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"But after all, what is our present state? 'Tis bad, and may be better-all men's lot. Most men are slaves, none more so than the great, To their own whims and passions, and what not; Society itself, which should create
Kindness, destroys what little we had got:
To feel for none is the true social art
Of the world's stoics-men without a heart."
Just now a black old neutral personage
Of the third sex stepp'd up, and peering over The captives, seem'd to mark their looks, and age, And capabilities, as to discover
If they were fitted for the purposed cage :
No lady e'er is ogled by a lover,
As is a slave by his intended bidder.
'T is pleasant purchasing our fellow-creatures; And all are to be sold, if you consider
Their passions, and are dext'rous; some by features
Are bought up, others by a warlike leader,
Some by a place—as tend their years or natures;
The most by ready cash-but all have prices,
The eunuch having eyed them o'er with care,
They haggled, wrangled, swore, too-so they did! As though they were in a mere christian fair, Cheapening an ox, an ass, a lamb, or kid;
So that their bargain sounded like a battle
At last they settled into simple grumbling,
And then the merchant giving change, and signing
I wonder if his appetite was good;
Or if it were, if also his digestion.
Methinks at meals some odd thoughts might intrude,
Sell flesh and blood. When dinner has oppress'd one,
I think it is perhaps the gloomiest hour
Which turns up out of the sad twenty-four.
Voltaire says, "No" he tells you that Candide
Unless he 's drunk, and then no doubt he 's freed
I think with Alexander, that the act
Of eating, with another act or two,
Makes us feel our mortality in fact
Redoubled; when a roast and a ragout,
The other evening ('t was on Friday last)—
I found the military commandant
Stretch'd in the street, and able scarce to pant.
Poor fellow! for some reason, surely bad,
They'd slain him with five slugs; and left him there
To perish on the pavement: so I had
Him borne into the house and up the stair,
And stripp'd, and look'd to- -But why should I add
The man was gone in some Italian quarrel
I gazed upon him, for I knew him well;
And, though I have seen many corpses, never Saw one, whom such an accident befell,
So calm; though pierced through stomach, heart, and liver, He seem'd to sleep, for you could scarcely tell (As he bled inwardly, no hideous river
Of gore divulged the cause) that he was dead :-
"Can this be death? then what is life or death?
Speak!' but he spoke not: wake!' but still he slept : But yesterday and who had mightier breath?
A thousand warriors by his word were kept
In awe he said, as the centurion saith,
Go,' and he goeth; come,' and forth he stepp'd.
And they who waited once and worshipp❜d-they
Which for the last though not the first time bled:
Had faced Napoleon's foes until they fled, The foremost in the charge or in the sally, Should now be butcher'd in a civic alley!
The scars of his old wounds were near his new,
But let me quit the theme, as such things claim
From me: I gazed (as oft I have gazed the same)
But it was all a mystery. Here we are,
And there we go :-but where? five bits of lead, Or three, or two, or one, send very far!
And is this blood, then, form'd but to be shed?
Can every element our elements mar?
And air-earth-water-fire live-and we dead? We, whose minds comprehend all things? No more; But let us to the story as before.
The purchaser of Juan and acquaintance
Embark'd himself and them, and off they went thence
Wondering what next, till the caique was brought
O'ertopp'd with cypresses dark-green and tall.
Here their conductor tapping at the wicket
He led them onward, first through a low thicket
As they were plodding on their winding way, Through orange bowers, and jasmine, and so forth (Of which I might have a good deal to say,
There being no such profusion in the North
Of oriental plants, "et cætera,"
But that of late your scribblers think it worth Their while to rear whole hotbeds in their works, Because one poet travell'd 'mongst the Turks) :
As they were threading on their way,
Into Don Juan's head a thought, which he Whisper'd to his companion ;-'t was the same
Which might have then occurr'd to you or me. "Methinks," said he "it would be no great shame If we should strike a stroke to set us free; Let's knock that old black fellow on the head, And march away-'t were easier done than said."
"Yes," said the other, "and when done, what then? How get out? how the devil got we in?
And when we once were fairly out, and when
And worse off than we hitherto have been ;
"We must be near some place of man's abode; For the old negro's confidence in creeping, With his two captives, by so queer a road,
Shows that he thinks his friends have not been sleeping; A single cry would bring them all abroad :
'Tis therefore better looking before leaping
And there, you see, this turn has brought us through.
It was indeed a wide extensive building
Which open'd on their view, and o'er the front
The arts of which these lands were once the font:
And nearer as they came, a genial savour
Of certain stews, and roast-meats, and pilaus, Things which in hungry mortals' eyes find favour, Made Juan in his harsh intentions pause,
put himself upon his good behaviour:
His friend, too, adding a new saving clause,
Some talk of an appeal unto some passion,
But I digress of all appeals,—although