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When your affairs come round, one way or
But Adeline was far from that ripe age, Go to the coffeehouse, and take another. Whose ripeness is but bitter at the best. XLIX.
'Twas rather her experience made her sage; But this is not my maxim : had it been,
For she had seen the world, and stood its test, Some heart-aches had been spared me: yet I As I have said in-1 forget what page: care not
My Muse despises reference, as you've guess'd I would not be a tortoise in his screen
By this time ;-but strike six from seven-andOf stubborn shell, which waves and weather twenty, wear not.
And you will find her sum of years in plenty. 'Tis better, on the whole, to have felt and seen
LV. That which humanity may bear, or bear not: At sixteen she came out, presented, vaunted ; 'Twill teach discernment to the sensitive,
She put all coronets into commotion : And not to pour their ocean in a sieve.
At seventeen, too, the world was still enchanted
With the new Venus of their brilliant ocean: Of all the horrid, hideous notes of woe, At eighteen, though below her feet still panted
Sadder than owl-songs or the midnight blast, A hecatomb of suitors with devotion, Is that portentous phrase, “I told you so,'
She had consented to create again Utter'd by friends, those prophets of the past, That Adam, callid “the happiest of men.” Who, 'stead of saying what you now should do,
Own they foresaw that you would fall at last, Since then she had sparkled through three And solace your slight lapse'gainst bonos mores, glowing winters, With a long memorandum of old stories.
Admired, adored ; but also so correct,
That she had puzzled all the acutest hinters, The Lady Adeline's serene severity
Without the apparel of being circumspect. Was not confined to feeling for her friend, They could not even glean the slightest splinters Whose fame she rather doubted with posterity, From off the marble, which had no defect.
Unless her habits should begin to mend; She had also snatch'd a moment, since her But Juan also shared in her austerity,
marriage, But mix'd with pity, pure as e'er was penn'd: To bear a son and heir--and one miscarriage. His inexperience moved her gentle ruth, And (as her junior by six weeks) his youth.
Fondly the wheeling fire-flies flew around her, LII.
Those little glitterers of the London night : These forty days' advantage of her years- But none of these possess'd a sting to wound And hers were those which can face calcula
She was a pitch beyond a coxcomb's flight. Boldly referring to the list of peers, And noble births, nordread the enumeration - Perhaps she wish'd an aspirant profounder;
But whatsoe'er she wish'd, she acted right: Gave her a right to have maternal fears
And whether coldness, pride, or virtue, dignify For a young gentleman's fit education ;
A woman, so she's good, what does it signify? Though she was far from that leap-year, whose
leap In female dates, strikes Time all of a heap. I hate a motive, like a lingering bottle,
Which with the landlord makes too long a LIII. This may be fixʼd at somewhere before thirty- Leaving
all claretless the unmoisten’d throttle,
stand, Say seven-and-twenty, for I never knew The strictest in chronology and virtue
Especially with politics on hand;
I hate it, as I hate a drove of cattle, Advance beyond, while they could pass for
Who whirl the dust, as simooms whirl the sand:
I hate it, as I hate an argument, Oh Time ! why dost not pause ? Thy scythe, so dirty
A laureate's ode, or servile peer's "content." With rust, should surely cease to hack and
'Tis sad to hack into the roots of things, Reset it: shave more smoothly, also slower, They're so much intertwisted with the earth: If but to keep thy credit as a mower.
So that the branch a goodly verdure flings,
I reck not if an acorn gave it birth. * In Swift's or Horace Walpole's letters, I
To trace all actions to their secret springs, think it is mentioned that somebody, regretting Would make indeed some melancholy mirth ; the loss of a friend, was answered by an uni
But this is not at present my concern, versal Pylades; “When I lose one, I go to the And I refer you to wise Oxenstiern. St James's Coffeehouse, and take another."
I recollect having heard an anecdote of the same kind. Sir W. D. was a great gamester. With the kind view of saving an éclat, Coming in one day to the club of which he was Both to the Duchess and diplomatist, a member, he was observed to look melancholy The Lady Adeline, as soon 's she saw “What is the matter, Sir William?” cried That Juan was unlikely to resist of facetious memory.
“Ah,"replied Sir (For foreigners don't know that a faux pas I have just lost poor Lady D.”. Lost! In England ranks quite on a different list What at-Quinze or Hazard? was the conso- From those of other lands, unblest with juric, latory rejoinder of the querist.
Whose verdict for such sin a certain cure is).
LXVIII. The Lady Adeline resolved to take
And being of the council called "the Privy,” Such measures as she thought might best im- Lord Henry walk'd into his cabinet, pede
To furnish matter for some future Livy, The further progress of this sad mistake.
To tell how he reduced the nation's debt; She thought with some simplicity indeed; And if their full contents I do not give ye, But innocence is bold even at the stake,
It is because I do not know them yet;
But ere he went, he added a slight hint,
His Grace was an enduring married man, Such as are coin'd in conversation's mint, And was not likely all at once to burst
And pass, for want of better, though not new; Into a scene, and swell the clients' clan Then broke his packet to see what was in't, of Doctors' Commons; but she dreaded first And, having casually glanced it through, The magic of her Grace's talisman,
Retired : and, as he went out, calmly kiss'd her, And next a quarrel (as he seemed to fret) Less like a young wife than an aged sister, With Lord Augustus Fitz-Plantagenet.
He was a cold, good, honourable man,
Proud of his birth, and proud of everything: And somewhat méchante in her amorous
A goodly spirit for a state divan, sphere;
A figure fit to walk before a king; One of those pretty, precious plagues, which Tall, stately, form’d to lead the courtly van haunt
On birthdays, glorious, with a star and string; À lover with caprices soft and dear,
The very model of a chamberlainThat like to make a quarrel, when they can't
And such I mean to make him, when I reign. Find one, each day of the delightful year; Bewitching, torturing, as they freeze or glow, But there was something wanting on the wholeAnd—what is worst of all-won't let you go : I don't know what, and therefore cannot tell
Which pretty women--the sweet souls! call sou, LXIV.
Certes it was not body: he was well The sort of thing to turn a young man's head,
Proportion'd, as a poplar or a pole, Or make a Werter of him in the end.
A handsome man, that human miracle ; No wonder then a purer soul should dread
And in each circumstance of love or war,
Had still preserved his perpendicular.
LXXII. 'Tis best to pause, and think, ere you rush on, Still there was something wanting, as I've saidIf that a bonne fortune be really bonne.
That undefinable “ Je ne scais quoi,".
To Homer's Iliad, since it drew to Troy And first, in the o'erflowing of her heart, The Greek Eve, Helen, from the Spartan's bed; Which really knew, or thought it knew, no Though, on the whole, no doubt, the Darda guile,
boy She call'd her husband now and then apart, Was much inferior to King Menelaus:
And bade him counsel Juan. With a smile, But thus it is some women will betray us. Lord Henry heard her plans of artless art
LXXIII. To wean Don Juan from the siren's wile :
There is an awkward thing which much perAnd answer'd, like a statesman or a prophet,
plexes, In such guise that she could make nothing of it.
Unless like wise Tiresias we had proved, LXVI.
By turns, the difference of the several sexes: Firstly, he said, "he never interfered
Neither can show quite how they would be In anybody's business but the king's."
loved. Next, that "he never judged from what ap- The sensual for a short time but connects uspear'd,
The sentimental boasts to be unmoved ; Without strong reason, of those sort of things;” But both together form a kind of Centaur, Thirdly, that“ Juan had more brain than beard, Upon whose back 'tis better not to venture
And was not to be held in leading strings: ' And fourthly, what need hardly be said twice,
A something all-sufficient for the heart “That good but rarely came from good advice."
Is that for which the sex are always seeking: LXVII.
But how to fill up that same vacant partAnd therefore, doubtless to approve the truth There lies the rub--and this they are but Of the last axiom, he advised his spouse
weak in. To leave the parties to themselves, forsooth-- Frail mariners afloat without a chart, At least as far as bienseance allows;
They run before the wind through high seas That time would temper Juan's faults of youth; breaking;
That young men rarely made monastic vows; And when they've made the shore through every
Those vegetables of the Catholic creed There is a flower called “Love in Idleness," Are apt exceedingly to run to seed. For which see Shakspeare's ever-blooming
Oh Wilberforce! thou man of black renown, I will not make his great description less, Whose merit none enough can sing or say,
And beg his British godship's humble pardon, Thou hast struck one immense Colossus down,
Thou moral Washington of Africa !
Which you should perpetrate some summer's
day, Or Swiss Rousseau, cry“Voilà la Pervenche!" And set the other half of earth to rights ;
You have freed the blacks--now pray shut up Eureka! I have found it ! What I mean
Sut up the bald-coot bully Alexander ;
Ship off the Holy Three to Senegal ;
Teach them that
goose is sauce for Your men of business are not apt to express
gander," Much passion, since the merchant-ship the Argo
And ask them how they like to be in thrall. Convey'd Medea as her supercargo.
each high heroic salamander,
Who eats fire gratis (since the pay’s but small); LXXVII.
Shut up-no, not the King, but the Pavilion, “ Beatus ille procul !” from "negotiis," Or else 'twill cost us all another million. Saith Horace: the great little poet's wrong;
Shut up the world at large ; let Bedlam out; Though even that were sometimes too ferocious, All things pursue exactly the same route,
And you will be perhaps surprised to find Unless good company be kept too long; But in his teeth, whate'er their state or station, This I could prove beyond a single doubt,
As now with those of soi-disant sound mind. Thrice happy they who have an occupation.
Were there a jot of sense among mankind LXXVIII.
But till that point d'appui is found, alas, Adam exchanged his Paradise for ploughing; Like Archimedes, I leave earth as 'twas. Eve made up millinery with fig-leaves
LXXXV. The earliest knowledge from the tree so know- Our gentle Adeline had one defecting,
Her heart was vacant, though a splendid As far as I know, that the church receives :
mansion; And since that time it need not cost much show- Her conduct had been perfectly correct, ing
As she had seen nought claiming its expanThat many of the ills o'er which man grieves, sion. And still more women, spring from not employ- A wavering spirit may be easier wreck’d, ing
Because 'tis frailer, doubtless, than a staunch Some hours to make the remnant worth enjoying.
But when the latter works its own undoing, LXXIX.
Its inner crash is like an earthquake's ruin. And hence high life is oft a dreary void,
LXXXVI. A rack of pleasures, where we must invent
She loved her lord, or thought so; but that A something wherewithal to be annoy'd.
love Bards may sing what they please about Con
Cost her an effort, which is a sad toil,
Our feelings 'gainst the nature of the soil.
She had nothing to complain of, or reprove, Blue-devils, and blue-stockings, and romances, Reduced to practice, and perform'd like dances.
No bickerings, no connubial turmoil :
Their union was a model to behold,
Serene and noble-conjugal, but cold.
LXXXVII. Romances I ne'er read like those I've seen ; There was no great disparity of years, Nor, if unto the world I ever gave it,
Though much in temper; but they never Would some believe that such a tale had been.
clash'd: But such intent I never had, nor have it: They moved like stars united in their spheres,
Some truths are better kept behind a screen, Or like the Rhone by Leman's waters wash'd, Especially when they would look like lies:
Where mingled, and yet separate, appears I therefore deal in generalities.
The river from the lake all bluely dash'd LXXXI.
Through the serene and placid glassy deep, “ An oyster may be cross'd in love”-and why? Which fain would lull its river-child to sleep. Because he mopeth idly in his shell,
Much as a monk may do within his cell. In anything, however she might flatter
Herself that her intentions were the best, With sloth hath found it difficult to dwell; Intense intentions are a dangerous matter :
Impressions were much stronger than she
I've also seen some female friends ('tis odd, And gather'd as they ran, like growing water, But true-as, if expedient, I could prove) Upon her mind; the more so, as her breast That faithful were through thick and thin, Was not at first too readily impress'd.
At home, far more than ever yet was loveBut when it was, she had that lurking demon Who did not quit me when Oppression trod
Of double nature, and thus doubly named- Upon me ; whom no scandal could remove :
Despite the snake Society's loud rattles.
XCVII. Whene'er their triumph pales, or star is tamed: Whether Don Juan and chaste Adeline And 't will perplex the casuist in morality, Grew friends in this or any other sense, To fix the due bounds of this dangerous quality. Will be discuss'd hereafter, í opine : XC.
At present I am glad of a pretence Had Buonaparte won at Waterloo,
To leave them hovering, as the effect is fine, It had been firmness ; now 'tis pertinacity : And keeps the atrocious reader in suspense; Must the event decide between the two ?
The surest way for ladies and for books, I leave it to your people of sagacity
To bait their tender, or their tenter, hooks. To draw the line between the false and true,
XCVIII. If such can e'er be drawn by man's capacity: Whether they rode, or walk’d, or studied My business is with Lady Adeline,
Spanish, Who in her way, too, was a heroine.
To read Don Quixote in the original, XCI. She knew not her own heart: then how should I? A pleasure before which all others vanish.
Whether their talk was of the kind call's I think not she was then in love with Juan :
“small,” If so, she would have had the strength to fly The wild sensation, unto her a new one.
Or serious, are the topics I must banish She merely felt a common sympathy
To the next canto ; where perhaps I shall
Say something to the purpose, and display (I will not say it was a false or true one)
Considerable talent in my way.
Above all, I beg all men to forbear
Anticipating aught about the matter. She was, orthought she was, his friend-and this They'll only make mistakes about the fair, Without the farce of friendship, or romance
And Juan too, especially the latter. Of Platonism which leads so oft amiss
And I shall take a much more serious air Ladies who've studied friendship but in
Than I have yet done in this epic satire. France
It is not clear that Adeline and Juan Or Germany, where people purely kiss.
Will fall; but if they do, 'twill be their ruin. To thus much Adeline would not advance ;
C. But of such friendship as man's may to man be, But great things spring from little ; would you She was as capable as woman can be.
That, in our youth, as dangerous passion No doubt the secret influence of the sex
As e'er brought man and woman to the brink Will there, as also in the ties of blood,
Of ruin, rose from such a slight occasion, An innocent predominance annex,
As few would ever dream could form the link And tune the concord to a finer mood.
Of such a sentimental situation ! If free from passion, which all friendship checks, You'll never guess, I'll bet you millions, milAnd your true feelings fully understood,
liards : No friend like to a woman earth discovers, It all sprung from a harmless game at billiards. So that you have not been, nor will be, lovers.
'Tis strange, but true: for truth is always Love bears within its breast the very germ
strange ; Of change ; and how should this be otherwise Stranger than fiction : if it could be told, That violent things more quickly find a term, How much would novels gain by the exchange!
Is shown through nature's whole analogies ; How differently the world would men behold! And how should the most fierce of all be firm? How oft would vice and virtue places change!
Would you have endless lightning in the skies? The new world would be nothing to the old, Methinks Love's very title says enough:
If some Columbus of the moral seas How should the tender passion e'er be tough? Would show mankind their souls' antipodes.
CII. Alas! by all experience, seldom yet
What " antres vast and deserts idle" then (I merely quote what I have heard from many) Would be discover'd in the human soul ! Had lovers not some reason to regret
What icebergs in the hearts of mighty men, The passion which made Solomon a zany.
With self-love in the centre as their pole! I've also seen some wives (not to forget The marriage state, the best or worst of any)
What Anthropophagi are nine of ten Who were the very paragons of wives,
Of those who hold the kingdoms in control! Yet made the misery of at least two lives.
Were things but only call'd by their right name,
CANTO THE FIFTEENTH.
And for which Nature might forego her debtAh !-What should follow slips from my reflec- Sole creditor whose process doth involve in't tion:
The luck of finding everybody solvent.
Oh death! thou dunnest of all duns ! thou daily As though the lurking thought had follow'd
Knockest at doors, at first with modest tap, free.
Like a meek tradesman when approaching All present life is but an interjection,
palely An “Oh!" or “Ah !" of joy or misery,
Some splendid debtor he would take by sap; Or a
“ Ha! ha!” or Bah!”-a yawn, or But oft denied, as patience 'gins to fail, he “ Pooh!”
Advances with exasperated rap, Of which perhaps the latter is most true. And (if let in) insists, in terms unhandsome, IT.
On ready money, or
a draft on Ransom. But more or less, the whole's a syncopé
IX. Or a singultus-emblems of emotion, Whate'er thou takest, spare awhile poor Beauty! That grand antithesis to great ennui,
She is so rare, and thou hast so much prey. Wherewith we break our bubbles on the what though she now and then may slip from ocean,
duty ? That watery outline of eternity,
The more's the reason why you ought to stay. Or miniature, at least, as is my notion, Gaunt Gourmand! with whole nations for your Which ministers unto the soul's delight,
booty, In seeing matters which are out of sight.
You should be civil in a modest way:
Suppress, then, some slight feminine diseases ; But all are better than the sigh supprest, And take as many heroes as Heaven pleases. Corroding in the cavern of the heart,
And turning human nature to an art.
1. Where she was interested (as was said), best :
To like too readily, or too high bred
To show it (points we need not now discuss), A corner for herself; and therefore fiction
Would give up artlessly both heart and head Is that which passes with least contradiction.
Unto such feelings as seem'd innocent,
For objects worthy of the sentiment.
XI. Remember, without telling, passion's errors? Some parts of Juan's history, which Rumour, The drainer of oblivion, even the sot,
That live-gazette, had scatter'd, to disligure, Hath got blue devils for his morning mirrors: She had heard ; but women hear with more What though on Lethe's stream he seem to float,
good humour He cannot sink his tremors or his terrors:
Such aberrations, than we men of rigour: The ruby glass that shakes within his hand, Besides his conduct since in England grew more Leaves a sad sediment of Time's worst sand.
Strict, and his mind assumed a manlier vigour;
Because he had, like Alcibiades,
The Lady Adeline Amundeville,
His manner was perhaps the more seductive, Nust perch harmonious on my tuneful quill. Because he ne'er seem'd anxious to seduce : There's music in the sighing of a reed ;
Nothing affected, studied, or constructive, There's music in the gushing of a rill;
Of coxcombry or conquest ; no abuse There's music in all things, if men had ears: Of his attractions marr'd the fair perspective, Their earth is but an echo of the spheres. To indicate a Cupidon broke loose, VI.
And seem to say,
“Resist us if
you can The Lady Adeline, right honourable,
Which makes a dandy, while it spoils a man. And honour'd, ran a risk of growing less so:
XI11. For few of the soft sex are very stable
They are wrong-that's not the way to set In their resolves-alas, that I should say so ! about it ; They differ as wine differs from its label,
As, if they told the truth, could well be shown. When once decanted ;--I presume to guess so, But, right or wrong, Don Juan was without it: But will not swear: yet both, upon occasion, In fact, his manner was his own alone. Till old, may undergo adulteration,
Sincere he was—at least you could not doubt it, VII.
In listening merely to his voice's tone. But Adeline was of the purest vintage,
The devil hath not, in all his quiver's choice, The unmingled essence of the grape ; and yet An arrow for the heart like a sweet voice. Bright as a new Napoleon from its mintage, Or glorious as a diamond richly set ;
By nature soft, his whole address held off A page where Time should hesitate to print age. Suspicion: though not timid, his regard