It chanced some diplomatical relations,

Arising out of business, often brought
Himself and Juan in their mutual stations

Into close contact. Though reserved, nor caught By specious seeming, Juan's youth, and patience,

And talent, on his haughty spirit wrought,
And form'd a basis of esteem, which ends
In making men what courtesy calls friends.


And thus Lord Henry, who was cautious as

Reserve and pride could make him, and full slow In judging men—when once his judgment was

Determined, right or wrong, on friend or foe, Had all the pertinacity pride has,

Which knows no ebb to its imperious flow, And loves or hates, disdaining to be guided, Because its own good pleasure hath decided.

[ocr errors]

His friendships, therefore, and no less aversions,

Though oft well founded, which confirm'd but more His prepossessions, like the laws of Persians

And Medes, would ne'er revoke what went before. His feelings had not those strange fits, like tertians,

Of common likings, which make some deplore What they should laugh at—the mere ague still Of men's regard, the fever or the chill.


XVIII. 66'T is not in mortals to command success;

But do you more, Semproniusdon't deserve it.” And take my word, you won't have any

less : Be wary, watch the time, and always serve it; Give gently way, where there 's too great a press ;

And for your conscience, only learn to nerve it,For, like a racer or a boxer training, ’T will make, if proved, vast efforts without paining.



Lord Henry also liked to be superior,

As most men do, the little or the great ; The very

lowest find out an inferior, At least they think so, to exert their state Upon : for there are very few things wearier

Than solitary pride's oppressive weight, Which mortals generously would divide, By bidding others carry while they ride.


In birth, in rank, in fortune likewise equal,

O’er Juan he could no distinction claim;
In years he had the advantage of time's sequel ;

And, as he thought, in country much the same-
Because bold Britons have a tongue and free quill,

At which all modern nations vainly aim; And the Lord Henry was a great debater, So that few members kept the House up


These were advantages : and then he thought-

It was his foible, but by no means sinister-
That few or none more than himself had caught

Court mysteries, having been himself a minister : He liked to teach that which he had been taught,

And greatly shone whenever there had been a stir; And reconciled all qualities which grace man, Always a patriot, and sometimes a placeman.


He liked the gentle Spaniard for his gravity;

He almost honour'd him for his docility,
Because, though young, he acquiesced with suavity,

Or contradicted but with proud humility.
He knew the world, and would not see depravity

In faults which sometimes show the soil's fertility,
If that the weeds o'erlive not the first crop-
For then they are very difficult to stop.

And then he talk'd with him about Madrid,

Constantinople, and such distant places;
Where people always did as they were bid,

Or did what they should not with foreign graces. Of coursers also spake they : Henry rid

Well, like most Englishmen, and loved the races; And Juan, like a true-born Andalusian, Could back a horse, as despots ride a Russian.



[ocr errors]

And thus acquaintance grew, at noble routs,

And diplomatic dinners, or at other-
For Juan stood well both with ins and outs,

As in freemasonry a higher brother. Upon his talent Henry had no doubts,

His manner show'd him sprung from a high mother ; And all men like to show their hospitality To him whose breeding marches with his quality.


XXV. At Blank-Blank Square ;--for we will break no squares

By naining streets : since men are so censorious, And apt to sow an author's wheat with tares,

Reaping allusions private and inglorious,
Where none were dreamt of, unto love's affairs

Which were, or are, or are to be notorious,
That therefore do I previously declare,
Lord Henry's mansion was in Blank-Blank Square.

XXVI. Also there bin another pious reason

For making squares and streets anonymous ; Which is, that there is scarce a single season

Which doth not shake some very splendid house With some slight heart-quake of domestic treason

A topic scandal doth delight to rouse : Such I might stumble over unawares, Unless I knew the very chastest squares.

XXVII. 'T is true, I might have chosen Piccadilly,

A place where peccadilloes are unknown ; But I have motives, whether wise or silly,

For letting that pure sanctuary alone.
Therefore I name not square, street, place, until I

Find one where nothing naughty can be shown,
A vestal shrine of innocence of heart :
Such are—but I have lost the London chart.

[ocr errors]

At Henry's mansion then in Blank-Blank Square,

Was Juan a recherché, welcome guest,
As many

other noble scions were ;
And some who had but talent for their crest;
Or wealth, which is a passport everywhere ;

Or even mere fashion, which indeed 's the best
Recommendation, and to be well drest

very often supersede the rest.


And since there 's safety in a multitude

Of counsellors," as Solomon has said,
Or some one for him, in some sage grave mood :-

Indeed we see the daily proof display'd
In senates, at the bar, in wordy feud,

Where'er collective wisdom can parade, Which is the only cause that we can guess Of Britain's present wealth and happiness;

But as

" there 's safety grafted in the number
Of counsellors" for men,--thus for the sex
A large acquaintance lets not virtue slumber;

Or, should it shake, the choice will more perplex Variety itself will more encumber.

'Midst many rocks we guard more against wrecks ; And thus with women : howsoe'er it shock some's Self-love, there 's safety in a crowd of coxcombs.


But Adeline had not the least occasion

For such a shield, which leaves but little merit To virtue proper, or good education,

Her chief resource was in her own high spirit,
Which judged inankind at their due estimation ;

And for coquetry, she disdain'd to wear it :
Secure of admiration, its impression
Was faint, as of an every-day possession.

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

XXXII. To all she was polite without parade ;

To some she show'd attention of that kind Which flatters, but is flattery convey'd

In such a sort as cannot leave behind
A trace unworthy either wife or maid;

A gentle genial courtesy of mind,
To those who were, or pass'd for, meritorious,
Just to console sad glory for being glorious ;

Which is in all respects, save now and then,

A dull and desolate appendage. Gaze
Upon the shades of those distinguish'd men,

Who were or are the puppet-shows of praise,
The praise of persecution. Gaze again

On the most favour'd; and, amidst the blaze
Of sunset halos o'er the laurel-brow'd,
What can ye recognize ?--A gilded cloud.

XXXIV. There also was of course in Adeline

That calm patrician polish in the address, Which ne'er can pass the equinoctial line

Of any thing which Nature would express :
Just as a mandarin finds nothing fine,-

At least his manner suffers not to guess
That any thing he views can greatly please--
Perhaps we have borrow'd this from the Chinese,

XXXV. Perhaps from Horace ; his “Nil admirari

Was what he call’d the “ Art of Happiness ;" An art on which the artists greatly vary,

And have not yet attain'd to much success.
However, 't is expedient to be wary :

Indifference certes don't produce distress ;
And rash enthusiasm in good society
Were nothing but a moral inebriety.


XXXVI. But Adeline was not indifferent : for,

(Now for a common- 2-place!) beneath the snow, As a volcano holds the lava more

Within-et cætera. Shall I
I hate to hunt down a tired metaphor :

So let the often-used volcano go.
Poor thing ! how frequently, by me and others,
It hath been stirr'd up till its smoke quite smothers!

go on?-No!

XXXVII. I 'll have another figure in a trice :

What say you to a bottle of Champagne ? Frozen into a very vinous ice,

Which leaves few drops of that immortal rain,
Yet in the very centre, past all price,

About a liquid glassful will remain ;
And this is stronger than the strongest grape
Could e'er express in its expanded shape :

'T is the whole spirit brought to a quintessence ;

And thus the chilliest aspects may concentre A hidden nectar under a cold presence,

And such are many—though I only meant her From whom I now deduce these moral lessons,

On which the Muse has always sought to enter : And your cold people are beyond all price, When once you ’ve broken their confounded ice.

But after all they are a north-west passage

Unto the glowing India of the soul ;
And as the good ships sent upon that message

Have not exactly ascertain’d the Pole
(Though Parry's efforts look a lucky presage),

Thus gentlemen may run upon a shoal ; For, if the

's not open, but all frost (A chance still), 't is a voyage or vessel lost.

« VorigeDoorgaan »