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"Whom the gods love die young," was said of
And many deaths do they escape by this:
The death of friends, and that which slays even
The death of friendship, love, youth, all that is, Except mere breath; and since the silent shore Awaits at last even those who longest miss The old archer's shafts, perhaps the early grave Which men weep over may be meant to save. (2)
Haidée and Juan thought not of the dead. [them: The heavens, and earth, and air, seem'd made for They found no fault with Time, save that he fled; They saw not in themselves aught to condemn : Each was the other's mirror, and but read
Joy sparkling in their dark eyes like a gem, And knew such brightness was but the reflection Of their exchanging glances of affection.
The gentle pressure, and the thrilling touch,
The least glance better understood than words, Which still said all, and ne'er could say too much; A language, too, but like to that of birds, Known but to them, at least appearing such As but to lovers a true sense affords ;
Sweet playful phrases, which would seem absurd To those who have ceased to hear such, or ne'er heard:
(1) See Herodotus.
(2) ["The less of this cold world, the more of Heaven." - MILMAN.]
All these were theirs, for they were children still,
their lives in fountains and on flowers, And never know the weight of human hours.
Moons changing had roll'd on, and changeless found Those their bright rise had lighted to such joys As rarely they beheld throughout their round;
And these were not of the vain kind which cloys, For theirs were buoyant spirits, never bound
By the mere senses; and that which destroys (1) Most love, possession, unto them appear'd A thing which each endearment more endear'd.
Oh beautiful! and rare as beautiful!
But theirs was love in which the mind delights To lose itself, when the old world grows dull, And we are sick of its hack sounds and sights, Intrigues, adventures of the common school, Its petty passions, marriages, and flights, Where Hymen's torch but brands one strumpet more, Whose husband only knows her not a wh―re.
(1) [MS.- -"For theirs were buoyant spirits, which would bound 'Gainst common failings," &c.]
Hard words; harsh truth; a truth which many
Enough. The faithful and the fairy pair, Who never found a single hour too slow,
What was it made them thus exempt from care? Young innate feelings all have felt below,
Which perish in the rest, but in them were
This is in others a factitious state,
An opium dream (1) of too much youth and reading, But was in them their nature or their fate:
No novels e'er had set their young hearts bleeding, For Haidée's knowledge was by no means great, And Juan was a boy of saintly breeding;
So that there was no reason for their loves
They gazed upon the sunset; 'tis an hour
Dear unto all, but dearest to their eyes,
For it had made them what they were: the power Of love had first o'erwhelm'd them from such
When happiness had been their only dower,
And twilight saw them link'd in passion's ties ; Charm'd with each other, all things charm'd that brought
The past still welcome as the present thought.
(1) [The celebrated "Confessions of an English Opium Eater," by Mr. De Quincey, had been published shortly before this Canto was written. - E.]
I know not why, but in that hour to-night,
Even as they gazed, a sudden tremor came, And swept, as 'twere, across their heart's delight, Like the wind o'er a harp-string, or a flame, When one is shook in sound, and one in sight; And thus some boding flash'd through either frame, And call'd from Juan's breast a faint low sigh, While one new tear arose in Haidée's eye.
That large black prophet eye seem'd to dilate
With his broad, bright, and dropping orb were
Juan gazed on her as to ask his fate
He felt a grief, but knowing cause for none, His glance enquired of hers for some excuse For feelings causeless, or at least abstruse.
She turn'd to him, and smiled, but in that sort
And master'd by her wisdom or her pride;
(1) ["Seldom he smiles; and smiles in such a sort, As if he mock'd himself, and scorn'd his spirit,
That could be moved to smile at any thing."-SHAKSPEARE.]
Juan would question further, but she press'd
And no doubt of all methods 'tis the best:
Some people prefer wine-'tis not amiss;
I have tried both; (1) so those who would a part take May choose between the headache and the heartache.
One of the two, according to your choice,
But which to choose, I really hardly know;
For both sides I could many reasons show, And then decide, without great wrong to either, It were much better to have both than neither.
Juan and Haidée gazed upon each other
With swimming looks of speechless tenderness, Which mix'd all feelings, friend, child, lover, brother, All that the best can mingle and express
(1) ["The effect of all wines and spirits upon me is strange. It settles, but it makes me gloomy - gloomy at the very moment of their effect, and not gay hardly ever. But it composes for a time, though sullenly. Swimming raises my spirits, but in general they are low, and get daily lower. That is hopeless; for I do not think I am so much ennuyé as I was at nineteen."-B. Diary, 1821.]