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Her next amusement was more fanciful;
She smiled at mad Suwarrow's rhymes, who threw Into a Russian couplet, rather dull,
The whole gazette of thousands whom he slew. Her third was feminine enough to annul
The shudder which runs naturally through
Our veins, when things called sovereigns think it best
The two first feelings ran their course complete,
Her majesty who liked to gaze on youth
Though somewhat large, exuberant, and truculent,
With interest, and in turn was wont with rigour
With her the latter, though at times convenient,
Was not so necessary; for they tell
That she was handsome, and, though fierce, look'd lenient, And always used her favourites too well.
If once beyond her boudoir's precincts in ye went,
Your "fortune" was in a fair way "to swell
A man," as Giles says; 6 for, though she would widow all Nations, she liked man as an individual.
What a strange thing is man! and what a stranger
Oh Catherine! (for of all interjections
To thee both oh! and ah! belong of right, In love and war) how odd are the connexions
Of human thoughts, which jostle in their flight! Just now yours were cut out in different sections : First, Ismail's capture caught your fancy quite; Next, of new knights the fresh and glorious batch; And thirdly, he who brought you the dispatch!
Shakspeare talks of "the herald Mercury
Smooth'd even the Simplon's steep, and, by God's blessing,
Her majesty look'd down, the youth look'd up-
A quintessential laudanum or "black drop"
Which makes one drunk at once, without the base Expedient of full bumpers; for the eye
In love drinks all life's fountains (save tears) dry.
He, on the other hand, if not in love,
Fell into that no less imperious passion,
Or duchess, princess, empress,
deigns to prove"
('T is Pope's phrase) a great longing, though a rash one,
For one especial person out of many
Makes us believe ourselves as good as any.
Besides, he was of that delighted age
Which makes all females' ages equal-when We don't much care with whom we may engage, As bold as Daniel in the lions' den,
So that we can our native sun assuage
In the next ocean, which may flow just then, To make a twilight in-just as Sol's heat is Quench'd in the lap of the salt sea, or Thetis.
And Catherine (we must say thus much for Catherine)
up upon an amatory pattern
A royal husband in all save the ring—
And when you add to this, her womanhood
And Pallas also sanctions the same hue-
Her sweet smile, and her then majestic figure,
With other extras which we need not mention,-
And that's enough, for love is vanity,
A maddening spirit which would strive to blend
On which the passion's self seems to depend :
And hence some heathenish philosophers
Make love the main-spring of the universe.
Besides Platonic love, besides the love
Of God, the love of sentiment, the loving
Of faithful pairs-(I needs must rhyme with dove, That good old steam-boat which keeps verses moving 'Gainst reason-reason ne'er was hand-and-glove
With rhyme, but always lean'd less to improving The sound than sense)-besides all these pretences To love, there are those things which words name senses;
Those movements, those improvements in our bodies,
Of their own sand-pits to mix with a goddess
For such all women are at first, no doubt.
The noblest kind of love is love platonical,
Well, we won't analyse-our story must
I cannot stoop to alter words once written,
And the two are so mix'd with human dust,
That he who names one, both perchance may hit on ;
The whole court melted into one wide whisper,
On one another, and each lovely lisper
Smiled as she talk'd the matter o'er; but tears
All the ambassadors of all the powers
Inquired, who was this very new young man,
Of roubles rain, as fast as specie can,
Catherine was generous ;--all such ladies are:
Love had made Catherine make each lover's fortune,
Whose avarice all disbursements did importune,
The truth; and though grief her old age might shorten,
Her vile ambiguous method of flirtation,
But when the levee rose, and all was bustle
Round the young man with their congratulations;
Of gentle dames, among whose recreations
It is to speculate on handsome faces,
Juan, who found himself, he knew not how,
An order from her majesty consign'd
Our young lieutenant to the genial care
Of those in office: all the world look'd kind