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(DON JUAN, Canto i. Stanzas 1-5.)
I WANT a hero : an uncommon want,
When every year and month sends forth a new one, Till, after cloying the gazettes with cant,
The age discovers he is not the true one ;
I'll therefore take our ancient friend Don Juan-
Vernon, the butcher Cumberland, Wolfe, Hawke,
Prince Ferdinand, Granby, Burgoyne, Keppel, Howe, Evil and good, have had their tithe of talk,
And filld their sign-posts then, like Wellesley now ; Each in their turn like Banquo's monarchs stalk,
Followers of fame, “nine farrow" of that sow : France, too, had Buonaparté and Dumourier Recorded in the Moniteur and Courier.
Barnave, Brissot, Condorcet, Mirabeau,
Petion, Clootz, Danton, Marat, La Fayette, Were French, and famous people, as we know ;
And there were others, scarce forgotten yet,
With many of the military set,
Nelson was once Britannia's god of war,
And still should be so, but the tide is turn'd; There's no more to be said of Trafalgar,
'Tis with our hero quietly inurn'd; Because the army's grown more popular,
At which the naval people are concern'd; Besides, the prince is all for the land-service, Forgetting Duncan, Nelson, Howe, and Jervis.
Brave men were living before Agamemnon
And since, exceeding valorous and sage, A good deal like him too, though quite the same none;
But then they shone not on the poet's page,
But can't find any in the present age
(DON JUAN, Canto x. Stanzas 81, 82.)
THE sun went down, the smoke rose up as from
A half-unquench'd volcano, o'er a space Which well beseem'd the “ Devil's drawing-room,”
As some have qualified that wondrous place : But Juan felt, though not approaching home,
As one who, though he were not of the race, Revered the soil, of those true sons the mother, Who butcher'd half the earth, and bullied t'other.
A mighty mass of brick, and smoke, and shipping,
Dirty and dusky, but as wide as eye
In sight, then lost amidst the forestry
On tiptoe through their sea-coal canopy ;
(Don Juan, Canto i. Stanzas 123-127).
'Tis sweet to hear the watch-dog's honest bark
Bay deep-mouth'd welcome as we draw near home ; 'Tis sweet to know there is an eye will mark
Our coming, and look brighter when we come ; 'Tis sweet to be awaken’d by the lark,
Or lull'd by falling waters ; sweet the hum Of bees, the voice of girls, the song of birds, The lisp of children, and their earliest words.
Sweet is the vintage, when the showering grapes
In Bacchanal profusion reel to earth
From civic revelry to rural mirth ;
Sweet to the father is his first-born's birth,
Sweet is a legacy, and passing sweet
The unexpected death of some old lady Or gentleman of seventy years complete,
Who've made “us youth” wait too—too long already For an estate, or cash, or country-seat,
Still breaking, but with stamina so steady,
'Tis sweet to win, no matter how, one's laurels,
By blood or ink ; 'tis sweet to put an end
Particularly with a tiresome friend :
Dear is the helpless creature we defend Against the world ; and dear the schoolboy spot We ne'er forget, though there we are forgot.
But sweeter still, than this, than these, than all,
Is first and passionate love—it stands alone, Like Adam's recollection of his fall;
The tree of knowledge has been pluck'd-all's knownAnd life yields nothing further to recall
Worthy of this ambrosial sin, so shown,
(DON JUAN, Canto iii. Stanzas 27, 29-41.)
He saw his white walls shining in the sun,
His garden trees all shadowy and green ; He heard his rivulet's light bubbling run,
The distant dog-bark ; and perceived between The umbrage of the wood so cool and dun
The moving figures, and the sparkling sheen Of arms (in the East all arm)—and various dyes Of colour'd garbs, as bright as butterflies.
And still more nearly to the place advancing,
Descending rather quickly the declivity, Through the waved branches, o'er the greensward
glancing, 'Midst other indications of festivity, Seeing a troop of his domestics dancing
Like dervises, who turn as on a pivot, he Perceived it was the Pyrrhic dance so martial, To which the Levantines are very partial.
And further on a group of Grecian girls,
The first and tallest her white kerchief waving, Were strung together like a row of pearls,
Link'd hand in hand, and dancing ; each too having Down her white neck long floating auburn curls—
(The least of which would set ten poets raving) ; Their leader sang—and bounded to her song, With choral step and voice, the virgin throng.