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'Twas a mere quiet smile of contemplation,
Indicative of some surprise and pity; And Juan grew carnation with vexation,
Which was not very wise, and still less witty, Since he had gain'd at least her observation,
A most important outwork of the cityAs Juan should have known, had not his senses By last night's ghost been driven from their defences.
But what was bad, she did not blush in turn,
Nor seem embarrass'd- quite the contrary ; Her aspect was as usual, still — not stern
And she withdrew, but cast not down, her eye, Yet grew a little pale— with what ? concern ?
I know not; but her colour ne'er was highThough sometimes faintly flush'd- and always clear, As deep seas in a sunny atmosphere.
But Adeline was occupied by fame
This day; and watching, witching, condescending To the consumers of fish, fowl, and game,
And dignity with courtesy so blending, As all must blend whose part it is to aim
(Especially as the sixth year is ending) At their lord's, son's, or similar connection's Safe conduct through the rocks of re-elections.
Though this was most expedient on the whole,
And usual — Juan, when he cast a glance On Adeline while playing her grand rôle,
Which she went through as though it were a dance, Betraying only now and then her soul
By a look scarce perceptibly askance (Of weariness or scorn), began to feel Some doubt how much of Adeline was real ;
By turns— with that vivacious versatility,
They err—'tis merely what is call’d mobility, (') A thing of temperament and not of art,
Though seeming so, from its supposed facility ; And false—though true; for surely they're sincerest Who are strongly acted on by what is nearest.
(1) In French“ mobilité." I am not sure that mobility is English; but it is expressive of a quality which rather belongs to other climates, though it is sometimes seen to a great extent in our own. It may be defined as an excessive susceptibility of immediate impressions — at the same time without losing the past; and is, though sometimes apparently useful to the possessor, a most painful and unhappy attribute. - [That Lord Byron was fully aware not only of the abundance of this quality in his own nature, but of the danger in which it placed consistency and singleness of character, did not require this note to assure you. The consciousness, indeed, of his own natural tendency to yield thus to every chance impression, and change with every passing impulse, was not only for ever present in his mind, but had the effect of keeping him in that general line of consistency, on cer. tain great subjects, which he continued to preserve throughout life. — MOORE.]
This makes your actors, artists, and romancers,
Heroes sometimes, though seldom -sages never · But speakers, bards, diplomatists, and dancers,
Little that's great, but much of what is clever ; Most orators, but very few financiers,
Though all Exchequer chancellors endeavour, Of late years, to dispense with Cocker's rigours, And grow quite figurative with their figures.
The poets of arithmetic are they
Who, though they prove not two and two to be Five, as they might do in a modest way,
Have plainly made it out that four are three,
The Sinking Fund's unfathomable sea,
While Adeline dispensed her airs and graces,
The fair Fitz-Fulke seem'd very much at ease ; Though too well bred to quiz men to their faces,
Her laughing blue eyes with a glance could seize The ridicules of people in all places
That honey of your fashionable bees-
However, the day closed, as days must close ;
The evening also waned - and coffee came. Each carriage was announced, and ladies rose,
And curtsying off, as curtsies country dame, , Retired : with most unfashionable bows
Their docile esquires also did the same, Delighted with their dinner and their host, But with the Lady Adeline the most.
Some praised her beauty: others her great grace ;
The warmth of her politeness, whose sincerity Was obvious in each feature of her face,
Whose traits were radiant with the rays of verity. Yes ; she was truly worthy her high place!
No one could envy her deserved prosperity. And then her dress - what beautiful simplicity Draperied her form with curious felicity! (1)
Meanwhile sweet Adeline deserved their praises,
By an impartial indemnification
In a most edifying conversation,
And families, even to the last relation ; Their hideous wives, their horrid selves and dresses, And truculent distortion of their tresses.
(1) “ Curiosa felicitas." - PETRONIUS ARBITER.
True, she said little --- 'twas the rest that broke
Forth into universal epigram;
Like Addison's "faint praise,” (') so wont to damn, Her own but served to set off every joke,
As music chimes in with a melodrame.
There were but two exceptions to this keen
Skirmish of wits o'er the departed; one Aurora, with her pure and placid mien;
And Juan, too, in general behind none
remark on what he had heard or seen,
'Tis true he saw Aurora look as though
She approved his silence; she perhaps mistook Its motive for that charity we owe
But seldom pay the absent, nor would look
But Juan, sitting silent in his nook,
(1) [“ Damn with faint praise, assent with civil leer,
POPC on Addison.]