Page images
PDF
EPUB

LXXXIV.

And here Juanna kindly interposed,

And said she felt herself extremely well Where she then was, as her sound sleep disclosed

When all around rang like a tocsin bell: She did not find herself the least disposed

To quit her gentle partner, and to dwell Apart from one who had no sin to show, Save that of dreaming once a mal-à-propos.»

LXXXV.

As thus Juanna spoke, Dudù turned round

And hid her face within Juanna's breast;
Her neck alone was seen, but that was found

The colour of a budding rose's crest,
I can't tell why she blushed, nor can expound

The mystery of this rupture of their rest;
All that I know is, that the facts I state
Are true as truth has ever been of late.

LXXXVI.

And so good night to them,-or, if you will,

Good morrow-for the cock had crown, and light Began to clothe each Asiatic hill,

And the mosque crescent struggled into sight Of the long caravan, which in the chill

Of dewy dawn wound slowly round each height That stretches to the stony belt, which girds Asia, where Kaff looks down upon the Kurds.

LXXXVII.
With the first ray, or rather grey of morn,

Gulbeyaz rose from restlessness; and pale
As passion rises, with its bosom worn,

Arrayed herself with mantle, gem, and veil. The nightingale that sings with the deep thorn,

Which fable places in her breast of wail, Is lighter far of heart and voice than those Whose headlong passions form their proper woes.

LXXXVIII.

And that's the moral of this composition,

If people would but see its real drift;-
But that they will not do without suspicion,

Because all gentle readers have the gift
Of closing 'gainst the light their orbs of vision;

While gentle writers also love to list
Their voices 'gainst each other, which is natural,
The numbers are too great for them to flatter all.

LXXXIX.

Rose the sultana from a bed of splendour,

Softer than the soft Sybarite's, who cried Aloud because his feelings were too tender

To brook a ruffled rose-leaf by his side, So beautiful that art could little mend her,

Though pale with conflicts between love and prideSo agitated was she with her error, She did not even look into the mirror.

XC.

Also arose about the self same time,

Perhaps a little later, her great lord, Master of thirty kingdoms so sublime,

And of a wife by whom he was abhorred; A thing of much less import in that climem

At least to those of incomes which afford The filling up their whole connubial cargo Than where two wives are under an embargo.

ХСІ.

He did not think much on the matter, nor
Indeed on any

other: as a man,
He liked to bave a handsome paramour

At hand, as one may like to have a fan, And therefore of Circassians had good store,

As an amusement after the divan; Though an unusual fit of love, or duty, Had made him lately bask in his bride's beauty.

XCII.

"And now he rose; and after due ablutions

Exacted by the customs of the east,
And prayers and other pious evolutions,

He drank six cups of coffee at the least,
And then withdrew to hear about the Russians,

Whose victories had recently increased
In Catherine's reign, whom glory still adores,
As greatest of all sovereigns and w—s.

22

VOL. II.

XCIII,

But oh, thou grand legitimate Alexander!

Her son's son, let not this last phrase offend Thine ear, if it should reach,—and now rhymes wander

Almost as far as Petersburgh, and lend
A dreadful impulse to each loud meander

Of murmuring liberty's wide waves, which blend
Their roar even with the Baltic's,—so you be
Your father's son, 't is quite enough for me.

XCIV.

To call men love-begotten, or proclaim

Their mothers as the antipodes of Timon,
That hater of mankind, would be a shame,
A libel, or whate'er you please to rhyme on:
But people's ancestors are history's game;

And if one lady's slip could leave a crime on
All generations, I should like to know
What pedigree the best would have to show?

XCV.

Had Catherine and the Sultan understood

Their own true interests, which kings rarely know, Until 't is taught by lessons rather rude,

There was a way to end their strife, although
Perhaps precarious, had they but thought good,

Without the aid of prince or plenipo:
She to dismiss her guards, and he his haram,
And for their other matters, meet and share 'em.

XCVI.

,

But as it was, his highness had to hold

His daily council upon ways and means, How to encounter with this martial scold,

This modern Amazon and queen of queans;
And the perplexity could not be told

Of all the pillars of the state, which leans
Sometimes a little heavy on the backs
Of those who cannot lay on a new tax.

XCVII.

Meantime Gulbeyaz, when her king was gone,

Retired into her boudoir, a sweet place
For love or breakfast; private, pleasing, lone,
And rich with all contrivances which

grace Those gay recesses;—many a precious stone

Sparkled along its roof, and many a vase Of porcelain held in the fettered flowers, Those captive soothers of a captive's hours.

XCVIJI.

Mother of pearl, and porphyry, and marble,

Vied with each other on this costly spot; And singing birds without were heard to warble;

And the stained glass which lighted this fair grot Varied each ray;—but all descriptions garble

The true effect, and so we had better not
Be too minute; an outline is the best,
A lively reader's fancy does the rest.

« PreviousContinue »