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Society is now one polish'd horde,
For ennui is a growth of English root, Form'd of two mighty tribes, the Bores and Though nameless in our language !---we retort Bored.
The fact for words, and let the French translate XCVI.
That awful yawn which sleep cannot abate. But from being farmers we turn gleaners, gleaning
The elderly walk'd through the library, The scanty but right well thresh'd ears of
And tumbled books, or criticised the pictures, truth;
Or saunter'd through the garden piteously, And, gentle reader, when you gather meaning,
And made upon the hot-house several stricYou may be Boaz, and I-modest Ruth.
tures, Further I'd quote, but Scripture intervening Or rode a nag which trotted not too high, Forbids. A great impression in my youth
Or on the morning papers read their lectures, Was made by Mrs Adams, where she cries, Or on the watch their longing eyes would fix, "That Scriptures out of church are blasphe- Longing, at sixty, for the hour of six. mies.'
But none were gené : the great hour of union
age Of chaff, although our gleanings be not grist.
Was rung by dinner's knell ; till then all were I must not quite omit the talking sage,
Masters of their own time-or in communion, Kit-Cat, the famous conversationist,
Or solitary, as they chose to bear Who, in his common-place book, had a page.
The hours, which how to pass is but to few
known. Prepared each morn for evenings. oh list !"
Each rose up at his own, and had to spare Alas, poor ghost!” What unexpected woes
What time he chose for dress, and broke his Await those who have studied their bon-mots !
When, where, and how he chose for that repast.
The ladies--some rouged, some a little paleAnd secondly, must let slip no occasion,
Met the morn as they might. If fine, they i Nor bate (abate) their hearers of an inch,
rode, But take an ell--and make a great sensation,
Or walk'd ; if foul, they read, or told a tale, If possible ; and thirdly never flinch,
Sung, or rehearsed the last dance from
abroad; When some smart talker puts them to the test, But seize the last word, which no doubt's the Discuss'd the fashion which might next prevail, best.
And settled bonnets, by the newest code,
Or cramm'd twelve sheets into one little letter, XCIX. Lord Henry and his lady were the hosts :
To make each correspondent a new debtor. The party we have touch'd on were the
For some had absent lovers, all had friends. Their table was a board to tempt even ghosts The earth has nothing like a she-epistle,
To pass the Styx for more substantial feasts. And hardly heaven-because it never ends. I will not dwell upon ragouts or roasts,
I love the mystery of a female missal, Albeit all human history attests
Which, like a creed, ne'er says all it intends, That happiness for man- the hungry sinner !-- But, full of cunning as Ulysses' whistle, Since Eve ate apples, much depends on dinner. When he allured poor Doion: you had better
Take care what you reply to such a letter. Witness the lands which “flow'd with milk and
Then there were billiards : cards, too, but no Held out unto the hungry Israelites : To this we have added since the love of money, Save in the clubs, no man of honour plays :
The only sort of pleasure which requites. Boats when 'twas water, skating when 'twasice, Youth fades, and leaves our days no longer And the hard frost destroyed the scenting, sunny :
days ; We tire of mistresses and parasites ;
And angling, too, that solitary vice, But oh, ambrosial cash! Ah, who would lose
Whatever Izaak Walton sings or says: thee?
The quaint, old, cruel coxcomb, in his gullet When we no more can use, or even abuse, thee! Should have a hook, and a small trout to pull it.
CVII. The gentlemen got up betimes to shoot, When evening came the banquet and the wine; Or hunt: the young, because they liked the The conversazione ; the duet, sport
Attuned by voices more or less divine The first thing boys like, after play and fruit : (My heart or head aches with the memory yet! The middle-aged, to make the day more The four Miss Rawbolds in a glee would shine:
But the two youngest loved more to be set
Down to the harp, because to music's charms Mrs Adams answered Mr Adams, that it They added graceful necks, white hands and was blasphemous to talk of Scripture out of arms. church.” This dogma was broached to her
CVIII. husband—the best Christian in any book. See Sometimes a dance (though rarely on field days, Joseph Andrews, in the latter chapters.
For then the gentlemen were rather tired
Display'd some sylph-like figures in its maze: 1
In this our party ; polish'd, smooth, and cold,
And our Sophias are not so emphatic, The hunters fought their fox-hunt o'er again, But fair as then, or fairer to behold. And then retreated soberly-at ten.
We have no accomplish'd blackguards, like Tom
But gentlemen in stays, as stiff as stones.
That is, ere midnight—which is London's The wits watch'd every loophole for their art,
noon: To introduce a bon-mot, head and ears. But in the country, ladies seek their bower Small is the rest of those who would be smart : A little earlier than the waning moon. A moment's good thing may have cost them Peace to the slumbers of each folded flower-years
May the rose call back its true colour soon! Before they find an hour to introduce it ; Good hours of fair cheeks are the fairest tinters, And then, even then, some bore may make them And lower the price of rouge-at least some lose it.
winters. CANTO THE FOURTEENTH.
The worst to know it: when the mountains If from great nature's or our own abyss
Of thought, we could but snatch a certainty, Their peaks beneath your human foot, and there Perhaps mankind might find the path they You look down o'er the precipice, and drear miss
The gulf of rocks yawns, you can't gaze a minute
Much as old Saturn ate his progeny ;
'Tis true, you don't-but, pale and struck with
terror, In lieu of sons, of these he made no bones.
Retire ; but look into your past impression,
And you will find, though shuddering at the But System doth reverse the Titan's breakfast,
mirror And eats her parents, albeit the digestion Of your own thoughts, in all their self-confes. Is difficult. Pray tell me, can you make fast,
sion, After due search, your faith to any question? The lurking bias, be it truth or error, Look back o'er ages, ere unto the stake fast To the unknoum; a secret prepossession You bind yourself, and call some mode the To plunge with all your fears--but where? best one.
You know not: Nothing more true than not to trust your senses; And that's the reason why they do-or do not. And yet what are your other evidences ?
But what's this to the purpose? you will say: For me, I know nought: nothing I deny,
Gent. reader, nothing: a mere speculation, Admit, reject, contemn; and what know you, For which my sole excuse is—-'tis my way, Except, perhaps, that you were born to die? Sometimes with, and sometimes without And both may, after all, turn out untrue.
occasion, An age may come, Font of Eternity,
I write what's uppermost, without delay : When nothing shall be either old or new.
This narrative is not meant for narration : Death, so call’d, is a thing which makes men But a mere airy and fantastic basis, weep;
To build up common things with common places And yet a third of life is pass'd in sleep.
You know, or don't know, that great Pacon saith, A sleep without dreams, after a rough day “Fling up a straw, 'twill show the way the Of toil, is what we covet most ; and yet
wind blows ;" How clay shrinks back from more quicscent And such a straw, borne on by human breath, clay!
Is poesy, according as the mind glows; The very suicide that pays his debt
A paper kite which flies 'twixt life and death; At once without instalments (an old way
A shadow which the onward soul behind Of paying debts, which creditors regret),
throws : Lets out impatiently his rushing breath, And mine's a bubble, not blown up for praise, Less from disgust of life than dread of death. But just to play with, as an infant plays.
'Tis round him, near him, here, there, every. The world is all before me-or bchind; where:
For I have seen a portion of that same, And there's a courage which grows out of fear, And quite enough for me to keep in mind. Perhaps of all most desperate, which will dare Of passions too I've proved enough to blame, drill;
To the great pleasure of our friends, mankind, A sort of varnish over every fault ;
Who like to mix some slight alloy with fame; A kind of commonplace, even in their crimes ; For I was rather famous in my time,
Factitious passion, wit without much salt, Until I fairly knock'd it up with rhyme.
A want of that true nature which sublimes
Whate'er it shows with truth; a smooth monoX. I have brought this world about my ears, and
Of character, in those at least who've got any. eke The other : that's to say, the clergy–who
XVII. Upon my head have bid their thunders break,
Sometimes, indeed, like soldiers off parade, In pious libels, by no means a few. And yet I can't help scribbling once a week,
They break their ranks, and gladly leave the Tiring old readers, nor discovering new.
But then the roll-call draws them back afraid, In youth I wrote because my mind was full,
And they must be or seem what they were; And now because I feel it growing dull.
Doubtless it is a brilliant masquerade. But “why then publish?" There are no rewards But when of the first sight you've had
your Of fame or profit, when the world grows fill, weary.
It palls--at least it did so upon me, I ask, in turn, Why do you play at cards ?
This paradise of pleasure and ennui. Why drink? Why read?-To make some hour less dreary.
XVIII. It occupies me to turn back regards
When we have made our love, and gamed our On what I've seen or ponder'd, sad or cheery ; gaming, And what I write, I cast upon the stream, Drest, voted, shone, and, maybe, something To swim or sink- I've had at least my dream.
With dandies dined ; heard senators declaiming; XII. I think that, were I certain of success,
Seen beauties brought to market by the score, I hardly could compose another line ;
Sad rakes to sadder husbands chastely taming : So long I've battled either more or less,
There's little left but to be bored or bore. That no defeat can drive me from the Nine. Witness those ci-devant jeunes hommes who
stem This feeling 'tis not easy to express, And yet 'tis not affected, I opine.
The stream, nor leave the world which leaveth In play, there are two pleasures for your choos
That no one has succeeded in describing Besides, my Muse by no means deals in fiction : The monde exactly as they ought to paint : She gathers a repertory of facts,
Some say that authors only snatch, by bribing Of course with some reserve and slight restric- The porter, some slight scandals strange and tion,
quaint, But mostly sings of human things and acts.
To furnish matter for their moral gibing; And that's one cause she meets with contradic- And that their books have but one style ir tion,
common For too much truth at first sight ne'er attracts; My lady's prattle, filter'd through her woman. And were her object only what's call'd glory,
XX. With more ease too she'd tell a different story.
But this can't well be true just now, for writers XIV.
Are grown of the beau inonde a part potenLove, war, a tempest-surely there's variety ;
tial: Also a seasoning slight of lucubration:
I've seen them balance even the scale with A bird's-eye view, too, of that wild, Society;
fighters, A slight glance thrown on men of every sta
Especially when young, for that's essential.
Why do their sketches fail them as inditers If you had nought else, here's at least satiety,
Of what they deem themselves most conseBoth in performance and in preparation : And though these lines should only line port. The real portrait of the highest tribe ?
'Tis that, in fact, there's little to describe. Trade will be all the better for these cantos. XV.
XXI. The portion of this world which I at present “Haud ignara loquor;" these are Nuga, Have taken up, to fill the following sermon,
quarum Is one of which there's no description recent: Pars parva fui,” but still art and part.
The reason why is easy to determine: Now I could much more easily sketch a harem,
A battle, wreck, or history of the heart, A dull and family likeness through all ages,
Than these things; and, besides, I wish to Of no great promise for poetic pages.
For reasons which I choose to keep apart. XVI. With much to excite, there's little to exalt ;
“Vetabo Cereris sacrum qui vulgaritNothing that speaks to all men and all times ;
Which means that vulgar people must not share
XXIX And therefore what I throw off is ideal
We left our heroes and our heroines Lower'd, leaven'd, like a history of free- In that fair clime which don't depend 0:2 masons ;
climate, Which bears the same relation to the real, Quite independent of the Zodiac's signs,
As Captain Parry's voyage may do to Jason's. Though certainly more difficult to rhyme at, The grand arcanum's not for men to see all ; Because the sun, and stars, and aught that My music has some mystic diapasons :
shines, And there is much which could not be appreci- Mountains, and all we can be most sublime at, ated
Are there oft dull and dreary as a dunIn any manner by the uninitiated.
Whether a sky's or tradesman's is all one. XXIII.
XXX. Alas! worlds fall--and woman, since she felld An in-door life is less poetical ;
The world (as, since that history, less polite And out-of-door hath showers, and mists, and Than true, hath been a creed so strictly held), sleet,
Has not yet given up the practice quite. With which I could not brew a pastoral : Poor thing of usages ! coerced, compelled, But, be it as it may, a bard must meet Victim when wrong, and martyr oft when All difficulties, whether great or small, right,
To spoil his undertaking or complete : Condemned to child-bed, as men, for their sins, And work away, like spirit upon matter, Have shaving too entailed upon
Embarrass'd somewhat both with fire and water. 1 XXIV.
May average, on the whole, the parturition; Was all things unto people of all sorts,
And lived contentedly, without complaints, The real sufferings of their she condition? In camps, in ships, in cottages, or courts ; Man's very sympathy with their estate Born with that happy soul which seldom faints,
Has much of selfishness and more suspicion. And mingling modestly in toils or sports.
But even this is difficult, Heaven knows ! 'Tis also subject to the double danger
stranger. The gilding wears so soon from off her fetter, But Juan had been early taught to range
That-but ask any woman if she'd choose The wilds, as doth an Arab turn'd avenger ; (Take her at thirty, that is) to have been So that his horse, or charger, hunter, hack, Female or male, a school-boy or a queen. Knew that he had a rider on his back, XXVI.
XXXIII. “ Petticoat influence” is a great reproach, And now in this new field, with some applause, Which even those who obey would fain be He clear'd hedge, ditch, and double post, thought
and rail, To fly from, as from hungry pikes a roach ; And never craned, and made but few faux pas, But since beneath it, upon earth, we're And only fretted when the scent 'gan fail. brought,
He broke, 'tis true, some statutes of the laws By various joltings of life's hackney coach, Of hunting-for the sagest youth is frail : I for one venerate a petticoat
Rode o'er the hounds, it may be, now and then, A garment of a mystical sublimity,
And once o'er several country gentlemen.
But, on the whole, to general admiration
He acquitted both himself and horse : the In my young days, that chaste and goodly veil, squires Which holds a treasure like a miser's hoard, Marvell'd at merit of another nation :
And more attracts by all it doth conceal- The boors cried, “Dang it, who'd have A golden scabbard on a Damasque sword,
thought it?”—Sires, A loving letter with a mystic seal,
The Nestors of the sporting generation, A cure for grief-for what can ever rankle Swore praises, and recalls their former fires: Before a petticoat and peeping ankle?
The huntsman's self relented to a grin,
And rated him almost a whipper-in.
brushes; And the sky shows that very ancient grey, Yet I must own-although in this I yield The sober, sad antithesis to glowing,
To patriot sympathy a Briton's blushes-'Tis pleasant, if then anything is pleasant, He thought at heart, like courtly Chesterfield, To catch a glimpse even of a pretty peasant. Who, after a long chase o'er hills, dales, bushe
And what not, though he rode beyond all price, Besides, there might be falsehood in what's
Her late performance had been a dead set
At Lord Augustus Fitz-Plantagenet.
December's drowsy day to his dull race-- A little black upon this new flirtation:
But such small licences must lovers brook, When her soft, liquid words run on apace, Mere freedoms of the female corporation. Who likes a listener, whether saint or sinner- Woe to the man who ventures a rebuke! He did not fall asleep just after dinner,
'Twill but precipitate a situation
Extremely disagreeable, but common
1 But, light and airy, stood on the alert,
To calculators, when they count on woman.
And smiling but in secret-cunning rogue ! Some hoped things might not turn cut as they He ne'er presumed to make an error clearer:
fear'd; In short, there never was a better hearer.
Some would not deem such women could be
found; XXXVIII. And then he danced-all foreigners excel
Some ne'er believed one-half of what they heard; The serious Angles in the eloquence
Some look'd perplex'd, and others look'd Of pantomime--he danced, I say, right well,
profound; With emphasis, and also with good sense
And several pitied, with sincere regret,
Poor Lord Augustus Fitz-Plantagenet. A thing in footing indispensable:
He danced without theatrical pretence ; Not like a ballet-master in the van
But what is odd, none ever named the Duke, Of his drillid nymphs, but like a gentleman. Who, one might think, was something in the
affair: XXXIX. Chaste were his steps, each kept within due True, he was absent, and, 'twas rumour'd, took bound,
But small concern about the when, or where, And elegance was sprinkled o'er his figure:
Or what his consort did : if he could brook Like swift Camilla, he scarce skimm'd the
Her gaieties, none had a right to stare. ground,
Theirs was that best of unions, past all doubt, And rather
held in than put forth his vigour. Which never meets, and therefore can't fall out. And then he had an ear for music's sound,
My Dian of the Ephesians, Lady Adeline,
Began to think the Duchess' conduct free ;
Regretting much that she had chosen so bad a In Guido's famous fresco, which alone
line, Is worth a tour to Rome, although no more a
And waxing chiller in her courtesy, Remnant were there of the old world's sole Look'd grave and pale to see her friend's throne.
fragility, The tout ensemble of his movements wore a
For which most friends reserve their sensibility. Grace of the soft ideal seldom shown,
XLVII. And ne'er to be described : for, to the dolour
There's nought in this bad world like sympathy; Of bards and prosers, words are void of colour.
'Tis so becoming to the soul and face ; XLI.
Sets to soft music the harmonious sigh, No marvel then he was a favourite :
And robes sweet friendship in a Brussels
lace. A full-grown Cupid, very much admired ; A little spoilt, but by no means so quite;
Without a friend, what were humanity, At least he kept his vanity retired.
To hunt our errors up with a good grace? Such was his tact, he could alike delight Consoling us with—“Would you had thought The chaste, and those who're not so much
twice! inspired :
Ah I if you had but follow'd my advice !" The Duchess of Fitz-Fulke, who loved tracas
XLVIII. serie, Began to treat him with some small agacerie.
Oh, Job! you had two friends: one's quite
enough, XLII. She was a fine and somewhat full-blown blonde,
Especially when we are ill at ease : Desirable, distinguish’d, celebrated
They are but bad pilots when the weather's For several winters in the grand, grande monde.
Doctors less famous for their cures than fees I'd rather not say what might be related Or her exploits, for this were ticklish ground;
Let no man grumble when his friends fall off,
As they will do like leaves at the first breeze: