Page images

And well-dress'd males still kept before her filing,

LXXV. And passing bow'd and mingled with her chat;

One hates an author that's all author, fellows More than the rest one person seem'd to stare

In foolscap uniforms turn'd up with ink,
With pertinacity that's rather rare.

So very anxions, clever, fine, and jealous,

One don't know what to say to them, or think, He was a Turk, the colour of mahogany;

Unless to puff them with a pair of bellows; And Laura saw him, and at first was glad,

Of coxcombry's worst coxcombs e'en the pink Because the Turks so much admire philogyny,

Are preferable to these shreds of paper, Although their usage of their wives is sad;

These unquench'd snuffings of the midnight taper. 'T is said they use no better than a dog any

Poor woman, whom they purchase like a pad: Of these same we see several -and of others,
They have a number, though they ne'er exhibit’em,

Men of the world, who know the world like men, Four wives by law, and concubines “ad libitum.” Scott, Rogers, Moore, and all the better brothers, LXXI.

Who think of something else besides the pen; They lock them up, and veil, and guard them daily, But for the children of the “mighty mothers,”

The would-be wits and can't-be gentlemen, They scarcely can behold their male relations, So that their moments do not pass so gaily

I leave them to their daily “tea is ready,”

Smug coterie, and literary lady.(2)
As is supposed the case with northern nations;
Confinement, too, must make them look quite



poor dear Mussulwomen whom I mention And as the Turks abhor long conversations, Have none of these instructive pleasant people, Their days are either pass'd in doing nothing, And one would seem to them a new invention, Or bathing, nursing, making love, and clothing. Unknown as bells within a Turkish steeple; LXXII.

I think 't would almost be worth while to pension

(Though best-sown projects very often reap ill) They cannot read, and so don't lisp in criticism;

A missionary author, just to preach
Nor write, and so they don't affect the muse;

Our Christian usage of the parts of speech.
Were never caught in epigram or witticism,
Have no romances, sermons, plays, reviews, -

In harams learning soon would make a pretty schism! No chemistry for them unfolds her gasses,
But luckily these beauties are no “Blues,”

No metaphysics are let loose in lectures, No bustling Botherbys have they to show 'em No circulating library amasses "That charming passage in the lasi ne v poem.”(1) Religious novels, moral tales, and strictures

Upon the living manners, as they pass us;

No exhibition glares with annual pictures; No solemn, antique gentleman of rhyme,

They stare not on the stars from out their attics, Who having angled all his life for fame,

Nor deal (thank God for that!) in mathematics. And getting but a nibble at a time,

LXXIX. Still fussily keeps fishing on,

the same

Why I thank God for that is no great matter, Small “ Triton of the minnows,” the sublime

I have my reasons, you no doubt Of mediocrity, the furious tame,

suppose, The echo's echo, usher of the school

And as, perhaps, they would not highly flatter, Of female wits, boy bards—in short, a fool!

I'll keep them for my life (to come) in prose;

I fear I have a little turn for satire,

And yet methinks the older that one grows A stalking oracle of awful phrase,


Inclines us more to laugh than scold, though The approving "Good !!” (by no means good in

laughter Humming like flies around the newest blaze,

Leaves us so doubly serious shortly after. The bluest of bluebottles you e'er saw,

LXXX. Teasing with blame, excruciating with praise, Oh, mirth and innocence! Oh, milk and water! Gorging the little fame he gets all raw,

Ye happy mixtures of more happy days! Translating tongues he knows not even by letter, In these sad centuries of sin and slaughter, And sweating plays so middling, bad were better. Abominable man no more allays

(1) “ According to Medwin, this allusion, continued in the fol- (2) “Nothing can he cleverer than this caustic little diatribe, lowing stanza, is made to Mr. Sotheby, who, when his Lordship introduced à propos of the life of Turkish ladies in their barams." was at Venice, annoyed him with“ anonymous letters, disagreeable Jeffrey. news," and "criticisms" and advice.

His thirst with such pure beverage. No matter, With blasphemies enough to break their jaws,

I love you both, and both shall have my praise : They make a never-intermitting hawling. Oh, for old Saturn's reign of sugar-candy!

At home, our Bow-street gemmen keep the laws, Meantime I drink to your return in brandy.

And here a sentry stands within your calling:

But for all that, there is a deal of swearing,

And nauseous words past mentioning or bearing. Our Laura's Turk still kept his eyes upon her,

Less in the Mussulman than Christian way,
Which seems to say, “Madam, I do you honour,

The Count and Laura found their boat at last, "And while I please to stare, you 'll please to

And homeward floated o'er the silent tide, stay :"

Discussing all the dances gone and past ; Could staring win a woman, this had won her,

The dancers and their dresses, too, beside; But Laura could not thus be led astray;

Some little scandals eke: but all aghast She had stood fire too long and well, to boggle

(As to their palace stairs the rowers glide) Even at this stranger's most outlandish ogle.

Sate Laura by the side of her adorer, (1)

When lo! the Mussulman was there before her.

The morning now was on the point of breaking,
A turn of time at which I would advise

Sir," said the Count, with brow exceeding grave, Ladies who have been dancing, or partaking

“Your unexpected presence here will make In any other kind of exercise,

It necessary for myself to crave To make their preparations for forsaking

Its import? But perhaps 't is a mistake; The ball-room ere the sun begins to rise,

I hope it is so; and, at once to wave Because when once the lamps and candles fail,

All compliment, I hope so for your sake; His blushes make them look a little pale.

You understand my meaning, or you shall.

“Sir,” (quoth the Turk)“'t is no mistake at all: LXXXIII.

LXXXIX. I've seen some balls and revels in my lime,

“That lady is my wife." Much wonder paints And stay'd them over for some silly reason, And then I look'd (I hope it was no crime)

The lady's changing cheek, as well it might;

But where an Englishwoman sometimes faints, To see what lady best stood out the season;

Italian females don't do so outright; And though I've seen some thousands in their prime, They only call a little on their saints, Lovely and pleasing, and who still may plcase on,

And then come to themselves, almost or quite; I never saw but one (the stars withdrawn),

Which saves much hartshorn, salls, and sprinkling Whose bloom could after dancing dare the dawn.

faces, LXXXIV.

And cutting stays, as usual in such cases. The name of this Aurora l'll not mention,

XC. Although I might, for she was nought to me

She said,—what could she say? Why, not a word : More than that patent work of God's invention,

But the Count courteously invited in
A charming woman, whom we like lo see;
But writing names would merit reprehension.

The stranger, much appeased by what he heard :

“Such things, perhaps, we'd best discuss within," Yet if you like to find out this fair she

Said he; “don't let us make ourselves absurd At the next London or Parisian ball

In public, by a scene, nor raise a din,
You still may mark her cheek, out-blooming all.

For then the chief and only satisfaction

Will be much quizzing on the whole transaction." Laura, who knew it would not do at all

To meet the daylight after seven hours silting
Among three thousand people at a ball,

They enter'd, and for coffee callid-it came,
To make her curtsy thought it right and fitting:

A beverage for Turks and Christians both, The Count was at her elbow with her shawl,

Although the way they make it's not the same. And they the room were on the point of quitting,

Now Laura, much recover'd, or less loth When lo! those cursed gondoliers had got

To speak, cries “Beppo! what's your pagan name? Just in the very place where they should not.

Bless me! your beard is of amazing growth!

And how came you to keep away so long?

Are you not sensible 't was very wrong?
la this they're like our coachmen, and the cause
Is much the same--the crowd, and pulling.

(1) In the MS. hauling,

Sale Laura with a kind of comic borror."-E.

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

you contrive



XCV. “And are you really, truly, now a Turk ?

But he grew rich, and with his riches grew so With any other women did you wive?

Keen the desire to see his home again, Is 't true they use their fingers for a fork ?

He thought himself in duty bound to do so, Well, that is the prettiest shawl-as I'm alive!

And not be always thieving on the main; You 'll give it me? They say you eal no pork.

Lonely he felt, at times, as Robin Crusoe, And how so many years did

And so he hired a vessel come from Spain, To-bless me! did I ever? No, I never

Bound for Corfu: she was a fine polacco, Saw a man grown so yellow! How 's your liver?

Mann'd with twelve hands, and laden with tobacco.


Himself, and much (Heaven knows how gotten! “Beppo! that beard of yours becomes you nol;

It shall be shaved before you 're a day older: He then embark'd with risk of life and limb, Why do you wear it? Oh! I had forgot

And got clear off, although the attempt was rash; Pray don't you think the weather here is colder?

He said that Providence protected bimHow do I look ? You shan't stir from this spot

For my part, I say nothing-lest we clash In that queer dress, for fear that some beholder

In our opinions :-well, the ship was trim, Should find you out, and make the story known. Set sail, and kept her reckoning fairly on, How short your hair is! Lord! how grey it's grown!" Except three days of calm when off Cape Bonn. XCIV.

XCVII. What answer Beppo made to these demands They reach'd the island, he transferr'd his lading, Is more than I know. He was cast away

And self and live stock, to another bottom, About where Troy stood once, and nothing stands; And pass’d for a true Turkey-merchant, trading Became a slave of course, and for his pay

With goods of various names, but I've forgot 'em. Had bread and bastinadoes, till some bands However he got off by this evading, Of pirates landing in a neighbouring bay,

Or else the people would perhaps have shot him; He join’d the rogues and prosper'd, and became And thus at Venice (1) landed, to reclaim A renegado of indifferent fame.

His wife, religion, house, and Christian name.

(1) “You ask me," says Lord Byron, in a letter wrillen in 1820, of that commandment. The reason is, that they marry for their "for a volume of Manners, etc. on Italy. Perhaps I am in the case parents, and love for themselves. They exact fidelity from a lover to know more of them than most Englishmen, because I have lived as a debt of honour, while they pay the husband as a tradesman, among the natives, and in parts of the country where Englishmen that is, not at all. You bear a person's character, male or female. never resided before (I speak of Romagna and this place particu- canvassed, not as depending on their conduct to their husbands or larly); but there are many reasons why I do not choose to treat in wives, but to their mistress or lover. Ifl wrote a quarto, I don't print on such a subject. Their moral is not your moral; their life know that I could do more than amplify what I have bere noted. is not your life ; you would not understand it ; it is not English, nor French, nor German, which you would all understand. The con “ The author of Sketches Descriplive of Ilaly, etc., one of the ventual education, the cavalier servitude, the habits of thought and hundred tours lately published, is extremely anxious to disclaim å living, are so entirely different, and the difference becomes so much possible charge of plagiarism from Childe Harold and Beppo. He more striking the more you live intimately with them, that I know not adds, that still less could this presumed coincidence arise how to make you comprehend a people who are at onee temperate and conversation,' as he had repeatedly declined an introduction profligate, serious in their characters and buffoons in their amuse-to me while in Italy. ments, capable of impressions and passions, which are at once “Who this person may be I know not, but he must have been sudden and durable (what you find in no other nation), and who deceived by all or any of those who repeatedly offered to introduce actually have no society (what we would call so), as you may see him, as I have invariably refused to receive any English with whom by their comedies; they bave no real comedy, not even in Goldoni, I was not previously acquainted, even when they had letters from and that is because they have no society to draw it from. Their England. If the whole assertion is not an invention, I request this conversazioni are not society at all. They go to the theatre to talk, person not lo sit down with the notion that he could have been inand into company to hold their tongues. The women sit in a circle, iroduced, since there has been nothing I have so carefully avoided and the men gather into groups, or they play at dreary faro, or as any kind of intercourse with his countrymen, excepling the very lollo reale,' for small sums. Their academie are concerts like our few who were a considerable time resident in Venice, or bad been own, with beller music and more form. Their best things are the of my previous acquaintance. Whoever made him any such offer carnival balls and masquerades, when every body runs mad for was possessed of impudence equal to that of making such an assertion six weeks. After their dinners and suppers, they make extempore without having had it. The fact is, that I hold in uller abhorrence verses and buffoon one another ; but it is in a humour which you any contact with the travelling English, as my friend the Consul would not enter into, ye of the north."-"In their houses it is General Hoppner, and the Countess Benzoni (in whose house the better. As for the women, from the fisherman's wife up to the conversazione mostly frequented by them is held), could amply nobil dama, their system has its rules, and its fitnesses, and its testify, were it worth while. I was persecuted by these tourists decorums, so as to be reduced to a kind of discipline or game at even to my riding-ground at Lido, and reduced to the most disahearts, which admils few deviations, unless you wish to lose il. greeable circuits to avoid them. At Madame Benzoni's I repealThey are extremely tenacious, and jealous as furies, not permitting edly rofused to be introduced to them ;-of a thousand such pretheir lovers even to marry if they can help it, and keeping them sentations pressed upon me, I accepted two, and both were to Irish always close to them in public as in private, whenever they can. wonnen. lo short, they transfer marriage to adultery, and strike the not out “ I should hardly have desconded to speak of such trifles pub


His wife received, the patriarch re-baptized him Whate'er his youth had suffer'd, his old age

(He made the church a present, by the way); With wealth and talking made him some amends; He then threw off the garments which disguised him, Though Laura sometimes put him in a rage,

And borrow'd the Count's smallclothes for a day; I've heard the Count and he were always friends. His friends the more for his long absence prized him, My pen is at the bottom of a page,

Finding he 'd wherewithal to make them gay Which being finish’d, here the story ends; With dinners, where he oft became the laugh ofthem 'T is to be wish'd it had been sooner done, For stories—but I don't believe the half of them. But stories somehow lengthen when begun. (1)

licly, if the impudence of this sketcher' had not forced me to a still there is something very engaging in the uniform gaiety, porefutation of a disingenuous and gratuilously impertinent asser- liteness, and good humour of the author, and something still more Lion ;-50 meant to be, for what could it import to the reader to be striking and admirable in the matchless facility with which he has told that the author 'had repeatedly declined an introduction,' cast into regular, and even disticult, versification, the unmingled, even bad it been true, which, for the reasons I have above given, unconstrained, and unselected language of the most light, familiar, is scarcely possible? Except Lords Lansdowne, Jersey, and Lau- and ordinary conversation. With great skill and selicily, he has derdale; Messrs. Scott, Hammond, Sir Humphry Davy, the late furnished us with an example of about one hundred stanzas of good N. Lewis, W. Bankes, Mr. Hoppner, Thomas Moore, Lord Kin

verse, entirely composed of common words, in their common naird, his brother, Mr. Joy, and Mr. Hobhouse, I do not recollect places; never presenting us with one sprig of what is called poetical to have exchanged a word with another Englishman since I len | diction, or even making use of a single inversion, either to raise the their country; and almost all these I had known before. The others style or assist the rhyme-but running on in an inexhaustible series -and God knows there were some hundreds—who bored me with of good easy colloquial phrases, and finding them fall into verse by letters or visils, I refused to have any communication with, and some unaccountable and happy fatality. In this great and characshall be proud and happy wben that wish becomes mutual.” teristic quality it is almost invariably excellent. In some other Byron.

respects, it is more unequal. About one half is as good as possible, (1) " This extremely clever and amusing performance affords a in the style to which it belongs; the other hall bears, perhaps, too very curious and complete specimen of a kind of diction and com- many marks of that haste with which such a work must necessarily position of which our English literature has hitherto presented very be written. Some passages are rather too snappish, and some run sew examples. It is, in itself, absolutely a thing of nothing-with- too much on the cheap, and rather plebeian, bumour of out-of-theout story, characters, sentiments, or intelligible object;--a mere way rhymes, and strange-sounding words and epithels. But the piece of lively and loquacious prallling, in short, upon all kinds of greater part is extremely pleasant, amiable, and gentlemanlike.” frivolous subjects,-a sort of gay and desultory babbling about Jeffrey. Italy and England, Turks, balls, literature, and fish-sauces. But

Mazeppa. (1)


un cheval farouche, et le laissa aller en cet état. Le cheval, qui était du pays de l'Ukraine, y retourna,

et y porta Mazeppa demi-mort de fatigue et de faim. “Celui qui remplissait alors cette place était un Quelques paysans le secoururent: il resta long-tems gentilhomme polonais, nommé Mazeppa, né dans parmi eux, et se signala dans plusieurs courses le palatinat de Padolie : il avait été élevé page de contre les Tartares. La supériorité de ses lumières Jean Casimir, et avait pris à sa cour quelque tein- lui donna une grande considération parmi les Coture des belles-lettres. Une intrigue qu'il eut dans saques; sa réputation s'augmentant de jour en jour, sa jeunesse avec la femme d'un gentilhomme polonais obligea le Czar à le faire Prince de l'Ukraine.”ayant été découverte, le mari le fit lier tout nu sur VOLTAIRE, Histoire de Charles XII, p. 196.

(1) The following “lively, spirited, and pleasant tale," as Mr. Gif- the Twelfth of Sweden, in some of whose last compaigns the Cosford calls it, on the margin of the MS., was written in the autumn sack Hetman look a distinguished part. He tells it during the of 1818, at Ravenna. We extract the following from a reviewal, desolate bivouack of Charles and the few friends who fled with of the time :-“Mazeppa is a very fine and spirited sketch of a him towards Turkey, after the bloody overthrow of Pultowa. There very noble story, and is every way worthy of its author. The story is not a little of beauty and gracefulness in this way of setting the is a well-known one; namely, that of the young Pole, who, being picture ;—the age of Mazeppa—the calm practised indifference with bound naked on the back of a wild horse, on account of an intrigue which he now submits to the worst of fortune's deeds-the heroic with the lady of a certain great noble of his country, was carried unthinking coldness of the royal madman to whom he speaks-the by bis sleed inio the heart of the Ukraine, and being there picked dreary and perilous accompaniments of the scene around the up by some Cossacks, in a stale apparently of utter hopelessness and speaker and the audience,-all contribute to throw a very striking exhaustion, recovered, and lived to be long after tbe prince and charm both of preparation and of contrast over the wild story of leader of the nation among whom he had arrived in this extraor- the Hetman. Nothing can be more beautiful, in like manner, than dinary manner. Lord Byron bas represented the strange and wild the account of the love-lhe guilty love-lhe fruits of which had incidents of this adventure, as being related in a half serious, ball been so miraculous."-E. sportive way, by Mazeppa himself, to no less a person than Charles

“Le roi fuyant, et poursuivi, eut sou cheval tué sous lui; le colonel Gieta, blessé et perdant tout son sang, lui donna le sien. Ainsi on remit deux fois à cheval, dans la fuite, ce conquérant qui n'avait pu y monter pendant la bataille."--p. 216.

“Le roi alla par un autre chemin avec quelques cavaliers. Le carrosse où il était rompit dans la marche; on le remit à cheval. Pour comble de disgrace, il s'égara pendant la nuit dans un bois ; là, son courage ne pouvant plus suppléer à ses forces épuisées, les douleurs de sa blessure devenues plus insupportables par la fatigue, son cheval étant tombé de lassitude, il se coucha quelques heures au pied d'un arbre, en danger d'etre surpris à tout moment par les vainqueurs, qui le cherchaient de tous côtés.” -P. 218.(1)


1. 'T was after dread Pultowa’s day,

When fortune left the royal Swedle, Around a slaughter'd army lay,

No more to combat and to bleed; The power and glory of the war,

Faithless as their vain votaries, men, Had pass'd to the triumphant Czar,

And Moscow's wails were safe again,Until a day more dark and drear, And a more memorable year, Should give to slaughter and to shame A mightier host and haughtier name; A greater wreck, a deeper fall, A shock to one-a thunderbolt to all.

Are these the laurels and repose
For which the nations strain their strength ?
They laid him by a savage tree,
In outworn nature's agony;
His wounds were stiff-his limbs were stark-
The heavy hour was chill and dark;
The fever in his blood forbade
A transient slumber's fitful aid :
And thus it was; but yet through all,
Kinglike the monarch bore his fall,
And made, in this extreme of ill,
His pangs the vassals of his will:
All silent and subdued were they,
As once the nations round him lay.

A band of chiefs !-alas ! how few,

Since but the fleeting of a day
Had thinn’d it; but this wreck was true

And chivalrous : upon the clay
Each sate him down, all sad and mute,

Beside his monarch and his steed,
For danger levels man and brule,

And all are fellows in their need.
Among the rest, Mazeppa made
His pillow in an old oak's shade-
Himself as rough, and scarce less old,
The Ukraine's hetman, calm and bold;
But first, outspent with this long course,
The Cossack prince rubb'd down his horse,
And made for him a leafy beil,

And smooth d his fellocks and his mane,

And slack'd his girth, and stripp'd his rein.
And joy'd to see how well he fed;
For until now he had the dread
His wearied courser might refuse
To browse beneath the midnight dews:
But he was hardy as his lord,
And little cared for bed and board;
But, spirited and docile too,
Whate'er was to be done would do.
Shaggy and swift, and strong of limb,
All Tartar-like he carried him;
Obey'd his voice, and came to call,
And knew him in the midst of all:
Though thousands were around,-and Night,
Without a star, pursued her flight,-
That steed from sunset until dawn
His chief would follow like a fawn.

This done, Mazeppa spread his cloak,
And laid his lance beneath his oak,
Felt if his arms, in order good,
The long day's march had well withstood-
If still the powder fill'd the pan,

And flints unloosen'd kept their lock-
His sabre's hilt and scabbard felt,
And whether they had chafed his belt-


Such was the hazard of the die;
The wounded Charles was taught to fly
By day and night through field and flood,
Stain'd with his own and subjects' blood;
For thousands fell that flight to aid :
And not a voice was heard to upbraid
Ambition in his humbled hour,
When truth had nought to dread from power.
His horse was slain, and Gieta gave
His own—and died the Russian's slave.
This too sinks, after many a league
Of well-sustain'd but vain fatigue;
And in the depths of forests, darkling
The watch-fires in the distance sparkling-

The beacons of surrounding foes-
A king must lay his limbs at length.

(1) Por some authentic and interesting particulars concerning the Hetman Mazeppa, see Barrow's Life of Peter the Great. Family Library, vol. XXXV.-E.

« PreviousContinue »