Don Juan
"Canto the Third"
by George Gordon Lord Byron (1788-1824)


1   Hail , Muse! et cetera .---We left Juan sleeping, 
2      Pillow'd upon a fair and happy breast, 
3   And watch'd by eyes that never yet knew weeping, 
4      And loved by a young heart, too deeply blest 
5   To feel the poison through her spirit creeping, 
6      Or know who rested there; a foe to rest 
7   Had soil'd the current of her sinless years, 
8   And turn'd her pure heart's purest blood to tears. 


9   Oh, Love! what is it in this world of ours 
10      Which makes it fatal to be loved? Ah why 
11   With cypress branches hast thou wreathed thy bowers, 
12      And made thy best interpreter a sigh? 
13   As those who dote on odours pluck the flowers, 
14      And place them on their breast---but place to die--- 
15   Thus the frail beings we would fondly cherish 
16   Are laid within our bosoms but to perish. 


17   In her first passion woman loves her lover, 
18      In all the others all she loves is love, 
19   Which grows a habit she can ne'er get over, 
20      And fits her loosely---like an easy glove, 
21   As you may find, whene'er you like to prove her: 
22      One man alone at first her heart can move; 
23   She then prefers him in the plural number, 
24   Not finding that the additions much encumber. 


25   I know not if the fault be men's or theirs; 
26      But one thing's pretty sure; a woman planted--- 
27   (Unless at once she plunge for life in prayers)--- 
28      After a decent time must be gallanted; 
29   Although, no doubt, her first of love affairs 
30      Is that to which her heart is wholly granted; 
31   Yet there are some, they say, who have had none , 
32   But those who have ne'er end with only one . 


33   'Tis melancholy, and a fearful sign 
34      Of human frailty, folly, also crime, 
35   That love and marriage rarely can combine, 
36      Although they both are born in the same clime; 
37   Marriage from love, like vinegar from wine--- 
38      A sad, sour, sober beverage---by time 
39   Is sharpen'd from its high celestial flavour 
40   Down to a very homely household savour. 


41   There's something of antipathy, as 'twere, 
42      Between their present and their future state; 
43   A kind of flattery that's hardly fair 
44      Is used until the truth arrives too late--- 
45   Yet what can people do, except despair? 
46      The same things change their names at such a rate; 
47   For instance---passion in a lover's glorious, 
48   But in a husband is pronounced uxorious. 


49   Men grow ashamed of being so very fond; 
50      They sometimes also get a little tired 
51   (But that, of course, is rare), and then despond: 
52      The same things cannot always be admired, 
53   Yet 'tis "so nominated in the bond," 
54      That both are tied till one shall have expired. 
55   Sad thought! to lose the spouse that was adorning 
56   Our days, and put one's servants into mourning. 


57   There's doubtless something in domestic doings, 
58      Which forms, in fact, true love's antithesis; 
59   Romances paint at full length people's wooings, 
60      But only give a bust of marriages; 
61   For no one cares for matrimonial cooings, 
62      There's nothing wrong in a connubial kiss: 
63   Think you, if Laura had been Petrarch's wife, 
64   He would have written sonnets all his life? 


65   All tragedies are finish'd by a death, 
66      All comedies are ended by a marriage; 
67   The future states of both are left to faith, 
68      For authors fear description might disparage 
69   The worlds to come of both, or fall beneath, 
70      And then both worlds would punish their miscarriage; 
71   So leaving each their priest and prayer-book ready, 
72   They say no more of Death or of the Lady. 


73   The only two that in my recollection 
74      Have sung of heaven and hell, or marriage, are 
75   Dante and Milton, and of both the affection 
76      Was hapless in their nuptials, for some bar 
77   Of fault or temper ruin'd the connexion 
78      (Such things, in fact, it don't ask much to mar); 
79   But Dante's Beatrice and Milton's Eve 
80   Were not drawn from their spouses, you conceive. 


81   Some persons say that Dante meant theology 
82      By Beatrice, and not a mistress---I, 
83   Although my opinion may require apology, 
84      Deem this a commentator's phantasy, 
85   Unless indeed it was from his own knowledge he 
86      Decided thus, and show'd good reason why; 
87   I think that Dante's more abstruse ecstatics 
88   Meant to personify the mathematics. 


89   Haidée and Juan were not married, but 
90      The fault was theirs, not mine: it is not fair, 
91   Chaste reader, then, in any way to put 
92      The blame on me, unless you wish they were; 
93   Then if you'd have them wedded, please to shut 
94      The book which treats of this erroneous pair, 
95   Before the consequences grow too awful; 
96   'Tis dangerous to read of loves unlawful. 


97   Yet they were happy,---happy in the illicit 
98      Indulgence of their innocent desires; 
99   But more imprudent grown with every visit, 
100      Haidée forgot the island was her sire's; 
101   When we have what we like, 'tis hard to miss it, 
102      At least in the beginning, ere one tires; 
103   Thus she came often, not a moment losing, 
104   Whilst her piratical papa was cruising. 


105   Let not his mode of raising cash seem strange, 
106      Although he fleeced the flags of every nation, 
107   For into a prime minister but change 
108      His title, and 'tis nothing but taxation; 
109   But he, more modest, took an humbler range 
110      Of life, and in an honester vocation 
111   Pursued o'er the high seas his watery journey, 
112   And merely practised as a sea-attorney. 


113   The good old gentleman had been detain'd 
114      By winds and waves, and some important captures; 
115   And, in the hope of more, at sea remain'd, 
116      Although a squall or two had damp'd his raptures, 
117   By swamping one of the prizes; he had chain'd 
118      His prisoners, dividing them like chapters 
119   In number'd lots; they all had cuffs and collars, 
120   And averaged each from ten to a hundred dollars. 


121   Some he disposed of off Cape Matapan, 
122      Among his friends the Mainots; some he sold 
123   To his Tunis correspondents, save one man 
124      Tossed overboard unsaleable (being old); 
125   The rest---save here and there some richer one, 
126      Reserved for future ransom in the hold--- 
127   Were link'd alike, as for the common people he 
128   Had a large order from the Dey of Tripoli. 


129   The merchandise was served in the same way, 
130      Pieced out for different marts in the Levant, 
131   Except some certain portions of the prey, 
132      Light classic articles of female want, 
133   French stuffs, lace, tweezers, toothpicks, teapot, tray, 
134      Guitars and castanets from Alicant, 
135   All which selected from the spoil he gathers, 
136   Robbed for his daughter by the best of fathers. 


137   A monkey, a Dutch mastiff, a mackaw, 
138      Two parrots, with a Persian cat and kittens, 
139   He chose from several animals he saw--- 
140      A terrier, too, which once had been a Briton's, 
141   Who dying on the coast of Ithaca, 
142      The peasants gave the poor dumb thing a pittance; 
143   These to secure in this strong blowing weather, 
144   He caged in one huge hamper altogether. 


145   Then having settled his marine affairs, 
146      Despatching single cruisers here and there, 
147   His vessel having need of some repairs, 
148      He shaped his course to where his daughter fair 
149   Continued still her hospitable cares; 
150      But that part of the coast being shoal and bare, 
151   And rough with reefs which ran out many a mile, 
152   His port lay on the other side o' the isle. 


153   And there he went ashore without delay, 
154      Having no custom-house nor quarantine 
155   To ask him awkward questions on the way 
156      About the time and place where he had been: 
157   He left his ship to be hove down next day, 
158      With orders to the people to careen; 
159   So that all hands were busy beyond measure, 
160   In getting out goods, ballast, guns, and treasure. 


161   Arriving at the summit of a hill 
162      Which overlook'd the white walls of his home, 
163   He stopp'd.---What singular emotions fill 
164      Their bosoms who have been induced to roam! 
165   With fluttering doubts if all be well or ill--- 
166      With love for many, and with fears for some; 
167   All feelings which o'erleap the years long lost, 
168   And bring our hearts back to their starting-post. 


169   The approach of home to husbands and to sires, 
170      After long travelling by land or water, 
171   Most naturally some small doubt inspires--- 
172      A female family's a serious matter; 
173   (None trusts the sex more, or so much admires--- 
174      But they hate flattery, so I never flatter); 
175   Wives in their husbands' absences grow subtler, 
176   And daughters sometimes run off with the butler. 


177   An honest gentleman at his return 
178      May not have the good fortune of Ulysses; 
179   Not all lone matrons for their husbands mourn, 
180      Or show the same dislike to suitors' kisses; 
181   The odds are that he finds a handsome urn 
182      To his memory, and two or three young misses 
183   Born to some friend, who holds his wife and riches, 
184   And that his Argus bites him by---the breeches. 


185   If single, probably his plighted fair 
186      Has in his absence wedded some rich miser; 
187   But all the better, for the happy pair 
188      May quarrel, and the lady growing wiser, 
189   He may resume his amatory care 
190      As cavalier servente, or despise her; 
191   And that his sorrow may not be a dumb one, 
192   Write odes on the Inconstancy of Woman. 


193   And oh! ye gentlemen who have already 
194      Some chaste liaison of the kind---I mean 
195   An honest friendship with a married lady--- 
196      The only thing of this sort ever seen 
197   To last---of all connexions the most steady, 
198      And the true Hymen, (the first's but a screen)--- 
199   Yet for all that keep not too long away, 
200   I've known the absent wrong'd four times a-day. 


201   Lambro, our sea-solicitor, who had 
202      Much less experience of dry land than ocean, 
203   On seeing his own chimney-smoke, felt glad; 
204      But not knowing metaphysics, had no notion 
205   Of the true reason of his not being sad, 
206      Or that of any other strong emotion; 
207   He loved his child, and would have wept the loss of her, 
208   But knew the cause no more than a philosopher. 


209   He saw his white walls shining in the sun, 
210      His garden trees all shadowy and green; 
211   He heard his rivulet's light bubbling run, 
212      The distant dog-bark; and perceived between 
213   The umbrage of the wood so cool and dun 
214      The moving figures, and the sparkling sheen 
215   Of arms (in the East all arm)---and various dyes 
216   Of colour'd garbs, as bright as butterflies. 


217   And as the spot where they appear he nears, 
218      Surprised at these unwonted signs of idling, 
219   He hears---alas! no music of the spheres, 
220      But an unhallow'd, earthly sound of fiddling! 
221   A melody which made him doubt his ears, 
222      The cause being past his guessing or unriddling; 
223   A pipe, too, and a drum, and shortly after, 
224   A most unoriental roar of laughter. 


225   And still more nearly to the place advancing, 
226      Descending rather quickly the declivity, 
227   Through the waved branches, o'er the greensward glancing, 
228      'Midst other indications of festivity, 
229   Seeing a troop of his domestics dancing 
230      Like dervises, who turn as on a pivot, he 
231   Perceived it was the Pyrrhic dance so martial, 
232   To which the Levantines are very partial. 


233   And further on a group of Grecian girls, 
234      The first and tallest her white kerchief waving, 
235   Were strung together like a row of pearls; 
236      Link'd hand in hand, and dancing; each too having 
237   Down her white neck long floating auburn curls--- 
238      (The least of which would set ten poets raving); 
239   Their leader sang---and bounded to her song, 
240   With choral step and voice, the virgin throng. 


241   And here, assembled cross-legg'd round their trays, 
242      Small social parties just begun to dine; 
243   Pilaus and meats of all sorts met the gaze, 
244      And flasks of Samian and of Chian wine, 
245   And sherbet cooling in the porous vase; 
246      Above them their dessert grew on its vine, 
247   The orange and pomegranate nodding o'er, 
248   Dropp'd in their laps, scarce pluck'd, their mellow store. 


249   A band of children, round a snow-white ram, 
250      There wreathe his venerable horns with flowers; 
251   While peaceful as if still an unwean'd lamb, 
252      The patriarch of the flock all gently cowers 
253   His sober head, majestically tame, 
254      Or eats from out the palm, or playful lowers 
255   His brow, as if in act to butt, and then 
256   Yielding to their small hands, draws back again. 


257   Their classical profiles, and glittering dresses, 
258      Their large black eyes, and soft seraphic cheeks, 
259   Crimson as cleft pomegranates, their long tresses, 
260      The gesture which enchants, the eye that speaks, 
261   The innocence which happy childhood blesses, 
262      Made quite a picture of these little Greeks; 
263   So that the philosophical beholder 
264   Sigh'd for their sakes---that they should e'er grow older. 


265   Afar, a dwarf buffoon stood telling tales 
266      To a sedate grey circle of old smokers 
267   Of secret treasures found in hidden vales, 
268      Of wonderful replies from Arab jokers, 
269   Of charms to make good gold, and cure bad ails, 
270      Of rocks bewitch'd that open to the knockers, 
271   Of magic ladies who, by one sole act, 
272   Transform'd their lords to beasts, (but that's a fact). 


273   Here was no lack of innocent diversion 
274      For the imagination or the senses, 
275   Song, dance, wine, music, stories from the Persian, 
276      All pretty pastimes in which no offence is; 
277   But Lambro saw all these things with aversion, 
278      Perceiving in his absence such expenses, 
279   Dreading that climax of all human ills, 
280   The inflammation of his weekly bills. 


281   Ah! what is man? what perils still environ 
282      The happiest mortals even after dinner--- 
283   A day of gold from out an age of iron 
284      Is all that life allows the luckiest sinner; 
285   Pleasure (whene'er she sings, at least) 's a siren, 
286      That lures to flay alive the young beginner; 
287   Lambro's reception at his people's banquet 
288   Was such as fire accords to a wet blanket. 


289   He---being a man who seldom used a word 
290      Too much, and wishing gladly to surprise 
291   (In general he surprised men with the sword) 
292      His daughter---had not sent before to advise 
293   Of his arrival, so that no one stirred; 
294      And long he paused to re-assure his eyes, 
295   In fact much more astonish'd than delighted, 
296   To find so much good company invited. 


297   He did not know (Alas! how men will lie) 
298      That a report (especially the Greeks) 
299   Avouch'd his death (such people never die), 
300      And put his house in mourning several weeks, 
301   But now their eyes and also lips were dry; 
302      The bloom too had return'd to Haidée's cheeks. 
303   Her tears too being return'd into their fount, 
304   She now kept house upon her own account. 


305   Hence all this rice, meat, dancing, wine, and fiddling, 
306      Which turn'd the isle into a place of pleasure; 
307   The servants all were getting drunk or idling, 
308      A life which made them happy beyond measure. 
309   Her father's hospitality seem'd middling, 
310      Compared with what Haidée did with his treasure; 
311   'Twas wonderful how things went on improving, 
312   While she had not one hour to spare from loving. 


313   Perhaps you think in stumbling on this feast 
314      He flew into a passion, and in fact 
315   There was no mighty reason to be pleased; 
316      Perhaps you prophesy some sudden act, 
317   The whip, the rack, or dungeon at the least, 
318      To teach his people to be more exact, 
319   And that, proceeding at a very high rate, 
320   He show'd the royal penchants of a pirate. 


321   You're wrong.---He was the mildest manner'd man 
322      That ever scuttled ship or cut a throat; 
323   With such true breeding of a gentleman, 
324      You never could divine his real thought; 
325   No courtier could, and scarcely woman can 
326      Gird more deceit within a petticoat; 
327   Pity he loved adventurous life's variety, 
328   He was so great a loss to good society. 


329   Advancing to the nearest dinner tray, 
330      Tapping the shoulder of the nighest guest, 
331   With a peculiar smile, which, by the way, 
332      Boded no good, whatever it express'd, 
333   He asked the meaning of this holiday; 
334      The vinous Greek to whom he had address'd 
335   His question, much too merry to divine 
336   The questioner, fill'd up a glass of wine, 


337   And without turning his facetious head, 
338      Over his shoulder, with a Bacchant air, 
339   Presented the o'erflowing cup, and said, 
340      "Talking's dry work, I have no time to spare." 
341   A second hiccup'd, "Our old master's dead, 
342      You'd better ask our mistress who's his heir." 
343   "Our mistress!" quoth a third: "Our mistress!---pooh!--- 
344   You mean our master---not the old but new." 


345   These rascals, being new comers, knew not whom 
346      They thus address'd---and Lambro's visage fell--- 
347   And o'er his eye a momentary gloom 
348      Pass'd, but he strove quite courteously to quell 
349   The expression, and endeavouring to resume 
350      His smile, requested one of them to tell 
351   The name and quality of his new patron, 
352   Who seem'd to have turn'd Haidée into a matron. 


353   "I know not," quoth the fellow, "who or what 
354      He is, nor whence he came---and little care; 
355   But this I know, that this roast capon's fat, 
356      And that good wine ne'er wash'd down better fare; 
357   And if you are not satisfied with that, 
358      Direct your questions to my neighbour there; 
359   He'll answer all for better or for worse, 
360   For none likes more to hear himself converse." 


361   I said that Lambro was a man of patience, 
362      And certainly he show'd the best of breeding, 
363   Which scarce even France, the paragon of nations, 
364      E'er saw her most polite of sons exceeding; 
365   He bore these sneers against his near relations, 
366      His own anxiety, his heart too bleeding, 
367   The insults too of every servile glutton, 
368   Who all the time were eating up his mutton. 


369   Now in a person used to much command--- 
370      To bid men come, and go, and come again--- 
371   To see his orders done too out of hand--- 
372      Whether the word was death, or but the chain--- 
373   It may seem strange to find his manners bland; 
374      Yet such things are, which I can not explain, 
375   Though doubtless he who can command himself 
376   Is good to govern---almost as a Guelf. 


377   Not that he was not sometimes rash or so, 
378      But never in his real and serious mood; 
379   Then calm, concentrated, and still, and slow, 
380      He lay coiled like the boa in the wood; 
381   With him it never was a word and blow, 
382      His angry word once o'er, he shed no blood, 
383   But in his silence there was much to rue, 
384   And his one blow left little work for two . 


385   He ask'd no further questions, and proceeded 
386      On to the house, but by a private way, 
387   So that the few who met him hardly heeded, 
388      So little they expected him that day; 
389   If love paternal in his bosom pleaded 
390      For Haidée's sake, is more than I can say, 
391   But certainly to one deem'd dead returning, 
392   This revel seem'd a curious mode of mourning. 


393   If all the dead could now return to life, 
394      (Which God forbid!) or some, or a great many, 
395   For instance, if a husband or his wife 
396      (Nuptial examples are as good as any), 
397   No doubt whate'er might be their former strife, 
398      The present weather would be much more rainy--- 
399   Tears shed into the grave of the connexion 
400   Would share most probably its resurrection. 


401   He enter'd in the house no more his home, 
402      A thing to human feelings the most trying, 
403   And harder for the heart to overcome, 
404      Perhaps, than even the mental pangs of dying; 
405   To find our hearthstone turn'd into a tomb, 
406      And round its once warm precincts palely lying 
407   The ashes of our hopes, is a deep grief, 
408   Beyond a single gentleman's belief. 


409   He enter'd in the house---his home no more, 
410      For without hearts there is no home;---and felt 
411   The solitude of passing his own door 
412      Without a welcome; there he long had dwelt, 
413   There his few peaceful days Time had swept o'er, 
414      There his worn bosom and keen eye would melt 
415   Over the innocence of that sweet child, 
416   His only shrine of feelings undefiled. 


417   He was a man of a strange temperament, 
418      Of mild demeanour though of savage mood, 
419   Moderate in all his habits, and content 
420      With temperance in pleasure, as in food, 
421   Quick to perceive, and strong to bear, and meant 
422      For something better, if not wholly good; 
423   His country's wrongs and his despair to save her 
424   Had stung him from a slave to an enslaver. 


425   The love of power, and rapid gain of gold, 
426      The hardness by long habitude produced, 
427   The dangerous life in which he had grown old, 
428      The mercy he had granted oft abused, 
429   The sights he was accustom'd to behold, 
430      The wild seas, and wild men with whom he cruised, 
431   Had cost his enemies a long repentance, 
432   And made him a good friend, but bad acquaintance. 


433   But something of the spirit of old Greece 
434      Flash'd o'er his soul a few heroic rays, 
435   Such as lit onward to the Golden Fleece 
436      His predecessors in the Colchian days; 
437   'Tis true he had no ardent love for peace--- 
438      Alas! his country show'd no path to praise: 
439   Hate to the world and war with every nation 
440   He waged, in vengeance of her degradation. 


441   Still o'er his mind the influence of the clime 
442      Shed its Ionian elegance, which show'd 
443   Its power unconsciously full many a time,--- 
444      A taste seen in the choice of his abode, 
445   A love of music and of scenes sublime, 
446      A pleasure in the gentle stream that flow'd 
447   Past him in crystal, and a joy in flowers, 
448   Bedew'd his spirit in his calmer hours. 


449   But whatsoe'er he had of love reposed 
450      On that beloved daughter; she had been 
451   The only thing which kept his heart unclosed 
452      Amidst the savage deeds he had done and seen; 
453   A lonely pure affection unopposed: 
454      There wanted but the loss of this to wean 
455   His feelings from all milk of human kindness, 
456   And turn him like the Cyclops mad with blindness. 


457   The cubless tigress in her jungle raging 
458      Is dreadful to the shepherd and the flock; 
459   The ocean when its yeasty war is waging 
460      Is awful to the vessel near the rock; 
461   But violent things will sooner bear assuaging, 
462      Their fury being spent by its own shock, 
463   Than the stern, single, deep, and wordless ire 
464   Of a strong human heart, and in a sire. 


465   It is a hard although a common case 
466      To find our children running restive---they 
467   In whom our brightest days we would retrace, 
468      Our little selves re-form'd in finer clay, 
469   Just as old age is creeping on apace, 
470      And clouds come o'er the sunset of our day, 
471   They kindly leave us, though not quite alone, 
472   But in good company---the gout or stone. 


473   Yet a fine family is a fine thing 
474      (Provided they don't come in after dinner); 
475   'Tis beautiful to see a matron bring 
476      Her children up (if nursing them don't thin her); 
477   Like cherubs round an altar-piece they cling 
478      To the fire-side (a sight to touch a sinner). 
479   A lady with her daughters or her nieces 
480   Shine like a guinea and seven shilling pieces. 


481   Old Lambro pass'd unseen a private gate, 
482      And stood within his hall at eventide; 
483   Meantime the lady and her lover sate 
484      At wassail in their beauty and their pride: 
485   An ivory inlaid table spread with state 
486      Before them, and fair slaves on every side; 
487   Gems, gold, and silver, form'd the service mostly, 
488   Mother of pearl and coral the less costly. 


489   The dinner made about a hundred dishes; 
490      Lamb and pistachio nuts---in short, all meats, 
491   And saffron soups, and sweetbreads; and the fishes 
492      Were of the finest that e'er flounced in nets, 
493   Drest to a Sybarite's most pamper'd wishes; 
494      The beverage was various sherbets 
495   Of raisin, orange, and pomegranate juice, 
496   Squeezed through the rind, which makes it best for use. 


497   These were ranged round, each in its crystal ewer, 
498      And fruits, and date-bread loaves closed the repast, 
499   And Mocha's berry, from Arabia pure, 
500      In small fine China cups, came in at last; 
501   Gold cups of filigree made to secure 
502      The hand from burning underneath them placed, 
503   Cloves, cinnamon, and saffron too were boil'd 
504   Up with the coffee, which (I think) they spoil'd. 


505   The hangings of the room were tapestry, made 
506      Of velvet pannels, each of different hue, 
507   And thick with damask flowers of silk inlaid; 
508      And round them ran a yellow border too; 
509   The upper border, richly wrought, display'd, 
510      Embroider'd delicately o'er with blue, 
511   Soft Persian sentences, in lilac letters, 
512   From poets, or the moralists their betters. 


513   These oriental writings on the wall, 
514      Quite common in those countries, are a kind 
515   Of monitors adapted to recall, 
516      Like skulls at Memphian banquets, to the mind 
517   The words which shook Belshazzar in his hall, 
518      And took his kingdom from him: You will find, 
519   Though sages may pour out their wisdom's treasure, 
520   There is no sterner moralist than pleasure. 


521   A beauty at the season's close grown hectic, 
522      A genius who has drunk himself to death, 
523   A rake turn'd methodistic or eclectic--- 
524      (For that's the name they like to pray beneath)--- 
525   But most, an alderman struck apoplectic, 
526      Are things that really take away the breath, 
527   And show that late hours, wine, and love are able 
528   To do not much less damage than the table. 


529   Haidée and Juan carpeted their feet 
530      On crimson satin, border'd with pale blue; 
531   Their sofa occupied three parts complete 
532      Of the apartment---and appear'd quite new; 
533   The velvet cushions---(for a throne more meet)--- 
534      Were scarlet, from whose glowing centre grew 
535   A sun emboss'd in gold, whose rays of tissue, 
536   Meridian-like, were seen all light to issue. 


537   Crystal and marble, plate and porcelain, 
538      Had done their work of splendour; Indian mats 
539   And Persian carpets, which the heart bled to stain, 
540      Over the floors were spread; gazelles and cats, 
541   And dwarfs and blacks, and such like things, that gain 
542      Their bread as ministers and favourites---(that's 
543   To say, by degradation)---mingled there 
544   As plentiful as in a court or fair. 


545   There was no want of lofty mirrors, and 
546      The tables, most of ebony inlaid 
547   With mother of pearl or ivory, stood at hand, 
548      Or were of tortoise-shell or rare woods made, 
549   Fretted with gold or silver:---by command 
550      The greater part of these were ready spread 
551   With viands and sherbets in ice---and wine--- 
552   Kept for all comers, at all hours to dine. 


553   Of all the dresses I select Haidée's: 
554      She wore two jelicks---one was of pale yellow; 
555   Of azure, pink, and white was her chemise--- 
556      'Neath which her breast heaved like a little billow; 
557   With buttons form'd of pearls as large as peas, 
558      All gold and crimson shone her jelick's fellow, 
559   And the striped white gauze baracan that bound her, 
560   Like fleecy clouds about the moon, flow'd round her. 


561   One large gold bracelet clasp'd each lovely arm, 
562      Lockless---so pliable from the pure gold 
563   That the hand stretch'd and shut it without harm, 
564      The limb which it adorn'd its only mould; 
565   So beautiful---its very shape would charm, 
566      And clinging as if loth to lose its hold, 
567   The purest ore inclosed the whitest skin 
568   That e'er by precious metal was held in. 


569   Around, as princess of her father's land, 
570      A like gold bar above her instep rolled 
571   Announced her rank; twelve rings were on her hand; 
572      Her hair was starr'd with gems; her veil's fine fold 
573   Below her breast was fasten'd with a band 
574      Of lavish pearls, whose worth could scarce be told; 
575   Her orange silk full Turkish trowsers furl'd 
576   About the prettiest ankle in the world. 


577   Her hair's long auburn waves down to her heel 
578      Flow'd like an Alpine torrent which the sun 
579   Dyes with his morning light,---and would conceal 
580      Her person if allow'd at large to run, 
581   And still they seem resentfully to feel 
582      The silken fillet's curb, and sought to shun 
583   Their bonds whene'er some Zephyr caught began 
584   To offer his young pinion as her fan. 


585   Round her she made an atmosphere of life, 
586      The very air seem'd lighter from her eyes, 
587   They were so soft and beautiful, and rife 
588      With all we can imagine of the skies, 
589   And pure as Psyche ere she grew a wife--- 
590      Too pure even for the purest human ties; 
591   Her overpowering presence made you feel 
592   It would not be idolatry to kneel. 


593   Her eyelashes, though dark as night, were tinged 
594      (It is the country's custom), but in vain; 
595   For those large black eyes were so blackly fringed, 
596      The glossy rebels mock'd the jetty stain, 
597   And in their native beauty stood avenged: 
598      Her nails were touch'd with henna; but again 
599   The power of art was turn'd to nothing, for 
600   They could not look more rosy than before. 


601   The henna should be deeply dyed to make 
602      The skin relieved appear more fairly fair; 
603   She had no need of this, day ne'er will break 
604      On mountain tops more heavenly white than her: 
605   The eye might doubt if it were well awake, 
606      She was so like a vision; I might err, 
607   But Shakspeare also says 'tis very silly 
608   "To gild refined gold, or paint the lily." 


609   Juan had on a shawl of black and gold, 
610      But a white baracan, and so transparent 
611   The sparkling gems beneath you might behold, 
612      Like small stars through the milky way apparent; 
613   His turban, furl'd in many a graceful fold, 
614      An emerald aigrette with Haidée's hair in't 
615   Surmounted as its clasp---a glowing crescent, 
616   Whose rays shone ever trembling, but incessant. 


617   And now they were diverted by their suite, 
618      Dwarfs, dancing girls, black eunuchs, and a poet, 
619   Which made their new establishment complete; 
620      The last was of great fame, and liked to show it: 
621   His verses rarely wanted their due feet--- 
622      And for his theme---he seldom sung below it, 
623   He being paid to satirise or flatter, 
624   As the psalm says, "inditing a good matter." 


625   He praised the present, and abused the past, 
626      Reversing the good custom of old days, 
627   An eastern antijacobin at last 
628      He turn'd, preferring pudding to no praise--- 
629   For some few years his lot had been o'ercast 
630      By his seeming independent in his lays, 
631   But now he sung the Sultan and the Pacha 
632   With truth like Southey and with verse like Crashaw. 


633   He was a man who had seen many changes, 
634      And always changed as true as any needle, 
635   His polar star being one which rather ranges, 
636      And not the fix'd---he knew the way to wheedle: 
637   So vile he 'scaped the doom which oft avenges; 
638      And being fluent (save indeed when fee'd ill), 
639   He lied with such a fervour of intention--- 
640   There was no doubt he earn'd his laureate pension. 


641   But he had genius,---when a turncoat has it 
642      The "Vates irritabilis" takes care 
643   That without notice few full moons shall pass it; 
644      Even good men like to make the public stare:--- 
645   But to my subject---let me see---what was it?--- 
646      Oh!---the third canto---and the pretty pair--- 
647   Their loves, and feasts, and house, and dress, and mode 
648   Of living in their insular abode. 


649   Their poet, a sad trimmer, but no less 
650      In company a very pleasant fellow, 
651   Had been the favourite of full many a mess 
652      Of men, and made them speeches when half mellow; 
653   And though his meaning they could rarely guess, 
654      Yet still they deign'd to hiccup or to bellow 
655   The glorious meed of popular applause, 
656   Of which the first ne'er knows the second cause. 


657   But now being lifted into high society, 
658      And having picked up several odds and ends 
659   Of free thoughts in his travels, for variety, 
660      He deem'd, being in a lone isle, among friends, 
661   That without any danger of a riot, he 
662      Might for long lying make himself amends; 
663   And singing as he sung in his warm youth, 
664   Agree to a short armistice with truth. 


665   He had travell'd 'mongst the Arabs, Turks, and Franks, 
666      And knew the self-loves of the different nations; 
667   And having lived with people of all ranks, 
668      Had something ready upon most occasions--- 
669   Which got him a few presents and some thanks. 
670      He varied with some skill his adulations; 
671   To "do at Rome as Romans do," a piece 
672   Of conduct was which he observed in Greece. 


673   Thus, usually, when he was ask'd to sing, 
674      He gave the different nations something national; 
675   'Twas all the same to him---"God save the king," 
676      Or " Ca ira ," according to the fashion all; 
677   His muse made increment of any thing, 
678      From the high lyric down to the low rational: 
679   If Pindar sang horse-races, what should hinder 
680   Himself from being as pliable as Pindar? 


681   In France, for instance, he would write a chanson; 
682      In England, a six canto quarto tale; 
683   In Spain, he'd make a ballad or romance on 
684      The last war-much the same in Portugal; 
685   In Germany, the Pegasus he'd prance on 
686      Would be old Goethe's---(see what says de Staël) 
687   In Italy, he'd ape the "Trecentisti"; 
688   In Greece, he'd sing some sort of hymn like this t'ye: 


689   The isles of Greece, the isles of Greece! 
690      Where burning Sappho loved and sung, 
691   Where grew the arts of war and peace,--- 
692      Where Delos rose, and Phoebus sprung! 
693   Eternal summer gilds them yet, 
694   But all, except their sun, is set. 


695   The Scian and the Teian muse, 
696      The hero's harp, the lover's lute, 
697   Have found the fame your shores refuse; 
698      Their place of birth alone is mute 
699   To sounds which echo further west 
700   Than your sires' "Islands of the Blest." 


701   The mountains look on Marathon--- 
702      And Marathon looks on the sea; 
703   And musing there an hour alone, 
704      I dream'd that Greece might still be free; 
705   For standing on the Persian's grave, 
706   I could not deem myself a slave. 


707   A king sate on the rocky brow 
708      Which looks o'er sea-born Salamis; 
709   And ships, by thousands, lay below, 
710      And men in nations;---all were his! 
711   He counted them at break of day--- 
712   And when the sun set where were they? 


713   And where are they? and where art thou, 
714      My country? On thy voiceless shore 
715   The heroic lay is tuneless now--- 
716      The heroic bosom beats no more! 
717   And must thy lyre, so long divine, 
718   Degenerate into hands like mine? 


719   'Tis something, in the dearth of fame, 
720      Though link'd among a fetter'd race, 
721   To feel at least a patriot's shame, 
722      Even as I sing, suffuse my face; 
723   For what is left the poet here? 
724   For Greeks a blush---for Greece a tear. 


725   Must we but weep o'er days more blest? 
726      Must we but blush?---Our fathers bled. 
727   Earth! render back from out thy breast 
728      A remnant of our Spartan dead! 
729   Of the three hundred grant but three, 
730   To make a new Thermopylae! 


731   What, silent still? and silent all? 
732      Ah! no;---the voices of the dead 
733   Sound like a distant torrent's fall, 
734      And answer, "Let one living head, 
735   But one arise,---we come, we come!" 
736   'Tis but the living who are dumb. 


737   In vain---in vain: strike other chords; 
738      Fill high the cup with Samian wine! 
739   Leave battles to the Turkish hordes, 
740      And shed the blood of Scio's vine! 
741   Hark! rising to the ignoble call--- 
742   How answers each bold bacchanal! 


743   You have the Pyrrhic dance as yet, 
744      Where is the Pyrrhic phalanx gone? 
745   Of two such lessons, why forget 
746      The nobler and the manlier one? 
747   You have the letters Cadmus gave--- 
748   Think ye he meant them for a slave? 


749   Fill high the bowl with Samian wine! 
750      We will not think of themes like these! 
751   It made Anacreon's song divine: 
752      He served---but served Polycrates--- 
753   A tyrant; but our masters then 
754   Were still, at least, our countrymen. 


755   The tyrant of the Chersonese 
756      Was freedom's best and bravest friend; 
757   That tyrant was Miltiades! 
758      Oh! that the present hour would lend 
759   Another despot of the kind! 
760   Such chains as his were sure to bind. 


761   Fill high the bowl with Samian wine! 
762      On Suli's rock, and Parga's shore, 
763   Exists the remnant of a line 
764      Such as the Doric mothers bore; 
765   And there, perhaps, some seed is sown, 
766   The Heracleidan blood might own. 


767   Trust not for freedom to the Franks--- 
768      They have a king who buys and sells; 
769   In native swords, and native ranks, 
770      The only hope of courage dwells; 
771   But Turkish force, and Latin fraud, 
772   Would break your shield, however broad. 


773   Fill high the bowl with Samian wine! 
774      Our virgins dance beneath the shade--- 
775   I see their glorious black eyes shine; 
776      But gazing on each glowing maid, 
777   My own the burning tear-drop laves, 
778   To think such breasts must suckle slaves. 


779   Place me on Sunium's marbled steep, 
780      Where nothing, save the waves and I, 
781   May hear our mutual murmurs sweep; 
782      There, swan-like, let me sing and die: 
783   A land of slaves shall ne'er be mine--- 
784      Dash down yon cup of Samian wine! 


785   Thus sung, or would, or could, or should have sung, 
786      The modern Greek, in tolerable verse; 
787   If not like Orpheus quite, when Greece was young, 
788      Yet in these times he might have done much worse: 
789   His strain display'd some feeling---right or wrong; 
790      And feeling, in a poet, is the source 
791   Of others' feeling; but they are such liars, 
792   And take all colours---like the hands of dyers. 


793   But words are things, and a small drop of ink, 
794      Falling like dew, upon a thought, produces 
795   That which makes thousands, perhaps millions, think; 
796      'Tis strange, the shortest letter which man uses 
797   Instead of speech, may form a lasting link 
798      Of ages; to what straits old Time reduces 
799   Frail man, when paper---even a rag like this, 
800   Survives himself, his tomb, and all that's his. 


801   And when his bones are dust, his grave a blank, 
802      His station, generation, even his nation, 
803   Become a thing, or nothing, save to rank 
804      In chronological commemoration, 
805   Some dull MS. oblivion long has sank, 
806      Or graven stone found in a barrack's station 
807   In digging the foundation of a closet, 
808   May turn his name up, as a rare deposit. 


809   And glory long has made the sages smile; 
810      'Tis something, nothing, words, illusion, wind--- 
811   Depending more upon the historian's style 
812      Than on the name a person leaves behind: 
813   Troy owes to Homer what whist owes to Hoyle; 
814      The present century was growing blind 
815   To the great Marlborough's skill in giving knocks, 
816   Until his late Life by Archdeacon Coxe. 


817   Milton's the prince of poets---so we say; 
818      A little heavy, but no less divine: 
819   An independent being in his day--- 
820      Learn'd, pious, temperate in love and wine; 
821   But his life falling into Johnson's way, 
822      We're told this great high priest of all the Nine 
823   Was whipt at college---a harsh sire---odd spouse, 
824   For the first Mrs. Milton left his house. 


825   All these are, certes , entertaining facts, 
826      Like Shakspeare's stealing deer, Lord Bacon's bribes; 
827   Like Titus' youth, and Caesar's earliest acts; 
828      Like Burns (whom Doctor Currie well describes); 
829   Like Cromwell's pranks;---but although truth exacts 
830      These amiable descriptions from the scribes, 
831   As most essential to their hero's story, 
832   They do not much contribute to his glory. 


833   All are not moralists, like Southey, when 
834      He prated to the world of "Pantisocrasy"; 
835   Or Wordsworth unexcised, unhired, who then 
836      Season'd his pedlar poems with democracy; 
837   Or Coleridge, long before his flighty pen 
838      Let to the Morning Post its aristocracy; 
839   When he and Southey, following the same path, 
840   Espoused two partners (milliners of Bath). 


841   Such names at present cut a convict figure, 
842      The very Botany Bay in moral geography; 
843   Their loyal treason, renegado rigour, 
844      Are good manure for their more bare biography. 
845   Wordsworth's last quarto, by the way, is bigger 
846      Than any since the birthday of typography; 
847   A drowsy frowzy poem, call'd the "Excursion," 
848   Writ in a manner which is my aversion. 


849   He there builds up a formidable dyke 
850      Between his own and others' intellect; 
851   But Wordsworth's poem, and his followers, like 
852      Joanna Southcote's Shiloh, and her sect, 
853   Are things which in this century don't strike 
854      The public mind, so few are the elect; 
855   And the new births of both their stale virginities 
856   Have proved but dropsies, taken for divinities. 


857   But let me to my story: I must own, 
858      If I have any fault, it is digression; 
859   Leaving my people to proceed alone, 
860      While I soliloquize beyond expression; 
861   But these are my addresses from the throne, 
862      Which put off business to the ensuing session: 
863   Forgetting each omission is a loss to 
864   The world, not quite so great as Ariosto. 


865   I know that what our neighbours call " longueurs ," 
866      (We've not so good a word , but have the thing 
867   In that complete perfection which ensures 
868      An epic from Bob Southey every spring---) 
869   Form not the true temptation which allures 
870      The reader; but 'twould not be hard to bring 
871   Some fine examples of the epopée , 
872   To prove its grand ingredient is ennui . 


873   We learn from Horace, Homer sometimes sleeps; 
874      We feel without him: Wordsworth sometimes wakes, 
875   To show with what complacency he creeps, 
876      With his dear " Waggoners ," around his lakes; 
877   He wishes for "a boat" to sail the deeps--- 
878      Of ocean?---No, of air; and then he makes 
879   Another outcry for "a little boat," 
880   And drivels seas to set it well afloat. 


881   If he must fain sweep o'er the etherial plain, 
882      And Pegasus runs restive in his "waggon," 
883   Could he not beg the loan of Charles's Wain? 
884      Or pray Medea for a single dragon? 
885   Or if too classic for his vulgar brain, 
886      He fear'd his neck to venture such a nag on, 
887   And he must needs mount nearer to the moon, 
888   Could not the blockhead ask for a balloon? 


889   "Pedlars," and "boats," and "waggons"! Oh! ye shades 
890      Of Pope and Dryden, are we come to this? 
891   That trash of such sort not alone evades 
892      Contempt, but from the bathos' vast abyss 
893   Floats scumlike uppermost, and these Jack Cades 
894      Of sense and song above your graves may hiss--- 
895   The "little boatman" and his "Peter Bell" 
896   Can sneer at him who drew "Achitophel"! 


897   T'our tale.---The feast was over, the slaves gone, 
898      The dwarfs and dancing girls had all retired; 
899   The Arab lore and poet's song were done, 
900      And every sound of revelry expired; 
901   The lady and her lover, left alone, 
902      The rosy flood of twilight's sky admired;--- 
903   Ave Maria! o'er the earth and sea, 
904   That heavenliest hour of Heaven is worthiest thee! 


905   Ave Maria! blessed be the hour! 
906      The time, the clime, the spot, where I so oft 
907   Have felt that moment in its fullest power 
908      Sink o'er the earth so beautiful and soft, 
909   While swung the deep bell in the distant tower, 
910      Or the faint dying day-hymn stole aloft, 
911   And not a breath crept through the rosy air, 
912   And yet the forest leaves seem'd stirr'd with prayer. 


913   Ave Maria! 'tis the hour of prayer! 
914      Ave Maria! 'tis the hour of love! 
915   Ave Maria! may our spirits dare 
916      Look up to thine and to thy Son's above! 
917   Ave Maria! oh that face so fair! 
918      Those downcast eyes beneath the Almighty dove--- 
919   What though 'tis but a pictured image strike--- 
920   That painting is no idol, 'tis too like. 


921   Some kinder casuists are pleased to say, 
922      In nameless print---that I have no devotion; 
923   But set those persons down with me to pray, 
924      And you shall see who has the properest notion 
925   Of getting into Heaven the shortest way; 
926      My altars are the mountains and the ocean, 
927   Earth, air, stars,---all that springs from the great Whole, 
928   Who hath produced, and will receive the soul. 


929   Sweet hour of twilight!---in the solitude 
930      Of the pine forest, and the silent shore 
931   Which bounds Ravenna's immemorial wood, 
932      Rooted where once the Adrian wave flow'd o'er, 
933   To where the last Cesarean fortress stood, 
934      Evergreen forest! which Boccaccio's lore 
935   And Dryden's lay made haunted ground to me, 
936   How have I loved the twilight hour and thee! 


937   The shrill cicalas, people of the pine, 
938      Making their summer lives one ceaseless song, 
939   Were the sole echos, save my steed's and mine, 
940      And vesper bell's that rose the boughs along; 
941   The spectre huntsman of Onesti's line, 
942      His hell-dogs, and their chase, and the fair throng, 
943   Which learn'd from this example not to fly 
944   From a true lover, shadow'd my mind's eye. 


945   Oh Hesperus! thou bringest all good things--- 
946      Home to the weary, to the hungry cheer, 
947   To the young bird the parent's brooding wings, 
948      The welcome stall to the o'erlabour'd steer; 
949   Whate'er of peace about our hearthstone clings, 
950      Whate'er our household gods protect of dear, 
951   Are gather'd round us by thy look of rest; 
952   Thou bring'st the child, too, to the mother's breast. 


953   Soft hour! which wakes the wish and melts the heart 
954      Of those who sail the seas, on the first day 
955   When they from their sweet friends are torn apart; 
956      Or fills with love the pilgrim on his way 
957   As the far bell of vesper makes him start, 
958      Seeming to weep the dying day's decay; 
959   Is this a fancy which our reason scorns? 
960   Ah! surely nothing dies but something mourns! 


961   When Nero perish'd by the justest doom 
962      Which ever the destroyer yet destroy'd, 
963   Amidst the roar of liberated Rome, 
964      Of nations freed, and the world overjoy'd, 
965   Some hands unseen strew'd flowers upon his tomb: 
966      Perhaps the weakness of a heart not void 
967   Of feeling for some kindness done when power 
968   Had left the wretch an uncorrupted hour. 


969   But I'm digressing; what on earth has Nero, 
970      Or any such like sovereign buffoons, 
971   To do with the transactions of my hero, 
972      More than such madmen's fellow man---the moon's? 
973   Sure my invention must be down at zero, 
974      And I grown one of many "wooden spoons" 
975   Of verse (the name with which we Cantabs please 
976   To dub the last of honours in degrees). 


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