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Of poets who come down to us through distance
Of time and tongues, the foster-babes of fame,
Life seems the smallest portion of existence;

Where twenty agés gather o'er a náme,
'T is as a snowball which derives assistance
From every flake, and yet rolls on the same,
Even till an iceberg it may chance to grow,—
But after all 't is nothing but cold snow.


And so great names are nothing more than nominal, And love of glory 's but an airy lust,

Too often in its fury overcoming all

Who would, as 't were, identify their dust

From out the wide destruction which, entombing all,
Leaves nothing till the coming of the just→

Save change: I've stood upon Achilles' tomb,
And heard Troy doubted; time will doubt of Rome.


The very generations of the dead

Are swept away, and tomb inherits tomb, Until the memory of an age is fled,

And, buried, sinks beneath its offspring's doom:

Where are the epitaphs our fathers read?

Save a few glean'd from the sepulchral gloom, Which once-named myriads nameless lie beneath, And lose their own in universal death.


I canter by the spot éach afternoon

Where perish'd in his fame the hero-boy,
Who lived too long for men, but died too soon
For human vanity, the young De Foix !
A broken pillar, not uncouthly hewn,

But which neglect is hastening to destroy,

Records Ravenna's carnage on its face,

While weeds and ordure rankle round the base."



pass each day where Dante's bones are laid; A little cupola, more neat than solemn,

Protects his dust, but reverence here is paid

To the bard's tomb and not the warrior's column. The time must come when both, alike decay'd, The chieftain's trophy and the poet's volume, Will sink where lie the songs and wars of earth, Before Pelides' death or Homer's birth.


With human blood that column was cemented,
With human filth that column is defiled,
As if the peasant's coarse contempt were vented,
To show his loathing of the spot he soil'd.
Thus is the trophy used, and thus lamented

Should ever be those blood-hounds, from whose wild
Instinct of gore and glory earth has known
Those sufferings Dante saw in hell alone,


Yet there will still be bards; though fame is smoke,
Its fumes are frankincense to human thought;
And the unquiet feelings, which first woke

Song in the world, will seek what then they sought; As on the beach the waves at last are broke,

Thus to their extreme verge the passions brought, Dash into poetry, which is but passion,

Or at least was so ere it grew a fashion.


If in the course of such a life as was

At once adventurous and contemplative, Men who partake all passions as they pass, Acquire the deep and bitter power to give Their images again as in a glass,

And in such colours that they seem to live; You may do right forbidding them to show 'em, But spoil (I think) a very pretty poem.


Oh! ye, who make the fortunes of all books!
Benign ceruleans of the second sex!
Who advertise new poems by your look,
Your "imprimatur" will ye not annex?
What, must I go to the oblivious cooks,-

Those Cornish plunderers of Parnassian wrecks?

Ah! must I then the only minstrel be
Proscribed from tasting your Castalian tea?


What, can I prove "a lion" then no more?

A ball-room bard, a foolscap, hot-press darling?

To bear the compliments of many a bore,

And sigh "I can't get out," like Yorick's starling;

Why then I'll swear, as poet Wordy swore

(Because the world won't read him, always snarling),

That taste is gone, that fame is but a lottery,
Drawn by the blue-coat misses of a coterie.


Oh! "darkly, deeply, beautifully Diue,"

i As some one somewhere sings about the sky, And I, ye learned ladies, say of you;

They say your stockings are so (Heaven knows why, I have examined few pairs of that hue);

Blue as the garters which serenely lie Round the patrician left-legs, which adorn The festal midnight and the levee morn.


Yet some or you are most seraphic creatures:
But times are alter'd since, a rhyming lover,
You read my stanzas, and I read your features:
And-but no matter, all those things are over.
Still I have no dislike to learned natures,

For sometimes such a world of virtues cover :
I know one woman of that purple school,
The loveliest, chastest, best, but quite a fool.


Humboiat, une first of travellers,” but not
The last, if late accounts be accurate,
Invented, by some name I have forgot,
As well as the sublime discovery's date,
An airy instrument, with which he sought
To ascertain the atmospheric state,
By measuring "the intensity of blue :”
Oh, Lady Daphne! let me measure you!


But to the narrative.- -The vessel bound
With slaves to sell off in the capital,
After the usual process, might be found
At anchor under the seraglio wall:

Her cargo, from the plague being safe and sound,
Were landed in the market, one and all,

And there, with Georgians, Russians, and Circassians,
Bought up for different purposes and passions.


Some went on dearly; fifteen hundred dollars
For one Circassian, a sweet girl, were given,
Warranted virgin; beauty's brightest colours

Had deck'd her out in all the hues of heaven :
Her sale sent home some disappointed bawlers,
Who hade on till the hundreds reach'd eleven;
But when the offer went beyond, they knew
'T was for the sultan, and at once withdrew.


Twelve negresses from Nubia brought a price

Which the West-Indian market scarce would bring; Though Wilberforce, at last, has made it twice What 't was ere abolition; and the thing Need not seem very wonderful, for vice

Is always much more splendid than a king: The virtues, even the most exalted, charity, Are saving-vice spares nothing for a rarity.


But for the destiny of this young troop,

How some were bought by pachas, some by Jews, How some to burdens were obliged to stoop, And others rose to the command of crews, As renegadoes; while in hapless group, Hoping no very old vizier might chuse,

The females stood, as one by one they pick'd 'em, To make a mistress, or fourth wife, or victim.


All this must de reserved for further song;
Also our hero's lot, howe'er unpleasant
(Because this canto has become too long),

Must be postponed discreetly for the present;
I'm sensible redundancy is wrong,

But could not for the muse of me put less in 't : And now delay the progress of Don Juan,

Till what is call'd in Ossian the fifth Duan.

See Herodotus.


Note 1. Stanza xii.

"Whom the gods love die young," was said of yore.

Note 2. Stanza lix.

A vein had burst.

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This is no very uncommon effect of the violence of conflicting and different passions. The Doge Francis Foscari, on his deposition, in 1457, hearing the bell of St. Mark announce the election of his successor, 'mourut subitement d'une hémorragie causée par une veine qui s'éclata dans sa poitrine." (See Sismondi and Daru, vols. i. and ii.), at the age of eighty years, when "who would have thought the old man had so much blood in him?" Before I was sixteen years of age, I was witness to a melancholy instance of the same effect of mixed passions upon a young person; who, however, did not die in consequence, at that time, but fell a victim some years afterwards to a seizure of the same kind, arising from causes intimately connected with agitation of mind.

Note 3, Stanza Ixxx.

But sold by the impresario at no high rate.

This is a fact. A few years ago a man engaged a company for some foreign theatre; embarked them at an Italian port, and, carrying them to Algiers, sold them all. One of the women, returned from her captivity, I heard sing, by a strange coincidence, in Rossini's opera of "L'Italiana in Algeri,” at Venice, in the beginning of 1817.

Note 4. Stanza lxxxvi.

From all the pope makes yearly, 't would perplex

To find three perfect pipes of the third sex.

It is strange that it should be the pope and the sultan who are the chief encouragers of this branch of trade-women being prohibited as singers at St. Peter's, and not deemed trust-worthy as guardians of the haram.

Note 5. Stanza ciii.

While weeds and ordure rankle round the base.

The pillar which records the battle of Ravenna is about two miles from the city, on the opposite side of the river to the road towards Forli. Gaston de Foix, who gained the battle, was killed in it; there fell on both sides twenty thousand men. The present state of the pillar and its site is described in the text.

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