Imagens das páginas
PDF
ePub

CXL.

CXLVII. I say, the sun is a most glorious sight,

For still he lay, and on his thin worn cheek I've seen him rise full oft, indeed of late

A purple hectic play'a, like dying day I have set up on purpose all the night,

On the snow-tops of distant hills; the streak Which hastens, as physicians say, one's fate; Of sufferance yet upon his forehead lay, (weak, And so all ye, who would be in the right

Where the blue veins look'd shadowy, shrunk, and In health and purse, begin your day to date And his black curls were dewy with the spray, From day-break, and when coffin'd at fourscore, Which weigh'd upon them yet, all damp and salt Engrave upon the plate, you rose at four.

Mix'd with the stony vapors of the vault.
CXLI.

CXLVIII.
And Haidee met the morning face to face; And she bent o'er him, and he lay beneath,

Her own was freshest, though a feverish flush Hush'd as the babe upon its mother's breast, Had dyed it with the headlong blood, whose race Droop'd as the willow when no winds can breathe,

From heart to cheek is curb'd into a blush, Lull'd like the depth of ocean when at rest, Like to a torrent which a mountain's base, Fair as the crowning rose of the whole wreath,

That overpowers some Alpine river's rush, Soft as the callow cygnet in its nest; Checks to a lake, whose waves in circles spread, In short he was a very pretty fellow, Or the Red Sea—but the sea is not red.

Although his woes had turn'd him rather yellow. CXLII.

CXLIX. And down the cliff the island virgin came, He woke and gazed, and would have slept again,

And near the cave her quick light footsteps drew, But the fair face which met his eyes, forbade While the sun smiled on her with his first flame, Those eyes to close, though weariness and pain

And young Aurora kiss'd her lips with dew, Had further sleep a further pleasure made; Taking her for a sister; just the same

For woman's face was never forin'd in vain Mistake you would have made on seeing the two, For Juan, so that even when he pray'd, Although the mortal, quite as fresh and fair, He turn'd from grisly saints, and martyrs hairy, Had all the advantage too of not being air. To the sweet portraits of the Virgin Mary.

CXLIII.

CL.
And when into the cavern Haidee stepp'd, And thus upon his elbow he arose,
All tímidly, yet rapidly, she saw

And look'd upon the lady in whose cheek
That like an infant Juan sweetly slept:

The pale contented with the purple rose, And then she stopp'd, and stood as if in awe, As with an effort she began to speak; (For sleep is awful,) and on tiptoe crept

Her eyes were eloquent, her words would pose, And wrapp'd him closer, lest the air, too raw, Although she told him, in good modern Greek, Should reach his blood; then o'er him, still as death, With an Ionian accent, low and sweet, Bent with hush'd lips that drank his scarce-drawn That he was faint, and must not talk, but eat. breath. CXLIT.

CLI. And thus, like to an angel o'er the dying

Now Juan could not understand a word,
Who die in righteousness, she lean'd; and there Being no Grecian; but he had an ear,
All tranquilly the shipwreck'd boy was lying, And her voice was the warble of a bird,
As o'er him lay the calm and stirless air:

So soft, so sweet, so delicately clear,
But Zoé the meantime some eggs was frying, That finer, simpler music ne'er was heard;

Since, after all, no doubt the youthful pair The sort of sound we echo with a tear,
Must breakfast, and betimes-lest they should ask it, Without knowing why—an overpowering tone,
She drew out her provision from the basket. Whence melody descends, as from a throne.
CXLV.

CLII
She knew that the best feelings must have victual, And Juan gazed, as one who is awoke

And that a shipwreck'd youth would hungry be; By a distant organ, doubting if he be
Besides, being less in love, she yawn'd a little, Not yet a dreamer, till the spell is broke

And felt her veins chill'd by the neighboring sea; By the watchman, or some such reality,
And so, she cook'd their breakfast to a tittle ; Or by one's early valet's cursed knock;
I can't say that she gave them any tea,

At least it is a heavy sound to me,
But there were eggs, fruit, coffee, bread, fish, honey, Who like a morning slumber—for the night
With Scio wine and all for love, not money. Shows stars and women in a better light.

CXLVI.

CLIII. And Zoe, when the eggs were ready, and

And Juan, too, was help'd out from his dream, The coffee made, would fain have waken'd Juan; Or sleep, or whatsoe'er it was, by feeling But Haidee stopp'd her with her quick small hand, A most prodigious appetite: the steam

And without word, a sign her finger drew on Of Zoe's cookery no doubt was stealing Her lip, which Zoe needs must understand; Upon his senses, and the kindling beam And, the first breakfast spoil'd, prepared a new one,

Of the new fire which Zoe kept up, kneeling Because her mistress would not let her break To stir her viands, made him quite awake That sleep which seem'd as it would ne'er awake. And long for food, but chiefly a beef-steak

CLIV.

But beef is rare within these oxless isles;
Goats' 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.

CLV.

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.

CLVI.

For we all know that English people are

Fed upon beef-I won't say much of beer, Because 'tis liquor only, and being far

From this my subject, has no business here:-
We know, too, they are 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
CLVII.

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 be 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.

CLVIII.

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 nursed, And fed by spoonfuls, else they always burst.

CLIX.
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 seashore at this hour, must leave his plate,

CLAI.

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 ar sad:
And, as he interrupted not, went eking

Her speech out to her protégé and friend,
Till, pausing at the last her breath to take,
She saw he did not understand Romaic.

CLX.

Next they-he being naked, save a tatter'd

Pair of scarce decent trousers-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.

[blocks in formation]

CLXVI.
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 passionBut that, like other things, has pass'd away:

Unless he wish'd to die upon the placeAnd all her fools whom I could lay the lash on, She snatch'd it, and refused another morsel, Foes, friends, men, women, now are nought to me Saying, he had gorged enough to make a horse ill. But dreams of what has been, no more to be.

CLXVII.
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.

CXCVI.

CCIII. An infant when it gazes on a light,

And oh! that quickening of the heart, that beat! A child the moment when it drains the breast, How much it costs us, yet each rising throb A devotee when soars the host in sight,

Is in its cause as its effect so sweet,
An Arab with a stranger for a guest,

That wisdom, ever on the watch to rob
A sailor, when the prize has struck in fight, Joy of its alchymy, and to repeat
A miser filling his most hoarded chest,

Fine truths ; even conscience, too, has a tough job
Feel rapture; but not such true joy are reaping To make us understand each good old maxim,
As they who watch o'er what they love while sleeping. So good- I wonder Castlereagh don't tax 'em.
CXCVII.

CCIV. For there it lies so tranquil, so beloved,

And now'twas done on the lone shore were plighted All that it hath of life with us is living;

Their hearts; the stars, their nuptial torches, shed So gentle, stirless, helpless, and unmoved, Beauty upon the beautiful they lighted:

And all unconscious of the joy 'tis giving, Ocean their witness, and the cave their bed, All it hath felt, inflicted, pass'd, and proved, By their own feelings hallow'd and united,

Hush'd into depths beyond the watcher's diving; Their priest was solitude, and they were wed: There lies the thing we love with all its errors, And they were happy, for to their young eyes And all its charms, like death without its terrors. Each was an angel, and earth paradise. CXCVIII.

CCV.
The lady watch'd her lover--and that hour Oh love! of whom great Cæsar was the suitor,

Of Love's, and Night's, and Ocean's solitude, Titus the master, Antony the slave,
O‘erflow'd her soul with their united power ; Horace, Catullus, scholars, Ovid tutor,

Amidst the barren sand and rocks so rude, Sappho the sage blue-stocking, in whose grave
She and her wave-worn love had made their bower, All those may leap who rather would be neuter-

Where nought upon their passion could intrude, (Leucadia's rock still overlooks the wave)
And all the stars that crowded the blue space, Oh Love! thou art the very god of evil,
Saw nothing happier than her glowing face. For, after all, we cannot call thee devil.
CXCIX.

CCVI.
Alas! the love of women! it is known

Thou makest the chaste connubial state precarious, To be a lovely and a fearful thing;

And jestest with the bro of mightiest men: For all of theirs upon that die is thrown, Cæsar and Pompey, Mahomet, Belisarius,

And if 'tis lost, life hath no more to bring Have much employed the muse of history's pen; To them bút mockeries of the past alone, Their lives and fortunes were extremely various,And their revenge is as the tiger's spring,

Such worthies time will never see again :-
Deadly, and quick, and crushing : yet as real Yet to these four in three things the same luck holds,
Torture is theirs—what they inflict they feel. They all were heroes, conquerors, and cuckolds.
CC.

CCVII.
They're right; for man, to man so oft unjust, Thou makest philosophers: there's Epicurus
Is always so to women; one sole bond

And Aristippus, a material crew!
Awaits them, treachery is all their trust;

Who to immoral courses would allure us Taught to conceal, their bursting hearts despond By theories, quite practicable too ; Over their idol, till some wealthier lust

If only from the devil they would insure us, Buys them in marriage and what rests beyond ? How pleasant were the maxim, (not quite new,) A thankless husband, next a faithless lover,

Eat, drink, and love, what can the rest avail us?"
Then dressing, nursing, praying, and all's over. So said the royal sage, Sardanapalus.
CCI.

CCVIII.
Some take a lover, some take drams or prayers, But Juan! had he quite forgotten Julia ?

Some mind their household, others dissipation, And should he have forgotten her so soon?
Some run away, and but exchange their cares, I can't but say it seems to me most truly a

Losing the advantage of a virtuous station ; Perplexing question ; but, no doubt, the moon
Few changes e'er can better their affairs,

Does these things for us, and whenever newly a Theirs being an unnatural situation,

Palpitation rises, 'tis her boon, From the dull palace to the dirty hovel :

Else how the devil is it that fresh features
Some play the devil, and then write a novel. Have such a charm for us poor human creatures ?
CCII.

CCIX.
Haidee was nature's bride, and knew not this; I hate inconstancy-I loathe, detest,

Haidee was passion's child, born where the sun Abhor, condemn, abjure the mortal made
Showers triple light, and scorches even the kiss Of such quicksilver clay that in his breast,

Of his gazelle-eyed daughters ; she was one No permanent foundation can be laid; Made but to love, to feel that she was his Love, constant love, has been my constant guest,

Who was her chosen : what was said or done And yet last night, being at a masquerade, Elsewhere was nothing—She had nought to fear, I saw the prettiest creature, fresh from Milan, Hode, care, nor love beyond, her heart beat here. Which gave me some sensations like a villain

CLXXXII.

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 iong tresses, And asking now and then for cast-off dresses.

CLXXXIII.

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
Cpon the other, and the rosy sky,
With one star sparkling through it like an eye.
CLXXXIV.

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.

CLXXXV.

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 waves' 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 ;

CLXXXVI.

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.

CLXXXVII.
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:

CLXXXIX.

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.

CLXXXVIII.
They were alone, yet 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.

[blocks in formation]

CXCIV.

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

They had not spoken; but they felt allured,

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;

As if their souls and lips each other beckon'd,
Which, being join'd, like swarming bees they clung-And thus they form a group that's quite antique,
Their hearts the flowers from whence the honey Half naked, loving, natural, and Greek.

sprung.

CXCV.

And when those deep and burning moments passa
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.

[ocr errors]

CXCVI.

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.

CXCVII.

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 'tis 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. CXCVIII.

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.

[blocks in formation]

Who was her chosen: what was said or done Elsewhere was nothing-She had nought to fear, Hove, care, nor love beyond, her heart beat here.

CCIII.

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.

CCIV.

And now 'twas 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.

CCV.

Oh love! of whom great Cæsar 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)Oh Love! thou art the very god of evil, For, after all, we cannot call thee devil.

CCVI.

Thou makest the chaste connubial state precarious, And jestest with the brows of mightiest men: Cæsar and Pompey, Mahomet, Belisarius,

Have much employed 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.

CCVII.

[blocks in formation]
« AnteriorContinuar »