« PreviousContinue »
Lights came at length, and men, and maids, who found
Antonia In hysterics, Julia swoon'd,
Some half-torn drapery scatter'd on the ground.
Juan the gate gain'd, tum'd the key about,
And liking not the inside, lock'd the out.
Here ends this cantb. —Need I sing, or say,
Who favours what she should not, found his way,'
The pleasant scandal which arose next day.
And how Alfonso sued for a divorce,
Were in the English newspapers, of course.
The depositions, and the cause at full,
Of counsel to nonsuit, or to annul,
Are various, but they none of them are dull:
But Donna Inei, to divert the train
That had for centuries been known in Spain,
First vow'd (and never had she vow'd in vain)
And then, by the advice of some old ladies,
She sent her son to be shipp'd off from Cadiz.
She had resolved that he should travel through
All European climes, by land or sea,
Especially in France and Italy,
Julia was sent into a convent: she
"They tcH me't is decided you depart:
I have no further claim on your young heart,
'[" Found—heaven knows how—his solitary way," &c.
1 [William Brodie Gurney, Esq., the eminent short-hand writer to the houses of parliament.]
3 [" Since Roderick's Goths, or older Genseric's Vandals." -MS.]
* [" Que les hommes sont heureux d'aller a la guerre, dVxposer leur vie, de se llvrer a f'enthousiasmc de l'honneur et du danger! Mais il n'y a rien au dehors qui soulage lc6 femmes."— Corinne.]
1 C"' To mourn alone the love which has undone.' Or,
'To lift our fatal love to God from man.' Take^that which, of these three, seems the best prescription."
8 [We have an indelicate, but very clever scene, of the young Juan's concealment in the bed of an amorous matron,
To love too much has been the only art
I used;—I write in haste, and if a stain
"I loved, I love you, for this love have lost
State, station, heaven, mankind's, my own esteem,
And yet can not regret what it hath cost,
Yet, if I name my guilt, 'tis not to boast,
I trace this scrawl because I cannot rest—
I've nothing to reproach, or to request
"Man's love is of man's life a thing apart,
'T is woman's whole existence; man may range
The court, camp, church, the vessel, and the mart; Sword, gown, gain, glory, offer in exchange
Pride, fame, ambition, to fill up his heart,
And few there are whom these can not estrange;
Men have all these resources, we but one, *
To love again *, and be again undone.6
"You will proceed in pleasure, and in pride,
Beloved and loving many; all is o'er
My shame and sorrow deep in my heart's core:
The passion which 6till rages as before,— And so farewell—forgive me, love me—No, That word is idle now—but let it go.7
"My breast has been all weakness, is so yet;
But still I think I can collect my mind;8 My blood stUl rushes where my spirit's set,
As roU the waves before the settled wind;
To all, except one image, madly blind;
"I have no more to say, but linger stiU, And dare not set my seal upon this sheet,
And yet I may as well the task fulfil,
My misery can scarce be more complete;
I had not lived till now, could sorrow kiU; [meet, Death shuns the wretch who fain the blow would
And I must even survive this last adieu,
And bear with life, to love and pray for you!"
and of the torrent of rattling and audacious eloquence with which she repels the too just suspicions of her jealous lord. All this Is merely comic, and a little coarse: — but then the poet chooses to make this shameless and abandoned woman address to her young gallant an epistle breathing the very spirit of warm, devoted, pure, and unalterable love — thus profaning the holiest language of the heart, and indirectly associating it with the most hateful and degrading sensualism. Thus are our notions of right and wrong at once confounded — our confidence in virtue shaken to the foundation — and our reliance on truth and fidelity at an end for ever. Of this it is that we complain. — JsFfHEY.]
r fatal now }
» [Or," That word is 1 lost formed—but letitgo."—MS.] (.deadly now J
8 [" I struggle, but can not collect my mind." — MS.]
9 r_" As turns the needle trembling to the pole
It ne'er can reach — so turns to you my soul." — MS.] CXCVm.
This note was written upon gilt-edged paper
Her small white hand could hardly reach the taper,
And yet she did not let one tear escape her;
The seal a sun-flower; " EUe voug suit pariout,"'
The motto cut upon a white cornelian;
The wax was superfine, its hue vermilion.
This was Don Juan's earliest scrape ; but whether I shall proceed with his adventures is
Dependent on the public altogether;
We 11 see, however, what they say to this.
Their favour in an author's cap's a feather,
And if their approbation we experience,
Perhaps they'll have some more about a year hence.
My poem's epic, and is meant to be
Divided in twelve books j each book containing, With love, and war, a heavy gale at sea,3
A list of ships, and captains, and kings reigning, New characters ; the episodes are three:4
A panoramic view of hell's In training,
All these things will be specified in time,
The Vade Meeum of the true sublime,
Which makes so many poets, and some fools:
Prose poets like blank-verse, I'm fond of rhyme,
I've got new mythological machinery.
And very handsome supernatural scenery.6
1 [" With a neat crow-quill, rather hard, but new." — MS.] 3 [Lord Byron had himself a teal bearing this motto.]
3 [" For your tempest, take Eurus, Zephyr, Auster, and Boreas, and cast them together in one verse: add to these, of rain, lightning and thunder (the loudest you can), quantum sufftcit. Mix your clouds and billows well together till they foam, and thicken your description here and there with a
i quicksand. Brew your tempest well in your head, before you set it a blowing. For a battle : pick a large quantity of Images and descriptions from Homer's Iliad, with a spice or two of Virgil, and if there remain any overplus, you may lay them by for a skirmish. Season it well with similes, and it will make an excellent battle." — Swift: Recipe for an Epic.'}
4 [" And there are other Incidents remaining
With good discretion, and in current rhyme." —MS.]
* [Lord Byron can scarcely be said to have written an epic poem, if the definition of the Dictlonnaire de Trevoux be right: —" Epiqub, qui appartient h la poesic hcroique, ou poemc qui dt'erit quelque action, signalize d'un heros. Le poeme eplque est un discours inventc avec art pour former les raccurs par des instructions dlguist'es sous fes allegories d'unc action lmportante, racontee d'une maniere vraisemblable et merveilleuse. La difference qu'il y a entre le poeme Epique et la tragedie, e'est que dans le poeme eplque les personnes n'y sont point lntroduites aux yeux des snectateurs agissant par ellcs-memcs, comme dans la tragedie; mais Taction est racontee par lepoete." — Brydgrs.]
6 [For your machinery, take of deities, male and female, as many as you can use; separate them into two equal parts, and keep Jupiter in the middle ; let Juno put him fn a ferment, andVcnus mollify him. Remember on all occasions to make use of volatile Mercury. If you have need of devils, draw them out of Milton's Paradise, and extract your spirits from Tasso. The use of these machines is evident; and. since no epic poem can subsist without them, the wisest way is to reserve them for your greatest necessities— Swift.]
There's only one slight difference between
And here the advantage is my own, I ween;
But this will more peculiarly be seen);
Their labyrinth of fables to thread through.
Whereas this story's actually true.
If any person doubt it, I appeal
To history> tradition, and to facts.
To plays in five, and operas in three acts;"
But that which more completely faith exacts Is, that myself, and several now in Seville, Saw Juan's last elopement with the devil.
If ever I should condescend to prose,
Shall supersede beyond all doubt all those
My text with many things that no one knows,
I '11 call the work " Longinus o'er a Bottle,"
Or, Every Poet his oien Aristotle."
Thou shalt believe in Milton, Dryden, Pope;
Because the first is crazed beyond all hope.
The second drunk, the third so quaint and mouthy:'
With Crabbe it may be difficult to cope,
And Campbell's Hippocrene is somewhat drouun:
Thou shalt not steal from Samuel Rogers, nor
Commit—flirtation with the muse of Moore.
* [" To newspapers, to sermons, which the zeal
Of pious men have published on his acts."—MS.]
■ [" I '11 call the work ' Reflections o'er a Bottle.'"—US.!
9 ["There are the Lakers, my lord ; ay. the it hole scare! of Glaramarn and Skiddaw and Dunmallralse, who bare tk vanity to be in the habit of undervaluing yoar poetical ulKSs. Mr. Southey thinks you would never hare thought of goi3f over the sea had it not been for his Thalaba ; Mr. Wonfcworth is humbly of opinion that no man in the worU erer thought a tree beautiful, or a mountain grand, till be i> nounced his own wonderful perceptions. Mr. Charles Laa^ thinks you would never have written Beppo had he cot jotrl nor Lara had lie not sighed. Mr. Lloyd half sinrecti rod lordship hat read his Niigw Canon?: now ail these fifbci are alike ridiculous, and you are well entitled to Ucjb «f much as you please at them. But there is one Later vbc praises your lordship, — and why? Because your lords&D praised him. This is Coleridge, who, on the strength Its little compliment in one of your notes, [see ontt. p. 136.] vestured at last to open to the gaze of the day the loaf, ledoort loveliness of Chrlstabel,— and with what effect Ms beoiseller doth know. Toor Coleridge, however, sltho4..;a by pamphlet would not sell, still gloated over the puff; aaJ he gave your lordship, in return, a great many reaacease good puffs in prose, l ou may do verv well to quii Woroworth for his vanity, and Southey for Ills pornoou'CCM; but what right have you to say anything about Mr. Colendft i drinking? Really, my lord, 1 have no scruple in S4vta?. t-at I look upon that line of yours —' Coleridge is dnraV *c- « quite personal — shamefully personal. As Coleridge arrer saw Don Juan, or. If he did. forgot the whole affair attt morning, it is nothing as regards him ; but what ran be f*' pected from his friends? Has not any one of them (if be nil anv) a perfect right, after reading that line, to print and p«> lisfi, if he pleases, all that all the world has heard about vmu lordship's own life and conversation? And if any one of tier should do so, what w ould you, my Lord Byron, thlcl of a — John Bcll.]