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Shut up the bald-coot' bully Alexander
Ship off the Holy Three to Senegal ; Teach them that “sauce for goose is sauce for gander,”
And ask them how they like to be in thrall? Shut up each high heroic salamander,
Who eats fire gratis (since the pay's but small); Shut up—no, not the King, but the Pavilion, 2 Or else 't will cost us all another million.
Shut up the world at large, let Bedlam out;
And you will be perhaps surprised to find All things pursue exactly the same route,
As now with those of soi-disant sound mind. This I could prove beyond a single doubt,
Were there a jot of sense among mankind; But till that point d'appui is found, alas ! Like Archimedes, I leave earth as 't was.
LXXXV. Our gentle Adeline had one defect— Her heart was vacant, though a splendid mansion; Her conduct had been perfectly correct, As she had seen nought claiming its expansion. A wavering spirit may be easier wreck'd, Because 'tis frailer, doubtless, than a stanch one; But when the latter works its own undoing, Its inner crash is like an earthquake's ruin. LXXXVI. She loved her lord, or thought so ; but that love Cost her an effort, which is a sad toil, The stone of Sysiphus, if once we move Our feelings 'gainst the nature of the soil. She had nothing to complain of, or reprove, No bickerings, no connubial turmoil: Their union was a model to behold, Serene and noble, – conjugal, but cold.
There was no great disparity of years,
Though much in temper; but they never clash'd : They moved like stars united in their spheres,
Or like the Rhone by Leman's waters wash'd, Where mingled and yet separate appears
The river from the lake, all bluely dash'd Through the serene and placid glassy deep, Which fain would lull its river-child to sleep. 3
Now when she once had ta'en an interest
In any thing, however she might flatter Herself that her intentions were the best,
Intense intentions are a dangerous matter: Impressions were much stronger than she guess'd,
And gather'd as they run like growing water Upon her mind; the more so, as her breast Was not at first too readily impress'd.
But when it was, she had that lurking demon
Of double nature, and thus doubly named – Firmness yelept in heroes, kings, and seamen,
Tuat is, when they succeed ; but greatly blamcd As obstinacy, both in men and women,
Whene'er their triumph pales, or star is tamed : — And 'twill perplex the casuist in morality To fix the due bounds of this dangerous quality.
[The bald-coot is a small bird of prey in marshes. The Emperor Alexander was baldish.)
* [The King's palace at Brighton.]
Had Buonaparte won at Waterloo,
It had been firmness; now 'tis pertinacity: Must the event decide between the two 2
I leave it to your people of sagacity To draw the line between the false and true;
If such can e'er be drawn by man's capacity: My business is with Lady Adeline, Who in her way too was a heroine.
She knew not her own heart; then how should I?
I think not she was then in love with Juan : If so, she would have had the strength to fly
The wild sensation, unto her a new one: She merely felt a common sympathy
(I will not say it was a false or true one) In him, because she thought he was in danger, — Her husband's friend, her own, young, and a stranger,
XCIL. She was, or thought she was, his friend—and this Without the farce of friendship, or romance Platonism, which leads so oft amiss Ladies who have studied friendship but in France, Or Germany, where people purely kiss. To thus much Adeline would not advance; But of such friendship as man's may to man be She was as capable as woman can be. XCIII. No doubt the secret influence of the sex Will there, as also in the ties of blood, An innocent predominance annex, And tune the concord to a finer mood. If free from passion, which all friendship checks, And your true feelings fully understood, No friend like to a woman earth discovers, So that you have not been nor will be lovers.
XCVII. Whether Don Juan and chaste Adeline Grew friends in this or any other sense, Will be discuss'd hereafter, I opine : At present I am glad of a pretence To leave them hovering, as the effect is fine, And keeps the atrocious reader in suspense : The surest way for ladies and for books To bait their tender or their tenter hooks. XCVIII. Whether they rode, or walk'd, or studied Spanish, To read Don Quixote in the original, A pleasure before which all others vanish ; Whether their talk was of the kind call'd “small,” Or serious, are the topics I must banish To the next Canto; where perhaps I shall Say something to the purpose, and display Considerable talent in my way. XCIX. Above all, I beg all men to forbear Anticipating aught about the matter: They'll only make mistakes about the fair, And Juan too, especially the latter. And I shall take a much more serious air, Than I have yet done, in this epic satire. It is not clear that Adeline and Juan Will fail; but if they do, 'twill be their ruin.
C. But great things spring from little: – Would you think, That in our youth, as dangerous a passion As e'er brought man and woman to the brink Of ruin, rose from such a slight occasion, As few would ever dream could form the link Of such a sentimental situation ? You'll never guess, I'll bet you mislions, milliards— It all sprung from a harmless game at billiards. CI. 'Tis strange, – but true; for truth is always strange; Stranger than fiction: if it could be told, How much would novels gain by the exchange : How differently the world would men behold 1 How oft would vice and virtue places change : The new world would be nothing to the old, If some Columbus of the moral seas Would show mankind their souls' antipodes. CII. What “antres vast and deserts idle” 1 then Would be discover'd in the human soul : What icebergs in the hearts of mighty men, With self-love in the centre as their pole : What Anthropophagi are nine of ten Of those who hold the kingdoms in control Were things but only call'd by their right name, Caesar himself would be ashamed of fame.
But Adeline was of the purest vintage,
The unmingled essence of the grape; and yet Bright as a new Napoleon from its mintage,
Or glorious as a diamond richly set; A page where Time should hesitate to print age,
And for which Nature might forego her debt— Sole creditor whose process doth involve in 't The luck of finding every body solvent.
2 [Cantos XV. and XVI. were published in London, in