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And when you hear historians talk of thrones,
And those that sate upon them, let it be As we now gaze upon the mammoth's bones,
And wonder what old world such things could see, Or hieroglyphics on Egyptian stones,
The pleasant riddles of futurity Guessing at what shall happily be hid, As the real purpose of a pyramid.
Reader ! I have kept my word, - at least so far
As the first Canto promised. You have now
All very accurate, you must allow,
For I have drawn much less with a long bow
With which I still can harp, and carp, and fiddle.
What farther hath befallen or may befall
I by and by may tell you, if at all :
Worn out with battering Ismail's stubborn wall,
(1) [" The ostentatious and fantastic display of the bloody trophies taken at Ismail, which were some time after exhibited at Petersburgh, was unworthy the greatness, the magnanimity, and the high character of the
This special honour was conferr’d, because
He had behaved with courage and humanity -
From their ferocities produced by vanity.
For saving her amidst the wild insanity
ou hare y
The Moslem orphan went with her protector,
For she was homeless, houseless, helpless; all
Had perish'd in the field or by the wall:
Of what it had been; there the Muezzin's call (2)
e no bar
and te efill
Empress Catherine. The tragedy should have closed at the conclusion of
(1) See Iliad, b. xxii.
(3) [Cantos VI., VII., and VIII., if we except some parts of the assault of Ismail, contain a considerably less proportion of the higher class of poetry, than was to be found in those which preceded them. But in the keen and pervading satire, the bitter and biting irony, which constitute the peculiar forte of Lord Byron, we perceive no falling off in these present cantos. Nor are they deficient in that vein of playful humour, and that felicitous transition " from grave to gay, from lively to severe,” so conspicuous in their predecessors. The execution, on the whole, we think quite equal to that displayed in the earlier parts of the poem. - CAMPBELL]
(Cantos IX., X., and X I. were written at Pisa, and published in London, by Mr. John Hunt, in August, 1823. We extract the following specimens of contemporary criticism :
“ That there is a great deal of what is objectionable in these three cantos, who can deny? What can be more so than to attack the King, with low, vile, personal buffooneries — bottomed in utter falsehood, and expressed in crawling malice? What can be more exquisitely worthy of contempt than the savage imbecility of these eternal tirades against the Duke of Wellington ? What more pitiable than the state of mind that can find any gratification in calling such a man as Southey by nicknames that one would be ashamed of applying to a coal-heaver ? What can be so abject as this eternal trampling upon the dust of Castlereagh ? Lord Byron ought to know that all men, of all parties, unite in regarding all these things, but especially the first and the last, as insults to themselves, and as most miser. able degradations of him.
“But still Don Juan is, without exception, the first of Lord Byron's works. It is by far the most original in point of conception. It is decidedly original in point of tone. It contains the finest specimens of serious poetry he has ever written ; and it contains the finest specimens of ludicrous poetry that our age has witnessed. Frere may have written the stanza earlier; he may have written it more carefully, more musically, if you will; but what is he to Byron? Where is the sweep, the pith, the soaring pinion, the lavish luxury of genius revelling in strength. No: no: Don Juan, say the canting world what it will, is destined to hold a permanent rank in the literature of our country. It will always be referred to as furnishing the most powerful picture of that vein of thought (no matter how false and had) which distinguishes a great portion of the think. ing people of our time.''- BLACKWOOD.]