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Here their conductor tapping at the wicket
He led them onward, first through a low thicket
They almost lost their way, and had to pick it-
As they were plodding on their winding way
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 :)(1)
As they were threading on their way, there came
(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:
(1) St. Bartholomew is said to have been flayed 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, if 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
(1) [MS." Of speeches, beauty, flattery there is no
Turkey contains no bells, and yet men dine;
Of lackeys usher to the feast prepared,
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:
He motion'd them to stop at some small distance, And knocking at the gate, 'twas open'd wide, And a magnificent large hall display'd
The Asian pomp of Ottoman parade.
I won't describe; description is my forte,
While Nature, tortured twenty thousand ways, Resigns herself with exemplary patience
To guide-books, (1) rhymes, (2) tours, (3) sketches, (4) illustrations. (5)
(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
Just as one views a horse to guess his price;
"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.]