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A noise like to wet fingers drawn on glass,
Which sets the teeth on edge; and a slight clatter Like showers which on the midnight gusts will pass,
Sounding like very supernatural water,—
So that even those whose faith is the most great
Were his eyes open?-Yes! and his mouth too.
What open'd next?—the door.
It open'd with a most infernal creak,
Like that of hell. "Lasciate ogni speranza,
The door flew wide, not swiftly-but, as fly
The sea-gulls, with a steady, sober flightAnd then swung back; nor close-but stood awry, Half letting in long shadows on the light, Which still in Juan's candlesticks burn'd high, For he had two, both tolerably bright,And in the door-way, darkening darkness, stood The sable friar in his solemn hood.
Don Juan shook, as erst he had been shaken
And then his dread grew wrath, and his wrath fierce;
Follow'd; his veins no longer cold, but heated,
Juan put forth one arm-Eternal Powers!
It touch'd no soul, nor body, but the wall,
Should cause more fear than a whole host's identity!?
But still the shade remain'd; the blue eyes glared,
Yet one thing rather good the grave had spared—
And Juan, puzzled, but still curious, thrust
Which beat as if there was a warm heart under.
The ghost, if ghost it were, seem'd a sweet soul,
A dimpled chin, a neck of ivory, stole
Forth into something much like flesh and blood;
Back fell the sable frock and dreary cowl,
And they reveal'd (alas! that e'er they should!)
NOTES TO CANTO XVI.
Note 1. Stanza x.
If from a shell-fish or from cochineal.
The composition of the old Tyrian purple, whether from a shell-fish, or from cochineal, or from kermes, is still an article of dispute; and even its colour-some say purple, others scarlet: I say nothing.
Note 2. Stanza xliii.
For a spoil'd carpet-but the "Attic Bee"
I think that it was a carpet on which Diogenes trod, with-" Thus I trample on the pride of Plato ! "_" With greater pride," as the other replied. But as carpets are meant to be trodden upon, my memory probably misgives me, and it might be a robe, or tapestry, or a table-cloth, or some other expensive and uncynical piece of furniture.
Note 3. Stanza xlv.
With "Tu mi chamases" from Portingale,
To soothe our ears lest Italy should fail.
I remember that the mayoress of a provincial town, somewhat surfeited with a similar display from foreign parts, did rather indecorously break through the applauses of an intelligent audience-intelligent, I mean, as to music,-for the words, besides being in recondite languages (it was some years before the peace, ere all the world had travelled, and while I was a collegian)—were sorely disguised by the performers; -this mayoress, I say, broke out with, "Rot your Italianos! for my part, I loves a simple ballat!" Rossini will go a good way to bring most people to the same opinion, some day. Who would imagine that he was to be the successor of Mozart? However, I state this with diffidence, as a liege and loyal admirer of Italian music in general, and of much of Rossini's: but we may say, as the connoisseur did of painting, in the Vicar of Wakefield, "that the picture would be better painted if the painter had taken more pains."
Note 4. Stanza lix.
For gothic daring shown in English money.
"Ausu Romano, ære Veneto" is the inscription (and well inscribed in this instance) on the sea walls between the Adriatic and Venice. The walls were a republican work of the Venetians; the inscription, I believe, imperial, and inscribed by Napoleon the First. It is time to continue to him that title-there will be a second by and bye, "Spes altera mundi," if he live; let him not defeat it like his father. But in any case he will be preferable to the Imbeciles. There is a glorious field for him, if he knew how to cultivate it.
Note 5. Stanza lx.
"Untying" squires "to fight against the churches."
Though ye untie the winds and bid them fight
Note 6. Stanza xcvii.
They err-'t is merely what is call'd mobility.
In French "mobilité." I am not sure that mobility is English; but it is expressive of a quality which rather belongs to other climates, though it is sometimes seen to a great extent in our own. It may be defined as an excessive susceptibility of immediate impressions at the same time without losing the past; and is, though sometimes apparently useful to the possessor, a most painful and unhappy attribute.
Note 7. Stanza cii.
Draperied her form with curious felicity.
"Curiosa felicitas."-PETRONIUS ARBITER.
Note 8. Stanza cxiv.
A noise like to wet fingers drawn on glass.
See the account of the ghost of the uncle of Prince Charles of Saxony raised by Schroepfer-"Karl-Karl-was-walt wolt mich? "
Note 9. Stanza cxx.
How odd, a single hobgoblin's non-entity
Should cause more fear than a whole host's identity!
Have struck more terror to the soul of Richard
Than can the substance of ten thousand soldiers, &c., &c.