Sidor som bilder
PDF
ePub

XXXVII.

And, after all, what is a lie? 'Tis but

The truth in masquerade ; and Ldefy Historians, heroes, lawyers, priests, to put

A fact without some leaven of a lie.
The
very

shadow of true Truth would shut
Up annals, revelations, poesy,
And prophecy-except it should be dated
Some years before the incidents related.

XXXVIII.
Praised be all liars and all lies! Who now

Can tax my mild Muse with misanthropy ?
She rings th world's “ Te Deum," and her brow
Blushes for those who will not :-

but to sigh Is idle ; let us like most others bow,

Kiss hands, feet, any part of majesty, After the good example of “Green Erin," (1) Whose shamrock now seems rather worse for wearing.

XXXIX.

Don Juan was presented, and his dress

And inien excited general admiration-
I don't know which was more admired or less :

One monstrous diamond drew much observation, Which Catherine in a moment of “ ivresse"

(In leve or brandy's fervent fermentation) Bestow'd upon him, as the public learn'd; And, to say truth, it had been fairly earn’d.

(1) [See the Irish Avatar, antè, Vol. XI. p. 320.)

[blocks in formation]

XL.

Besides the ministers and underlings,

Who must be courteous to the accredited
Diplomatists of rather wavering kings,

Until their royal riddle's fully read,
The very clerks,—those somewhat dirty springs

Of office, or the house of office, fed
By foul corruption into streams,-even they
Were hardly rude enough to earn their pay :

XLI.

And insolence no doubt is what they are

Employ'd for, since it is their daily labour, In the dear offices of peace or war ; [neighbour,

And should you doubt, pray ask of your next When for a passport, or some other bar

To freedom, he applied (a grief and ā bore), If he found not this spawn of taxborn riches, Like lap-dogs, the least civil sons of b

-S.

XLII.
But Juan was received with much as

empressement:"These phrases of refinement I must borrow From our next neighbours' land, where, like a chess

man, There is a move set down for joy or sorrow Not only in mere talking, but the press. Man

In islands is, it seems, downright and thorough, More than on continents—as if the sea (See Billingsgate) made even the tongue more free.

XLIII.

And yet the British “ Damme” 's rather Attic

Your continental oaths are but incontinent. And turn on things which no aristocratic [anent (1)

Spirit would name, and therefore even I won't This subject quote; as it would be schismatic

In politesse, and have a sound affronting in't:But “ Damme”'s quite ethereal, though too daringPlatonic blasphemy, the soul of swearing.

XLIV.

For downright rudeness, ye may stay at home;

For true or false politeness (and scarce that Now) you may cross the blue deep and white foam

The first the emblem (rarely though) of what
You leave behind, the next of much

you come
To meet. However, 'tis no time to chat
On general topics : poems must confine
Themselves to unity, like this of mine.

XLV.

In the great world, -- which, being interpreted,

Meaneth the west or worst end of a city And about twice two thousand people bred

By no means to be very wise or witty,
But to sit up while others lie in bed,

And look down on the universe with pity, -
Juan, as an inveterate patrician,
Was well received by persons of condition.

(1) " Anent” was a Scotch phrase meaning “ concerning" -" with regard to :" it has been made English by the Scotch novels; and, as the Frenchman said, “ If it be not, ought to · English."

XLVI.

He was a bachelor, which is a matter

Of import both to virgin and to bride, The former's hymeneal hopes to flatter;

And (should she not hold fast by love or pride) 'Tis also of some moment to the latter :

A rib 's a thorn in a wed gallant's side, Requires decorum, and is apt to double The horrid sin — and what's still worse, the trouble.

XLVII.
But Juan was a bachelor- of arts,

[had And parts, and hearts: he danced and sung, and An air as sentimental as Mozart's

Softest of melodies; and could be sad
Or cheerful, without any “ flaws or starts,”()

Just at the proper time ; and though a lad,
Had seen the world — which is a curious sight,
And

very much unlike what people write.

XLVIII.

him;

Fair virgins blush'd upon

wedded dames Bloom'd also in less transitory hues ; For both commodities dwell by the Thames,

The painting and the painted; youth, ceruse, Against his heart preferr'd their usual claims,

Such as no gentleman can quite refuse : Daughters admired his dress, and pious mothers Enquired his income, and if he had brothers.

(1)

[ “ Oh, these flaws, and starts, (Impostors to true fear,) would well become A woman's story, &c.” Macbeth.]

XLIX.

The milliners who furnish “ drapery Misses"(1)

Throughout the season, upon speculation Of payment ere the honey-moon's last kisses

Have waned into a crescent's coruscation, Thought such an opportunity as this is,

Of a rich foreigner's initiation, Not to be overlook'd—and gave such credit, That future bridegrooms swore, and sigh’d, and paid it.

L.

The Blues, that tender tribe, who sigh o'er sonnets,

And with the pages of the last Review Line the interior of their heads or bonnets,

Advanced in all their azure's highest hue: They talk'd bad French 'or Spanish, and upon its

Late authors ask'd him for a hint or two; And which was softest, Russian or Castilian ? And whether in his travels he saw Ilion ?

(1) “ Drapery Misses.” - This term is probably any thing now but a mystery. It was, however, almost so to me when I first returned from the East in 1811–1812. It means a pretty, a high-born, a fashionable young female, well instructed by her friends, and furnished by her milliner with a wardrobe upon credit, to be repaid, when married, by the husband. The riddle was first read to me by a young and pretty heiress, on my praising the “ drapery” of the “untochered" but "pretty virginities" (like Mrs. Anne Page) of the then day, which has now been some years yesterday : she assured me that the thing was common in London; and as her own thousands, and blooming looks, and rich simplicity of array, put any sus. picion in her own case out of the question, I confess I gave some credit to the allegation. If necessary, authorities might be cited; in which case I could quote both “ drapery" and the wearers. Let us hope, however, that it is now obsolete.

« FöregåendeFortsätt »