And Juan was received, as hath been said,
Into the best society and there
Occurr'd what often happens, I 'm afraid,
However disciplined and debonnaire :
The talent and good humour he display'd,
Besides the mark'd distinction of his air,
Exposed him, as was natural, to temptation,
Even though himself avoided the occasion.


But what, and where, with whom, and when, and why, Is not to be put hastily together;

And as my object is morality

(Whatever people say), I don't know whether I'll leave a single reader's eyelid dry,

But harrow up his feelings till they wither,
And hew out a huge monument of pathos,
As Philip's son proposed to do with Athos."


Here the twelfth canto of our introduction

Ends. When the body of the book 's begun,

You'll find it of a different construction

From what some people say 't will be when done: The plan at present 's simply in concoction.

I can't oblige you, reader! to read on;
That's your affair, not mine: a real spirit
Should neither court neglect, nor dread to bear it.


And if my thunderbolt not always rattles,
Remember, reader! you have had before
The worst of tempests and the best of battles

That e'er were brew'd from elements or gore,

Besides the most sublime of-Heaven knows what else: An usurer could scarce expect much more—


my best canto, save one on astronomy,

Will turn upon "political economy."


That is your present theme for popularity:

Now that the public hedge hath scarce a stake,

It grows an act of patriotic charity,

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To show the people the best way to break. My plan (but I, if but for singularity,

Reserve it) will be very sure to take.

Meantime read all the national debt-sinkers,

And tell me what you think of your great thinkers.


Note 1. Stanza xix.

Gives, with Greek truth, the good old Greek the lie.

See MITFORD's Greece. "Græcia Verax." His great pleasure consists in praising tyrants, abusing Plutarch, spelling oddly, and writing quaintly; and, what is strange after all, his is the best modern history of Greece in any language, and he is perhaps the best of all modern historians whatsoever. Having named his sins, it is but fair to state his virtues-learning, labour, research, wrath, and partiality. I call the latter virtues in a writer, because they make him write in earnest.

Note 2. Stanza xxxvii.

A hazy widower turn'd of forty 's sure.

This line may puzzle the commentators more than the present generation.

Note 3. Stanza lxxiii.

Like Russians rushing from hot baths to snows.

The Russians, as is well known, run out from their hot baths to plunge into the Neva: a pleasant practical antithesis, which it seems does them no harm.

Note 4. Stanza lxxxii.

-those northern lights

Which flash'd as far as where the musk-bull browses.

For a description and print of this inhabitant of the polar region and native country of the aurora boreales, see PARRY'S Voyage in search of a North-West Passage.

Note 5. Stanza lxxxvi.

As Philip's son proposed to do with Athos.

A sculptor projected to hew Mount Athos into a statue of Alexander, with a city in one hand, and, I believe, a river in his pocket, with various other similar devices. But Alexander's gone, and Athos remains, I trust, ere long, to look over a nation of freemen.


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I NOW mean to be serious;-it is time,

Since laughter now-a-days is deem'd too serious. A jest at vice by virtue 's call'd a crime,

And critically held as deleterious :

Besides, the sad 's a source of the sublime,
Although when long a little apt to weary us;
And therefore shall my lay soar high and solemn
As an old temple dwindled to a column.

The Lady Adeline Amundeville


('T is an old Norman name, and to be found In pedigrees by those who wander still

Along the last fields of that gothic ground)

Was high-born, wealthy by her father's will,

And beauteous, even where beauties most abound,

In Britain—which of course true patriots find

The goodliest soil of body and of mind.


I'll not gainsay them; it is not my cue;

I leave them to their taste, no doubt the best :

An eye 's an eye, and whether black or blue,
Is no great matter, so 't is in request :

'T is nonsense to dispute about a hue

The kindest may be taken as a test.

The fair sex should be always fair; and no man, Till thirty, should perceive there's a plain woman.


And after that serene and somewhat dull

Epoch, that awkward corner turn'd for days More quiet, when our moon 's no more at full, We may presume to criticise or praise; Because indifference begins to lull

Our passions, and we walk in wisdom's ways; Also because the figure and the face

Hint, that 't is time to give the younger place.



I know that some would fain postpone this era,
Reluctant as all placemen to resign

Their post; but theirs is merely a chimera,
For they have pass'd life's equinoctial line :
But then they have their claret and madeira,
To irrigate the dryness of decline;
And county meetings and the parliament,
And debt, and what not, for their solace sent.


And is there not religion and reform,

Peace, war,

the taxes, and what's call'd the "nation ?" The struggle to be pilots in a storm ?

The landed and the monied speculation? The joys of mutual hate to keep them warm, Instead of love, that mere hallucination ? Now hatred is by far the longest pleasure; Men love in haste, but they detest at leisure.


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Rough Johnson, the great moralist, profess'd,
Right honestly, "he liked an honest hater
The only truth that yet has been confess'd
Within these latest thousand years or later.
Perhaps the fine old fellow spoke in jest ;-
For my part, I am but a mere spectator,
And gaze where'er the palace or the hovel is,
Much in the mode of Goethe's Mephistopheles;


But neither love nor hate in much excess;

Though 't was not once so. If I sneer sometimes,

It is because I cannot well do less,

And now and then it also suits ray rhymes.

I should be very willing to redress

Men's wrongs, and rather check than punish crimes,

Had not Cervantes, in that too true tale

Of Quixote, shown how all such efforts fail.


Of all tales 't is the saddest and more sad,
Because it makes us smile; his hero 's right,
And still pursues the right;-to curb the bad,
His only object, and 'gainst odds to fight,
His guerdon : 't is his virtue makes him mad!
But his adventures form a sorry sight;
A sorrier still is the great moral taught
By that real epic unto all who 've thought.


Redressing injury, revenging wrong,

To aid the damsel and destroy the caitiff; Opposing singly the united strong,

From foreign yoke to free the helpless native;
Alas! must noblest views, like an old song,

Be for mere fancy's sport a theme creative?
A jest, a riddle, fame through thin and thick sought?
And Socrates himself but wisdom's Quixote ?


Cervantes smiled Spain's chivalry away;

A single laugh demolish'd the right arm Of his own country;-seldom since that day

Has Spain had heroes. While romance could charm, The world gave ground before her bright array;

And therefore have his volumes done such harm,

That all their glory as a composition

Was dearly purchased by his land's perdition


I'm "at my old lunes "digression, and forget
The Lady Adeline Amundeville;

The fair most fatal Juan ever met,

Although she was not evil nor meant ill!

But destiny and passion spread the net

(Fate is a good excuse for our own will),

And caught them; what do they not catch, methinks?
But I'm not Edipus, and life 's a sphinx.


I tell the tale as it is told, nor dare

To venture a solution: "Davus sum!

And now I will proceed upon the pair.

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Sweet Adeline, amidst the gay world's hum,

Was the queen-bee, the glass of all that 's fair;

Whose charms made all men speak, and women dumb.

The last 's a miracle, and such was reckon'd,

And since that time there has not been a second.


Chaste was she to detraction's desperation,
And wedded unto one she had loved well-
A man known in the councils of the nation,
Cool, and quite English, imperturbable,
Though apt to act with fire upon occasion,
Proud of himself and her; the world could tell
Nought against either, and both seem'd secure-
She in her virtue, he in his hauteur.

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