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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,-
Those Cornish plunderers of Parnassian wrecks?
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.
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-legs, which adorn The festal midnight, and the levee morn.
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;
For sometimes such a world of virtues cover;
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,
To ascertain the atmospheric state,
But to the narrative: the vessel bound
With slaves to sell off in the capital,
At anchor under the seraglio wall;
Were landed in the market, one and all,
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.
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.
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
Hoping no very old vizier might choose,
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 XII.
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 ii.)
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