Page images
PDF
EPUB

CVIII.
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!

CIX.
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.

Ob! « 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-legs, 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 knew 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.

CXIV.
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 'T was for the sultan, and at once withdrew.

CXV.
Twelve negresses from Nubia brought a price

Which the West Indian market scarce would bring; Though Wilberforce, as last, has made it twice

What 't was 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 saying-vice spares nothing for a rarity.

CXVI.

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:

CXVII.

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'm 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.

END OF CANTO IV.

NOTES TO CANTO IV.

Note 1, page 203, stanza xır.
« Whom the gods love die young” was said of yore, etc.

See Herodotus.

Note 2, page 218, stanza Lix.

A vein had burst, etc. This is no very uncommon effect of the violence of conflicting and different passions. The Doge Francis Foscari, on his deposition in 1457, hearing the bells of St Mark announce the election of his successor, « mourut subitement d'une hemorragie causée par une veine qui s'éclata dans sa poitrine,» (see Sismondi and Daru, vols. i. and i.) at the age of eighty years, when « Who would have thought the old man had so much blood in him?» Before I was sixteen years of age, I was witness to a melancholy instance of the same effect of mixed passions upon a young person; who, however, did not die in consequence, at that time, but fell a victim some years afterwards to a seizure of the same kind, arising from causes intimately connected with agitation of mind.

Note 3, page 225, stanza Lxxx.

But sold by the impresario at no high rate. This is a fact. A few years ago a man engaged a company for

« PreviousContinue »