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To Germany, and highnesses serene,
But peace to her—her emperor and diet, Though now transferr'd to Buonaparte's “fiat!" Back to my theme – O Muse of motion I say, How first to Albion found thy Waltz her way ?
Borne on the breath of hyperborean gales, From Hamburg's port (while Hamburg yet had mails), Ere yet unlucky Fame — compell'd to creep To snowy Gottenburg—was chill'd to sleep; Or, starting from her slumbers, deign'd arise, Heligoland to stock thy mart with lies; While unburnt Moscow 1 yet had news to send, Nor owed her fiery exit to a friend, She came – Waltz came—and with her certain sets Of true despatches, and as true gazettes: Then flamed of Austerlitz the blest despatch, Which Moniteur nor Morning Post can match ; And — almost crush'd beneath the glorious news— Ten plays, and forty tales of Kotzebue's; One envoy's letters, six composers' airs, And loads from Frankfort and from Leipsic fairs; Meiner's four volumes upon womankind, Like Lapland witches to ensure a wind ; Brunck's heaviest tome for ballast, and, to back it, Of Heyné, such as should not sink the packet.
Fraught with this cargo—and her fairest freight, Delightful Waltz, on tiptoe for a mate, The welcome vessel reach'd the genial strand, And round her flock'd the daughters of the land. Not decent David, when, before the ark, His grand pas-seul excited some remark; Not love-lorn Quixote, when his Sancho thought The knight's fandango friskier than it ought: Not soft Herodias, when, with winning tread, Her nimble feet danced off another's head; Not Cleopatra on her galley's deck, Display'd so much of leg, or more of neck, Than thou, ambrosial Waltz, when first the moon Beheld thee twirling to a Saxon tune 1
To you, ye husbands of ten years whose brows Ache with the annual tributes of a spouse;
1 The patriotic arson of our amiable allies cannot be sufficiently commended—nor subscribed for. Amongst other details omitted in the various despatches of our cloquent ambassador, he did not state (being too much ol with the exploits of Colonel C–, in swimming rivers frozen, and galloping over roads impassable.) that one entire province
o by famine in the most melancholy manner, as fol. ows:– In General Rostopchin's consummate conflagration, the consumption of tallow and train oil was so great, that the market was inadequate to the demand: and thus one hundred and thirty-three thousand persons were starved to death, by being reduced to wholesome diet ! . The lamplighters of i.i. have since subscribed a pint (of oil) a piece, and the tallow-chandlers have unanimously voted a quantity of best moulds (four to the pound), to the relief of the surviving Scythians : — the scarcity will soon, by such exertions, and a proper attention to the quality rather than the quantity of provision, be totally alleviated. It is said, in return, that the untouched Ukraine has subscribed sixty thousand becyes for a day's meal to our suffering manufacturers.
* Dancing girls – who do for hire what Waltz doth gratis.
To you of nine years less, who only bear
Endearing Waltz 1–to thy more melting tune Bow Irish jig, and ancient rigadoon. Scotch reels, avaunt and country-dance, forego Your future claims to each fantastic toe : Waltz—Waltz alone—both legs and arms demands, Liberal of feet, and lavish of her hands; Hands which may freely range in public sight Where ne'er before—but—pray “put out the light.” Methinks the glare of yonder chandelier Shines much too far—or I am much too near; And true, though strange—Waltz whispers this re“My slippery steps are safest in the dark 1" (mark, But here the Muse with due decorum halts, And lends her longest petticoat to Waltz.
Observant travellers of every time ! Ye quartos publish’d upon every clime ! Oh say, shall dull Romaika's heavy round, Fandango's wriggle, or Bolero's bound; Can Egypt's Almas? — tantalising group — Columbia's caperers to the warlike whoop.– Can aught from cold Kamschatka to Cape Horn With Waltz compare, or after Waltz be borne 7 Ah, no from Morier's pages down to Galt's, Each tourist pens a paragraph for “Waltz.”
Shades of those belles whose reign began of yore, With George the Third's—and ended long before : — Though in your daughters' daughters yet you thrive, Burst from your lead, and be yourselves alive : Back to the ball-room speed your spectred host: Fool's Paradise is dull to that you lost. No treacherous powder bids conjecture quake; No stiff-starch'd stays make meddling fingers ache; (Transferr'd to those ambiguous things that ape Goats in their visage 3, women in their shape;)
but how far these are indications of valour in the field, or elsewhere, may still be questionable. Much may be, and hath been, avouched on both sides. In the olden time philosophers had whiskers, and soldiers none— Scipio himself was shaven— Hannibal thought his one eye handsome enough without a beard ; but Adrian, the emperor, wore a beard (having warts on his chin, which neither the empress Sabina nor even the courtiers could abide)—Turenne had whiskers, Marlborough none — Buonaparte is unwhiskered, the Regent whiskered ; “argal "greatness of mind and whiskers may or may not go together: but certainly the different occurrences, since the growth of the last mentioned, go further in behalf of whiskers than the anathema of Anselm did against long hair in the reign of Henry I. — Formerly, red was a favourite colour. See Lodowick Barrey's comedy of Ram Alley, 1961 : Act I. Scene l.
“Tota. Now for a wager—What coloured beard comes next by the window
“Adriana. A black man's, I think. i o Tot'eta. I think not so: I think a red, for that is most n fashion.”
There is “nothing new under the sun : " but red, then a Jurourite, has now subsided into a favourite's colour.
No damsci faints when rather closely press'd,
Seductive Waltz " —though on thy native shore Even Werter's self proclaim'd thee half a whore; Werter—to decent vice though much inclined, Yet warm, not wanton; dazzled, but not blind— Though gentle Genlis, in her strife with Stael, Would even proscribe thee from a Paris ball ; The fashion hails—from countesses to queens, And maids and valets waltz behind the scenes; Wide and more wide thy witching circle spreads, And turns —if nothing else—at least our heads ; With thee even clumsy cits attempt to bounce, And cockneys practise what they can't pronounce. Gols how the glorious theme my strain exalts, And rhyme finds partner rhyme in praise of “Waltz . "
Blest was the time Waltz chose for her début ; The court, the Regent, like herself were new ; 1 New face for friends, for foes some new rewards; New ornaments for black and royal guards; New laws to hang the rogues that roard for bread; New coins (most new)2 to follow those that fled; New victories — nor can we prize them less, Though Jenky wonders at his own success; New wars, because the old succeed so well, That most survivors envy those who fell ; New mistresses — no, old—and yet 'tis true, Though they be old, the thing is something new ; Each new, quite new—(except some ancient tricks), * New white-sticks, gold-sticks, broom-sticks, all new
With vests or ribands – deck'd alike in hue,
An anachronism—Waltz and the battle of Austerlitz are before said to have opened the ball together: the bard means (if he means any thing), Waltz was not so much in yogue till the Regent attained the acme of his popularity. Waltz, the comet, whiskers, and the new government, illuminated heaven and earth, in all their glory, much about the same time ; of these the comet only has disappeared ; the other three continue to astonish us still. — Printer's Devil.
* Amongst others a new ninepence—a creditable coin now forthcoming, worth a pound, in paper, at the fairest calculation. * “Oh that right should thus overcome might t " , who does not remember the “delicate investigation” in the “Merry Wives of Windsor P’’ — “Ford. Pray you, come near: if I suspect without cause, why then make sport at me : then let me be your jest; I deserve it. How now 2 whither bear you this 2 “Mrs. Fort. What have you to do whither they bear it 2 —you were best meddle with buck-washing.”
* The gentle, or ferocious, reader may fill up the blank as he pleases—there are several dissyllabic names at his service (being already in the Regent's); it would not be fair to back any peculiar initial against the alphabet, as every month will add to the list now entered for the sweepstakes : — a distinguished consonant is said to be the favourite, much against the wishes of the knowing ones.
* “We have changed all that,” says the Mock Doctor–
Some potentate—or royal or serene —
O ye who loved our grandmothers of yore, Fitzpatrick, Sheridan 7, and many more : And thou, my Prince whose sovereign taste and
It is to love the lovely beldames still
But ye – who never felt a single thought For what our morals are to be, or ought; Who wisely wish the charms you view to reap, Say — would you make those beauties quite so
Hot from the hands promiscuously applied,
If such thou lovest—love her then no more,
Voluptuous Waltz: and dare I thus blaspheme? Thy bard forgot thy praises were his theme. Terpsichore, forgive : —at every ball My wife now waltzes — and my daughters shall ; My son — (or stop — 'tis needless to inquire – These little accidents should ne'er transpire; Some ages hence our genealogic tree Will wear as green a bough for him as me)— Waltzing shall rear, to make our name amends, Grandsons for me — in heirs to all his friends.
“The Emperor Nepos was acknowledged by the Senate, by the Italians, and by the Provincials of Gaul; his moral virtues, and military talents, were loudly celebrated; and those who derived any private benefit from his government
announced in prophetic strains the restoration of public felicity.
- - - - By this shameful abdication, he protracted his life Fxile, till —.” – Gibbox's Decline and Fall, vol. vi. p.
"T is done — but yesterday a King :
Ill-minded man : why scourge thy kind
* [The reader has seen that Lord Byron, when publishing “The Corsair,” in January 1814. announced an apparently quite serious resolution to withdraw, for some years at least, from poetry. His letters of the February and March following abound in repetitions of the same determination. On the morning of the ninth of April, he writes, –“ No more rhyme for – or rather from—me. I have taken my leave of that stage, and henceforth will mountebank it no longer.” In the evening, a Gazette Extraordinary announced the abdication of Fontainebleau, and the Poet violated his vows next morning, by composing this Ode, which he immediately published, though without his name. His Diary says, “ April 10. Today I have boxed one hour—written an ode to Napoleon Buonaparte—copied it-eaten six biscuits – drunk four bottles of soda water, and redde away the rest of my time.”]
* (* Produce the urn that Hannibal contains, And weigh the mighty dust which yet remains: and is this all !" I know not that this was ever done in the old world: at lenst, with regard to Hannibal: but, in the statistical account of Scotland, I find that Sir John Paterson had the curiosity to collect, and weigh, the ashes of a person discovered a few years since in the parish of Eccles; which he was happily enabled to do with great facility, as “the inside of the collin
- - - -
a few . in a very ambiguous state, between an Emperor and an
* [“I don't know—but I think I, even I (an insect como with this creature), have set my life on casts not a milionth part of this man's. But, after all, a crown may not be worth dying for. Yet, to outlive Lodi for this: " : "oh that Juvenal or Johnson could rise from the dead! 'Expende— quot libras in duce summo invenies?' I knew they were light in the balance of mortality; but I thought their living dust weighed more carats. Alas! this imperial diamond hath a flaw in it, and is now hardly fit to stick in a glazier's penciu, —the pen of the historian won't rate it worth a ducat. Pshai “something too much of this.' But I won't give him up even now ; though all his admirers have, like the Thanes, fallen from him."—Byron Diary, April 9...]
* “Certaminis gardia”—the expression of Attila in his
harangue to his army, previous to the battle of Chalons, given in Cassiodorus.
The sword, the sceptre, and that sway
The Desolator desolate :
He who of old would rend the oak 1,
The Roman 2, when his burning heart
The Spaniard, when the lust of sway
But thou — from thy reluctant hand The thunderbolt is wrung —
1 [“out of town six days. On my return, find o poor little pagod, Napoleon, pushed off his pedestal. , 1 is his own fault. Like Milo, he would rend the oak ; but it closed again, wedged his hands, and now, the beasts: lion, bear, down to the dirtiest jackall—may all tear him. That Muscovite winter wedged his arms : — ever since, he has fought with his feet and teeth. The last may still leave their marks; and I guess now (as the Yankees say), that he will yet play them a pass.”— Byron Diary, April 8.]
2 sylla. —[we find the germ of this stanza in the Diary of the evening before it was written: —“Methinks. Sylla lid better; for he revenged, and resigned in the height of his sway, red with the slaughter of his foes—the finest instance of glorious contempt of the rascals upon record. Dioclesian did well too — Amurath not amiss, had he become aught except a dervise–Charles the Fifth but so so; but Napoleon worst of all.”— Byron Diary, April 9..]
s so. Alter ‘potent spell to “quickening spell:" the first (as Polonius says) is a vile phrase, and means nothing, besides being common-place and Rosa-Matildaish. After the resolution of not publishing, though our Ode is a thing of little length and sess consequence, it will be better altogether that it is anonymous.”— Lord Byron to Mr. Murray, April 11.]
* [Charles the Fifth, Emperor of Germany, and King of Spain, resigned. in 1555, his imperial crown to his brother
Too late thou leav'st the high command
And Earth hath spilt her blood for him,
Thine evil deeds are writ in gore,
Weigh’d in the balance, hero dust
And she, proud Austria's mournful flower,
Ferdinand, and the kingdom of Spain to his son Philip, and retired to a monastery in Estremadura, where he conformed, in his nanner of living, to all the rigour of monastic austerity. Not satisfied with this, he dressed himself in his shroud, was laid in his coffin with much solemnity, joined in the prayers which were offered up for the rest of his soul, and mingled his tears with those which his attendants shed, as if they had been celebrating a real funeral.]
5 §. I looked into Lord Kaimes's ‘Sketches of the History of Man,” and mentioned to 1)r. Johnson his censure of Charles the Fifth for celebrating his funeral obsequies in his life-time, which, I told him, I had been used to think a solemn and affecting act. Johnso N. “Why, Sir, a man may dispose his mind to think so of that act of Charles ; but it is so liable to ridicule, that if one man out of ten thousand laughs at it, he'll make the other nine thousand nine hundred and ninety-nine laugh too.”’— Boswell's Johnson, vol. vii. p. 78. ed. 1835.]
6 [“But who would rise in brightest day
To set without one parting ray ?”— MS.]
7 [It is well known that Count Neipperg, a gentleman in the suite of the Emperor of Austria, who was first presented to Maria Louisa within a few days after Napoleon's abdication, became, in the sequel, her chamberlain, and then her husband. He is said to have been a man of remarkably plain appearance. The Count died in 1831.]
* [The three last stanzas, which Lord Byron had been solicited by Mr. Murray to write, in order to avoid the stamp duty then imposed upon publications not exceeding a sheet, were not published with to: rest of the poem. “I don't like them at all,” says Lord Byron, “and they had better be left out. The fact is, I can't do anything I am asked to do, however gladly I would ; and at the end of a week my interest in a composition goes off.”]
: so one of Lord Byron's MS. Diaries, begun at Ravenna in May, 1821, we find the following: —“What shall I write 2 — another Journal 2 I think not. Any thing that comes uppermost, and call it
“Augustus. – I have often been puzzled with his character. Was he a great man 2 Assuredly. But not one of my GREAT men. I have always looked upon Sylla as the greatest character in history, for laying down his power at the moment when it was —
“Too great to keep or to resign,”
There was a day—there was an hour, 6
But thou forsooth must be a king,
Where may the wearied eye repose,
and thus despising them all. As to the retention of his power by Augustus, the thing was already settled. If he had given it up — the commonwealth was gone —the republic was long ast all resuscitation. Had Brutus and Cassius gained the attle of Philippi, it would not have restored the republic. Its days ended with the Gracchi; the rest was a mere struggle of arties. You might as well cure a consumption, or restore a roken egg, as revive a state so long a prey to every uppermost soldier, as Rome had long been. As for a despotism, if Augustus could have been sure that all his successors would have been like himself— (I mean not as Octavius, but Augustus) or Napoleon could have insured the world that none of his successors would have been like himself—the ancient or modern world might have gone on, like the empire of China, in a state of lethargic pros rity. Suppose, for instance, that, instead of Tiberius and Caligula, Augustus had been immediately succeeded by Nerva, Trajan, the Antonines, or even by Titus and his father — what a difference in our es. timate of himself!— So far from gaining by the contrast, I think that one half of our dislike arises from his having been heired by Tiberius – and one half of Julius Caesar's fame, from his having had his empire consolidated by Augustus. – Suppose that there had been no Octavius, and Tiberius had ‘jumped the life between, and at once succeeded Julius 2 – And yet it is difficult to say whether hereditary right or popular choice produce the worser sovereigns. The Roman Consuls make a goodly show ; but then they only reigned for a year, and were under a sort of personal obligation to distinguish themselves. It is still more difficult to say which form of government is the worst—all are so bad. As for democracy, it is the worst of the whole; for what is, in fact, democracy 2 – an aristocracy of blackguards."]
* [On being reminded by a friend of his recent promise not to write any more for years – “There was,” replied Lord Byron, a mental reservation in my pact with the public, in behalf of anonymes ; and, even had there not, the provocation was such as to make it physically impossible to pass over this epoch of triumphant tameness. 'T is a sad business ; and alter all, I shall think higher of rhyme and reason, and very humbly of your heroic people, till – Elba becomes a volcano, and sends him out again. I can't think it is all over yet.")