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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
Had sketches of love, tempest, travel, war —

All very accurate, you must allow,
And epic, if plain truth should prove no bar;

For I have drawn much less with a long bow
Than my forerunners. Carelessly I sing,
But Phæbus lends me now and then a string,


With which I still can harp, and carp, and fiddle.

What farther hath befallen or may befall
The hero of this grand poetic riddle,

I by and by may tell you, if at all :
But now I choose to break off in the middle,

Worn out with battering Ismail's stubborn wall,
While Juan is sent off with the despatch,
For which all Petersburgh is on the watch. (1)

(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


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This special honour was conferr’d, because

He had behaved with courage and humanity -
Which last men like, when they have time to pause

From their ferocities produced by vanity.
His little captive gain'd him some applause

For saving her amidst the wild insanity
Of carnage, and I think he was more glad in her
Safety, than his new order of St. Vladimir.

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The Moslem orphan went with her protector,

For she was homeless, houseless, helpless; all
Her friends, like the sad family of Hector, (')

Had perish'd in the field or by the wall:
Her very place of birth was but a spectre

Of what it had been; there the Muezzin's call (2)
To prayer was heard no more! —and Juan wept,
And made a vow to shield her, which he kept.(3)

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Empress Catherine. The tragedy should have closed at the conclusion of
the last act on the spot. It was attributed more to a desire of gratifying
the excessive vanity of Prince Potemkin, which was not easily satiated, than
that of the empress herself.” – DR. LAURENCE.]

(1) See Iliad, b. xxii.
(2) [See antè, Vol. VIII. p. 91. ]

(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]

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(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.]

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