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(DON JUAN, Canto iii. Stanzas 59, 60.)
It is a hard although a common case
To find our children running restive ;-they, In whom our brightest days we would retrace,
Our little selves re-form'd in finer clay, Just as old age is creeping on apace,
And clouds come o'er the sunset of our day, They kindly leave us, though not quite alone, But in good company—the gout or stone.
Yet a fine family is a fine thing
(Provided they don't come in after dinner) ; 'Tis beautiful to see a matron bring
Her children up (if nursing them don't thin her); Like cherubs round an altar-piece they cling
To the fireside (a sight to touch a sinner) A lady with her daughters or her nieces Shine like a guinea and seven-shilling pieces.
(DON JUAN, Canto xiv. Stanzas 70-72.)
He was a cold, good, honourable man,
Proud of his birth, and proud of everything ;
A figure fit to walk before a king ;
On birthdays, glorious with a star and string ;
But there was something wanting on the whole
I don't know what, and therefore cannot tell — Which pretty women- - the sweet souls !-call soul.
Certes it was not body; he was well Proportion'd, as a poplar or a pole,
A handsome man, that human miracle ; And in each circumstance of love or war Had still preserved his perpendicular.
Still there was something wanting, as I've said —
That undefinable “ Je ne sçais quoi,”
To Homer's Iliad, since it drew to Troy
Though on the whole, no doubt, the Dardan boy Was much inferior to King Menelaüs :But thus it is some women will betray us.
(DON JUAN, Canto xvi. Stanzas 96-98.)
-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
So well she acted all and every part
By turns—with that vivacious versatility, Which many people take for want of heart.
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.
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. ; '
(Don Juan, Canto iii. Stanzas 90-95, and 98-100.)
AND glory long has made the sages smile ;
'Tis something, nothing, words, illusion, windDepending more upon the historian's style
Than on the name a person leaves behind :
The present century was growing blind
Milton's the prince of poets—so we say ;
A little heavy, but no less divine : An independent being in his day
Learn'd, pious, temperate in love and wine ; But his life falling into Johnson's way,
We're told this great high priest of all the Nine Was whipt at college--a harsh sire-odd spouse, For the first Mrs. Milton left his house.
All these are, certes, entertaining facts,
Like Shakspeare's stealing deer, Lord Bacon's bribes; Like Titus youth, and Cæsar's earliest acts;
Like Burns (whom Doctor Currie well describes) ;
These amiable descriptions from the scribes,
All are not moralists, like Southey, when
He prated to the world of “Pantisocrasy ;" Or Wordsworth unexcised, unhired, who then
Season'd his pedlar poems with democracy ; Or Coleridge, long before his flighty pen
Let to the Morning Post its aristocracy ; When he and Southey, following the same path, Espoused two partners (milliners of Bath).
Such names at present cut a convict figure,
The very Botany Bay in moral geography ; Their loyal treason, renegado rigour,
Are good manure for their more bare biography. Wordsworth's last quarto, by the way, is bigger
Than any since the birthday of typography ; A drowsy frowsy poem, call’d the “ Excursion,” Writ in a manner which is my aversion.
He there builds up a formidable dyke
Between his own and others' intellect;
Joanna Southcote's Shiloh, and her sect,
The public mind—so few are the elect;
We learn from Horace, “ Homer some nes sleeps ;"
We feel without him, Wordsworth sometimes wakes,– To show with what complacency he creeps,
With his dear “Waggoners,” around his lakes.
Of ocean ?- No, of air; and then he makes