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Sad strife arose, for they were so cross-grain'd,
Instead of bearing up without debate, That each pulld different ways with many an oath, “ Arcades ambo,” id est—biackguards both. (1)
Juan's companion was a Romagnole,
But bred within the March of old Ancona, With eyes
that look'd into the very soul (2) (And other chief points of a “ bella donna"), Bright-and as black and burning as a coal;
And through her clear brunette complexion shone a Great wish to please a most attractive dower, Especially when added to the power.
But all that power was wasted upon him,
For sorrow o'er each sense held stern command; Her eye might flash on his, but found it dim;
And thoughi thus chain'd, as natural her hand Touch'd his, nor that—nor any handsome limb
(And she had some not easy to withstand) Could stir his pulse, or make his faith feel brittle; Perhaps his recent wounds might help a little.
No matter; we should ne'er too much enquire,
But facts are facts: no knight could be more true, And firmer faith no ladye-love desire; We will omit the proofs, save one or two:
-“ That each pull'd different ways — and waxing rough,
Had cuffd each other, only for the cuff.”] (2) [MS. -“ With eyes that seem'd to look you through the soul"]
'Tis said no one in hand “
By thought of frosty Caucasus ; " (1) but few,
Here I might enter on a chaste description,
Having withstood temptation in my youth, (2) But hear that several people take exception
At the first two books having too much truth; Therefore I 'll make Don Juan leave the ship soon,
Because the publisher declares, in sooth, Through needles' eyes it easier for the camel is To pass, than those two cantos into families.
'Tis all the same to me; I'm fond of yielding,
And therefore leave them to the purer page Of Smollett, Prior, Ariosto, Fielding,
Who say strange things for so correct an age; I once had great alacrity in wielding
My pen, and liked poetic war to wage, And recollect the time when all this cant Would have provoked remarks which now it shan't.(3)
(1) [" Oh, who can hold a fire in his hand,
SHAKSPEARE's Richard II.] (2) [MS. — “ Having had some experience in my youth.”]
(3) I“ Don Juan will be known, by and by, for what it is intended - a satire on abuses in the present states of society, and not an eulogy of vice. It may be now and then voluptuous :- I can't help that. Ariosto is worse. Smollett (see Lord Strutwell in Roderick Random) ten times worse; and Fielding no better. No girl will ever be seduced by reading Don Juan:-No, no; she will go to Little's Poems, and Rousseau's Romans
As boys love rows, my boyhood liked a squabble;
But at this hour I wish to part in peace, Leaving such to the literary rabble,
* Whether my verse’s fame be doom'd to cease, While the right hand which wrote it still is able,
Or of some centuries to take a lease;
Of poets who come down to us through distance
Of time and tongues, the foster-babes of Fame, Life seems the smallest portion of existence;
Where twenty ages gather o'er a name, 'Tis as a snowball which derives assistance
From every flake, and yet rolls on the same, Even till an iceberg it may chance to grow; But, after all, 't is nothing but cold snow.
And so great names are nothing more than nominal,
And love of glory's but an airy lust, Too often in its fury overcoming all
Who would as 't were identify their dust
for that, or even to the immaculate De Staël. They will encourage her, and not the Don, who laughs at that, and - and- most other things. But never mind -- ça ira! "- Lord B. to Mr. Murray, 1822.]
From out the wide destruction, which, entombing all;
Leaves nothing till “ the coming of the just”. Save change: I've stood upon Achilles' tomb, (1) And heard Troy doubted; (2) time will doubt of Rome.
The very generations of the dead
Are swept away, and tomb inherits tomb, Until the memory of an age is fled,
And, buried, sinks beneath its offspring's doom :
(1) ["I have stood upon the plain of Troy daily, for more than a month, in 1810; and if any thing diminished my pleasure, it was that the black. guard Bryant had impugned its veracity." —B. Diary, 1821.]
(2) [It seems hardly to admit of doubt, that the plain of Anatolia, watered by the Mender, and backed by a mountainous ridge, of which Kazdaghy is the summit, offers the precise territory alluded to by Homer. The long controversy, excited by Mr. Bryant's publication, and since so vehemently agitated, would probably never have existed, had it not been for the erroneous maps of the country which, even to this hour, disgrace our geographical knowledge of that part of Asia. - Dr. E. D. CLARKE.
“ Although a real poet is naturally anxious to avail himself of inter. esting and well-known scenery, and a story hallowed by tradition, yet it is only so far as they suit his purpose, that either tradition or topography will be adhered to: and it is surely preposterous to expect that in a poem, so long, so varied, and so busy as that of Homer, he should ex. actly conform to the sober rules of the annalist, or the land-surveyor. It was the general opinion of antiquity, that Homer had in many respects departed from the truth of history in the action of his poem. Nor can any reason be assigned why he should not, by an equal privilege, have omitted or softened, or altered, such features of the scenery as interfered, in his opinion, with the effect or coherence of his narration. But, while a poet himself is seldom thus particular, it is the privilege of poetry to bestow even on imaginary scenery, the minuteness and liveliness which convey the idea of accuracy, - and if only the general features of his picture are correct, the zeal of his admirers in after-ages will not fail to assign a local habitation to even the wildest of his features. The sexton of Melrose has already begun to point out the tomb of Michael Scott, as described in the Lay of the Last Minstrel; and though the main outlines of Homer's picture are probably copied from nature, yet we doubt not that many of those objects to which Strabo refers, instead of affording
Where are the epitaphs our fathers read?
Save a few glean'd from the sepulchral gloom Which once-named myriads nameless lie beneath, And lose their own in universal death.(1)
I canter by the spot each afternoon
Where perish'd in his fame the hero-boy, Who lived too long for men, but died too soon
For human vanity, the young De Foix ! A broken pillar, not uncouthly hewn,
But which neglect is hastening to destroy, Records Ravenna's carnage on its face, While weeds and ordure rankle round the base.(2)
subjects for the bard to describe, derived, in after-days, their name and
And call to count what is of them become,
Which of all wisdom knew the perfect sum ?
Where those great warriors which did overcome
And made one mear of the earth and of their reign." — SPENSER.] (2) The pillar which records the battle of Ravenna is about wo miles from the city, on the opposite side of the river to the road towards Forli. Gaston de Foix, who gained the battle, was killed in it: there fell on both sides twenty thousand men. The present state of the pillar and its site is described in the text. - [De Foix was Duke of Nemours, and nephew to Louis XII., who gave him the government of Milan, and made him gene. ral of his army in Italy. The young hero signalised his valour and abilities in various actions, which terminated in the battle of Ravenna, fought on Easter.day, 1512. After he had obtained the victory, he could not be dissuaded froin pursuing a body of Spanish infantry, which retreated in good order. Making a furious charge on this brave troop, he was thrown from his horse, and despatched by a thrust of a pike. He perished in his twenty-fourth year, and the king's affliction for his death embittered all the joy arising from his success. - - Mureri.]