« PreviousContinue »
A mighty mass of brick, and smoke, and shipping, Dirty and dusky, but as wide as eye
Could reach, with here and there a sail just skipping
Of masts; a wilderness of steeples peeping
(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
From civic revelry to rural mirth;
Sweet to the miser are his glittering heaps,
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,
Sweet is old wine in bottles, ale in barrels ;
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,
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,
No doubt in fable, as the unforgiven
Fire which Prometheus filch'd for us from heaven.
(DON JUAN, Canto iii. Stanzas 27, 29-41.)
He saw his white walls shining in the sun,
The moving figures, and the sparkling sheen
And still more nearly to the place advancing,
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.
And here, assembled cross-legg'd round their trays,
Above them their dessert grew on its vine,
A band of children, round a snow-white ram,
Or eats from out the palm, or playful lowers
Their classic profiles, and glittering dresses,
Their large black eyes, and soft seraphic cheeks, Crimson as cleft pomegranates, their long tresses, The gesture which enchants, the eye that speaks, The innocence which happy childhood blesses,
Made quite a picture of these little Greeks; So that the philosophical beholder
Sigh'd, for their sakes-that they should e'er grow older.
Afar, a dwarf buffoon stood telling tales
Of magic ladies who, by one sole act,
Transform'd their lords to beasts (but that's a fact).
Here was no lack of innocent diversion
Song, dance, wine, music, stories from the Persian,
Ah! what is man? what perils still environ
Is all that life allows the luckiest sinner;
He-being a man who seldom used a word
And long he paused to re-assure his eyes,
He did not know (alas! how men will lie)
And put his house in mourning several weeks,— But now their eyes and also lips were dry;
The bloom, too, had return'd to Haidée's cheeks.
Her tears, too, being return'd into their fount,