Page images


The Lady Adeline, right honourable,
And honour'd, ran a risk of growing less

S so;
For few of the soft sex are very stable

In their resolves — alas ! that I should say so! They differ as wine differs from its label,

When once decanted ;-I presume to guess so, But will not swear : yet both upon occasion, Till old, may undergo adulteration.


But Adeline was of the purest vintage,
The unmingled essence of the grape;


yet Bright as a new Napoleon from its mintage,

Or glorious as a diamond richly set; A page where Time should hesitate to print age,

And for which Nature might forego her debtSole creditor whose process doth involve in't The luck of finding every body solvent.


O Death I thou dunnest of all duns! thou daily

Knockest at doors, at first with modest tap, Like a meek tradesman when, approaching palely,

Some splendid debtor he would take by sap :
But oft denied, as patience 'gins to fail, he

Advances with exasperated rap,
And (if let in) insists, in terms unhandsome,
On ready money or

draft on Ransom.” (1)


(1) (Ransom, Kinnaird, and Co. were Lord Byron's bankers.]


Whate'er thou takest, spare a while poor Beauty !

She is so rare, and thou hast so much prey. What though she now and then may slip from duty,

The more's the reason why you ought to stay. Gaunt Gourmand ! with whole nations for your booty,

You should be civil in a modest way: Suppress, then, some slight feminine diseases, And take as many heroes as Heaven pleases.


Fair Adeline, the more ingenuous

Where she was interested (as was said), Because she was not apt, like some of us,

To like too readily, or too high bred
To show it—(points we need not now discuss) —

Would give up artlessly both heart and head
Unto such feelings as seem'd innocent,
For objects worthy of the sentiment.


Some parts of Juan's history, which Rumour,

That live gazette, had scatter'd to disfigure, She had heard; but women hear with more good

humour Such aberrations than we men of rigour : Besides, his conduct, since in England, grew more

Strict, and his mind assumed a manlier vigour; Because he had, like Alcibiades, The art of living in all climes with ease.(1)

(1) [See Mitford's Greece, vol. iii.]


His manner was perhaps the more seductive,

Because he ne'er seem'd anxious to seduce ;
Nothing affected, studied, or constructive

Of coxcombry or conquest: no abuse
Of his attractions marr’d the fair perspective,

To indicate a Cupidon broke loose,
And seem to say, “ Resist us if you can
Which makes a dandy while it spoils a man.

[ocr errors]


They are wrong - that's not the way to set about it.

As, if they told the truth, could well be shown. But, right or wrong, Don Juan was without it;

In fact, his manner was his own alone: Sincere he was—at least you could not doubt it,

In listening merely to his voice's tone. The devil hath not in all his quiver's choice An arrow for the heart like a sweet voice.


By nature soft, his whole address held off

Suspicion: though not timid, his regard Was such as rather seem'd to keep aloof,

To shield himself than put you on your guard: Perhaps 'twas hardly quite assured enough,

But modesty's at times its own reward, Like virtue; and the absence of pretension Will go much farther than there's need to mention.


Serene, accomplish'd, cheerful but not loud;

Insinuating without insinuation; Observant of the foibles of the crowd,

Yet ne'er betraying this in conversation ; Proud with the proud, yet courteously proud,

So as to make them feel he knew his station And theirs :—without a struggle for priority, He neither brook'd nor claim'd superiority.


That is, with men: with women he was what

They pleased to make or take him for; and their Imagination's quite enough for that:

So that the outline's tolerably fair,
They fill the canvass up-and “ verbum sat.'

If once their phantasies be brought to bear
Upon an object, whether sad or playful,
They can transfigure brighter than a Raphael.(1)


Adeline, no deep judge of character,

Was apt to add a colouring from her own : 'Tis thus the good will amiably err,

And eke the wise, as has been often shown.
Experience is the chief philosopher,

But saddest when his science is well known:
And persecuted sages teach the schools
Their folly in forgetting there are fools.

(1) [Raphael's masterpiece is called the Transfiguration.]


Was it not so, great Locke? and greater Bacon?

Great Socrates? And thou, Diviner still, (1) Whose lot it is by man to be mistaken,

And thy pure creed made sanction of all ill? Redeeming worlds to be by bigots shaken,

How was thy toil rewarded? We might fill Volumes with similar sad illustrations, But leave them to the conscience of the nations.


I perch upon an humbler promontory,

Amidst life's infinite variety :
With no great care for what is nicknamed glory,

But speculating as I cast mine eye
On what may suit or may not suit my story,

And never straining hard to versify,
I rattle on exactly as I'd talk
With any body in a ride or walk.


I don't know that there may be much ability

Shown in this sort of desultory rhyme; But there's a conversational facility,

Which may round off an hour upon a time.

(1) As it is necessary in these times to avoid ambiguity, I say that I mean, by“ Diviner still," CHRIST. If ever God was man - or man God -he was both. I never arraigned his creed, but the use- or abuse-made of it. Mr. Canning one day quoted Christianity to sanction negro slavery, and Mr. Wilberforce had little to say in reply. And was Christ crucified, that black men might be scourged ? If so, he had better been born a Mulatto, to give both colours an equal chance of freedom, or at least salvation

[blocks in formation]
« PreviousContinue »