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Through the serene and placid glassy deep,
In any thing, however she might flatter
Intense intentions are a dangerous matter : Impressions were much stronger than she guess'd,
And gather'd as they run like growing water Upon her mind; the more so, as her breast Was not at first too readily impress’d.
But when it was, she had that lurking demon
Of double nature, and thus doubly namedFirmness yclept in heroes, kings, and seamen,
That is, when they succeed; but greatly blamed As obstinacy, both in men and women,
Whene'er their triumph pales, or star is tamed: And 't will perplex the casuist in morality To fix the due bounds of this dangerous quality,
Had Buonaparte won at Waterloo,
It had been firmness ; now 't is pertinacity :
I leave it to your people of sagacity
If such can e'er be drawn by man's capacity :
(1) [See antè, Vol. VIII. p. 164.]
XCI. She knew not her own heart; then how should I?
I think not she was then in love with Juan : If so, she would have had the strength to fly
The wild sensation, unto her a new one: She merely felt a common sympathy
(I will not say it was a false or true one) In him, because she thought he was in danger,Her husband's friend, her own, young, and a stranger,
She was, or thought she was, his friend and this
Without the farce of friendship, or romance Platonism, which leads so oft amiss
Ladies who have studied friendship but in France, Or Germany, where people purely kiss.
To thus much Adeline would not advance; But of such friendship as man's may to man be She was as capable as woman can be.
XCIII No doubt the secret influence
Will there, as also in the ties of blood, An innocent predominance annex,
And tune the concord to a finer mood.
And your true feelings fully understood,
Love bears within its breast the very germ
Of change; and how should this be otherwise ? That violent things more quickly find a term
Is shown through nature's whole analogies ;(1) And how should the most fierce of all be firm ?
Would you have endless lightning in the skies? Methinks Love's very title says enough: How should " the tender passion” e'er be tough?
Alas! by all experience, seldom yet
(I merely quote what I have heard from many) Had lovers not some reason to regret
The passion which made Solomon a zany. I've also seen some wives (not to forget
The marriage state, the best or worst of any) Who were the very paragons of wives, Yet made the misery of at least two lives.
I've also seen some female friends ('tis odd,
But true—as, if expedient, I could prove) That faithful were through thick and thin, abroad,
At home, far more than ever yet was LoveWho did not quit me when Oppression trod
Upon me; whom no scandal could remove; Who fought, and fight, in absence, too, my battles, Despite the snake Society's loud rattles.
[" These violent delights have violent ends,
Grew friends in this or any other sense
At present I am glad of a pretence
And keeps the atrocious reader in suspense ;
Whether they rode, or walk'd, or studied Spanish
To read Don Quixote in the original,
Whether their talk was of the kind call'd “small," Or serious, are the topics I must banish
To the next Canto; where perhaps I shall Say something to the purpose, and display Considerable talent in my way.
Above all, I beg all men to forbear
Anticipating aught about the matter: They'll only make mistakes about the fair,
And Juan too, especially the latter.
Than I have yet done, in this epic satire.
But great things spring from little :- Would you
That in our youth, as dangerous a passion [think, As e'er brought man and woman to the brink
Of ruin, rose from such a slight occasion, As few would ever dream could form the link
Of such a sentimental situation ? You'll never guess, I'll bet you millions, milliards It all sprung from a harmless game at billiards.
'Tis strange, — but true ; for truth is always strange ;
Stranger than fiction : if it could be told, How much would novels gain by the exchange;
How differently the world would men behold!
The new world would be nothing to the old,
What “ antres vast and deserts idle" (1) then
Would be discover'd in the human soul ! What icebergs in the hearts of mighty men,
With self-love in the centre as their pole! What Anthropophagi are nine of ten
Of those who hold the kingdoms in control ! Were things but only call'd by their right name, Cæsar himself would be ashamed of fame.
(1) [Othello, Act I. Sc. iii.]