Oh, ye great authors luminous, voluminous !
Ye twice ten hundred thousand daily scribes!
Whose pamphlets, volumes, newspapers illumine us!
Whether you 're paid by government in bribes,
To prove the public debt is not consuming us—
Or, roughly treading on the "courtier's kibes"
With clownish heel, your popular circulation
Feeds you by printing half the realm's starvation-


Oh, ye great authors!" A propos de bottes"-
I have forgotten what I meant to say,
As sometimes have been greater sages' lots:
'T was something calculated to allay
All wrath in barracks, palaces, or cots :

Certes it would have been but thrown away,
And that's one comfort for my lost advice,
Although no doubt it was beyond all price.


But let it go it will one day be found
With other relics of " a former world,"
When this world shall be former, underground,

Thrown topsy-turvy, twisted, crisp'd, and curl'd,
Baked, fried, or burnt, turn'd inside-out, or drown'd,
Like all the worlds before, which have been hurl'd
First out of and then back again to chaos,
The superstratum which will overlay us.


So Cuvier says;-and then shall come again
Unto the new creation, rising out

From our old crash, some mystic, ancient strain
Of things destroy'd and left in airy doubt :

Like to the notions we now entertain

Of Titans, giants, fellows of about

Some hundred feet in height, not to say miles,

And mammoths, and your winged crocodiles.


Think, if then George the Fourth should be dug up!
How the new worldlings of the then new east

Will wonder where such animals could sup!
(For they themselves will be but of the least:

Even worlds miscarry, when too oft they pup,
And every new creation hath decreased.

In size, from overworking the material—
Men are but maggots of some huge earth's burial.)—


How will to these young people, just thrust out
From some fresh paradise, and set to plough,
And dig, and sweat, and turn themselves about,

And plant, and reap, and spin, and grind, and sow, Till all the arts at length are brought about,

Especially of war and taxing,-how,

I say, will these great relics, when they see 'em,
Look like the monsters of a new museum!


But I am apt to grow too metaphysical :
"The time is out of joint,"-and so am I;
I quite forget this poem 's merely quizzical,
And deviate into matters rather dry.

I ne'er decide what I shall say, and this I call
Much too poetical: men should know why
They write, and for what end; but, note or text,
I never know the word which will come next.


So on I ramble, now and then narrating,

Now pondering. It is time we should narrate: I left Don Juan with his horses baiting

Now we 'll get o'er the ground at a great rate. I shall not be particular in stating

His journey-we 've so many tours of late : Suppose him then at Petersburgh; suppose That pleasant capital of painted snows;


Suppose him in a handsome uniform;

A scarlet coat, black facings, a long plume,
Waving, like sails new shiver'd in a storm,

Over a cock'd hat, in a crowded room,
And brilliant breeches, bright as a Cairn Gorme,
Of yellow kerseymere we may presume,
White stockings, drawn, uncurdled as new milk,
O'er limbs whose symmetry set off the silk;


Suppose him, sword by side, and hat in hand,
Made up by youth, fame, and an army tailor-
That great enchanter, at whose rod's command
Beauty springs forth, and nature's self turns paler,
Seeing how art can make her work more grand,

(When she don't pin men's limbs in like a jailor)

Behold him placed as if upon a pillar! He
Seems Love turn'd a lieutenant of artillery!


His bandage slipp'd down into a cravat;
His wings subdued to epaulets; his quiver
Shrunk to a scabbard, with his arrows at

His side as a small sword, but sharp as ever;
His bow converted into a cock'd hat;

But still so like, that Psyche were more clever Than some wives (who make blunders no less stupid) If she had not mistaken him for Cupid.


The courtiers stared, the ladies whisper'd, and

The empress smiled; the reigning favourite frown'd

I quite forget which of them was in hand

Just then, as they are rather numerous found,

Who took by turns that difficult command,
Since first her majesty was singly crown'd:
But they were mostly nervous six-foot fellows,
All fit to make a Patagonian jealous.


Juan was none of these, but slight and slim,
Blushing and beardless; and yet ne'ertheless
There was a something in his turn of limb,

And still more in his eye, which seem'd to express,
That though he look'd one of the seraphim,

There lurk'd a man beneath the spirit's dress. Besides, the empress sometimes liked a boy, And had just buried the fair-faced Lanskoi :4


No wonder then that Yermoloff, vor Momonoff,
Or Scherbatoff, or any other off,

Or on, might dread her majesty had not room enough
Within her bosom (which was not too tough)

For a new flame; a thought to cast of gloom enough
Along the aspect, whether smooth or rough,
Of him who, in the language of his station,
Then held that "high official situation."



Oh gentle ladies! should you seek to know
The import of this diplomatic phrase,
Bid Ireland's Londonderry's Marquess show
His parts of speech; and in the strange displays
Of that odd string of words all in a row,

Which none divine, and every one obeys,
Perhaps you may pick out some queer no-meaning,
Of that weak wordy harvest the sole gleaning.


I think I can explain myself without
That sad inexplicable beast of prey-
That sphinx, whose words would ever be a doubt,
Did not his deeds unriddle them each day—
That monstrous hieroglyphic-that long spout
Of blood and water, leaden Castlereagh !
And here I must an anecdote relate,
But luckily of no great length or weight.


An English lady ask'd of an Italian,

What were the actual and official duties
Of the strange thing some women set a value on,
Which bovers oft about some married beauties,
Call'd Cavalier Servente ?"- -a Pygmalion,

Whose statues warm (I fear, alas! too true 't is). Beneath his art. The dame, press'd to disclose them, Said "Lady, I beseech you to suppose them.”


And thus I supplicate your supposition,

And mildest, matron-like interpretation

Of the imperial favourite's condition.

'T was a high place, the highest in the nation,

In fact, if not in rank; and the suspicion

Of any one's attaining to his station,

No doubt gave pain, where each new pair of shoulders, If rather broad, made stocks rise and their holders.


Juan, I said, was a most beauteous boy,
And had retain'd his boyish look beyond
The usual hirsute seasons which destroy,

With beards and whiskers and the like, the fond
Parisian aspect which upset old Troy

And founded Doctors' Commons :-I have conn'd. The history of divorces, which, though chequer'd,. Calls Ilion's the first damages on record.


And Catherine, who loved all things (save her lord,
Who was gone to his place), and pass'd for much,
Admiring those (by dainty dames abhorr'd)
Gigantic gentlemen, yet had a touch

Of sentiment; and he she most adored
Was the lamented Lanskoi, who was such

A lover as had cost her many a tear,

And yet but made a middling grenadier.


Oh thou" teterrima causa" of all "belli !"-
Thou gate of life and death!—thou nondescript !
Whence is our exit and our entrance,―well I

May pause in pondering how all souls are dipp'd
In thy perennial fountain :-how man fell, I

Know not, since knowledge saw her branches stripp'd Of her first fruit; but how he falls and rises

Since, thou hast settled beyond all surmises.


Some call thee "the worst cause of war," but I
Maintain thou art the best: for, after all,
From thee we come, to thee we go; and why,
To get at thee, not batter down a wall,
Or waste a world? Since no one can deny

Thou dost replenish worlds both great and small :
With, or without thee, all things at a stand
Are, or would be, thou sea of life's dry land!


Catherine, who was the grand epitome

Of that great cause of war, or peace, or what
You please (it causes all the things which be,
So you may take your choice of this or that)-
Catherine, I say, was very glad to see

The handsome herald, on whose plumage sat
Victory; and, pausing as she saw him kneel
With his dispatch, forgot to break the seal,


Then recollecting the whole empress, nor
Forgetting quite the woinan (which composed
At least three parts of this great whole), she tore
The letter open with an air which posed

"The court, that watch'd each look her visage wore
Until a royal smile at length disclosed

Fair weather for the day. Though rather spacious,
Her face was noble, her eyes fine, mouth gracious.


Great joy was hers, or rather joys; the first
Was a ta'en city, thirty thousand slain :
Glory and triumph o'er her aspect burst,

As an East-Indian sunrise on the main.

These quench'd a moment her ambition's thirst—
So Arab deserts drink in summer's rain:
In vain!—As fall the dews on quenchless sands,
Blood only serves to wash ambition's hands!

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