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And here I leave them at their preparation
For the imperial presence, wherein whether Gulbeyaz show'd them both commiseration,
Or got rid of the parties altogether, Like other angry ladies of her nation,
Are things the turning of a hair or feather May settle; but far be't from me to anticipate In what way feminine caprice may dissipate.
I leave them for the present with good wishes,
Though doubts of their well doing, to arrange Another part of history; for the dishes
Of this our banquet we must sometimes change; And trusting Juan may escape the fishes,
Although his situation now seems strange, And scarce secure, as such digressions are fair, The Muse will take a little touch at warfare.
DON JU A N.
CANTO TIIE SEVENTH. (1)
(1) [" The seventh and eighth Cantos contain a full detail (like the storm in Canto second) of the siege and assault of Ismail, with much of sarcasm on those butchers in large business, your mercenary soldiers. With these things and these fellows it is necessary, in the present clash of philosophy and tyranny, to throw away the scabbard. I know it is against fearful odds; but the battle must be fought; and it will be eventually for the good of mankind, whatever it may be for the individual who risks him. self." - B. Letters, Aug. 8. 1822.]
DON JUA N.
CANTO THE SEVENTH.
O Love! O Glory! what are ye who fly
Around us ever, rarely to alight? There's not a meteor in the polar sky
Of such transcendent and more fleeting flight. Chill, and chain'd to cold earth, we lift on high
Our eyes in search of either lovely light; A thousand and a thousand colours they Assume, then leave us on our freezing way.
And such as they are, such my present tale is,
A non-descript and ever-varying rhyme, A versified Aurora Borealis,
Which flashes o'er a waste and icy clime. When we know what all are, we must bewail us,
But ne'ertheless I hope it is no crime
They accuse me—Me— the present writer of
The present poem — of — I know not whatA tendency to under-rate and scoff
At human power and virtue, and all that ; And this they say in language rather rough.
Good God! I wonder what they would be at ! I say no more than hath been said in Dante's Verse, and by Solomon and by Cervantes;
By Swift, by Machiavel, by Rochefoucault,
By Fénélon, by Luther, and by Plato ; By Tillotson, and Wesley, and Rousseau,
Who knew this life was not worth a potato. 'Tis not their fault, nor mine, if this be so
For my part, I pretend not to be Cato,
Socrates said, our only knowledge was (1)
“To know that nothing could be known;" a pleasant Science enough, which levels to an ass
Each man of wisdom, future, past, or present. Newton (that proverb of the mind), alas !
Declared, with all his grand discoveries recent,
(1) [" Scrawled this additional page of life's log-book. One day more is over of it, and of me; – but, 'which is best, life or death, the gods only know,' as Socrates said to his judges, on the breaking up of the tribunal. Two thousand years since that sage's declaration of ignorance have not enlightened us more upon this important point. — B. Diary, 1821.]