Weak still with loss of blood, he scarce could urge A few brief questions; and the answers gave No very satisfactory information

About his past or present situation.


He saw some fellow-captives, who appear'd
To be Italians-as they were, in fact;
From them, at least, their destiny he heard,

Which was an odd one; a troop going to act

In Sicily-all singers, duly rear'd

In their vocation,-had not been attack'd,
In sailing from Livorno, by the pirate,
But sold by the impresario at no high rate.3

By one of these, the buffo of the party,

Juan was told about their curious case;
For, although destined to the Turkish mart, he
Still kept his spirits up-at least his face;
The little fellow really look'd quite hearty,

And bore him with some gaiety and grace,
Showing a much more reconciled demeanour
Than did the prima donna and the tenor.

In a few words he told their hapless story,
Saying, "Our Machiavelian impresario,
Making a signal off some promontory,

Hail'd a strange brig; Corpo di Caio Mario!
We were transferr'd on board her in a hurry,
Without a single scudo of salario;
But, if the sultan has a taste for song,
We will revive cur fortunes before long.


"The prima donra, though a little old,

And haggard with a dissipated life,
And subject, when the house is thin, to cold,

Has some good notes; and then the tenor's wife,
With no great voice, is pleasing to behold;

Last carnival she made a deal of strife, By carrying off Count Cesar Cicogna, From an o'd Roman princess at Bologna.


"As for the men, they are a middling set; The Musico is but a crack'd o.a basin,

But, being qualified in one way yet,

May the seraglio do to set his face in, And as a servant some preferment get;

His singing I no further trust can place in: From all the pope makes yearly, 't would perplex To find three perfect pipes of the third sex.


"The tenor's voice is spoilt by affectation,
And for the bass, the beast can only bellow;
In fact, he had no singing education,

An ignorant, noteless, timeless, tuneless fellow, But being the prima donna's near relation,

Who swore his voice was very rich and mellow, They hired him, though to hear him you'd believe An ass was practising recitative.


""T would not become myself to dwell upon

My own merits, and though young-I see, sir-you Have got a travell'd air, which shows you one To whom the opera is by no means new: You've heard of Raucocanti ?-I'm the man;

The time may come when you may hear me too; You was not last year at the fair of Lugo, But next, when I'm engaged to sing there-do go. LXXXIX.

"Our barytone I almost had forgot,

A pretty lad, but bursting with conceit; With graceful action, science not a jot,

A voice of no great compass, and not sweet, He always is complaining of his lot,

Forsooth, scarce fit for ballads in the street;
In lovers' parts, his passion more to breathe,
Having no heart to show, he shows his teeth."

Here Raucocanti's eloquent recital
Was interrupted by the pirate crew,

Who came at stated moments to invite all

The captives back to their sad births; each threw A rueful glance upon the waves (which bright all, From the blue skies derived a double blue, Dancing all free and happy in the sun), And then went down the hatchway one by one


'They heard, next day, that in the Dardanelles,
Waiting for his sublimity's firman-
The most imperative of sovereign spells,
Which every body does without who can,-
More to secure them in their naval cells,

Lady to lady, well as man to man,
Were to be chained and lotted out per couple
For the slave-market of Constantinople.


It seems when this allotment was made out,
There chanced to be an odd male and odd female,
Who (after some discussion and some doubt

If the soprano might be doom'd to be male,
They placed him o'er the women as a scout)

Were link'd together, and it happen'd the male Was Juan, who-an awkward thing at his agePair'd off with a Bacchante's blooming visage. XCIII.

With Raucocanti lucklessly was chain'd

The tenor; these two hated with a hate
Found only on the stage, and each more pain'd
With this his tuneful neighbour than his fate;
Sad strife arose, for they were so cross-grain'd,

Instead of bearing up without debate,
That each pull'd different ways with many an oath,
"Arcades ambo," id est-blackguards both.

Juan's companion was a Romagnole,

But bred within the March of old Ancona,
With eyes that look'd into the very soul,

(And other chief points of a "bella donna"),
Bright-and as black and burning as a coal;
And through her clear brunette complexion shone a
Great wish to please-a most attractive dower,
Especially when added to the power.


But all that power was wasted upon him,

For sorrow o'er each sense held stern command;
Her eye might flash on his, but found it dim;
And though thus chain'd, as natural her hand
Touch'd his, nor that-nor any handsome limb
(And she had some not easy to withstand)
Could stir his pulse, or make his faith feel brittle;
Perhaps his recent wounds might help a little.


No matter; we should ne'er too much inquire,
But facts are facts,-no knight could be more true,
And firmer faith no ladye-love desire;

We will omit the proofs, save one or two.
'Tis said no one in hand "can hold a fire
By thought of frosty Caucasus," but few
I really think; yet Juan's then ordeal
Was more triumphant, and not much less real.

Here I might enter on a chaste description,
Having withstood temptation in my youth,
But hear that several people take exception

At the first two books having too much truth;
Therefore I' make Don Juan leave the ship soon,
Because the publisher declares, in sooth,
Through needles' eyes it easier for the camel is
To pass, than those two cantos into families.


'Tis all the same to me, I'm fond of yielding,
And therefore leave them to the purer page
Of Smollet, Prior, Ariosto, Fielding,

Who say strange things for so correct an age;
I once had great alacrity in wielding
My pen, and liked poetic war to wage,
And recollect the time when all this cant
Would have provoked remarks which now it shan't.

As boys love rows, my boyhood liked a squabble;
But at this hour I wish to part in peace,
Leaving such to the literary rabble.

Whether my verse's fame be doom'd to cease
While the right hand which wrote it still is able,
Or of some centuries to take a lease,
The grass upon my grave will grow as long,
And sigh to midnight winds, but not to song.


Of poets, who come down to us through distance
Of time and tongues, the foster-babes of fame,
Life seems the smallest portion of existence;
Where twenty ages gather o'er a name,
'Tis as a snowball which derives assistance
From every flake, and yet rolls on the same,
Even til an iceberg it may chance to grow,-
But after all 't is nothing but cold snow.


And so great names are nothing more than nominal,
And love of glory's but an airy lust,

Too often in its fury overcoming all

Who would, as 't were, identify their dust
From out the wide destruction, which, entombing all
Leaves nothing till the coming of the just-
Save change: I've stood upon Achilles' tomb,
And heard Troy doubted; time will doubt of Rome.

The very generations of the dead

Are swept away, and tomb inherits tomb,
Until the memory of an age is fled,

And, buried, sinks beneath its offspring's doon.
Where are the epitaphs our fathers read?

Save a few glean'd from the sepulchral gloom, Which once-named myriads nameless lie beneath, And lose their own in universal death.


I canter by the spot each afternoon

Where perish'd in his fame the hero-boy, Who lived too long for men, but died too soon For human vanity, the young De Foix!

A broken pillar not uncouthly hewn,

But which neglect is hastening to destroy,
Records Ravenna's carnage on its face,
While weeds and ordure rankle round the base.

I pass each day where Dante's bones are laid;
A little cupola, more neat than solemn,
Protects his dust, but reverence here is paid
To the bard's tomb, and not the warrior's column.
The time must come when both, alike decay'd,

The chieftain's trophy and the poet's volume,
Will sink where lie the songs and wars of earth,
Before Pelides' death or Homer's birth.


With human blood that column was cemented,
With human filth that column is defiled,
As if the peasant's coarse contempt were vented,
To show his loathing of the spot he spoil'd;
Thus is the trophy used, and thus lamented

Should ever be those blood-hounds, from whose wild
Instinct of gore and glory earth has known
Those sufferings Dante saw in hell alone.


Yet there will still be bards; though fame is smoke, Its fumes are frankincense to human thought; And the unquiet feelings, which first woke

Song in the world, will seek what then they sought; As on the beach the waves at last are broke, Thus to their extreme verge the passions brought, Dash into poetry, which is but passion, Or at least was so ere it grew a fashion.


If in the course of such a life as was

At once adventurous and contemplative, Men who partake all passions as they pass, Acquire the deep and bitter power to give Their images again, as in a glass,

And in such colours that they seem to live; You may do right forbidding them to show 'em, But spoil (I think) a very pretty poem.


Oh! ye, who make the fortunes of all books!
Benign ceruleans of the second sex!
Who advertise new poems by your looks,
Your "imprimatur" will ye not annex?—
What, must I go to the oblivious cooks,~

Those Cornish plunderers of Parnassian wrecks?
Ah! must I then the only minstrel be
Proscribed from tasting your Castalian tea?

What, can I prove "a lion" then no more?
A ball-room bard, a foolscap, hot-press darling,
To bear the compliments of many a bore,

And sigh "I can't get out," like Yorick's starling. Why then I'll swear, as poet Wordy swore

(Because the world won't read him, always snarling), That taste is gone, that fame is but a lottery, Drawn by the blue-coat misses of a coterie. CX.

Oh! "darkly, deeply, beautifully blue,"

As some one somewhere sings about the sky, And I, ye learned ladies, say of you;

They say your stockings are so (Heaven knows why, I have examined few pair of that hue); Blue as the garters which serenely lie Round the patrician left-iegs, which adorn The festal midnight and the levee morn. CXI.

Yet some of you are most seraphic creatures-
But times are alter'd since, a rhyming lover,
You read my stanzas, and I read your features:
And--but no matter, all those things are over;
Still I have no dislike to learned natures,

For sometimes such a world of virtues cover;
I know one woman of that purple school,
The loveliest, chastest, best, but-quite a fool.

CXII. Humboldt, "the first of travellers," but not The last, if late accounts be accurate, Invented, by some name I have forgot, As well as the sublime discovery's date, An airy instrument, with which he sought To ascertain the atmospheric state, By measuring "the intensity of blue:" Oh, Lady Daphne! let me measure you! CXIII.

But to the narrative.-The vessel bound With slaves to sell off in the capital, After the usual process, might be found

At anchor under the seraglio wall;
Her cargo, from the plague being safe and sound,
Were landed in the market, one and all,
And there, with Georgians, Russians, and Circassians,
Bought up for different purposes and passions.

Some went off dearly: fifteen hundred dollars
For one Circassian, a sweet girl, were given,
Warranted virgin; beauty's brightest colours

Had deck'd her out in all the hues of heaven:
Her sale sent home some disappointed bawlers,
Who bade on till the hundreds reach'd eleven;
But when the offer went beyond, they knew
'Twas for the sultan, and at once withdrew.


Twelve negresses from Nubia brought a price
Which the West-Indian market scarce would bring;
Though Wilberforce, at last, has made it twice
What 'twas ere abolition; and the thing
Need not seem very wonderful, for vice

Is always much more splendid than a king:
The virtues, even the most exalted, charity,
Are saving-vice spares nothing for a rarity.

But for the destiny of this young troop,

How some were bought by pachas, some by Jews, How some to burdens were obliged to stoop,

And others rose to the command of crews As renegadoes; while in hapless group,

Hoping no very old vizier might choose, The females stood, as one by one they pick'd 'em, To make a mistress, or fourth wife, or victim.


All this must be reserved for further song;
Also our hero's lot, howe'er unpleasant,
(Because this canto has become too long),
Must be postponed discreetly for the present;
I':n sensible redundancy is wrong,

But could not for the muse of me put less in 't •
And now delay the progress of Don Juan,
Till what is call'd in Ossian the fifth Duan.



WHEN amatory poets sing their loves

In liquid lines mellifluously bland,

And praise their rhymes as Venus yokes her doves,

They little think what mischief is in hand;

The greater their success the worse it proves,

As Ovid's verse may make you understand; Even Petrarch's self, if judged with due severity, Is the Platonic pimp of all posterity.


I therefore do denounce all amorous writing,
Except in such a way as not to attract;
Plain-simple-short, and by no means inviting,
But with a moral to each error tack'd,
Form'd rather for instructing than delighting,
And with all passions in their turn attack'd;
Now, if my Pegasus should not be shod ill,
This poem will become a moral model.

The European with the Asian shore

Sprinkled with palaces; the ocean stream,' Here and there studded with a seventy-four; Sophia's cupola with golden gleam;

The cypress groves; Olympus high and hoar; The twelve isles, and the more than I could dream, Far less describe, present the view very Which charm'd the charming Mary Montagu.


I have a passion for the name of "Mary,"
For once it was a magic sound to me,
And still it half calls up the realms of fairy,
Where I beheld what never was to be;

All feelings changed, but this was last to vary,

A spell from which even yet I am not quite free: But I grow sad-and let a tale grow cold, Which must not be pathetically told.


The wind swept down the Euxine and the wave
Broke foaming o'er the blue Symplegades,
'Tis a grand sight, from off "the Giant's Grave,"
To watch the progress of those rolling seas
Between the Bosphorus, as they lash and lave
Europe and Asia, you being quite at ease;
There's not a sea the passenger e'er pukes in


A crowd of shivering slaves of every nation,
And age, and sex, were in the market ranged;
Each bevy with the merchant in his station:
Poor creatures! their good looks were sadly changed.
All save the blacks seem'd jaded with vexation,
From friends, and home, and freedom far estranged,
The negroes more philosophy display'd,—
Used to it, no doubt, as eels are to be flay'd.

Juan was juvenile, and thus was full,

As most at his age are, of hope, and health; Yet I must own he look'd a little dull,

And now and then a tear stole down by stealth; Perhaps his recent loss of blood might pull

His spirit down; and then the loss of wealth,
A mistress, and such comfortable quarters,
To be put up for auction amongst Tartars,


Were things to shake a stoic; ne'ertheless,
Upon the whole his carriage was serene:
His figure, and the splendour of his dress,
Of which some gilded remnants still were seen,
Drew all eyes on him, giving them to guess
He was above the vulgar by his mien;
And then, though pale, he was so very handsome;
And then-they calculated on his ransom.


Like a backgammon-board the place was dotted
With whites and blacks, in groups on show for sale,
Though rather more irregularly spotted:

Some bought the jet, while others chose the pale.
It chanced, amongst the other people lotted,
A man of thirty, rather stout and hale,
With resolution in his dark-gray eye,
Next Juan stood, till some might choose to buy.


He had an English look; that is, was square
In make, of a complexion white and ruddy,
Good teeth, with curling rather dark-brown hair,
And, it might be from thought, or toil, or study,
An open brow a little mark'd with care:

One arm had on a bandage rather bloody;
And there he stood with such sang-froid, that greater
Could scarce be shown even by a mere spectator.

But seeing at his elbow a mere lad,

Of a high spirit evidently, though At present weigh'd down by a doom which had O'erthrown even men, he soon began to show A kind of blunt compassion for the sad

Lot of so young a partner in the woe, Which for himself he seem'd to deem no worse

Turns up more dangerous breakers than the Euxine.Than any other scrape, a thing of course.


"I'was a raw day of Autumn's bleak beginning, When nights are equal, but not so the days; The Parc then cut short the further spinning Of seamen's fates, and the loud tempests raise The waters, and repentance for past sinning

In all who o'er the great deep take their ways: They vow to amend their lives, and yet they don't; Because if drown'd, they can't—if spared, they won't.


"My boy!"-said he, "amidst this motley crew Of Georgians, Russians, Nubians, and what not, All ragamuffins differing but in hue.

With whom it is our luck to cast our lot, The only gentlemen seem I and you,

So let us be acquainted, as we ought: If I could yield you any consolation, 'T would give me pleasure.—Pray, what is your nation?”


When Juan answer'd "Spanish!" he replied,
“I thought, in fact, you could not be a Greek;
Those servile dogs are not so proudly eyed:

Fortune has play'd you here a pretty freak,
But that's her way with all men till they 're tried:
But never mind,-she 'll turn, perhaps, next week;
She has served me also much the same as you,
Except that I have found it nothing new."


"Pray, sir," said Juan, "if I may presume,

What brought you here?”—“Oh! nothing very rareSix Tartars and a drag-chain""To this doom

By what conducted, if the question's fair,

Is that which I would learn."-"I served for some
Months with the Russian army here and there,
And taking lately, by Suwarrow's bidding,
A town, was ta'en myself instead of Widin."


"Have you no friends?"-"I had-but, by God's blessing,
Have not been troubled with them lately. Now
I have answer'd all your questions without pressing,
And you an equal courtesy should show."-
"Alas!" said Juan, "'t were a tale distressing,

And long besides."—"Oh! if 't is really so,
You're right on both accounts to hold your tongue;
A sad tale saddens doubly when 't is long.


"But droop not: Fortune, at your time of life,
Although a female moderately fickle,
Will hardly leave you (as she's not your wife)
For any length of days in such a pickle.
fo strive too with our fate were such a strife
As if the corn-sheaf should oppose the sickle:
Men are the sport of circumstances, when
The circumstances seem the sport of men."

"'Tis not," said Juan, "for my present doom
i mourn, but for the past;-I loved a maid:"
He paused, and his dark eye grew full of gloom;
A single tear upon his eyelash staid
A moment, and then dropp'd; "but to resume,
'Tis not my present lot, as I have said,
Which I deplore so much; for I have borne
Hardships which have the hardiest overworn,

"On the rough deep. But this last blow-" and here
He stopp'd again, and turn'd away his face.
"Ay," quoth his friend, "I thought it would appear
That there had been a lady in the case;
And these are things which ask a tender tear,
Such as I too would shed, if in your place:
I cried upon my first wife's dying day,
And also when my second ran away:


"My third"-"Your third!" quoth Juan, turning round;
"You scarcely can be thirty: have you three ?"
"No-only two at present above ground:
Surely 't is nothing wonderful to see

One person thrice in holy wedlock bound!"

"Well, then, your third," said Juan; "what did she? She did not run away, too, did she, sir?"


"You take things coolly, sir," said Juan. "Why,"
Replied the other, "what can a man do?
There still are many rainbows in your sky,

But mine have vanish'd. All, when life is new,
Commence with feelings warm and prospects high;
But time strips our illusions of their hue,
And one by one in turn, some grand mistake
Casts off its bright skin yearly, like the snake.

"Tis true, it gets another bright and fresh,
Or fresher, brighter; but, the year gone through,
This skin must go the way too of all flesh,
Or sometimes only wear a week or two;-
Love's the first net which spreads its deadly mesh;
Ambition, avarice, vengeance, glory, glue

The glittering lime-twigs of our latter days,
Where still we flutter on for pence or praise."

"All this is very fine, and may be true,"

Said Juan; "but I really don't see how
It betters present times with me or you."
"No!" quoth the other; "yet you will allow,
By setting things in their right point of view,
Knowledge, at least, is gain'd; for instance, now,
We know what slavery is, and our disasters
May teach us better to behave when masters.'

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"Would we were masters now, if but to try
Their present lessons on our pagan friends here,"
Said Juan-swallowing a heart-burning sigh:
"Heav'n help the scholar whom his fortune senas


"Perhaps we shall be one day, by and by,"

Rejoin'd the other, "when our bad luck mends here,
Meantime (yon old black eunuch seems to eye us)
I wish to G-d that somebody would buy us!

"But after all, what is our present state?

'Tis bad, and may be better-all men's lot.
Most men are slaves, none more so than the great,
To their own whims and passions, and what not;
Society itself, which should create

Kindness, destroys what little we had got:
To feel for none is the true social art
Of the world's stoics-men without a heart "


Just now a black old neutral personage

Of the third sex stepp'd up, and peering over
The captives, seem'd to mark their looks, and age,
And capabilities, as to discover

If they were fitted for the purposed cage:
No lady e'er is ogled by a lover,
Horse by a blackleg, broadcloth by a tailor,
Fee by a counsel, felon by a jailor,

As is a slave by his intended bidder.

'Tis pleasant purchasing our fellow-creatures; And ali are to be sold, if you consider

Their passions, and are dext'rous; some by features Are bought up, others by a warlike leader,

Some by a place-as tend their years or natures The most by ready cash-but all have prices,

"No, faith."—"What then?”—“I ran away from her." From crowns to kicks, according to their vices.

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