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DON JUA N.
,,Difficile est proprie communia dicere."
HOR. Epist ad Pison.
I WANT a hero: an uncommon want,
When every year and month sends forth a new
Till, after cloying the gazettes with cant,
The age discovers he is not the true one; Of such as these I should not care to vaunt, I'll therefore take our ancient friend Don Juan,
We all have seen him in the pantomime
Sent to the devil, somewhat ere his time.
Vernon, the butcher Cumberland, Wolfe, Hawke, Prince Ferdinand, Granby, Burgoyne, Keppel,
Evil and good, have had their tithe of talk,
And fill'd their sign-posts then, like Wellesley
Each in their turn like Banquo's monarchs stalk,
Followers of fame,,,nine farrow" of that sow:
France, too, had Buonaparté and Dumourier
Barnare, Brissot, Condorcet, Mirabeau,
Petion, Clootz, Danton, Marat, La Fayette, Were French, and famous people, as we know;
And there were others, scarce forgotten yet, Joubert, Hoche, Marceau, Lannes, Dessaix, Moreau, With many of the military set, Exceedingly remarkable at times,
But not at all adapted to my rhymes.
Nelson was once Britannia's god of war,
At which the naval people are concern'd; Besides, the Prince is all for the land-service, Forgetting Duncan, Nelson, Howe, and Jervis.
Brave men were living before Agamemnon I
A good deal like him too, though quite the same
But then they shone not on the poet's page,
And so have been forgotten:-I condemn none, But can't find any in the present age
Fit for my poem (that is, for my new one);
So, as I said, I'll take my friend Don Juan.
Most epic poets plunge in,,medias res,"
(Horace makes this the heroic turnpike road)
And then your hero tells, whene'er you please.
What went before
That is the usual method, but not mine
Forbids all wandering as the worst of sinning, And therefore I shall open with a line
(Although it cost me half an hour in spinning) Narrating somewhat of Don Juan's father, And also of his mother, if you'd rather.