Page images
PDF
EPUB

Of this I'm sure at least, there's no servility

In mine irregularity of chime,
Which rings what's uppermost of new or hoarv
Just as I feel the “ Improvvisatore.”

XXI.

6 Omnia vult belle Matho dicere-dic aliquando

Et bene, dic neutrum, dic aliquando male." (1) The first is rather more than mortal can do;

The second may be sadly done or gaily ; The third is still more difficult to stand to;

The fourth we hear, and see, and say too, daily : The whole together is what I could wish To serve in this conundrum of a dish.

XXII.

A modest hope --- but modesty's my forte,

And pride my feeble:- let us ramble on. I meant to make this poem very short,

But now I can't tell where it may not run. No doubt, if I had wish'd to pay my court

To critics, or to hail the setting sun Of tyranny of all kinds,

my

concision Were more ;—but I was born for opposition.

XXIII.
But then 't is mostly on the weaker side ;

So that I verily believe if they
Who now are basking in their full-blown pride

Were shaken down, and“ dogs had had their day," (2) (1) [" Thou finely wouldst say all ? Say something well:

Say something ill, if thou wouldst bear the bell." - ELPHINSTON] (2) [" The cat will mew; the dog will have his day.” Hamlet.]

Though at the first I might perchance deride

Their tumble, I should turn the other way,
And wax an ultra-royalist in loyalty,
Because I hate even democratic royalty.

XIV.

I think I should have made a decent spouse,

If I had never proved the soft condition; I think I should have made monastic vows,

But for my own peculiar superstition : 'Gainst rhyme I never should have knock'd my brow

Nor broken my own head, nor that of Priscian, Nor worn the motley mantle of a poet, If some one had not told me to forego it.())

XXV.

But “ laissez aller"-knights and dames I sing,

Such as the times may furnish. 'Tis a flight Which seems at first to need no lofty wing,

Plumed by Longinus or the Stagyrite:

(1) [The reader has already seen in what style the Edinburgh Reviewers dealt with Lord Byron's early performance (antè, Vol. VII. p. 191.) — the effect which that criticism produced on him at the time (Ibid. p. 223.) – and how he felt the more favourable treatment which he received from the Monthly Review (Ibid. p. 192.). We should not, however, in the page last referred to have forgotten to observe, that the young poet was not less courteously and encouragingly welcomed in another publication. We allude to an article on the “ Hours of Idleness,” by J. H. Markland, Esq., the learned Editor of the Chester Mysteries, which concluded in these terms:-“ We heartily hope, that the illness and depression of spirits, which evidently pervade the greater part of these effusions, are entirely dispelled; and are confident that “George Gordon Lord Byron' will have a conspicuous niche in every future edition of Royal and Noble Alle thors.'” - See Gentleman's Mag. vol. lxxvi. p. 1217.]

The difficulty lies in colouring

(Keeping the due proportions still in sight) With nature manners which are artificial, And rend'ring general that which is especial.

XXVI.

The difference is, that in the days of old

Men made the manners; manners now make

men

Pinn'd like a flock, and fleeced too in their fold,

At least nine, and a ninth beside of ten.
Now this at all events must render cold

Your writers, who must either draw again
Days better drawn before, or else assume
The present, with their common-place costume.

XXVII.

We'll do our best to make the best on't:-March!

March, my Muse! If you cannot fly, yet flutter; And when you may not be sublime, be arch,

Or starch, as are the edicts statesmen utter. We surely may find something worth research:

Columbus found a new world in a cutter, Or brigantine, or pink, of no great tonnage, While yet America was in her non-age. (1)

[ocr errors]

(1) [Three small vessels were apparently all that Columbus had required. Two of them were light barques, called caravels, not superior to river and coasting craft of more modern days. That such long and perilous expe. ditions into unknown seas, should be undertaken in vessels without decks, and that they should live through the violent tempests by which they were frequently assailed, remain among the singular circumstances of those daring voyages. WASHINGTON IRVING.]

XXVIII.

a

When Adeline, in all her growing sense

Of Juan's merits and his situation, Felt on the whole an interest intense,

Partly perhaps because a fresh sensation, Or that he had an air of innocence,

Which is for innocence a sad temptation,As women hate half measures, on the whole, She 'gan to ponder how to save his soul.

XXIX.

She had a good opinion of advice,

Like all who give and eke receive it gratis, For which small thanks are still the market price,

Even where the article at highest rate is : She thought upon the subject twice or thrice,

And morally decided, the best state is For morals, marriage; and this question carried, She seriously advised him to get married.

XXX.

Juan replied, with all becoming deference,

He had a predilection for that tie;
But that, at present, with immediate reference

To his own circumstances, there might lie
Some difficulties, as in his own preference,

Or that of her to whom he might apply: That still he'd wed with such or such a lady, If that they were not married all already,

XXXI.

Next to the making matches for herself,

And daughters, brothers, sisters, kith or kin, Arranging them like books on the same shelf,

There's nothing women love to dabble in More (like a stock-holder in growing pelf)

Than match-making in general ; 't is no sin Certes, but a preventative, and therefore That is, no doubt, the only reason wherefore.

XXXII.

But never yet (except of course a miss

Unwed, or mistress never to be wed, Or wed already, who object to this)

Was there chaste dame who had not in her head
Some drama of the marriage unities,

Observed as strictly both at board and bed,
As those of Aristotle, though sometimes
They turn out melodrames or pantomimes.

XXXIII.

[ocr errors]

They generally have some only son,

Some heir to a large property, some friend
Of an old family, some gay Sir John, [end

Or grave Lord George, with whom perhaps might
A line, and leave posterity undone,

Unless a marriage was applied to mend The

prospect and their morals; and besides, They have at hand a blooming glut of brides.

« PreviousContinue »