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He said, — and in the kindest Calmuck tone,
“ Why, Johnson, what the devil do you mean By bringing women here? They shall be shown
All the attention possible, and seen In safety to the waggons, where alone
In fact they can be safe. You should have been Aware this kind of baggage never thrives : Save wed a year, I hate recruits with wives.”
“ May it please your excellency,” thus replied
Our British friend, “ these are the wives of others, And not our own. I am too qualified
By service with my military brothers
Into a camp: I know that nought so bothers
“ But these are but two Turkish ladies, who
With their attendant aided our escape, And afterwards accompanied us through
A thousand perils in this dubious shape. To me this kind of life is not so new;
To them, poor things, it is an awkward scrape I therefore, if you wish me to fight freely, Request that they may both be used genteelly."
Meantime these two poor girls, with swimming eyes,
Look'd on as if in doubt if they could trust Their own protectors; nor was their surprise
Less than their grief (and truly not less just) To see an old man, rather wild than wise
In aspect, plainly clad, besmear’d with dust, Stript to his waistcoat, and that not too clean, More fear'd than all the sultans ever seen.
For every thing seem'd resting on his nod,
As they could read in all eyes. Now to them, Who were accustom'd, as a sort of god,
To see the sultan, rich in many a gem, Like an imperial peacock stalk abroad
(That royal bird, whose tail's a diadem,) With all the pomp of power, it was a doubt How power
could condescend to do without.
Though little versed in feelings oriental,
Don Juan, who was much more sentimental,
repent And, strange to say, they found some consolation In this for females like exaggeration.
LXXVI. And then with tears, and sighs, and some slight kisses,
They parted for the present- these to await, According to the artillery's hits or misses,
What sages call Chance, Providence, or Fate(Uncertainty is one of many blisses,
A mortgage on Humanity's estate)
Being much too gross to see them in detail,
And as the wind a widow'd nation's wail, And cared as little for his army's loss
(So that their efforts should at length prevail) As wife and friends did for the boils of Job, What was't to him to hear two women sob?
Nothing.– The work of glory still went on
In preparations for a cannonade As terrible as that of Ilion,
If Homer had found mortars ready made; But now, instead of slaying Priam's son,
We only can but talk of escalade, [bullets; Bombs, drums, guns, bastions, batteries, bayonets, Hard words, which stick in the soft Muses' gullets.
Oh, thou eternal Homer! who couldst charm
All ears, though long; all ages, though so short, By merely wielding with poetic arm
Arms to which men will never more resort, Unless gunpowder should be found to harm
Much less than is the hope of every court, Which now is leagued young Freedom to annoy ; But they will not find Liberty a Troy:
Oh, thou eternal Homer ! I have now
To paint a siege, wherein more men were slain, With deadlier engines and a speedier blow,
Than in thy Greek gazette of that campaign; And yet, like all men else, I must allow,
To vie with thee would be about as vain As for a brook to cope with ocean's flood; But still we moderns equal you
If not in poetry, at least in fact;
And fact is truth, the grand desideratum !
There should be ne'ertheless a slight substratum. But now the town is going to be attack’d;
Great deeds are doing—how shall I relate 'em ? Souls of immortal generals ! Phæbus watches To colour up his rays from your despatches. .
Oh, ye less grand long lists of kill'd and wounded!
Shadows of glory! (lest I be confounded)
When I call “ fading" martial immortality,
every age and every year, And almost every day, in sad reality,
Some sucking hero is compellid to rear, Who, when we come to sum up
the totality Of deeds to human happiness most dear, Turns out to be a butcher in great business, Afflicting young folks with a sort of dizziness.
Medals, rank, ribands, lace, embroidery, scarlet,
Are things immortal to immortal man,
An uniform to boys is like a fan
But deems himself the first in Glory's van.