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


		1

1   When amatory poets sing their loves 
2      In liquid lines mellifluously bland, 
3   And pair their rhymes as Venus yokes her doves, 
4      They little think what mischief is in hand; 
5   The greater their success the worse it proves, 
6      As Ovid's verse may give to understand; 
7   Even Petrarch's self, if judged with due severity, 
8   Is the Platonic pimp of all posterity. 


		2

9   I therefore do denounce all amorous writing, 
10      Except in such a way as not to attract; 
11   Plain---simple---short, and by no means inviting, 
12      But with a moral to each error tacked, 
13   Formed rather for instructing than delighting, 
14      And with all passions in their turn attacked; 
15   Now, if my Pegasus should not be shod ill, 
16   This poem will become a moral model. 


		3

17   The European with the Asian shore 
18      Sprinkled with palaces; the ocean stream 
19   Here and there studded with a seventy-four; 
20      Sophia's cupola with golden gleam; 
21   The cypress groves; Olympus high and hoar; 
22      The twelve isles, and the more than I could dream, 
23   Far less describe, present the very view 
24   Which charmed the charming Mary Montagu. 


		4

25   I have a passion for the name of "Mary," 
26      For once it was a magic sound to me; 
27   And still it half calls up the realms of fairy, 
28      Where I beheld what never was to be; 
29   All feelings changed, but this was last to vary, 
30      A spell from which even yet I am not quite free: 
31   But I grow sad---and let a tale grow cold, 
32   Which must not be pathetically told. 


		5

33   The wind swept down the Euxine, and the wave 
34      Broke foaming o'er the blue Symplegades; 
35   'Tis a grand sight from off "the Giant's Grave" 
36      To watch the progress of those rolling seas 
37   Between the Bosphorus, as they lash and lave 
38      Europe and Asia, you being quite at ease; 
39   There's not a sea the passenger e'er pukes in, 
40   Turns up more dangerous breakers than the Euxine. 


		6

41   'Twas a raw day of Autumn's bleak beginning, 
42      When nights are equal, but not so the days; 
43   The Parcae then cut short the further spinning 
44      Of seamen's fates, and the loud tempests raise 
45   The waters, and repentance for past sinning 
46      In all, who o'er the great deep take their ways: 
47   They vow to amend their lives, and yet they don't; 
48   Because if drown'd, they can't---if spared, they won't. 


		7

49   A crowd of shivering slaves of every nation, 
50      And age, and sex, were in the market ranged; 
51   Each bevy with the merchant in his station: 
52      Poor creatures! their good looks were sadly changed. 
53   All save the blacks seem'd jaded with vexation, 
54      From friends, and home, and freedom far estranged; 
55   The negroes more philosophy display'd,--- 
56   Used to it, no doubt, as eels are to be flay'd. 


		8

57   Juan was juvenile, and thus was full, 
58      As most at his age are, of hope, and health; 
59   Yet I must own, he looked a little dull, 
60      And now and then a tear stole down by stealth; 
61   Perhaps his recent loss of blood might pull 
62      His spirit down; and then the loss of wealth, 
63   A mistress, and such comfortable quarters, 
64   To be put up for auction amongst Tartars, 


		9

65   Were things to shake a stoic; ne'ertheless, 
66      Upon the whole his carriage was serene: 
67   His figure, and the splendour of his dress, 
68      Of which some gilded remnants still were seen, 
69   Drew all eyes on him, giving them to guess 
70      He was above the vulgar by his mien; 
71   And then, though pale, he was so very handsome; 
72   And then---they calculated on his ransom. 


		10

73   Like a backgammon board the place was dotted 
74      With whites and blacks, in groups on show for sale, 
75   Though rather more irregularly spotted: 
76      Some bought the jet, while others chose the pale. 
77   It chanced amongst the other people lotted, 
78      A man of thirty, rather stout and hale, 
79   With resolution in his dark gray eye, 
80   Next Juan stood, till some might choose to buy. 


		11

81   He had an English look; that is, was square 
82      In make, of a complexion white and ruddy, 
83   Good teeth, with curling rather dark brown hair, 
84      And, it might be from thought, or toil, or study, 
85   An open brow a little marked with care: 
86      One arm had on a bandage rather bloody; 
87   And there he stood with such sang-froid that greater 
88   Could scarce be shown even by a mere spectator. 


		12

89   But seeing at his elbow a mere lad, 
90      Of a high spirit evidently, though 
91   At present weighed down by a doom which had 
92      O'erthrown even men, he soon began to show 
93   A kind of blunt compassion for the sad 
94      Lot of so young a partner in the woe, 
95   Which for himself he seem'd to deem no worse 
96   Than any other scrape, a thing of course. 


		13

97   "My boy!"---said he, "amidst this motley crew 
98      Of Georgians, Russians, Nubians, and what not, 
99   All ragamuffins differing but in hue, 
100      With whom it is our luck to cast our lot, 
101   The only gentlemen seem I and you; 
102      So let us be acquainted, as we ought: 
103   If I could yield you any consolation, 
104   'Twould give me pleasure.---Pray, what is your nation?" 


		14

105   When Juan answered "Spanish!" he replied, 
106      "I thought, in fact, you could not be a Greek; 
107   Those servile dogs are not so proudly eyed: 
108      Fortune has played you here a pretty freak, 
109   But that's her way with all men till they're tried; 
110      But never mind,---she'll turn, perhaps, next week; 
111   She has served me also much the same as you, 
112   Except that I have found it nothing new." 


		15

113   "Pray, Sir," said Juan, "if I may presume, 
114       What brought you here?"---"Oh! nothing very rare--- 
115   Six Tartars and a drag-chain---"---"To this doom 
116      But what conducted, if the question's fair, 
117   Is that which I would learn."---"I served for some 
118      Months with the Russian army here and there, 
119   And taking lately, by Suwarrow's bidding, 
120   A town, was ta'en myself instead of Widin." 


		16

121   "Have you no friends?"---"I had---but, by God's blessing, 
122      Have not been troubled with them lately. Now 
123   I have answered all your questions without pressing, 
124      And you an equal courtesy should show."--- 
125   "Alas!" said Juan, "'twere a tale distressing, 
126      And long besides."---"Oh! if 'tis really so, 
127   You're right on both accounts to hold your tongue; 
128   A sad tale saddens doubly when 'tis long. 


		17

129   "But droop not: Fortune at your time of life, 
130      Although a female moderately fickle, 
131   Will hardly leave you (as she's not your wife) 
132      For any length of days in such a pickle. 
133   To strive too with our fate were such a strife 
134      As if the corn-sheaf should oppose the sickle: 
135   Men are the sport of circumstances, when 
136   The circumstances seem the sport of men." 


		18

137   "'Tis not," said Juan, "for my present doom 
138      I mourn, but for the past;---I loved a maid": 
139   He paused, and his dark eye grew full of gloom; 
140      A single tear upon his eyelash staid 
141   A moment, and then dropped; "but to resume, 
142      'Tis not my present lot, as I have said, 
143   Which I deplore so much; for I have borne 
144   Hardships which have the hardiest overworn, 


		19

145   "On the rough deep. But this last blow---" and here 
146      He stopped again, and turned away his face. 
147   "Ay," quoth his friend, "I thought it would appear 
148      That there had been a lady in the case; 
149   And these are things which ask a tender tear, 
150      Such as I too would shed if in your place: 
151   I cried upon my first wife's dying day, 
152   And also when my second ran away: 


		20

153   "My third---"---"Your third!" quoth Juan, turning round; 
154      "You scarcely can be thirty: have you three?" 
155   "No---only two at present above ground: 
156      Surely 'tis nothing wonderful to see 
157   One person thrice in holy wedlock bound!" 
158      "Well, then, your third," said Juan; "what did she? 
159   She did not run away, too, did she, sir?" 
160   "No, faith."---"What then?"---"I ran away from her." 


		21

161   "You take things coolly, sir," said Juan. "Why," 
162      Replied the other, "what can a man do? 
163   There still are many rainbows in your sky, 
164      But mine have vanished. All, when life is new, 
165   Commence with feelings warm and prospects high; 
166      But time strips our illusions of their hue, 
167   And one by one in turn, some grand mistake 
168   Casts off its bright skin yearly like the snake. 


		22

169   "'Tis true, it gets another bright and fresh, 
170      Or fresher, brighter; but the year gone through, 
171   This skin must go the way too of all flesh, 
172      Or sometimes only wear a week or two;--- 
173   Love's the first net which spreads its deadly mesh; 
174      Ambition, Avarice, Vengeance, Glory, glue 
175   The glittering lime-twigs of our latter days, 
176   Where still we flutter on for pence or praise." 


		23

177   "All this is very fine, and may be true," 
178      Said Juan; "but I really don't see how 
179   It betters present times with me or you." 
180      "No?" quoth the other; "yet you will allow 
181   By setting things in their right point of view, 
182      Knowledge, at least, is gained; for instance, now, 
183   We know what slavery is, and our disasters 
184   May teach us better to behave when masters." 


		24

185   "Would we were masters now, if but to try 
186      Their present lessons on our Pagan friends here," 
187   Said Juan---swallowing a heart-burning sigh: 
188      "Heaven help the scholar whom his fortune sends here!" 
189   "Perhaps we shall be one day, by and by," 
190      Rejoined the other, "when our bad luck mends here; 
191   Meantime (yon old black eunuch seems to eye us) 
192   I wish to G---d that somebody would buy us! 


		25

193   "But after all, what is our present state? 
194      'Tis bad, and may be better---all men's lot: 
195   Most men are slaves, none more so than the great, 
196      To their own whims and passions, and what not; 
197   Society itself, which should create 
198      Kindness, destroys what little we had got: 
199   To feel for none is the true social art 
200   Of the world's stoics---men without a heart." 


		26

201   Just now a black old neutral personage 
202      Of the third sex stept up, and peering over 
203   The captives, seemed to mark their looks and age, 
204      And capabilities, as to discover 
205   If they were fitted for the purposed cage: 
206      No lady e'er is ogled by a lover, 
207   Horse by a blackleg, broadcloth by a tailor, 
208   Fee by a counsel, felon by a jailor, 


		27

209   As is a slave by his intended bidder. 
210      'Tis pleasant purchasing our fellow creatures; 
211   And all are to be sold, if you consider 
212      Their passions, and are dext'rous; some by features 
213   Are bought up, others by a warlike leader, 
214      Some by a place---as tend their years or natures; 
215   The most by ready cash---but all have prices, 
216   From crowns to kicks, according to their vices. 


		28

217   The eunuch having eyed them o'er with care, 
218      Turn'd to the merchant, and begun to bid 
219   First but for one, and after for the pair; 
220      They haggled, wrangled, swore, too---so they did! 
221   As though they were in a mere christian fair 
222      Cheapening an ox, an ass, a lamb, or kid; 
223   So that their bargain sounded like a battle 
224   For this superior yoke of human cattle. 


		29

225   At last they settled into simple grumbling, 
226      And pulling out reluctant purses, and 
227   Turning each piece of silver o'er, and tumbling 
228      Some down, and weighing others in their hand, 
229   And by mistake sequins with paras jumbling, 
230      Until the sum was accurately scanned, 
231   And then the merchant giving change, and signing 
232   Receipts in full, began to think of dining. 


		30

233   I wonder if his appetite was good? 
234      Or, if it were, if also his digestion? 
235   Methinks at meals some odd thoughts might intrude, 
236      And conscience ask a curious sort of question, 
237   About the right divine how far we should 
238      Sell flesh and blood. When dinner has opprest one, 
239   I think it is perhaps the gloomiest hour 
240   Which turns up out of the sad twenty-four. 


		31

241   Voltaire says "No": he tells you that Candide 
242      Found life most tolerable after meals; 
243   He's wrong---unless man were a pig, indeed, 
244      Repletion rather adds to what he feels, 
245   Unless he's drunk, and then no doubt he's freed 
246      From his own brain's oppression while it reels. 
247   Of food I think with Philip's son, or rather 
248   Ammon's (ill pleased with one world and one father); 


		32

249   I think with Alexander, that the act 
250      Of eating, with another act or two, 
251   Makes us feel our mortality in fact 
252      Redoubled; when a roast and a ragout, 
253   And fish, and soup, by some side dishes backed, 
254      Can give us either pain or pleasure, who 
255   Would pique himself on intellects, whose use 
256   Depends so much upon the gastric juice? 


		33

257   The other evening ('twas on Friday last)--- 
258      This is a fact and no poetic fable--- 
259   Just as my great coat was about me cast, 
260      My hat and gloves still lying on the table, 
261   I heard a shot---'twas eight o'clock scarce past--- 
262      And running out as fast as I was able, 
263   I found the military commandant 
264   Stretched in the street, and able scarce to pant. 


		34

265   Poor fellow! for some reason, surely bad, 
266      They had slain him with five slugs; and left him there 
267   To perish on the pavement: so I had 
268      Him borne into the house and up the stair, 
269   And stripped, and looked to,---But why should I add 
270      More circumstances? vain was every care; 
271   The man was gone: in some Italian quarrel 
272   Killed by five bullets from an old gun-barrel. 


		35

273   I gazed upon him, for I knew him well; 
274      And though I have seen many corpses, never 
275   Saw one, whom such an accident befell, 
276      So calm; though pierced through stomach, heart, and liver, 
277   He seemed to sleep, for you could scarcely tell 
278      (As he bled inwardly, no hideous river 
279   Of gore divulged the cause) that he was dead: 
280   So as I gazed on him, I thought or said--- 


		36

281   "Can this be death? then what is life or death? 
282      Speak!" but he spoke not: "wake!" but still he slept:--- 
283   "But yesterday and who had mightier breath? 
284      A thousand warriors by his word were kept 
285   In awe: he said, as the centurion saith, 
286      'Go,' and he goeth; 'come,' and forth he stepp'd. 
287   The trump and bugle till he spake were dumb--- 
288   And now nought left him but the muffled drum." 


		37

289   And they who waited once and worshipped---they 
290      With their rough faces thronged about the bed 
291   To gaze once more on the commanding clay 
292      Which for the last though not the first time bled: 
293   And such an end! that he who many a day 
294      Had faced Napoleon's foes until they fled,--- 
295   The foremost in the charge or in the sally, 
296   Should now be butchered in a civic alley. 


		38

297   The scars of his old wounds were near his new, 
298      Those honourable scars which brought him fame; 
299   And horrid was the contrast to the view--- 
300      But let me quit the theme; as such things claim 
301   Perhaps even more attention than is due 
302      From me: I gazed (as oft I have gazed the same) 
303   To try if I could wrench aught out of death 
304   Which should confirm, or shake, or make a faith; 


		39

305   But it was all a mystery. Here we are, 
306      And there we go:---but where? five bits of lead, 
307   Or three, or two, or one, send very far! 
308      And is this blood, then, formed but to be shed? 
309   Can every element our elements mar? 
310      And air---earth---water---fire live---and we dead? 
311   We , whose minds comprehend all things? No more; 
312   But let us to the story as before. 


		40

313   The purchaser of Juan and acquaintance 
314      Bore off his bargains to a gilded boat, 
315   Embarked himself and them, and off they went thence 
316      As fast as oars could pull and water float; 
317   They looked like persons being led to sentence, 
318      Wondering what next, till the caïque was brought 
319   Up in a little creek below a wall 
320   O'ertopped with cypresses dark-green and tall. 


		41

321   Here their conductor tapping at the wicket 
322      Of a small iron door, 'twas opened, and 
323   He led them onward, first through a low thicket 
324      Flank'd by large groves, which tower'd on either hand: 
325   They almost lost their way, and had to pick it--- 
326      For night was closing ere they came to land. 
327   The eunuch made a sign to those on board, 
328   Who rowed off, leaving them without a word. 


		42

329   As they were plodding on their winding way 
330      Through orange bowers, and jasmine, and so forth: 
331   (Of which I might have a good deal to say, 
332      There being no such profusion in the North 
333   Of oriental plants, "et cetera," 
334      But that of late your scribblers think it worth 
335   Their while to rear whole hotbeds in their works 
336   Because one poet travelled 'mongst the Turks): 


		43

337   As they were threading on their way, there came 
338      Into Don Juan's head a thought, which he 
339   Whispered to his companion:---'twas the same 
340      Which might have then occurred to you or me. 
341   "Methinks,"---said he,---"it would be no great shame 
342      If we should strike a stroke to set us free; 
343   Let's knock that old black fellow on the head, 
344   And march away---'twere easier done than said." 


		44

345   "Yes," said the other, "and when done, what then? 
346       How get out? how the devil got we in? 
347   And when we once were fairly out, and when 
348      From Saint Bartholomew we have saved our skin, 
349   To-morrow'd see us in some other den, 
350      And worse off than we hitherto have been; 
351   Besides, I'm hungry, and just now would take, 
352   Like Esau, for my birthright a beef-steak. 


		45

353   "We must be near some place of man's abode;--- 
354      For the old negro's confidence in creeping, 
355   With his two captives, by so queer a road, 
356      Shows that he thinks his friends have not been sleeping; 
357   A single cry would bring them all abroad: 
358      'Tis therefore better looking before leaping--- 
359   And there, you see, this turn has brought us through. 
360   By Jove, a noble palace!---lighted too." 


		46

361   It was indeed a wide extensive building 
362      Which opened on their view, and o'er the front 
363   There seemed to be besprent a deal of gilding 
364      And various hues, as is the Turkish wont,--- 
365   A gaudy taste; for they are little skilled in 
366      The arts of which these lands were once the font: 
367   Each villa on the Bosphorus looks a screen 
368   New painted, or a pretty opera-scene. 


		47

369   And nearer as they came, a genial savour 
370      Of certain stews, and roast-meats, and pilaus, 
371   Things which in hungry mortals' eyes find favour, 
372      Made Juan in his harsh intentions pause, 
373   And put himself upon his good behaviour: 
374      His friend, too, adding a new saving clause, 
375   Said, "In Heaven's name let's get some supper now, 
376   And then I'm with you, if you're for a row." 


		48

377   Some talk of an appeal unto some passion, 
378      Some to men's feelings, others to their reason; 
379   The last of these was never much the fashion, 
380      For reason thinks all reasoning out of season. 
381   Some speakers whine, and others lay the lash on, 
382      But more or less continue still to tease on, 
383   With arguments according to their "forte": 
384   But no one ever dreams of being short.--- 


		49

385   But I digress: of all appeals,---although 
386      I grant the power of pathos, and of gold, 
387   Of beauty, flattery, threats, a shilling,---no 
388      Method's more sure at moments to take hold 
389   Of the best feelings of mankind, which grow 
390      More tender, as we every day behold, 
391   Than that all-softening, over-powering knell, 
392   The tocsin of the soul---the dinner bell. 


		50

393   Turkey contains no bells, and yet men dine; 
394      And Juan and his friend, albeit they heard 
395   No christian knoll to table, saw no line 
396      Of lacqueys usher to the feast prepared, 
397   Yet smelt roast-meat, beheld a huge fire shine, 
398      And cooks in motion with their clean arms bared, 
399   And gazed around them to the left and right 
400   With the prophetic eye of appetite. 


		51

401   And giving up all notions of resistance, 
402      They followed close behind their sable guide, 
403   Who little thought that his own cracked existence 
404      Was on the point of being set aside: 
405   He motioned them to stop at some small distance, 
406      And knocking at the gate, 'twas opened wide, 
407   And a magnificent large hall displayed 
408   The Asian pomp of Ottoman parade. 


		52

409   I won't describe; description is my forte, 
410      But every fool describes in these bright days 
411   His wond'rous journey to some foreign court, 
412      And spawns his quarto, and demands your praise--- 
413   Death to his publisher, to him 'tis sport; 
414      While Nature, tortured twenty thousand ways, 
415   Resigns herself with exemplary patience 
416   To guide-books, rhymes, tours, sketches, illustrations. 


		53

417   Along this hall, and up and down, some, squatted 
418      Upon their hams, were occupied at chess; 
419   Others in monosyllable talk chatted, 
420      And some seemed much in love with their own dress, 
421   And divers smoked superb pipes decorated 
422      With amber mouths of greater price or less; 
423   And several strutted, others slept, and some 
424   Prepared for supper with a glass of rum. 


		54

425   As the black eunuch entered with his brace 
426      Of purchased Infidels, some raised their eyes 
427   A moment without slackening from their pace; 
428      But those who sate, ne'er stirred in any wise: 
429   One or two stared the captives in the face, 
430      Just as one views a horse to guess his price; 
431   Some nodded to the negro from their station, 
432   But no one troubled him with conversation. 


		55

433   He leads them through the hall, and, without stopping, 
434      On through a farther range of goodly rooms, 
435   Splendid but silent, save in one , where, dropping, 
436      A marble fountain echoes through the glooms 
437   Of night, which robe the chamber, or where popping 
438      Some female head most curiously presumes 
439   To thrust its black eyes through the door or lattice, 
440   As wondering what the devil noise that is. 


		56

441   Some faint lamps gleaming from the lofty walls 
442      Gave light enough to hint their farther way, 
443   But not enough to show the imperial halls 
444      In all the flashing of their full array; 
445   Perhaps there's nothing---I'll not say appals, 
446      But saddens more by night as well as day, 
447   Than an enormous room without a soul 
448   To break the lifeless splendor of the whole. 


		57

449   Two or three seem so little, one seems nothing: 
450      In deserts, forests, crowds, or by the shore, 
451   There solitude, we know, has her full growth in 
452      The spots which were her realms for evermore; 
453   But in a mighty hall or gallery, both in 
454      More modern buildings and those built of yore, 
455   A kind of death comes o'er us all alone 
456   Seeing what's meant for many with but one. 


		58

457   A neat, snug study on a winter's night, 
458      A book, friend, single lady, or a glass 
459   Of claret, sandwich, and an appetite, 
460      Are things which make an English evening pass; 
461   Though certes by no means so grand a sight 
462      As is a theatre lit up by gas. 
463   I pass my evenings in long galleries solely, 
464   And that's the reason I'm so melancholy. 


		59

465   Alas! man makes that great which makes him little: 
466      I grant you in a church 'tis very well: 
467   What speaks of Heaven should by no means be brittle, 
468      But strong and lasting, till no tongue can tell 
469   Their names who reared it; but huge houses fit ill--- 
470      And huge tombs worse---mankind, since Adam fell: 
471   Methinks the story of the tower of Babel 
472   Might teach them this much better than I'm able. 


		60

473   Babel was Nimrod's hunting-box, and then 
474      A town of gardens, walls, and wealth amazing, 
475   Where Nabuchadonosor, king of men, 
476      Reign'd, till one summer's day he took to grazing, 
477   And Daniel tamed the lions in their den, 
478      The people's awe and admiration raising; 
479   'Twas famous, too, for Thisbe and for Pyramus, 
480   And the calumniated Queen Semiramis.--- 


		61

481   That injured Queen, by Chroniclers so coarse 
482      Has been accused (I doubt not by conspiracy) 
483   Of an improper friendship for her horse 
484      (Love, like religion, sometimes runs to heresy): 
485   This monstrous tale had probably its source 
486      (For such exaggerations here and there I see) 
487   In writing "Courser" by mistake for "Courier": 
488   I wish the case could come before a jury here. 


		62

489   But to resume,---should there be (what may not 
490      Be in these days?) some infidels, who don't, 
491   Because they can't, find out the very spot 
492      Of that same Babel, or because they won't, 
493   (Though Claudius Rich, Esquire, some bricks has got 
494      And written lately two memoirs upon't) 
495   Believe the Jews, those unbelievers, who 
496   Must be believed, though they believe not you. 


		63

497   Yet let them think that Horace has exprest 
498      Shortly and sweetly the masonic folly 
499   Of those, forgetting the great place of rest, 
500      Who give themselves to architecture wholly; 
501   We know where things and men must end at best: 
502      A moral (like all morals) melancholy, 
503   And "Et sepulchri immemor struis domos" 
504   Shows that we build when we should but entomb us. 


		64

505   At last they reached a quarter most retired, 
506      Where echo woke as if from a long slumber; 
507   Though full of all things which could be desired, 
508      One wondered what to do with such a number 
509   Of articles which nobody required; 
510      Here wealth had done its utmost to encumber 
511   With furniture an exquisite apartment, 
512   Which puzzled nature much to know what art meant. 


		65

513   It seemed, however, but to open on 
514      A range or suite of further chambers, which 
515   Might lead to heaven knows where; but in this one 
516      The moveables were prodigally rich: 
517   Sofas 'twas half a sin to sit upon, 
518      So costly were they; carpets every stitch 
519   Of workmanship so rare, they made you wish 
520   You could glide o'er them like a golden fish. 


		66

521   The black, however, without hardly deigning 
522      A glance at that which wrapt the slaves in wonder, 
523   Trampled what they scarce trod for fear of staining, 
524      As if the milky way their feet was under 
525   With all its stars; and with a stretch attaining 
526      A certain press or cupboard niched in yonder 
527   In that remote recess which you may see--- 
528   Or if you don't the fault is not in me, 


		67

529   I wish to be perspicuous; and the black, 
530      I say, unlocking the recess, pulled forth 
531   A quantity of clothes fit for the back 
532      Of any Mussulman, whate'er his worth; 
533   And of variety there was no lack--- 
534      And yet, though I have said there was no dearth; 
535   He chose himself to point out what he thought 
536   Most proper for the Christians he had bought. 


		68

537   The suit he thought most suitable to each 
538      Was, for the elder and the stouter, first 
539   A candiote cloak, which to the knee might reach, 
540      And trowsers not so tight that they would burst, 
541   But such as fit an Asiatic breech; 
542      A shawl, whose folds in Cashmire had been nurst, 
543   Slippers of saffron, dagger rich and handy; 
544   In short, all things which form a Turkish Dandy. 


		69

545   While he was dressing, Baba, their black friend, 
546      Hinted the vast advantages which they 
547   Might probably obtain both in the end, 
548      If they would but pursue the proper way 
549   Which Fortune plainly seemed to recommend; 
550      And then he added, that he needs must say, 
551   "'Twould greatly tend to better their condition, 
552   If they would condescend to circumcision. 


		70

553   "For his own part, he really should rejoice 
554      To see them true believers, but no less 
555   Would leave his proposition to their choice." 
556      The other, thanking him for this excess 
557   Of goodness, in thus leaving them a voice 
558      In such a trifle, scarcely could express 
559   Sufficiently (he said) his approbation 
560   Of all the customs of this polished nation. 


		71

561   "For his own share---he saw but small objection 
562      To so respectable an ancient rite; 
563   And, after swallowing down a slight refection, 
564      For which he owned a present appetite, 
565   He doubted not a few hours of reflection 
566      Would reconcile him to the business quite." 
567   "Will it?" said Juan, sharply; "Strike me dead 
568   But they as soon shall circumcise my head! 


		72

569   "Cut off a thousand heads, before---"---"Now, pray," 
570      Replied the other, "do not interrupt: 
571   You put me out in what I had to say. 
572      Sir!---as I said, as soon as I have supt, 
573   I shall perpend if your proposal may 
574      Be such as I can properly accept; 
575   Provided always your great goodness still 
576   Remits the matter to our own free-will." 


		73

577   Baba eyed Juan, and said, "Be so good 
578      As dress yourself---" and pointed out a suit 
579   In which a Princess with great pleasure would 
580      Array her limbs; but Juan standing mute, 
581   As not being in a masquerading mood, 
582      Gave it a slight kick with his christian foot; 
583   And when the old negro told him to "Get ready," 
584   Replied, "Old gentleman, I'm not a lady." 


		74

585   "What you may be, I neither know nor care," 
586      Said Baba; "but pray do as I desire: 
587   I have no more time nor many words to spare." 
588      "At least," said Juan, "sure I may inquire 
589   The cause of this odd travesty?"---"Forbear," 
590      Said Baba, "to be curious; 'twill transpire, 
591   No doubt, in proper place, and time, and season: 
592   I have no authority to tell the reason." 


		75

593   "Then if I do," said Juan, "I'll be---" "Hold!" 
594      Rejoined the Negro, "pray be not provoking; 
595   This spirit's well, but it may wax too bold, 
596      And you will find us not too fond of joking." 
597   "What, sir," said Juan, "shall it e'er be told 
598      That I unsexed my dress?" But Baba stroking 
599   The things down, said---"Incense me, and I call 
600   Those who will leave you of no sex at all. 


		76

601   "I offer you a handsome suit of clothes: 
602      A woman's, true; but then there is a cause 
603   Why you should wear them."---"What, though my soul loathes 
604      The effeminate garb?"---thus, after a short pause, 
605   Sighed Juan, muttering also some slight oaths, 
606      "What the devil shall I do with all this gauze?" 
607   Thus he profanely termed the finest lace 
608   Which e'er set off a marriage-morning face. 


		77

609   And then he swore; and, sighing, on he slipped 
610      A pair of trowsers of flesh-coloured silk, 
611   Next with a virgin zone he was equipped, 
612      Which girt a slight chemise as white as milk; 
613   But tugging on his petticoat he tripped, 
614      Which---as we say---or as the Scotch say whilk , 
615   (The rhyme obliges me to this; sometimes 
616   Monarchs are less imperative than rhymes)--- 


		78

617   Whilk, which (or what you please), was owing to 
618      His garment's novelty, and his being awkward; 
619   And yet at last he managed to get through 
620      His toilet, though no doubt a little backward: 
621   The negro Baba helped a little too, 
622      When some untoward part of raiment stuck hard; 
623   And, wrestling both his arms into a gown, 
624   He paused and took a survey up and down. 


		79

625   One difficulty still remained,---his hair 
626      Was hardly long enough; but Baba found 
627   So many false long tresses all to spare, 
628      That soon his head was most completely crowned, 
629   After the manner then in fashion there; 
630      And this addition with such gems was bound 
631   As suited the ensemble of his toilet, 
632   While Baba made him comb his head and oil it. 


		80

633   And now being femininely all arrayed, 
634      With some small aid from scissors, paint, and tweezers, 
635   He looked in almost all respects a maid, 
636      And Baba smilingly exclaimed, "You see, sirs, 
637   A perfect transformation here displayed; 
638      And now, then, you must come along with me, sirs, 
639   That is---the Lady": clapping his hands twice, 
640   Four blacks were at his elbow in a trice. 


		81

641   "You, sir," said Baba, nodding to the one, 
642      "Will please to accompany those gentlemen 
643   To supper; but you, worthy christian nun, 
644      Will follow me; no trifling, sir; for when 
645   I say a thing, it must at once be done. 
646      What fear you? think you this a lion's den? 
647   Why, 'tis a palace; where the truly wise 
648   Anticipate the Prophet's paradise. 


		82

649   "You fool! I tell you no one means you harm." 
650      "So much the better," Juan said, "for them; 
651   Else they shall feel the weight of this my arm, 
652      Which is not quite so light as you may deem. 
653   I yield thus far; but soon will break the charm 
654      If any take me for that which I seem: 
655   So that I trust for every body's sake, 
656   That this disguise may lead to no mistake." 


		83

657   "Blockhead! come on, and see," quoth Baba; while 
658      Don Juan, turning to his comrade, who 
659   Though somewhat grieved, could scarce forbear a smile 
660      Upon the metamorphosis in view, 
661   "Farewell!" they mutually exclaimed: "this soil 
662      Seems fertile in adventures strange and new; 
663   One's turned half mussulman, and one a maid, 
664   By this old black enchanter's unsought aid. 


		84

665   "Farewell!" said Juan; "should we meet no more, 
666      I wish you a good appetite."---"Farewell!" 
667   Replied the other; "though it grieves me sore; 
668      When we next meet, we'll have a tale to tell: 
669   We needs must follow when Fate puts from shore. 
670      Keep your good name; though Eve herself once fell." 
671   "Nay," quoth the maid, "the Sultan's self shan't carry me, 
672   Unless his highness promises to marry me." 


		85

673   And thus they parted, each by separate doors; 
674      Baba led Juan onward room by room 
675   Through glittering galleries, and o'er marble floors, 
676      Till a gigantic portal through the gloom, 
677   Haughty and huge, along the distance lowers; 
678      And wafted far arose a rich perfume: 
679   It seemed as though they came upon a shrine, 
680   For all was vast, still, fragrant, and divine. 


		86


681   The giant door was broad, and bright, and high, 
682      Of gilded bronze, and carved in curious guise; 
683   Warriors thereon were battling furiously; 
684      Here stalks the victor, there the vanquished lies; 
685   There captives led in triumph droop the eye, 
686      And in perspective many a squadron flies: 
687   It seems the work of times before the line 
688   Of Rome transplanted fell with Constantine. 


		87

689   This massy portal stood at the wide close 
690      Of a huge hall, and on its either side 
691   Two little dwarfs, the least you could suppose, 
692      Were sate, like ugly imps, as if allied 
693   In mockery to the enormous gate which rose 
694      O'er them in almost pyramidic pride: 
695   The gate so splendid was in all its features , 
696   You never thought about those little creatures, 


		88

697   Until you nearly trod on them, and then 
698      You started back in horror to survey 
699   The wond'rous hideousness of those small men, 
700      Whose colour was not black, nor white, nor gray, 
701   But an extraneous mixture, which no pen 
702      Can trace, although perhaps the pencil may; 
703   They were misshapen pigmies, deaf and dumb--- 
704   Monsters, who cost a no less monstrous sum. 


		89

705   Their duty was---for they were strong, and though 
706      They looked so little, did strong things at times--- 
707   To ope this door, which they could really do, 
708      The hinges being as smooth as Rogers' rhymes; 
709   And now and then with tough strings of the bow, 
710      As is the custom of those eastern climes, 
711   To give some rebel Pacha a cravat; 
712   For mutes are generally used for that. 


		90

713   They spoke by signs---that is, not spoke at all; 
714      And looking like two incubi, they glared 
715   As Baba with his fingers made them fall 
716      To heaving back the portal folds: it scared 
717   Juan a moment, as this pair so small, 
718      With shrinking serpent optics on him stared; 
719   It was as if their little looks could poison 
720   Or fascinate whome'er they fixed their eyes on. 


		91

721   Before they entered, Baba paused to hint 
722      To Juan some slight lessons as his guide: 
723   "If you could just contrive," he said, "to stint 
724      That somewhat manly majesty of stride, 
725   'Twould be as well, and,---(though there's not much in't) 
726      To swing a little less from side to side, 
727   Which has at times an aspect of the oddest; 
728   And also could you look a little modest, 


		92

729   "'Twould be convenient; for these mutes have eyes 
730      Like needles, which may pierce those petticoats; 
731   And if they should discover your disguise, 
732      You know how near us the deep Bosphorus floats; 
733   And you and I may chance ere morning rise, 
734      To find our way to Marmora without boats, 
735   Stitched up in sacks---a mode of navigation 
736   A good deal practised here upon occasion." 


		93

737   With this encouragement, he led the way 
738      Into a room still nobler than the last; 
739   A rich confusion formed a disarray 
740      In such sort, that the eye along it cast 
741   Could hardly carry any thing away, 
742      Object on object flashed so bright and fast; 
743   A dazzling mass of gems, and gold, and glitter, 
744   Magnificently mingled in a litter. 


		94

745   Wealth had done wonders---taste not much; such things 
746      Occur in orient palaces, and even 
747   In the more chastened domes of western kings 
748      (Of which I have also seen some six or seven) 
749   Where I can't say or gold or diamond flings 
750      Great lustre, there is much to be forgiven; 
751   Groups of bad statues, tables, chairs, and pictures, 
752   On which I cannot pause to make my strictures. 


		95

753   In this imperial hall, at distance lay 
754      Under a canopy, and there reclined 
755   Quite in a confidential queenly way, 
756      A lady; Baba stopped, and kneeling signed 
757   To Juan, who though not much used to pray, 
758      Knelt down by instinct, wondering in his mind 
759   What all this meant: while Baba bowed and bended 
760   His head, until the ceremony ended. 


		96

761   The lady rising up with such an air 
762      As Venus rose with from the wave, on them 
763   Bent like an antelope a Paphian pair 
764      Of eyes, which put out each surrounding gem; 
765   And raising up an arm as moonlight fair, 
766      She signed to Baba, who first kissed the hem 
767   Of her deep-purple robe, and speaking low, 
768   Pointed to Juan, who remained below. 


		97

769   Her presence was as lofty as her state; 
770      Her beauty of that overpowering kind, 
771   Whose force description only would abate: 
772      I'd rather leave it much to your own mind, 
773   Than lessen it by what I could relate 
774      Of forms and features; it would strike you blind 
775   Could I do justice to the full detail; 
776   So, luckily for both, my phrases fail. 


		98

777   This much however I may add,---her years 
778      Were ripe, they might make six and twenty springs, 
779   But there are forms which Time to touch forbears, 
780      And turns aside his scythe to vulgar things, 
781   Such as was Mary's Queen of Scots; true---tears 
782      And love destroy; and sapping sorrow wrings 
783   Charms from the charmer, yet some never grow 
784   Ugly; for instance---Ninon de l'Enclos. 


		99

785   She spake some words to her attendants, who 
786      Composed a choir of girls, ten or a dozen, 
787   And were all clad alike; like Juan, too, 
788      Who wore their uniform, by Baba chosen: 
789   They formed a very nymph-like looking crew, 
790      Which might have called Diana's chorus "cousin," 
791   As far as outward show may correspond; 
792   I won't be bail for any thing beyond. 


		100

793   They bowed obeisance and withdrew, retiring, 
794      But not by the same door through which came in 
795   Baba and Juan, which last stood admiring, 
796      At some small distance, all he saw within 
797   This strange saloon, much fitted for inspiring 
798      Marvel and praise; for both or none things win; 
799   And I must say, I ne'er could see the very 
800   Great happiness of the "Nil Admirari." 


		101

801   "Not to admire is all the art I know" 
802      (Plain truth, dear Murray, needs few flowers of speech) 
803   "To make men happy, or to keep them so"; 
804      (So take it in the very words of Creech). 
805   Thus Horace wrote we all know long ago; 
806      And thus Pope quotes the precept to re-teach 
807   From his translation; but had none admired , 
808   Would Pope have sung, or Horace been inspired? 


		102

809   Baba, when all the damsels were withdrawn, 
810      Motioned to Juan to approach, and then 
811   A second time desired him to kneel down, 
812      And kiss the lady's foot; which maxim when 
813   He heard repeated, Juan with a frown 
814      Drew himself up to his full height again, 
815   And said, "It grieved him, but he could not stoop 
816   To any shoe, unless it shod the Pope." 


		103

817   Baba, indignant at this ill-timed pride, 
818      Made fierce remonstrances, and then a threat 
819   He muttered (but the last was given aside) 
820      About a bow-string---quite in vain; not yet 
821   Would Juan bend, though 'twere to Mahomet's bride: 
822      There's nothing in the world like etiquette 
823   In kingly chambers or imperial halls, 
824   As also at the race and county balls 


		104

825   He stood like Atlas, with a world of words 
826      About his ears, and nathless would not bend; 
827   The blood of all his line's Castilian lords 
828      Boiled in his veins, and rather than descend 
829   To stain his pedigree, a thousand swords 
830      A thousand times of him had made an end; 
831   At length perceiving the " foot " could not stand, 
832   Baba proposed that he should kiss the hand. 


		105

833   Here was an honourable compromise, 
834      A half-way house of diplomatic rest, 
835   Where they might meet in much more peaceful guise; 
836      And Juan now his willingness exprest, 
837   To use all fit and proper courtesies, 
838      Adding, that this was commonest and best, 
839   For through the South, the custom still commands 
840   The gentleman, to kiss the lady's hands. 


		106

841   And he advanced, though with but a bad grace, 
842      Though on more thorough-bred or fairer fingers 
843   No lips e'er left their transitory trace: 
844      On such as these the lip too fondly lingers, 
845   And for one kiss would fain imprint a brace, 
846      As you will see, if she you love shall bring hers 
847   In contact; and sometimes even a fair stranger's 
848   An almost twelvemonth's constancy endangers. 


		107

849   The lady eyed him o'er and o'er, and bade 
850      Baba retire, which he obeyed in style, 
851   As if well-used to the retreating trade; 
852      And taking hints in good part all the while, 
853   He whispered Juan not to be afraid, 
854      And looking on him with a sort of smile, 
855   Took leave, with such a face of satisfaction, 
856   As good men wear who have done a virtuous action. 


		108

857   When he was gone, there was a sudden change: 
858      I know not what might be the lady's thought, 
859   But o'er her bright brow flashed a tumult strange, 
860      And into her clear cheek the blood was brought, 
861   Blood-red as sunset summer clouds which range 
862      The verge of Heaven; and in her large eyes wrought 
863   A mixture of sensations might be scanned, 
864   Of half-voluptuousness and half command. 


		109

865   Her form had all the softness of her sex, 
866      Her features all the sweetness of the devil, 
867   When he put on the cherub to perplex 
868      Eve, and paved (God knows how) the road to evil; 
869   The sun himself was scarce more free from specks 
870      Than she from aught at which the eye could cavil; 
871   Yet, somehow, there was something somewhere wanting, 
872   As if she rather ordered than was granting .--- 


		110

873   Something imperial, or imperious, threw 
874      A chain o'er all she did; that is, a chain 
875   Was thrown as 'twere about the neck of you,--- 
876      And rapture's self will seem almost a pain 
877   With aught which looks like despotism in view: 
878      Our souls at least are free, and 'tis in vain 
879   We would against them make the flesh obey--- 
880   The spirit in the end will have its way. 


		111

881   Her very smile was haughty, though so sweet; 
882      Her very nod was not an inclination; 
883   There was a self-will even in her small feet, 
884      As though they were quite conscious of her station--- 
885   They trod as upon necks; and to complete 
886      Her state, (it is the custom of her nation), 
887   A poniard decked her girdle, as the sign 
888   She was a sultan's bride, (thank Heaven, not mine). 


		112

889   "To hear and to obey" had been from birth 
890      The law of all around her; to fulfil 
891   All phantasies which yielded joy or mirth, 
892      Had been her slaves' chief pleasure, as her will; 
893   Her blood was high, her beauty scarce of earth: 
894      Judge, then, if her caprices e'er stood still; 
895   Had she but been a Christian, I've a notion 
896   We should have found out the "perpetual motion." 


		113

897   Whate'er she saw and coveted was brought; 
898      Whate'er she did not see, if she supposed 
899   It might be seen, with diligence was sought, 
900      And when 'twas found straightway the bargain closed: 
901   There was no end unto the things she bought, 
902      Nor to the trouble which her fancies caused; 
903   Yet even her tyranny had such a grace, 
904   The women pardoned all except her face. 


		114

905   Juan, the latest of her whims, had caught 
906      Her eye in passing on his way to sale; 
907   She ordered him directly to be bought, 
908      And Baba, who had ne'er been known to fail 
909   In any kind of mischief to be wrought, 
910      At all such auctions knew how to prevail: 
911   She had no prudence, but he had; and this 
912   Explains the garb which Juan took amiss. 


		115

913   His youth and features favoured the disguise, 
914      And, should you ask how she, a sultan's bride, 
915   Could risk or compass such strange phantasies, 
916      This I must leave sultanas to decide: 
917   Emperors are only husbands in wives' eyes, 
918      And kings and consorts oft are mystified, 
919   As we may ascertain with due precision, 
920   Some by experience, others by tradition. 


		116

921   But to the main point, where we have been tending:--- 
922      She now conceived all difficulties past, 
923   And deemed herself extremely condescending 
924      When, being made her property at last, 
925   Without more preface, in her blue eyes blending 
926      Passion and power, a glance on him she cast, 
927   And merely saying, "Christian, canst thou love?" 
928   Conceived that phrase was quite enough to move. 


		117

929   And so it was, in proper time and place; 
930      But Juan, who had still his mind o'erflowing 
931   With Haidée's isle and soft Ionian face, 
932      Felt the warm blood, which in his face was glowing, 
933   Rush back upon his heart, which filled apace, 
934      And left his cheeks as pale as snowdrops blowing: 
935   These words went through his soul like Arab-spears, 
936   So that he spoke not, but burst into tears. 


		118

937   She was a good deal shocked; not shocked at tears, 
938      For women shed and use them at their liking; 
939   But there is something when man's eye appears 
940      Wet, still more disagreeable and striking: 
941   A woman's tear-drop melts, a man's half sears, 
942      Like molten lead, as if you thrust a pike in 
943   His heart to force it out, for (to be shorter) 
944   To them 'tis a relief, to us a torture. 


		119

945   And she would have consoled, but knew not how; 
946      Having no equals, nothing which had e'er 
947   Infected her with sympathy till now, 
948      And never having dreamt what 'twas to bear 
949   Aught of a serious sorrowing kind, although 
950      There might arise some pouting petty care 
951   To cross her brow, she wondered how so near 
952   Her eyes another's eye could shed a tear. 


		120

953   But nature teaches more than power can spoil, 
954      And, when a strong although a strange sensation, 
955   Moves---female hearts are such a genial soil 
956      For kinder feelings, whatsoe'er their nation, 
957   They naturally pour the "wine and oil," 
958      Samaritans in every situation; 
959   And thus Gulbeyaz, though she knew not why, 
960   Felt an odd glistening moisture in her eye. 


		121

961   But tears must stop like all things else; and soon 
962      Juan, who for an instant had been moved 
963   To such a sorrow by the intrusive tone 
964      Of one who dared to ask if "he had loved," 
965   Called back the stoic to his eyes, which shone 
966      Bright with the very weakness he reproved; 
967   And although sensitive to beauty, he 
968   Felt most indignant still at not being free. 


		122

969   Gulbeyaz, for the first time in her days, 
970      Was much embarrassed, never having met 
971   In all her life with aught save prayers and praise; 
972      And as she also risked her life to get 
973   Him whom she meant to tutor in love's ways 
974      Into a comfortable tête-à-tête, 
975   To lose the hour would make her quite a martyr, 
976   And they had wasted now almost a quarter. 


		123

977   I also would suggest the fitting time, 
978      To gentlemen in any such like case, 
979   That is to say---in a meridian clime, 
980      With us there is more law given to the chase, 
981   But here a small delay forms a great crime: 
982      So recollect that the extremest grace 
983   Is just two minutes for your declaration--- 
984   A moment more would hurt your reputation. 


		124

985   Juan's was good; and might have been still better, 
986      But he had got Haidée into his head: 
987   However strange, he could not yet forget her, 
988      Which made him seem exceedingly ill-bred. 
989   Gulbeyaz, who looked on him as her debtor 
990      For having had him to her palace led, 
991   Began to blush up to the eyes, and then 
992   Grow deadly pale, and then blush back again. 


		125

993   At length, in an imperial way, she laid 
994      Her hand on his, and bending on him eyes, 
995   Which needed not an empire to persuade, 
996      Looked into his for love, where none replies: 
997   Her brow grew black, but she would not upbraid, 
998      That being the last thing a proud woman tries; 
999   She rose, and pausing one chaste moment, threw 
1000   Herself upon his breast, and there she grew. 


		126

1001   This was an awkward test, as Juan found, 
1002      But he was steeled by sorrow, wrath, and pride: 
1003   With gentle force her white arms he unwound, 
1004      And seated her all drooping by his side. 
1005   Then rising haughtily he glanced around, 
1006      And looking coldly in her face, he cried, 
1007   "The prisoned eagle will not pair, nor I 
1008   Serve a sultana's sensual phantasy. 


		127

1009   "Thou ask'st, if I can love? be this the proof 
1010      How much I have loved---that I love not thee! 
1011   In this vile garb, the distaff, web, and woof 
1012      Were fitter for me: Love is for the free! 
1013   I am not dazzled by this splendid roof. 
1014      Whate'er thy power, and great it seems to be, 
1015   Heads bow, knees bend, eyes watch around a throne, 
1016   And hands obey---our hearts are still our own." 


		128

1017   This was a truth to us extremely trite, 
1018      Not so to her, who ne'er had heard such things; 
1019   She deemed her least command must yield delight, 
1020      Earth being only made for queens and kings. 
1021   If hearts lay on the left side or the right 
1022      She hardly knew, to such perfection brings 
1023   Legitimacy its born votaries, when 
1024   Aware of their due royal rights o'er men. 


		129

1025   Besides, as has been said, she was so fair 
1026      As even in a much humbler lot had made 
1027   A kingdom or confusion anywhere, 
1028      And also, as may be presumed, she laid 
1029   Some stress on charms, which seldom are, if e'er, 
1030      By their possessors thrown into the shade: 
1031   She thought hers gave a double "right divine," 
1032   And half of that opinion's also mine. 


		130

1033   Remember, or (if you can not) imagine, 
1034      Ye! who have kept your chastity when young, 
1035   While some more desperate dowager has been waging 
1036      Love with you, and been in the dog-days stung 
1037   By your refusal, recollect her raging! 
1038      Or recollect all that was said or sung 
1039   On such a subject; then suppose the face 
1040   Of a young downright beauty in this case. 


		131

1041   Suppose, but you already have supposed, 
1042      The spouse of Potiphar, the Lady Booby, 
1043   Phedra, and all which story has disclosed 
1044      Of good examples; pity that so few by 
1045   Poets and private tutors are exposed, 
1046      To educate---ye youth of Europe---you by! 
1047   But when you have supposed the few we know, 
1048   You can't suppose Gulbeyaz' angry brow. 


		132

1049   A tigress robbed of young, a lioness, 
1050      Or any interesting beast of prey, 
1051   Are similes at hand for the distress 
1052      Of ladies who cannot have their own way; 
1053   But though my turn will not be served with less, 
1054      These don't express one half what I should say: 
1055   For what is stealing young ones, few or many, 
1056   To cutting short their hopes of having any? 


		133

1057   The love of offspring's nature's general law, 
1058      From tigresses and cubs to ducks and ducklings; 
1059   There's nothing whets the beak or arms the claw 
1060      Like an invasion of their babes and sucklings; 
1061   And all who have seen a human nursery, saw 
1062      How mothers love their children's squalls and chucklings; 
1063   And this extreme effect (to tire no longer 
1064   Your patience) shows the cause must still be stronger. 


		134

1065   If I said fire flashed from Gulbeyaz' eyes, 
1066      'Twere nothing---for her eyes flashed always fire; 
1067   Or said her cheeks assumed the deepest dyes, 
1068      I should but bring disgrace upon the dyer, 
1069   So supernatural was her passion's rise; 
1070      For ne'er till now she knew a checked desire: 
1071   Even ye who know what a checked woman is 
1072   (Enough, God knows!) would much fall short of this. 


		135

1073   Her rage was but a minute's, and 'twas well--- 
1074      A moment's more had slain her; but the while 
1075   It lasted 'twas like a short glimpse of hell: 
1076      Nought's more sublime than energetic bile, 
1077   Though horrible to see, yet grand to tell, 
1078      Like ocean warring 'gainst a rocky isle; 
1079   And the deep passions flashing through her form 
1080   Made her a beautiful embodied storm. 


		136

1081   A vulgar tempest 'twere to a Typhoon 
1082      To match a common fury with her rage, 
1083   And yet she did not want to reach the moon, 
1084      Like moderate Hotspur on the immortal page; 
1085   Her anger pitched into a lower tune, 
1086      Perhaps the fault of her soft sex and age--- 
1087   Her wish was but to "kill, kill, kill," like Lear's, 
1088   And then her thirst of blood was quenched in tears. 


		137

1089   A storm it raged, and like the storm it passed, 
1090      Passed without words---in fact she could not speak; 
1091   And then her sex's shame broke in at last, 
1092      A sentiment till then in her but weak, 
1093   But now it flowed in natural and fast, 
1094      As water through an unexpected leak, 
1095   For she felt humbled---and humiliation 
1096   Is sometimes good for people in her station. 


		138

1097   It teaches them that they are flesh and blood, 
1098      It also gently hints to them that others, 
1099   Although of clay, are yet not quite of mud; 
1100      That urns and pipkins are but fragile brothers, 
1101   And works of the same pottery, bad or good, 
1102      Though not all born of the same sires and mothers: 
1103   It teaches---Heaven knows only what it teaches, 
1104   But sometimes it may mend, and often reaches. 


		139

1105   Her first thought was to cut off Juan's head; 
1106      Her second, to cut only his---acquaintance; 
1107   Her third, to ask him where he had been bred; 
1108      Her fourth, to rally him into repentance; 
1109   Her fifth, to call her maids and go to bed; 
1110      Her sixth, to stab herself; her seventh, to sentence 
1111   The lash to Baba:---but her grand resource 
1112   Was to sit down again, and cry of course. 


		140

1113   She thought to stab herself, but then she had 
1114      The dagger close at hand, which made it awkward; 
1115   For eastern stays are little made to pad, 
1116      So that a poniard pierces if 'tis stuck hard: 
1117   She thought of killing Juan---but, poor lad! 
1118      Though he deserved it well for being so backward, 
1119   The cutting off his head was not the art 
1120   Most likely to attain her aim---his heart. 


		141

1121   Juan was moved: he had made up his mind 
1122      To be impaled, or quartered as a dish 
1123   For dogs, or to be slain with pangs refined, 
1124      Or thrown to lions, or made baits for fish, 
1125   And thus heroically stood resigned, 
1126      Rather than sin---except to his own wish: 
1127   But all his great preparatives for dying 
1128   Dissolved like snow before a woman crying. 


		142

1129   As through his palms Bob Acres' valour oozed, 
1130      So Juan's virtue ebbed, I know not how; 
1131   And first he wondered why he had refused; 
1132      And then, if matters could be made up now; 
1133   And next his savage virtue he accused, 
1134      Just as a friar may accuse his vow, 
1135   Or as a dame repents her of her oath, 
1136   Which mostly ends in some small breach of both. 


		143

1137   So he began to stammer some excuses; 
1138      But words are not enough in such a matter, 
1139   Although you borrowed all that e'er the muses 
1140      Have sung, or even a Dandy's dandiest chatter 
1141   Or all the figures Castlereagh abuses; 
1142      Just as a languid smile began to flatter 
1143   His peace was making, but before he ventured 
1144   Further, old Baba rather briskly entered. 


		144

1145   "Bride of the Sun! and Sister of the Moon!" 
1146      ('Twas thus he spake), "and Empress of the Earth! 
1147   Whose frown would put the spheres all out of tune, 
1148      Whose smile makes all the planets dance with mirth, 
1149   Your slave brings tidings---he hopes not too soon--- 
1150      Which your sublime attention may be worth: 
1151   The Sun himself has sent me like a ray 
1152   To hint that he is coming up this way." 


		145

1153   "Is it," exclaimed Gulbeyaz, "as you say? 
1154      I wish to heaven he would not shine till morning! 
1155   But bid my women form the milky way. 
1156      Hence, my old comet! give the stars due warning--- 
1157   And, christian! mingle with them as you may, 
1158      And as you'd have me pardon your past scorning---" 
1159   Here they were interrupted by a humming 
1160   Sound, and then by a cry, "the sultan's coming!" 


		146

1161   First came her damsels, a decorous file, 
1162      And then his Highness' eunuchs, black and white; 
1163   The train might reach a quarter of a mile: 
1164      His majesty was always so polite 
1165   As to announce his visits a long while 
1166      Before he came, especially at night; 
1167   For being the last wife of the emperor, 
1168   She was of course the favourite of the four. 


		147

1169   His highness was a man of solemn port, 
1170      Shawled to the nose, and bearded to the eyes, 
1171   Snatched from a prison to preside at court, 
1172      His lately bowstrung brother caused his rise; 
1173   He was as good a sovereign of the sort 
1174      As any mentioned in the histories 
1175   Of Cantemir, or Knolles, where few shine 
1176   Save Solyman, the glory of their line. 


		148

1177   He went to mosque in state, and said his prayers 
1178      With more than "Oriental scrupulosity"; 
1179   He left to his vizier all state affairs, 
1180      And showed but little royal curiosity: 
1181   I know not if he had domestic cares--- 
1182      No process proved connubial animosity; 
1183   Four wives and twice five hundred maids, unseen, 
1184   Were ruled as calmly as a christian queen. 


		149

1185   If now and then there happened a slight slip, 
1186      Little was heard of criminal or crime; 
1187   The story scarcely passed a single lip--- 
1188      The sack and sea had settled all in time, 
1189   From which the secret nobody could rip: 
1190      The Public knew no more than does this rhyme; 
1191   No scandals made the daily press a curse--- 
1192   Morals were better, and the fish no worse. 


		150

1193   He saw with his own eyes the moon was round, 
1194      Was also certain that the earth was square, 
1195   Because he had journeyed fifty miles and found 
1196      No sign that it was circular any where; 
1197   His empire also was without a bound: 
1198      'Tis true, a little troubled here and there, 
1199   By rebel pachas, and encroaching giaours, 
1200   But then they never came to "the Seven Towers"; 


		151

1201   Except in shape of envoys, who were sent 
1202      To lodge there when a war broke out, according 
1203   To the true law of nations, which ne'er meant 
1204      Those scoundrels, who have never had a sword in 
1205   Their dirty diplomatic hands, to vent 
1206      Their spleen in making strife, and safely wording 
1207   Their lies, ycleped despatches, without risk or 
1208   The singeing of a single inky whisker. 


		152

1209   He had fifty daughters and four dozen sons, 
1210      Of whom all such as came of age were stowed, 
1211   The former in a palace, where like nuns 
1212      They lived till some Bashaw was sent abroad, 
1213   When she, whose turn it was, was wed at once, 
1214      Sometimes at six years old---though this seems odd, 
1215   'Tis true; the reason is, that the Bashaw 
1216   Must make a present to his sire in law. 


		153

1217   His sons were kept in prison, till they grew 
1218      Of years to fill a bowstring or the throne, 
1219   One or the other, but which of the two 
1220      Could yet be known unto the fates alone; 
1221   Meantime the education they went through 
1222      Was princely, as the proofs have always shown: 
1223   So that the heir apparent still was found 
1224   No less deserving to be hanged than crowned. 


		154

1225   His Majesty saluted his fourth spouse 
1226      With all the ceremonies of his rank, 
1227   Who cleared her sparkling eyes and smoothed her brows, 
1228      As suits a matron who has played a prank; 
1229   These must seem doubly mindful of their vows, 
1230      To save the credit of their breaking bank: 
1231   To no men are such cordial greetings given 
1232   As those whose wives have made them fit for heaven. 


		155

1233   His Highness cast around his great black eyes, 
1234      And looking, as he always looked, perceived 
1235   Juan amongst the damsels in disguise, 
1236      At which he seemed no whit surprised nor grieved, 
1237   But just remarked with air sedate and wise 
1238      While still a fluttering sigh Gulbeyaz heaved, 
1239   "I see you've bought another girl; 'tis pity 
1240   That a mere christian should be half so pretty." 


		156

1241   This compliment, which drew all eyes upon 
1242      The new-bought virgin, made her blush and shake. 
1243   Her comrades, also, thought themselves undone: 
1244      Oh! Mahomet! that his Majesty should take 
1245   Such notice of a giaour, while scarce to one 
1246      Of them his lips imperial ever spake! 
1247   There was a general whisper, toss, and wriggle, 
1248   But etiquette forbade them all to giggle. 


		157

1249   The Turks do well to shut---at least, sometimes--- 
1250      The women up---because in sad reality, 
1251   Their chastity in these unhappy climes 
1252      Is not a thing of that astringent quality, 
1253   Which in the north prevents precocious crimes, 
1254      And makes our snow less pure than our morality; 
1255   The sun, which yearly melts the polar ice, 
1256   Has quite the contrary effect on vice. 


		158

1257   Thus in the East they are extremely strict, 
1258      And Wedlock and a Padlock mean the same; 
1259   Excepting only when the former's pick'd 
1260      It ne'er can be replaced in proper frame; 
1261   Spoilt, as a pipe of claret is when prick'd: 
1262      But then their own Polygamy's to blame; 
1263   Why don't they knead two virtuous souls for life 
1264   Into that moral centaur, man and wife? 


		159

1265   Thus far our chronicle; and now we pause, 
1266      Though not for want of matter; but 'tis time, 
1267   According to the ancient epic laws, 
1268      To slacken sail, and anchor with our rhyme. 
1269   Let this fifth canto meet with due applause, 
1270      The sixth shall have a touch of the sublime; 
1271   Meanwhile, as Homer sometimes sleeps, perhaps 
1272   You'll pardon to my muse a few short naps.