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But I'm digressing; what on earth has Nero,

Or any such like sovereign buffoons, To do with the transactions of my hero,

More than such madmen's fellow-man—the moon's? Sure my invention must be down at zero,

And I grown one of many " wooden spoons" Of verse (the name with which we Cantabs please To dub the last of honours in degrees).


I feel this tediousness will never do—
'Tis being too epic, and I must cut down (In copying) this long canto into two:They'll never find it out, unless I own The fact, excepting some experienced few;And then as an improvement 'twill be shown:I'll prove that such the opinion of the critic is, From Aristotle passim.—See noiTjTiKrji.

From Canto IV


Afric is all the sun's, and as her earth
Her human clay is kindled: full of power

For good or evil, burning from its birth.
The Moorish blood partakes the planet's hour,

And like the soil beneath, it will bring forth:
Beauty and love were Haidee's mother's dower;

But her large dark eye show'd deep Passion's force,

Though sleeping like a lion near a source.


Her daughter, temper'd with a milder ray,

Like summer clouds all silvery, smooth, and fair,

Till slowly charged with thunder, they display
Terror to earth, and tempest to the air,

Had held till now her soft and milky way;
But, overwrought with passion and despair,

The fire burst forth from her Numidian veins,

Even as the Simoom sweeps the blasted plains.


The last sight which she saw was Juan's gore,
And he himself o'ermaster'd, and cut down;

His blood was running on the very floor
Where late he trod, her beautiful, her own;

Thus much she view'd an instant, and no more—
Her struggles ceased with one convulsive groan;

On her sire's arm, which, until now, scarce held

Her, writhing, fell she, like a cedar fell'd.


A vein had burst, and her sweet lips' pure dyes
Were dabbled with the deep blood which ran o'er;.

And her head droop'd, as when the lily lies
O'ercharged with rain: her summon'd handmaids bore

Their lady to her couch, with gushing eyes;
Of herbs and cordials they produced their store,

But she defied all means they could employ,

Like one life could not hold, nor death destroy.


Days lay she in that state, unchanged, though chill—
With nothing livid, still her lips were red:

She had no pulse, but death seem'd absent still;
No hideous sign proclaim'd her surely dead;

Corruption came not, in each mind to kill

All hope; to look upon her sweet face bred New thoughts of life, for it seem'd full of soul— She had so much, earth could not claim the whole.


The ruling passion, such as marble shows
When exquisitely chisell'd, still lay there,

But fix'd as marble's unchanged aspect throws
O'er the fair Venus, but forever fair;

O'er the Laocoon's all eternal throes,
And ever-dying Gladiator's air,

Their energy, like life, forms all their fame,

Yet looks not life, for they are still the same.


She woke at length, but not as sleepers wake,
Rather the dead, for life seem'd something new,

A strange sensation which she must partake
Perforce, since whatsoever met her view

Struck not on memory, though a heavy ache
Lay at her heart, whose earliest beat, still true,

Brought back the sense of pain without the cause,

For, for a while, the furies made a pause.


She look'd on many a face with vacant eye,
On many a token, without knowing what;

She saw them watch her, without asking why,
And reck'd not who around her pillow sat:

Not speechless, though she spoke not; not a sigh
Relieved her thoughts; dull silence and quick chat

Were tried in vain by those who served; she gave

No sign, save breath, of having left the grave.


Her handmaids tended, but she heeded not;

Her father watch'd, she turn'd her eyes away;
She recognized no being, and no spot,

However dear or cherish'd in their day;
They changed from room to room, but all forgot:

Gentle, but without memory, she lay;
At length those eyes, which they would fain be weaning
Back to old thoughts, wax'd full of fearful meaning.


And then a slave bethought her of a harp;

The harper came and tuned his instrument. At the first notes, irregular and sharp,

On him her flashing eyes a moment bent, Then to the wall she turn'd, as if to warp

Her thoughts from sorrow through her heart re-sent; And he begun a long low island song Of ancient days, ere tyranny grew strong.


Anon her thin wan fingers beat the wall In time to his old tune: he changed the theme,

And sung of love; the fierce name struck through all
Her recollection; on her flash'd the dream

Of what she was, and is, if ye could call
To be so, being: in a gushing stream

The tears rush'd forth from her o'erclouded brain.

Like mountain mists at length dissolved in rain.


Short solace, vain relief!—thought came too quick,
And whirl'd her brain to madness; she arose,

As one who ne'er had dwelt among the sick,
And flew at all she met, as on her foes;

But no one ever heard her speak or shriek,

Although her paroxysm drew towards its close
Hers was a frenzy which disdain'd to rave,
Even when they smote her, in the hope to save.


Yet she betray'd at times a gleam of sense;

Nothing could make her meet her father's face, Though on all other things with looks intense

She gazed, but none she ever could retrace. Food she refused, and raiment; no pretence

Avail'd for either; neither change of place, Nor time, nor skill, nor remedy, could give her Senses to sleep—the power seem'd gone forever.


Twelve days and nights she wither'd thus; at last,
Without a groan, or sigh, or glance, to show

A parting pang, the spirit from her past:
And they who watch'd her nearest could not know

The very instant, till the change that cast
Her sweet face into shadow, dull and slow,

Glazed o'er her eyes—the beautiful, the black—

Oh ! to possess such lustre—and then lack!


She died, but not alone: she held within
A second principle of life, which might Have dawn'd a fair and sinless child of sin;But closed its little being without light, And went down to the grave unborn, wherein
Blossom and bough lie wither'd with one blight: In vain the dews of heaven descend above The bleeding flower and blasted fruit of love

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