As these new cantos touch on warlike feats,

To you the unflattering muse deigns to inscribe Truths that


will not read in the gazettes, But which, 't is time to teach the hireling tribe Who fatten on their country's gore and debts,

Must be recited, and—without a bribe. You did great things ; but, not being great in mind, Have left undone the greatest—and mankind.

Death laughs-Go ponder o'er the skeleton

With which men image out the unknown thing /
That hides the past world, like to a set sun

Which still elsewhere may rouse a brighter spring : Death laughs at all you weep for ;-look upon

This hourly dread of all whose threaten'd sting Turns life to terror, even though in its sheath ! Mark! how its lipless mouth grins without breath!

Mark! how it laughs and scorns at all you are !

And yet was what you are : from ear to ear
It laughs not—there is now no fleshy bar

So call’d; the antic long hath ceased to hear, But still he smiles ; and whether near or far

He strips from man that mantle—(far more dear Than even the tailor's)—his incarnate skin, White, black, or copper—the dead bones will grin,

And thus Death laughs :-it is sad merriment,

But still it is so ; and with such example
Why should not Life be equally content,

With his superior, in a smile to trample Upon the nothings which are daily spent

Like bubbles on an ocean much less ample Than the eternal deluge, which devours Suns as rays—worlds like atoms_years like hours ?

XIV. “To be, or not to be! that is the question,"

Says Shakspeare, who just now is much in fashion, I am neither Alexander nor Hephæstion,

Nor ever had for abstract fame much passion ; But would much rather have a sound digestion,

Than Bonaparte's cancer :-could I dash on Through fifty victories to shame or fame, Without a stomach—what were a good name?


XV. “Oh, dura ilia messorum! Oh,

Ye rigid guts of reapers !”-I translate
For the great benefit of those who know

What indigestion is—that inward fate
Which makes all Styx through one small liver flow.

A peasant's sweat is worth his lord's estate :
Let this one toil for bread—that rack for rent,--
He who sleeps best may be the most content,

XVI. “ To be, or not to be!"--Ere I decide,

I should be glad to know that which is being. 'T is true we speculate both far and wide,

And deem, because we see, we are all-seeing : For my part, I 'll enlist on neither side,

Until I see both sides for once agreeing. For me, I sometimes think that life is death, Rather than life a mere affair of breath.

Que sais-je ?” was the motto of Montaigne,

As also of the first academicians;
That all is dubious which man may attain,

Was one of their most favourite positions.
There 's no such thing as certainty, that 's plain

As any of mortality's conditions :
So little do we know what we 're about in
This world, I doubt if doubt itself be doubting.

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It is a pleasant voyage perhaps to float,

Like Pyrrho, on a sea of speculation ;
But what if carrying sail capsize the boat ?

Your wise men don't know much of navigation ; And swimming long in the abyss of thought

Is apt to tire : a calm and shallow station Well nigh the shore, where one stoops down and gathers Some pretty shell, is best for moderate bathers.

XIX. “ But heaven," as Cassio says, " is above all.

No more of this then, let us pray!” We have
Souls to save, since Eve's slip and Adam's fall,

Which tumbled all mankind into the grave,
Besides fish, beasts, and birds. “The sparrow's fall

Is special providence,” though how it gave
Offence, we know not : probably it perch'd
Upon the tree which Eve so fondly search’d.

Oh, ye immortal gods ! what is theogony ?

Oh, thou too mortal man! what is philanthropy ?
Oh, world, which was and is, what is cosmogony?

Some people have accused me of misanthropy ; And yet I know no more than the mahogany

That forms this desk, of what they mean :- - lycanthropy I comprehend; for, without transformation, Men become wolves on any slight occasion.

But I, the mildest, meekest of mankind,

Like Moses, or Melancthon, who have ne'er
Done any thing exceedingly unkind, -

And (though I could not now and then forbear
Following the bent of body or of mind)

Have always had a tendency to spare,
Why do they call me misanthrope? Because
They hate me, not I them :-And here we 'll pause.

XXII. 'T is time we should proceed with our good poem,

For I maintain that it is really good,
Not only in the body, but the proem,

However little both are understood
Just now,—but by and by the truth will show 'em

Herself in her sublimest attitude :
And till she doth, I fain musi be content
To share her beauty and her banishment.

Our hero (and, I trust, kind reader ! yours) —
Was left



to the chief city Of the immortal Peter's polish'd boors,

Who still have shown themselves more brave than witty ; I know its mighty empire now allures

Much flattery-even Voltaire's, and that 's a pity.
For me, I deem an absolute autocrat
Not a barbarian, but much worse than that.


And I will war, at least in words (and—should

My chance so happen—deeds) with all who war
With thought ;-and of thought's foes by far most rude,

Tyrants and sycophants have been and are.
I know not who may conquer: if I could

Have such a prescience, it should be no bar To this my plain, sworn, downright detestation Of every despotism in every nation.

It is not that I adulate the people :

Without me there are demagogues enough,
And infidels to pull down-every steeple,
And set up in their stead some proper

stuff. Whether they may sow scepticism to reap hell,

As is the christian dogma rather rough,
I do not know ;-I wish men to be free
As much from mobs as kings—from you as me.

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The consequence is, being of no party,

I shall offend all parties :-never mind!
My words, at least, are more sincere and hearty

Than if I sought to sail before the wind.
He who has nought to gain can have small art : he

Who neither wishes to be bound nor bind,
May still expatiate freely, as will I,
Nor give my voice to slavery's jackal cry.

That 's an appropriate simile, that jackal,-

I 've heard them in the Ephesian ruins howl
By night, as do that niercenary pack all,

Power's base purveyors, who for pickings prowl, And scent the prey their masters would attack all.

However, the poor jackals are less foul (As being the brave lions' keen providers) Than human insects, catering for spiders.

Raise but an arm ! 't will brush their web away,

And without that, their poison and their claws
Are useless. Mind, good people! what I say-

(Or rather peoples)-go on without pause! The web of these tarantulas each day Increases, till


shall make common cause :
None, save the Spanish fly and Attic bee,
As yet are strongly stinging to be free.

Don Juan, who had shone in the late slaughter,
Was left



with the dispatch, Where blood was talk'd of as we would of water ;

And carcasses that lay as thick as thatch O'er silenced cities, merely served to flatter

Fair Catherine's pastime—who look'd on the match Between these nations as a main of cocks, Wherein she liked her own to stand like rocks.


XXX. And there in a kibitka he rollid on

(A cursed sort of carriage without springs, Which on rough roads leaves scarcely a whole bone),

Pondering on glory, chivalry, and kings,
And orders, and on all that he had done

And wishing that post-horses had the wings
Of Pegasus, or at the least post-chaises
Had feathers, when a traveller on deep ways is.

At every jolt—and there were many—still

He turn'd his eyes upon his little charge,
As if he wish'd that she should fare less ill

Than he, in these sad highways left at large
To ruts, and flints, and lovely nature's skill,

Who is no pavier, nor admits a barge
On her canals, where God takes sea and land,
Fishery and farm, both into his own hand.

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At least he pays no rent, and has best right

To be the first of what we used to call 6 Gentlemen farmers”.

'-a race worn out quite, Since lately there have been no rents at all, And “gentlemen" are in a piteous plight,

And í farmers" can't raise Ceres from her fall : She fell with Bonaparte :—What strange thoughts Arise, when we see emperors fall with oats!,


But Juan turn’d his eyes on the sweet child

Whom he had saved from slaughter—what a trophy! Oh !


who build monuments, defiled
With gore, like Nadir Shah, that costive Sophy,
Who, after leaving Hindostan a wild,

And scarce to the Mogul a cup of coffee
To soothe his woes withal, was slain, the sinner !
Because he could no more digest his dinner :-


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Oh ye! or we ! or she! or he ! reflect,"

That one life saved, especially if young
Or pretty, is a thing to recollect

Far sweeter than the greenest laurels sprung From the manure of human clay, though deck'd

With all the praises ever said or sung : Though hymn’d by every harp, unless within Your heart joins chorus, fame is but a din.


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