Lord Byron

Don Juan: Canto 02. (part II)

His eyes he open'd, shut, again unclosed, For all was doubt and dizziness; he thought He still was in the boat and had but dozed, And felt again with his despair o'erwrought, And wish'd it death in which he had reposed; And then once more his feelings back were brought, And slowly by his swimming eyes was seen A lovely female face of seventeen. 'T was bending dose o'er his, and the small mouth Seem'd almost prying into his for breath; And chafing him, the soft warm hand of youth Recall'd his answering spirits back from death; And, bathing his chill temples, tried to soothe Each pulse to animation, till beneath Its gentle touch and trembling care, a sigh To these kind efforts made a low reply. Then was the cordial pour'd, and mantle flung Around his scarce-clad limbs; and the fair arm Raised higher the faint head which o'er it hung; And her transparent cheek, all pure and warm, Pillow'd his death-like forehead; then she wrung His dewy curls, long drench'd by every storm; And watch'd with eagerness each throb that drew A sigh from his heaved bosom—and hers, too. And lifting him with care into the cave, The gentle girl and her attendant,—one Young, yet her elder, and of brow less grave, And more robust of figure,—then begun To kindle fire, and as the new flames gave Light to the rocks that roof'd them, which the sun Had never seen, the maid, or whatsoe'er She was, appear'd distinct, and tall, and fair. Her brow was overhung with coins of gold, That sparkled o'er the auburn of her hair— Her clustering hair, whose longer locks were roll'd In braids behind; and though her stature were Even of the highest for a female mould, They nearly reach'd her heel; and in her air There was a something which bespoke command, As one who was a lady in the land. Her hair, I said, was auburn; but her eyes Were black as death, their lashes the same hue, Of downcast length, in whose silk shadow lies Deepest attraction; for when to the view Forth from its raven fringe the full glance flies, Ne'er with such force the swiftest arrow flew; 'T is as the snake late coil'd, who pours his length, And hurls at once his venom and his strength. Her brow was white and low, her cheek's pure dye Like twilight rosy still with the set sun; Short upper lip—sweet lips! that make us sigh Ever to have seen such; for she was one Fit for the model of a statuary (A race of mere impostors, when all 's done— I 've seen much finer women, ripe and real, Than all the nonsense of their stone ideal). I 'll tell you why I say so, for 't is just One should not rail without a decent cause: There was an Irish lady, to whose bust I ne'er saw justice done, and yet she was A frequent model; and if e'er she must Yield to stern Time and Nature's wrinkling laws, They will destroy a face which mortal thought Ne'er compass'd, nor less mortal chisel wrought. And such was she, the lady of the cave: Her dress was very different from the Spanish, Simpler, and yet of colours not so grave; For, as you know, the Spanish women banish Bright hues when out of doors, and yet, while wave Around them (what I hope will never vanish) The basquina and the mantilla, they Seem at the same time mystical and gay. But with our damsel this was not the case: Her dress was many-colour'd, finely spun; Her locks curl'd negligently round her face, But through them gold and gems profusely shone: Her girdle sparkled, and the richest lace Flow'd in her veil, and many a precious stone Flash'd on her little hand; but, what was shocking, Her small snow feet had slippers, but no stocking. The other female's dress was not unlike, But of inferior materials: she Had not so many ornaments to strike, Her hair had silver only, bound to be Her dowry; and her veil, in form alike, Was coarser; and her air, though firm, less free; Her hair was thicker, but less long; her eyes As black, but quicker, and of smaller size. And these two tended him, and cheer'd him both With food and raiment, and those soft attentions, Which are (as I must own) of female growth, And have ten thousand delicate inventions: They made a most superior mess of broth, A thing which poesy but seldom mentions, But the best dish that e'er was cook'd since Homer's Achilles ordered dinner for new comers. I 'll tell you who they were, this female pair, Lest they should seem princesses in disguise; Besides, I hate all mystery, and that air Of clap-trap which your recent poets prize; And so, in short, the girls they really were They shall appear before your curious eyes, Mistress and maid; the first was only daughter Of an old man who lived upon the water. A fisherman he had been in his youth, And still a sort of fisherman was he; But other speculations were, in sooth, Added to his connection with the sea, Perhaps not so respectable, in truth: A little smuggling, and some piracy, Left him, at last, the sole of many masters Of an ill-gotten million of piastres. A fisher, therefore, was he,—though of men, Like Peter the Apostle,—and he fish'd For wandering merchant-vessels, now and then, And sometimes caught as many as he wish'd; The cargoes he confiscated, and gain He sought in the slave-market too, and dish'd Full many a morsel for that Turkish trade, By which, no doubt, a good deal may be made. He was a Greek, and on his isle had built (One of the wild and smaller Cyclades) A very handsome house from out his guilt, And there he lived exceedingly at ease; Heaven knows what cash he got or blood he spilt, A sad old fellow was he, if you please; But this I know, it was a spacious building, Full of barbaric carving, paint, and gilding. He had an only daughter, call'd Haidee, The greatest heiress of the Eastern Isles; Besides, so very beautiful was she, Her dowry was as nothing to her smiles: Still in her teens, and like a lovely tree She grew to womanhood, and between whiles Rejected several suitors, just to learn How to accept a better in his turn. And walking out upon the beach, below The cliff, towards sunset, on that day she found, Insensible,—not dead, but nearly so,— Don Juan, almost famish'd, and half drown'd; But being naked, she was shock'd, you know, Yet deem'd herself in common pity bound, As far as in her lay, 'to take him in, A stranger' dying, with so white a skin. But taking him into her father's house Was not exactly the best way to save, But like conveying to the cat the mouse, Or people in a trance into their grave; Because the good old man had so much 'nous,' Unlike the honest Arab thieves so brave, He would have hospitably cured the stranger, And sold him instantly when out of danger. And therefore, with her maid, she thought it best (A virgin always on her maid relies) To place him in the cave for present rest: And when, at last, he open'd his black eyes, Their charity increased about their guest; And their compassion grew to such a size, It open'd half the turnpike-gates to heaven (St. Paul says, 't is the toll which must be given). They made a fire,—but such a fire as they Upon the moment could contrive with such Materials as were cast up round the bay,— Some broken planks, and oars, that to the touch Were nearly tinder, since so long they lay A mast was almost crumbled to a crutch; But, by God's grace, here wrecks were in such plenty, That there was fuel to have furnish'd twenty. He had a bed of furs, and a pelisse, For Haidee stripped her sables off to make His couch; and, that he might be more at ease, And warm, in case by chance he should awake, They also gave a petticoat apiece, She and her maid—and promised by daybreak To pay him a fresh visit, with a dish For breakfast, of eggs, coffee, bread, and fish. And thus they left him to his lone repose: Juan slept like a top, or like the dead, Who sleep at last, perhaps (God only knows), Just for the present; and in his lull'd head Not even a vision of his former woes Throbb'd in accursed dreams, which sometimes spread Unwelcome visions of our former years, Till the eye, cheated, opens thick with tears. Young Juan slept all dreamless:—but the maid, Who smooth'd his pillow, as she left the den Look'd back upon him, and a moment stay'd, And turn'd, believing that he call'd again. He slumber'd; yet she thought, at least she said (The heart will slip, even as the tongue and pen), He had pronounced her name—but she forgot That at this moment Juan knew it not. And pensive to her father's house she went, Enjoining silence strict to Zoe, who Better than her knew what, in fact, she meant, She being wiser by a year or two: A year or two 's an age when rightly spent, And Zoe spent hers, as most women do, In gaining all that useful sort of knowledge Which is acquired in Nature's good old college. The morn broke, and found Juan slumbering still Fast in his cave, and nothing clash'd upon His rest; the rushing of the neighbouring rill, And the young beams of the excluded sun, Troubled him not, and he might sleep his fill; And need he had of slumber yet, for none Had suffer'd more—his hardships were comparative To those related in my grand-dad's 'Narrative.' Not so Haidee: she sadly toss'd and tumbled, And started from her sleep, and, turning o'er Dream'd of a thousand wrecks, o'er which she stumbled, And handsome corpses strew'd upon the shore; And woke her maid so early that she grumbled, And call'd her father's old slaves up, who swore In several oaths—Armenian, Turk, and Greek— They knew not what to think of such a freak. But up she got, and up she made them get, With some pretence about the sun, that makes Sweet skies just when he rises, or is set; And 't is, no doubt, a sight to see when breaks Bright Phoebus, while the mountains still are wet With mist, and every bird with him awakes, And night is flung off like a mourning suit Worn for a husband,—or some other brute. I say, the sun is a most glorious sight, I 've seen him rise full oft, indeed of late I have sat up on purpose all the night, Which hastens, as physicians say, one's fate; And so all ye, who would be in the right In health and purse, begin your day to date From daybreak, and when coffin'd at fourscore, Engrave upon the plate, you rose at four. And Haidee met the morning face to face; Her own was freshest, though a feverish flush Had dyed it with the headlong blood, whose race From heart to cheek is curb'd into a blush, Like to a torrent which a mountain's base, That overpowers some Alpine river's rush, Checks to a lake, whose waves in circles spread; Or the Red Sea—but the sea is not red. And down the cliff the island virgin came, And near the cave her quick light footsteps drew, While the sun smiled on her with his first flame, And young Aurora kiss'd her lips with dew, Taking her for a sister; just the same Mistake you would have made on seeing the two, Although the mortal, quite as fresh and fair, Had all the advantage, too, of not being air. And when into the cavern Haidee stepp'd All timidly, yet rapidly, she saw That like an infant Juan sweetly slept; And then she stopp'd, and stood as if in awe (For sleep is awful), and on tiptoe crept And wrapt him closer, lest the air, too raw, Should reach his blood, then o'er him still as death Bent with hush'd lips, that drank his scarce-drawn breath. And thus like to an angel o'er the dying Who die in righteousness, she lean'd; and there All tranquilly the shipwreck'd boy was lying, As o'er him the calm and stirless air: But Zoe the meantime some eggs was frying, Since, after all, no doubt the youthful pair Must breakfast—and betimes, lest they should ask it, She drew out her provision from the basket. She knew that the best feelings must have victual, And that a shipwreck'd youth would hungry be; Besides, being less in love, she yawn'd a little, And felt her veins chill'd by the neighbouring sea; And so, she cook'd their breakfast to a tittle; I can't say that she gave them any tea, But there were eggs, fruit, coffee, bread, fish, honey, With Scio wine,—and all for love, not money. And Zoe, when the eggs were ready, and The coffee made, would fain have waken'd Juan; But Haidee stopp'd her with her quick small hand, And without word, a sign her finger drew on Her lip, which Zoe needs must understand; And, the first breakfast spoilt, prepared a new one, Because her mistress would not let her break That sleep which seem'd as it would ne'er awake. For still he lay, and on his thin worn cheek A purple hectic play'd like dying day On the snow-tops of distant hills; the streak Of sufferance yet upon his forehead lay, Where the blue veins look'd shadowy, shrunk, and weak; And his black curls were dewy with the spray, Which weigh'd upon them yet, all damp and salt, Mix'd with the stony vapours of the vault. And she bent o'er him, and he lay beneath, Hush'd as the babe upon its mother's breast, Droop'd as the willow when no winds can breathe, Lull'd like the depth of ocean when at rest, Fair as the crowning rose of the whole wreath, Soft as the callow cygnet in its nest; In short, he was a very pretty fellow, Although his woes had turn'd him rather yellow. He woke and gazed, and would have slept again, But the fair face which met his eyes forbade Those eyes to close, though weariness and pain Had further sleep a further pleasure made; For woman's face was never form'd in vain For Juan, so that even when he pray'd He turn'd from grisly saints, and martyrs hairy, To the sweet portraits of the Virgin Mary. And thus upon his elbow he arose, And look'd upon the lady, in whose cheek The pale contended with the purple rose, As with an effort she began to speak; Her eyes were eloquent, her words would pose, Although she told him, in good modern Greek, With an Ionian accent, low and sweet, That he was faint, and must not talk, but eat. Now Juan could not understand a word, Being no Grecian; but he had an ear, And her voice was the warble of a bird, So soft, so sweet, so delicately clear, That finer, simpler music ne'er was heard; The sort of sound we echo with a tear, Without knowing why—an overpowering tone, Whence Melody descends as from a throne. And Juan gazed as one who is awoke By a distant organ, doubting if he be Not yet a dreamer, till the spell is broke By the watchman, or some such reality, Or by one's early valet's cursed knock; At least it is a heavy sound to me, Who like a morning slumber—for the night Shows stars and women in a better light. And Juan, too, was help'd out from his dream, Or sleep, or whatso'er it was, by feeling A most prodigious appetite: the steam Of Zoe's cookery no doubt was stealing Upon his senses, and the kindling beam Of the new fire, which Zoe kept up, kneeling To stir her viands, made him quite awake And long for food, but chiefly a beef-steak. But beef is rare within these oxless isles; Goat's flesh there is, no doubt, and kid, and mutton; And, when a holiday upon them smiles, A joint upon their barbarous spits they put on: But this occurs but seldom, between whiles, For some of these are rocks with scarce a hut on; Others are fair and fertile, among which This, though not large, was one of the most rich. I say that beef is rare, and can't help thinking That the old fable of the Minotaur— From which our modern morals rightly shrinking Condemn the royal lady's taste who wore A cow's shape for a mask—was only (sinking The allegory) a mere type, no more, That Pasiphae promoted breeding cattle, To make the Cretans bloodier in battle. For we all know that English people are Fed upon beef—I won't say much of beer, Because 't is liquor only, and being far From this my subject, has no business here; We know, too, they very fond of war, A pleasure—like all pleasures—rather dear; So were the Cretans—from which I infer That beef and battles both were owing to her. But to resume. The languid Juan raised His head upon his elbow, and he saw A sight on which he had not lately gazed, As all his latter meals had been quite raw, Three or four things, for which the Lord he praised, And, feeling still the famish'd vulture gnaw, He fell upon whate'er was offer'd, like A priest, a shark, an alderman, or pike. He ate, and he was well supplied: and she, Who watch'd him like a mother, would have fed Him past all bounds, because she smiled to see Such appetite in one she had deem'd dead; But Zoe, being older than Haidee, Knew (by tradition, for she ne'er had read) That famish'd people must be slowly nurst, And fed by spoonfuls, else they always burst. And so she took the liberty to state, Rather by deeds than words, because the case Was urgent, that the gentleman, whose fate Had made her mistress quit her bed to trace The sea-shore at this hour, must leave his plate, Unless he wish'd to die upon the place— She snatch'd it, and refused another morsel, Saying, he had gorged enough to make a horse ill. Next they—he being naked, save a tatter'd Pair of scarce decent trowsers—went to work, And in the fire his recent rags they scatter'd, And dress'd him, for the present, like a Turk, Or Greek—that is, although it not much matter'd, Omitting turban, slippers, pistols, dirk,— They furnish'd him, entire, except some stitches, With a clean shirt, and very spacious breeches. And then fair Haidee tried her tongue at speaking, But not a word could Juan comprehend, Although he listen'd so that the young Greek in Her earnestness would ne'er have made an end; And, as he interrupted not, went eking Her speech out to her protege and friend, Till pausing at the last her breath to take, She saw he did not understand Romaic. And then she had recourse to nods, and signs, And smiles, and sparkles of the speaking eye, And read (the only book she could) the lines Of his fair face, and found, by sympathy, The answer eloquent, where soul shines And darts in one quick glance a long reply; And thus in every look she saw exprest A world of words, and things at which she guess'd. And now, by dint of fingers and of eyes, And words repeated after her, he took A lesson in her tongue; but by surmise, No doubt, less of her language than her look: As he who studies fervently the skies Turns oftener to the stars than to his book, Thus Juan learn'd his alpha beta better From Haidee's glance than any graven letter. 'T is pleasing to be school'd in a strange tongue By female lips and eyes—that is, I mean, When both the teacher and the taught are young, As was the case, at least, where I have been; They smile so when one 's right, and when one 's wrong They smile still more, and then there intervene Pressure of hands, perhaps even a chaste kiss;— I learn'd the little that I know by this: That is, some words of Spanish, Turk, and Greek, Italian not at all, having no teachers; Much English I cannot pretend to speak, Learning that language chiefly from its preachers, Barrow, South, Tillotson, whom every week I study, also Blair, the highest reachers Of eloquence in piety and prose— I hate your poets, so read none of those. As for the ladies, I have nought to say, A wanderer from the British world of fashion, Where I, like other 'dogs, have had my day,' Like other men, too, may have had my passion— But that, like other things, has pass'd away, And all her fools whom I could lay the lash on: Foes, friends, men, women, now are nought to me But dreams of what has been, no more to be. Return we to Don Juan. He begun To hear new words, and to repeat them; but Some feelings, universal as the sun, Were such as could not in his breast be shut More than within the bosom of a nun: He was in love,—as you would be, no doubt, With a young benefactress,—so was she, Just in the way we very often see. And every day by daybreak—rather early For Juan, who was somewhat fond of rest— She came into the cave, but it was merely To see her bird reposing in his nest; And she would softly stir his locks so curly, Without disturbing her yet slumbering guest, Breathing all gently o'er his cheek and mouth, As o'er a bed of roses the sweet south. And every morn his colour freshlier came, And every day help'd on his convalescence; 'T was well, because health in the human frame Is pleasant, besides being true love's essence, For health and idleness to passion's flame Are oil and gunpowder; and some good lessons Are also learnt from Ceres and from Bacchus, Without whom Venus will not long attack us. While Venus fills the heart (without heart really Love, though good always, is not quite so good), Ceres presents a plate of vermicelli,— For love must be sustain'd like flesh and blood,— While Bacchus pours out wine, or hands a jelly: Eggs, oysters, too, are amatory food; But who is their purveyor from above Heaven knows,—it may be Neptune, Pan, or Jove. When Juan woke he found some good things ready, A bath, a breakfast, and the finest eyes That ever made a youthful heart less steady, Besides her maid's as pretty for their size; But I have spoken of all this already— And repetition 's tiresome and unwise,— Well—Juan, after bathing in the sea, Came always back to coffee and Haidee. Both were so young, and one so innocent, That bathing pass'd for nothing; Juan seem'd To her, as 'twere, the kind of being sent, Of whom these two years she had nightly dream'd, A something to be loved, a creature meant To be her happiness, and whom she deem'd To render happy; all who joy would win Must share it,—Happiness was born a twin. It was such pleasure to behold him, such Enlargement of existence to partake Nature with him, to thrill beneath his touch, To watch him slumbering, and to see him wake: To live with him forever were too much; But then the thought of parting made her quake; He was her own, her ocean-treasure, cast Like a rich wreck—her first love, and her last. And thus a moon roll'd on, and fair Haidee Paid daily visits to her boy, and took Such plentiful precautions, that still he Remain'd unknown within his craggy nook; At last her father's prows put out to sea For certain merchantmen upon the look, Not as of yore to carry off an Io, But three Ragusan vessels, bound for Scio. Then came her freedom, for she had no mother, So that, her father being at sea, she was Free as a married woman, or such other Female, as where she likes may freely pass, Without even the incumbrance of a brother, The freest she that ever gazed on glass; I speak of Christian lands in this comparison, Where wives, at least, are seldom kept in garrison. Now she prolong'd her visits and her talk (For they must talk), and he had learnt to say So much as to propose to take a walk,— For little had he wander'd since the day On which, like a young flower snapp'd from the stalk, Drooping and dewy on the beach he lay,— And thus they walk'd out in the afternoon, And saw the sun set opposite the moon. It was a wild and breaker-beaten coast, With cliffs above, and a broad sandy shore, Guarded by shoals and rocks as by an host, With here and there a creek, whose aspect wore A better welcome to the tempest-tost; And rarely ceased the haughty billow's roar, Save on the dead long summer days, which make The outstretch'd ocean glitter like a lake. And the small ripple spilt upon the beach Scarcely o'erpass'd the cream of your champagne, When o'er the brim the sparkling bumpers reach, That spring-dew of the spirit! the heart's rain! Few things surpass old wine; and they may preach Who please,—the more because they preach in vain,— Let us have wine and women, mirth and laughter, Sermons and soda-water the day after. Man, being reasonable, must get drunk; The best of life is but intoxication: Glory, the grape, love, gold, in these are sunk The hopes of all men, and of every nation; Without their sap, how branchless were the trunk Of life's strange tree, so fruitful on occasion: But to return,—Get very drunk; and when You wake with headache, you shall see what then. Ring for your valet—bid him quickly bring Some hock and soda-water, then you 'll know A pleasure worthy Xerxes the great king; For not the bless'd sherbet, sublimed with snow, Nor the first sparkle of the desert-spring, Nor Burgundy in all its sunset glow, After long travel, ennui, love, or slaughter, Vie with that draught of hock and soda-water. The coast—I think it was the coast that Was just describing—Yes, it was the coast— Lay at this period quiet as the sky, The sands untumbled, the blue waves untost, And all was stillness, save the sea-bird's cry, And dolphin's leap, and little billow crost By some low rock or shelve, that made it fret Against the boundary it scarcely wet. And forth they wander'd, her sire being gone, As I have said, upon an expedition; And mother, brother, guardian, she had none, Save Zoe, who, although with due precision She waited on her lady with the sun, Thought daily service was her only mission, Bringing warm water, wreathing her long tresses, And asking now and then for cast-off dresses. It was the cooling hour, just when the rounded Red sun sinks down behind the azure hill, Which then seems as if the whole earth it bounded, Circling all nature, hush'd, and dim, and still, With the far mountain-crescent half surrounded On one side, and the deep sea calm and chill Upon the other, and the rosy sky, With one star sparkling through it like an eye. And thus they wander'd forth, and hand in hand, Over the shining pebbles and the shells, Glided along the smooth and harden'd sand, And in the worn and wild receptacles Work'd by the storms, yet work'd as it were plann'd, In hollow halls, with sparry roofs and cells, They turn'd to rest; and, each clasp'd by an arm, Yielded to the deep twilight's purple charm. They look'd up to the sky, whose floating glow Spread like a rosy ocean, vast and bright; They gazed upon the glittering sea below, Whence the broad moon rose circling into sight; They heard the wave's splash, and the wind so low, And saw each other's dark eyes darting light Into each other—and, beholding this, Their lips drew near, and clung into a kiss; A long, long kiss, a kiss of youth, and love, And beauty, all concentrating like rays Into one focus, kindled from above; Such kisses as belong to early days, Where heart, and soul, and sense, in concert move, And the blood 's lava, and the pulse a blaze, Each kiss a heart-quake,—for a kiss's strength, I think, it must be reckon'd by its length. By length I mean duration; theirs endured Heaven knows how long—no doubt they never reckon'd; And if they had, they could not have secured The sum of their sensations to a second: They had not spoken; but they felt allured, As if their souls and lips each other beckon'd, Which, being join'd, like swarming bees they clung— Their hearts the flowers from whence the honey sprung. They were alone, but not alone as they Who shut in chambers think it loneliness; The silent ocean, and the starlight bay, The twilight glow which momently grew less, The voiceless sands and dropping caves, that lay Around them, made them to each other press, As if there were no life beneath the sky Save theirs, and that their life could never die. They fear'd no eyes nor ears on that lone beach, They felt no terrors from the night, they were All in all to each other: though their speech Was broken words, they thought a language there,— And all the burning tongues the passions teach Found in one sigh the best interpreter Of nature's oracle—first love,—that all Which Eve has left her daughters since her fall. Haidde spoke not of scruples, ask'd no vows, Nor offer'd any; she had never heard Of plight and promises to be a spouse, Or perils by a loving maid incurr'd; She was all which pure ignorance allows, And flew to her young mate like a young bird; And, never having dreamt of falsehood, she Had not one word to say of constancy. She loved, and was beloved—she adored, And she was worshipp'd; after nature's fashion, Their intense souls, into each other pour'd, If souls could die, had perish'd in that passion,— But by degrees their senses were restored, Again to be o'ercome, again to dash on; And, beating 'gainst his bosom, Haidee's heart Felt as if never more to beat apart. Alas! they were so young, so beautiful, So lonely, loving, helpless, and the hour Was that in which the heart is always full, And, having o'er itself no further power, Prompts deeds eternity can not annul, But pays off moments in an endless shower Of hell-fire—all prepared for people giving Pleasure or pain to one another living. Alas! for Juan and Haidee! they were So loving and so lovely—till then never, Excepting our first parents, such a pair Had run the risk of being damn'd for ever; And Haidee, being devout as well as fair, Had, doubtless, heard about the Stygian river, And hell and purgatory—but forgot Just in the very crisis she should not. They look upon each other, and their eyes Gleam in the moonlight; and her white arm clasps Round Juan's head, and his around her lies Half buried in the tresses which it grasps; She sits upon his knee, and drinks his sighs, He hers, until they end in broken gasps; And thus they form a group that 's quite antique, Half naked, loving, natural, and Greek. And when those deep and burning moments pass'd, And Juan sunk to sleep within her arms, She slept not, but all tenderly, though fast, Sustain'd his head upon her bosom's charms; And now and then her eye to heaven is cast, And then on the pale cheek her breast now warms, Pillow'd on her o'erflowing heart, which pants With all it granted, and with all it grants. An infant when it gazes on a light, A child the moment when it drains the breast, A devotee when soars the Host in sight, An Arab with a stranger for a guest, A sailor when the prize has struck in fight, A miser filling his most hoarded chest, Feel rapture; but not such true joy are reaping As they who watch o'er what they love while sleeping. For there it lies so tranquil, so beloved, All that it hath of life with us is living; So gentle, stirless, helpless, and unmoved, And all unconscious of the joy 't is giving; All it hath felt, inflicted, pass'd, and proved, Hush'd into depths beyond the watcher's diving: There lies the thing we love with all its errors And all its charms, like death without its terrors. The lady watch'd her lover—and that hour Of Love's, and Night's, and Ocean's solitude, O'erflow'd her soul with their united power; Amidst the barren sand and rocks so rude She and her wave-worn love had made their bower, Where nought upon their passion could intrude, And all the stars that crowded the blue space Saw nothing happier than her glowing face. Alas! the love of women! it is known To be a lovely and a fearful thing; For all of theirs upon that die is thrown, And if 't is lost, life hath no more to bring To them but mockeries of the past alone, And their revenge is as the tiger's spring, Deadly, and quick, and crushing; yet, as real Torture is theirs, what they inflict they feel. They are right; for man, to man so oft unjust, Is always so to women; one sole bond Awaits them, treachery is all their trust; Taught to conceal, their bursting hearts despond Over their idol, till some wealthier lust Buys them in marriage—and what rests beyond? A thankless husband, next a faithless lover, Then dressing, nursing, praying, and all 's over. Some take a lover, some take drams or prayers, Some mind their household, others dissipation, Some run away, and but exchange their cares, Losing the advantage of a virtuous station; Few changes e'er can better their affairs, Theirs being an unnatural situation, From the dull palace to the dirty hovel: Some play the devil, and then write a novel. Haidee was Nature's bride, and knew not this; Haidee was Passion's child, born where the sun Showers triple light, and scorches even the kiss Of his gazelle-eyed daughters; she was one Made but to love, to feel that she was his Who was her chosen: what was said or done Elsewhere was nothing. She had naught to fear, Hope, care, nor love, beyond, her heart beat here. And oh! that quickening of the heart, that beat! How much it costs us! yet each rising throb Is in its cause as its effect so sweet, That Wisdom, ever on the watch to rob Joy of its alchymy, and to repeat Fine truths; even Conscience, too, has a tough job To make us understand each good old maxim, So good—I wonder Castlereagh don't tax 'em. And now 't was done—on the lone shore were plighted Their hearts; the stars, their nuptial torches, shed Beauty upon the beautiful they lighted: Ocean their witness, and the cave their bed, By their own feelings hallow'd and united, Their priest was Solitude, and they were wed: And they were happy, for to their young eyes Each was an angel, and earth paradise. O, Love! of whom great Caesar was the suitor, Titus the master, Antony the slave, Horace, Catullus, scholars, Ovid tutor, Sappho the sage blue-stocking, in whose grave All those may leap who rather would be neuter (Leucadia's rock still overlooks the wave)— O, Love! thou art the very god of evil, For, after all, we cannot call thee devil. Thou mak'st the chaste connubial state precarious, And jestest with the brows of mightiest men: Caesar and Pompey, Mahomet, Belisarius, Have much employ'd the muse of history's pen; Their lives and fortunes were extremely various, Such worthies Time will never see again; Yet to these four in three things the same luck holds, They all were heroes, conquerors, and cuckolds. Thou mak'st philosophers; there 's Epicurus And Aristippus, a material crew! Who to immoral courses would allure us By theories quite practicable too; If only from the devil they would insure us, How pleasant were the maxim (not quite new), 'Eat, drink, and love, what can the rest avail us?' So said the royal sage Sardanapalus. But Juan! had he quite forgotten Julia? And should he have forgotten her so soon? I can't but say it seems to me most truly Perplexing question; but, no doubt, the moon Does these things for us, and whenever newly Strong palpitation rises, 't is her boon, Else how the devil is it that fresh features Have such a charm for us poor human creatures? I hate inconstancy—I loathe, detest, Abhor, condemn, abjure the mortal made Of such quicksilver clay that in his breast No permanent foundation can be laid; Love, constant love, has been my constant guest, And yet last night, being at a masquerade, I saw the prettiest creature, fresh from Milan, Which gave me some sensations like a villain. But soon Philosophy came to my aid, And whisper'd, 'Think of every sacred tie!' 'I will, my dear Philosophy!' I said, 'But then her teeth, and then, oh, Heaven! her eye! I'll just inquire if she be wife or maid, Or neither—out of curiosity.' 'Stop!' cried Philosophy, with air so Grecian (Though she was masqued then as a fair Venetian); 'Stop!' so I stopp'd.—But to return: that which Men call inconstancy is nothing more Than admiration due where nature's rich Profusion with young beauty covers o'er Some favour'd object; and as in the niche A lovely statue we almost adore, This sort of adoration of the real Is but a heightening of the 'beau ideal.' 'T is the perception of the beautiful, A fine extension of the faculties, Platonic, universal, wonderful, Drawn from the stars, and filter'd through the skies, Without which life would be extremely dull; In short, it is the use of our own eyes, With one or two small senses added, just To hint that flesh is form'd of fiery dust. Yet 't is a painful feeling, and unwilling, For surely if we always could perceive In the same object graces quite as killing As when she rose upon us like an Eve, 'T would save us many a heartache, many a shilling (For we must get them any how or grieve), Whereas if one sole lady pleased for ever, How pleasant for the heart as well as liver! The heart is like the sky, a part of heaven, But changes night and day, too, like the sky; Now o'er it clouds and thunder must be driven, And darkness and destruction as on high: But when it hath been scorch'd, and pierced, and riven, Its storms expire in water-drops; the eye Pours forth at last the heart's blood turn'd to tears, Which make the English climate of our years. The liver is the lazaret of bile, But very rarely executes its function, For the first passion stays there such a while, That all the rest creep in and form a junction, Life knots of vipers on a dunghill's soil,— Rage, fear, hate, jealousy, revenge, compunction,— So that all mischiefs spring up from this entrail, Like earthquakes from the hidden fire call'd 'central,' In the mean time, without proceeding more In this anatomy, I 've finish'd now Two hundred and odd stanzas as before, That being about the number I 'll allow Each canto of the twelve, or twenty-four; And, laying down my pen, I make my bow, Leaving Don Juan and Haidee to plead For them and theirs with all who deign to read.

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