Why?-Why?-Besides, Fred. really was attach'd; 'T was not her fortune-he has enough without : The time will come she 'll wish that she had snatch'd So good an opportunity, no doubt :— But the old marchioness some plan had hatch'd, As I'll tell Aurea at to-morrow's rout: And after all poor Frederick may do betterPray, did you see her answer to his letter?"


Smart uniforms and sparkling coronets

Are spurn'd in turn, until her turn arrives,
After much loss of time, and hearts, and bets
Upon the sweepstakes for substantial wives;
And when at last the pretty creature gets

Some gentleman who fights, or writes, or drives,
It soothes the awkward squad of the rejected
To find how very badly she selected.


For sometimes they accept some long pursuer,
Worn out with importunity; or fall
(But here perhaps the instances are fewer)
To the lot of him who scarce pursued at all.

A hazy widower turn'd of forty 's


(If 't is not vain examples to recall)

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To draw a high prize: now, howe'er he got her, I See nought more strange in this than t' other lottery.


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I, for my part (one "modern instance" more),
"True, 't is a pity-pity 't is, 't is true'
Was chosen from out an amatory score,
Albeit my years were less discreet than few;
But, though I also had reform'd before,

Those became one who soon were to be two,
I'll not gainsay the generous public's voice,
That the young lady made a monstrous choice.


Oh, pardon me digression-or at least
Peruse! 'T is always with a moral end
That I dissert, like grace before a feast :
For like an aged aunt, or tiresome friend,
A rigid guardian, or a zealous priest,

My Muse by exhortation means to mend
All people, at all times, and in most places,
Which puts my Pegasus to these grave paces,


But now I'm going to be immoral; now
I mean to show things really as they are,
Not as they ought to be: for I avow,

That till we see what 's what in fact, we 're far
From much improvement with that virtuous plough
Which skims the surface, leaving scarce a scar
Upon the black loam long manured by vice,
Only to keep its corn at the old price.


But first of little Leila we 'll dispose;

For, like a day-dawn, she was young

Or like the old comparison of snows,

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Which are more pure than pleasant to be sure, Like many people every body knows :

Don Juan was delighted to secure

A goodly guardian for his infant charge,
Who might not profit much by being at large.


Besides, he 'd found out that he was no tutor
(I wish that others would find out the same);
And rather wish'd in such things to stand neuter,
For silly wards will bring their guardians blame :
So when he saw each ancient dame a suitor

To make his little wild Asiatic tame,

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Consulting the Society for Vice

Suppression," Lady Pinchbeck was his choice.


s-but had been very young;

Olden she was

Virtuous she was-and had been, I believe : Although the world has such an evil tongue

That-but my chaster ear will not receive

An echo of a syllable that 's wrong:

In fact there's nothing makes me so much grieve As that abominable tittle-tattle,

Which is the cud eschew'd by human cattle.


Moreover I've remark'd (and I was once
A slight observer in a modest way),
And so may every one except a dunce,

That ladies in their youth a little gay,
Besides their knowledge of the world, and sense
Of the sad consequence of going astray,
Are wiser in their warnings 'gainst the woe
Which the mere passionless can never know.


While the harsh prude indemnifies her virtue
By railing at the unknown and envied passion,
Seeking far less to save you than to hurt you,

Or, what 's still worse, to put you out of fashion,The kinder veteran with calm words will court you, you

Entreating you to pause before dash on; Expounding and illustrating the riddle

Of epic love's beginning, end, and middle.


Now, whether it be thus, or that they are stricter,
As better knowing why they should be so,
I think you'll find from many a family picture,
That daughters of such mothers as may know
The world by experience rather than by lecture,
Turn out much better for the Smithfield show
Of vestals brought into the marriage mart,
Than those bred up by prudes without a heart.


I said that Lady Pinchbeck had been talk'd about--
As who has not, if female, young, and pretty?
But now no more the ghost of scandal stalk'd about;
She merely was deem'd amiable and witty,

And several of her best bon mots were hawk'd about;
Then she was given to charity and pity,
And pass'd (at least the latter years of life)
For being a most exemplary wife.


High in high circles, gentle in her own,
She was the mild reprover of the young,
Whenever-which means every day—they 'd shown
An awkward inclination to go wrong.
The quantity of good she did 's unknown,

Or at the least would lengthen out my song

In brief, the little orphan of the east

Had raised an interest in her, which increased.


Juan too was a sort of favourite with her,

Because she thought him a good heart at bottom,

A little spoil'd, but not so altogether;

Which was a wonder, if you think who got him, And how he had been toss'd, he scarce knew whither: Though this might ruin others, it did not him, At least entirely-for he had seen too many Changes in youth to be surprised at any.


And these vicissitudes tell best in youth;
For when they happen at a riper age,
People are apt to blame the fates, forsooth,
And wonder Providence is not more sage;
Adversity is the first path to truth :

He who hath proved war, storm, or woman's rage, Whether his winters be eighteen or eighty,

Hath won the experience which is deem'd so weighty.


How far it profits is another matter,

Our hero gladly saw his little charge

Safe with a lady, whose last grown-up daughter
Being long married, and thus set at large,
Had left all the accomplishments she taught her
To be transmitted, like the lord mayor's barge,
To the next comer; or-as it will tell
More muse-like-like Cytherea's shell.


I call such things transmission; for there is
A floating balance of accomplishment
Which forms a pedigree from Miss to Miss,
According as their minds or backs are bent.
Some waltz; some draw; some fathom the abyss
Of metaphysics; others are content

With music; the most moderate shine as wits,'
While others have a genius turn'd for fits.


But whether fits, or wits, or harpsichords,
Theology, fine arts, or finer stays,
May be the baits for gentlemen or lords
With regular descent, in these our days,

The last year to the new transfers its hoards;

New vestals claim men's eyes with the same praise

Of "elegant," et cætera, in fresh batches

All matchless creatures, and yet bent on matches.


But now I will begin my poem. 'Tis

Perhaps a little strange, if not quite new,

That from the first of cantos up to this

I've not begun what we have to go through:
These first twelve books are merely flourishes,
Preludios, trying just a string or two
Upon my lyre, or making the pegs sure;
And when so, you shall have the overture.


My Muses do not care a pinch of rosin

About what's call'd success, or not succeeding :
Such thoughts are quite below the strain they 've chosen ;
'T is a "great moral lesson" they are reading.
I thought, at setting off, about two dozen

Cantos would do; but at Apollo's pleading,
If that my Pegasus should not be founder'd,
I think to canter gently through a hundred.


Don Juan saw that microcosm on stilts,

Yclept the great world; for it is the least, Although the highest: but as swords have hilts

By which their power of mischief is increased, When man in battle or in quarrel tilts,

Thus the low world, north, south, or west, or east, Must still obey the high-which is their handle, Their moon, their sun, their gas, their farthing candle.


He had many friends who had many wives, and was
Well look'd upon by both, to that extent
Of friendship which you may accept or pass;
It does nor good nor harm, being merely meant
To keep the wheels going of the higher class,

And draw them nightly when a ticket 's sent :
And what with masquerades, and fetes, and balls,
For the first season such a life scarce palls.


A young unmarried man, with a good name
And fortune, has an awkward part to play;
For good society is but a game,

"The royal game of goose,'

as I may say

Where every body has some separate aim,

An end to answer, or a plan to lay-
The single ladies wishing to be double,
The married ones to save the virgins trouble.


I don't mean this as general, but particular
Examples may be found of such pursuits :
Though several also keep their perpendicular,
Like poplars, with good principles for roots;
Yet many have a method more reticular—

"Fishers for men," like sirens with soft lutes;
For talk six times with the same single lady,
you may get the wedding-dresses ready.

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