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Here their conductor tapping at the wicket
Of a small iron door, 't was open'd, and He led them onward, first through a low thicket Flank'd by large groves, which tower'd on either
hand : They almost lost their way, and had to pick it
For night was closing ere they came to land. The eunuch made a sign to those on board, Who row'd off, leaving them without a word.
As they were plodding on their winding way
Through orange bowers, and jasmine, and so forth: (Of which I might have a good deal to say,
There being no such profusion in the North Of oriental plants, “ et cetera,"
But that of late your scribblers think it worth Their while to rear whole hotbeds in their works Because one poet travell’d’mongst the Turks :) ()
As they were threading on their way, there came
Into Don Juan's head a thought, which he Whisper'd to his companion :-'t was the same
Which might have then occurr'd to you or me. “Methinks," - said he,- it would be no great shame
If we should strike a stroke to set us free; Let's knock that old black fellow on the head, And march away— 't were easier done than said.”
(1) [“ Eastern Sketches,” “ Parga,” “ Phrosyne,” “ Ilderim," &c. &c.]
“ Yes,” said the other, “ and when done, what then?
How get out ? how the devil got we in ? And when we once were fairly out, and when
From Saint Bartholomew we have saved our To-morrow'd see us in some other den, [skin,(1)
And worse off than we hitherto have been; Besides, I'm hungry, and just now would take, Like Esau, for my birthright a beef-steak.
“We must be near some place of man's abode ;
For the old negro's confidence in creeping, With his two captives, by so queer a road, Shows that he thinks his friends have not been
sleeping; A single cry would bring them all abroad :
'Tis therefore better looking before leaping-(2) And there, you see, this turn has brought us through, By Jove, a noble palace !— lighted too."
It was indeed a wide extensive building
Which open’d on their view, and o'er the front There seem'd to be besprent a deal of gilding
And various hues, as is the Turkish wont, A gaudy taste ; for they are little skill'd in
The arts of which these lands were once the font : Each villa on the Bosphorus looks a screen New painted, or a pretty opera-scene.
(1) St. Bartholomew is said to have been Aayed alive.
And nearer as they came, a genial savour
Of certain stews, and roast-meats, and pilaus, Things which in hungry mortals' eyes find favour,
Made Juan in his harsh intentions pause, And put himself upon his good behaviour :
His friend, too, adding a new saving clause, Said, “In Heaven's name let's get some supper now, And then I'm with
you ’re for a row.”
Some talk of an appeal unto some passion,
Some to men's feelings, others to their reason; The last of these was never much the fashion,
For reason thinks all reasoning out of season. Some speakers whine, and others lay the lash on,
But more or less continue still to tease on, With arguments according to their “ forte;" But no one ever dreams of being short.
But I digress: of all appeals, although
I grant the power of pathos, and of gold, Of beauty, flattery, threats, a shilling, -no
Method's more sure at moments to take hold (1) Of the best feelings of mankind, which grow
More tender, as we every day behold, Than that all-softening, overpowering knell, The tocsin of the soul — the dinner-bell.
(1) [MS. -" Of speeches, beauty, flattery- there is no
Method more sure," &c.]
Turkey contains no bells, and yet men dine;
And Juan and his friend, albeit they heard
Of lackeys usher to the feast prepared,
And cooks in motion with their clean arms bared,
And giving up
all notions of resistance, They follow'd close behind their sable guide, Who little thought that his own crack'd existence
Was on the point of being set aside:
And knocking at the gate, 'twas open'd wide,
I won't describe ; description is my forte,
But every fool describes in these bright days His wondrous journey to some foreign court,
And spawns his quarto, and demands your praiseDeath to his publisher, to him 't is sport;
While Nature, tortured twenty thousand ways, Resigns herself with exemplary patience To guide-books, (4) rhymes, (2) tours,(3) sketches, (4)
(1) [" Guide des Voyageurs," " Directions for Travellers,” &c, (2) “ Rhymes, Incidental and Humorous,” “ Rhyming Reminiscences,"
Along this hall, and up and down, some, squatted
Upon their hams, were occupied at chess; Others in monosyllable talk chatted,
And some seem'd much in love with their own dress, And divers smoked superb pipes decorated
With amber mouths of greater price or less ; And several strutted, others slept, and some Prepared for supper with a glass of rum. (1)
As the black eunuch enter'd with his brace
Of purchased Infidels, some raised their eyes A moment without slackening from their pace;
But those who sate, ne'er stirr'd in any wise:(?) One or two stared the captives in the face,
Just as one views a horse to guess his price; Some nodded to the negro from their station, But no one troubled him with conversation.(3)
“ Effusions in Rhyme,” &c. — (3) “ Lady Morgan's Tour in Italy," “ Tour through Istria,” &c. &c. -(4) “ Sketches of Italy,” “ Sketches of Modern Greece,” &c. &c. — (5) A playful allusion to Mr. Hobhouse's “ Illustrations of Childe Harold."]
(1) In Turkey nothing is more common than for the Mussulmans to take several glasses of strong spirits by way of appetizer. I have seen them take as many as six of raki before dinner, and swear that they dined the better for it : I tried the experiment, but fared like the Scotchman, who having heard that the birds called kittiwakes were admirable whets, ate six of them, and complained that "he was no hungrier than when he began."]
(2) [MS “ The sitters never stirr'd in any wise”]
(3) [“ Every thing is so still in the court of the seraglio, that the motion of a fly might, in a manner, be heard; and if any one should presume to raise his voice ever so little, or show the least want of respect to the mansion.place of their emperor, he would instantly have the bastinado by the officers that go the rounds." - TOURNEFORT.]