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XCII.

But though I am temperate theologian,

And also meek as a metaphysician, Impartial between Tyrian and Trojan

As Eldon (1) on a lunatic commission, -In politics my duty is to show John

Bull something of the lower world's condition. It makes my blood boil like the springs of Hecla, (2) To see men let these scoundrel sovereigns break law,

XCIII.

But politics, and policy, and piety,

Are topics which I sometimes introduce, Not only for the sake of their variety,

But as subservient to a moral use;
Because my business is to dress society,
And stuff with

very
verdant

goose. And now, that we may furnish with some matter all Tastes, we are going to try the supernatural.

sage that

XCIV. And now I will give up

all

argument; And positively henceforth no temptation Shall “ fool me to the top up of my bent:”—(3)

Yes, I'll begin a thorough reformation. Indeed, I never knew what people meant

By deeming that my Muse's conversation Was dangerous ;-I think she is as harmless As some who labour more and yet may charm less.

(1) [John Scott, Earl of Eldon, Chancellor of England (with the inter. :sption of fourteen months) from 1801 to 1830.]

(2) Hecla is a famous hot-spring in Iceland. (3) Hamlet, Act III. sc. ii.

XCV.

No;

Grim reader! did you ever see a ghost ?

but you have heard—I understand-be dumb! And don't regret the time you may have lost,

For you have got that pleasure still to come:
And do not think I'mean to sneer at most

Of these things, or by ridicule benumb
That source of the sublime and the mysterious :
For certain reasons my belief is serious.

XCVI.

Serious ? You laugh ;-you may: that will I not;

My smiles must be sincere or not at all.
I
say

I do believe a haunted spot
Exists - and where ? That shall I not recall,
Because I'd rather it should be forgot,

“ Shadows the soul of Richard" (1) may appal. In short, upon that subject I've some qualms very Like those of the philosopher of Malmsbury.()

XCVII.

The night-(I sing by night-sometimes an owl,

And now and then a nightingale)-is dim, And the loud shriek of sage Minerva's fowl

Rattles around me her discordant hymn •

(1)

[“ By the apostle Paul, shadows to-night

Have struck more terror to the soul of Richard
Than dan the substance of ten thousand soldiers," &c.

Richard III.]

(2) Hobbes : who, doubting of his own soul, paid that compliment to the souls of other people as to decline their visits, of which he had some

prehension.

Old portraits from old walls upon me scowl

I wish to heaven they would not look so grim; The dying embers dwindle in the grateI think too that I have sate up too late :

XCVIII.

And therefore, though 'tis by no means my way

To rhyme at noon - when I have other things To think of, if I ever think I say

I feel some chilly midnight shudderings, And prudently postpone, until mid-day,

Treating a topic which, alas! but brings Shadows;- but you must be in my

condition Before you learn to call this superstition.

XCIX.
Between two worlds life hovers like a star,

'Twixt night and morn, upon the horizon's verge. How little do we know that which we are ! How less what we may be !

The eternal surge Of time and tide rolls on, and bears afar

Our bubbles ; as the old burst, new emerge, Lash'd from the foam of ages; while the graves Of empires heave but like some passing waves. (1) (1) [" Man's life is like a sparrow — mighty king!

That, stealing in while by the fire you sit,
Housed with rejoicing friends, is seen to flit
Safe from the storm, in comfort tarrying.
Here did it enter - there on hasty wing
Flies out, and passes on from cold to cold;
But whence it came we know not, nor behold
Whither it goes. Even such that transient thing
The human soul: not utterly unknown
While in the body lodged, her warm abode;
But from what world she came, what wo or weal
On her departure waits, no tongue hath shown."

WORDSWORTH.]

DON JUAN.

CANTO THE SIXTEENTH

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