Don Juan.

Difficile est proprie communia dicere.

HOR. Epist. ad Pison.
Dost thou think, because thou art virtuous, there shall be no more
Cakes and Ale?

-Yes, by St. Anne; and Ginger shall be hot if the
mouth, too.-Twelfth Night; or What you-Will.-


Most epic poets plunge in “medias res"

(Horace makes this the heroic turnpike road) And then your hero tells, whene'er you please,

What went before--by way of episode,

While seated after dinner at his ease,

Beside his mistress in some soft abode,
Palace or garden, paradise or cavern,

Which serves the happy couple for a tavern.

VII. I WANT a hero:-an uncommon want,

That is the usual method, but not mineWhen every year and month sends forth a new one, My way is to begin with the beginning; Til, after cloying the gazettes with cant,

The regularity of my design The age discovers he is not the truc one; Forbids all wandering as the worst of sinning, Os such as these I should not care to vaunt, And therefore I shall open with a line

I'll therefore take our ancient friend Don Juan; (Although it cost me half an hour in spinning) We all have seen him in the pantomime

Narrating somewhat of Don Juan's father,
Sent to the devil somewhat ere his time.

And also of his mother, if you'd rather.

Pernon, the butcher, Cumberland, Wolfe, Hawke, In Seville was he born, a pleasant city,

Prince Ferdinand, Granby, Burgoyne, Keppel, Howe, Famous for oranges and women-he
Evil and good, have had their tithe of talk, Who has not seen it will be much to pity,

And fill'd their sign-posts then, like Wellesley now; So says the proverb-and I quite agree;
Each in their turn like Banquo's monarchs stalk, of all the Spanish towns is none more pretty,

Followers of fame, “ nine farrow" of that sow: Cadiz perhaps, but that you soon may see :-
France, too, had Buonaparté and Dumourier, Don Juan's parents lived beside the river,
Piecorded in the Moniteur and Courier.

A noble stream, and call'd the Guadalquivir.

Barnave, Brissot, Condorcet, Mirabcan,

His father's name was Jose-Don, of course, Pelion, Clootz, Danton, Marat, La Fayette,

A true Hidalgo, free from every stain
Were French, and famous people, as we know; Or Moor or Hebrew blood, he traced his source

And there were others, scarce forgotten yel, Through the most Gothic gentlemen of Spain,
Joubert, Hoche, Marceau, Launes, Dessaix, Moreau, A better cavalier ne'er mounted horse,
With many of the military sel,

Or, being mounted, e’er got down again,
Exceeding.y remarkable at times,

Than Jose, who begot our hero, who
But not at all adapted to my rhymes.

Begot—but that's to come-Well, to renew :

Nelson was once Britannia's god of war,

Ilis mother was a learned lady, famed
And still should be so, but the tide is turn'd; For every branch of every science known-
There's no more to be said of Trafalgar,

In every Christian language ever named, 'Tis with our hero quietly inurn’d;

With virtues equalled by her wit alone, Becanse the army's grown more popular,

She made the cleverest people quite ashamed, At which the naval people are concern’d:

And even the good with inward envy groan, Besides, the prince is all for the land-service, Finding themselves so very much exceeded Forgetting Duncan, Nelson, Howe, and Jervis. In their own way by all the things that she did. V.

Brave men were living before Agamemnon,' Her memory was a mine: she knew by heart
And since, exceeding valorous and sage,

All Calderon and greater part of Lopé,
A good deal like him too, though quite the same none, So that if any actor miss'd his part,
But then they shone not on the poet's page,

She could have served him for the prompter's copy,
And so have been forgotten:-) condenn none, For her Feinagles were an useless art,
But can't find any in the present age

And he himself obliged to shut up shop-he Fit for my poem (that is, for my new one);

Could never make a memory so fine as So, as I said, I'll take my friend Don Juan. That which adorn'd the brain of Donna Inc::.


Her favourite science was the mathematical, He was a mortal of the careless kind,
Her noblest virtue was her magnanimity,

With no great love for learning, or the learn'da
Her wit (she sometimes tried at wit) was Attic all, Who chose to go where'er he had a mind,
Her serious sayings darken'd to sublimity;

And never dream'd his lady was concern'd; In short, in all things she was fairly what I call The world, as usual, wickedly inclined

A prodigy-her morning dress was dimity, To see a kingdom or a house o’erturn'd,
Her evening silk, or, in the summer, muslin, Whisper'd he had a mistress, some said two,
And other stuffs, with which I won't stay puzzling. But for domestic quarrels one will do.

She knew the Latin—that is, " the Lord's prayer," Now Donna Inez had, with all her merit,
And Greek, the alphabet, I'm nearly sure;

A great opinion of her own good qualities; She read some French romances here and there, Neglect, indeed, requires a saint to bear it,

Although her mode of speaking was not pure: And such indeed she was in her moralities; For native Spanish she had no great care,

But then she had a devil of a spirit, At least her conversation was obscure;

And sometimes mix'd up fancies with realities,
Her thoughts were theorems, her words a problem, And let few opportunities escape
As if she deem'd that mystery would ennoble 'em. Of gcuing her liege lord into a scrape.

She liked the English and the Hebrew tongue, This was an easy matter with a man
And said there was analogy between 'em;

On in the wrong, and never on his guard; She proved it somehow out of sacred song, And even the wisest, do the best they can,

But I must leave the proofs to those who've seen 'em; Have moments, hours, and days, so unprepareil, But this I've heard her say, and can't be wrong, That you might "brain them with their lady's fan,"

And all miay think which way their judgments lean’em, And sometimes ladies hit exceeding hard, - 'T is strange the Hebrew noun which means “I am,' And fans turn into falchions in fair hands, l'ha English always use to govern d-n."

And why and wherefore no one understands.

'Tis pity learned virgins ever wed

With persons of no sort of education,
Or gentlemen who, though well-born and bred,

Grow tired of scientific conversation:
I don't choose to say much upon this head,

I'm a plain man, and m a single station,
But-oh! ye lords of ladies intellectual,

Inform us truly, have they not hen-peck'd you all ?

XXIII. In short, she was a walking calculation,

Don Jose and his lady quarrell'd—why Miss Edgeworth's novels stepping from their covers, Not any of the many could divine, Or Mrs. Trimmer's books on education,

Though several thousand people chose to try, Or “Cælebs' Wife” set out in quest of lovers, 'T was surely no concern of theirs nor mune: Morality's priin personification,

I loathe that low vice curiosity; In which not Envy's self a flaw discovers;

But if there's any thing in which I shine, To others' share let “female errors fall,”

'Tis in arranging all my friends' affairs, For she had not even one-the worst of all. Not having, of my own, domestic cares. XVII.

XXIV. Oh! she was perfect past all parallel

And so I interfered, and with the best or any modern female saint's comparison;

Intentions, but their trea:ment was not kind; So far above the cunning powers of hell, I think the foolish people were possessid,

Her guardian angel had given up his garrison; For neither of them could I ever rind, Even her minutest motions went as well

Although their porier afterwards confessida As those of the best time-piece made by Ilarrison : But that's no matter, and the worst 's behind. In virtues nothing earthly could surpass her, For little Juan o'er me threw, down stairs, Save thine "incomparable oil,” Macassar !? A pail of housemaid's water unawares. XVIII.

XXV. Perfect she was, but as perfection is

A little curly-headed, good-for-nothing, Insipid in this naughty world of ours,

And mischief-making monkey from his birth; Where our first parents never learn'd to kiss His parents ne'er agreed except in doring

Till they were exiled from their earlier bowers, Upon the most unquiet inp on earth;
Where all was peace, and innocence, and bliss Instead of quarrelling, had they becu but both in

(I wonder how they got through ine twelve hours), Their senses, they'd have sent youlig masier twrw Don Jose, like a lineal son of Eve,

To school, or had him whapp'd at home, Woul plucking various fruit without her leave. To teach him manners for the time to come.


XXXIII. Don Jose and the Donna Inez led

He died: and most unluckily, because, For some time an unhappy sort of life,

According to all hints I could collect Wishing each other, not divorced, but dead; From counsel learned in those kinds of laws They lived respectably as man and wife,

(Although their talk 's obscure and circumspect) Their conduct was exceedingly well-bred,

His death contrived to spoil a charming cause ;
And gave no outward signs of inward strife, A thousand pilies also with respect
Unti! at length the smother'd fire broke out, To public feeling, which on this occasion
And put the business past all kind of doubt. Was manisested in a great sensation.

For Inez call'd some druggists and physicians, But ah! he died; and buried with him lay

And tried to prove her loving lord was mad, The public feeling and the lawyers' fees :
But as he had some lucid intermissions,

His house was sold, his servants sent away,
She next decided he was only bad;

A Jew took one of his two mistresses, Yet when they ask'd her for her depositions, A priest the other—at least so they say: No sort of explanation could be had,

I ask'd the doctors after his diseaseSave that her duty both to man and God

He died of the slow fever called the tertian,
Required this conduct—which seem'd very odd. And left his widow to her own aversion.

She kept a journal, where his faults were noted, Yet Jose was an honourable man,

And open'd certain trunks of books and letters, That I must say, who knew him very well ;
All which might, if occasion served, be quoted;

Therefore his frailties I'll no further scan,
And then she had all Seville for abettors,

Indeed there were not many more to tell; Besides her good old grandmother (who doted); And if his passions now and then outran The hearers of her case became repeaters,

Discretion, and were not so peaceable Then advocates, inquisitors, and judges,

As Numa's (who was also named Pompilius), Some for amusement, others for old grudges. He had been ill brought up, and was born bilious. XXIX.

XXXVI. And then this best and meekest woman bore Whate'er might be his worthlessness or worth, With such serenity her husband's woes,

Poor fellow ! he had many things to wound him, Just as the Spartan ladies did of yore,

Let's own, since it can do no good on earth; Who saw their spouses kill'd, and nobly chose It was a trying moment that which found him, Never to say a word about them more

Standing alone beside his desolate hearth, Calmly she heard each calumny that rose,

Where all his household gods lay shiver'd round him, And saw his agonies with such sublimity,

No choice was left his feelings or his pride That all the world exclaim'd, “What magnanimity!" Save death or Doctors' Commons-so he died. XXX.

No doubt, this patience, when the world is damning us, Dying intestate, Juan was sole heir
Is philosophic in our former friends ;

To a chancery-suit, and messuages, and lands, 'Tis also pleasant to be deemed magnanimous, Which, with a long minority and care, The more so in obtaining our own ends ;

Promised to turn out well in proper hands : And what the lawyers call a “malus animus," Inez became sole guardian, which was fair,

Conduct like this by no means comprehends ; And answer'd but to nature's just demands; Revenge in person's certainly no virtue,

An only son left with an only mother
But then 't is not my fault if others hurt you. Is brought up much more wisely than another.

And if our quarrels should rip up old stories, Sagest of women, even of widows, she

And help them with a lie or two additional, Resolved that Juan should be quite a paragon,
I'm not to blame, as you well know, no more is And worthy of the noblest pedigree

Any one else-they were become traditional; (His sire was of Castile, his dam from Arragons. Besides, their resurrection aids our glorics

Then for accomplishments of chivalry, By contrast, which is what we just were wishing all; In case our lord the king should go to war again And science profits by this resurrection

He learn'd the arts of riding, fencing, gunnery, Dead scandals form good subjects for dissection.

And how to scale a fortress—or a nunnery.

Their friends had tried at reconciliation,

But that which Donna Inez most desired, Then their relations, who made ma:ters worse And saw into herself each day before al ('T were hard to tell upon a like occasion

The learned tutors whom for him she hired, To whom it may be best to have recourse- Was that his breeding should be strictly mor:d; I can't say much for friend or yet relation) : Much into all his studies she inquired, The la vyers did their utmost for divorce,

And so they were submitted first to her, a!!, But scarce a fee was paid on either side. Arts, sciences, no branch was made a mystery Beforc, unluckily, Don Jose died.

To Juan's eyes, excepuing natural history,


XLVII. The languages, especially the dead,

Sermons he read, and lectures he endured, The sciences, and most of all the abstruse, And homilies, and lives of all the saints; The arts, at least all such as could be said To Jerome and to Chrysostom inured,

To be the most remote from common use, He did not take such studies for restraints: In all these he was much and deeply read; But how faith is acquired, and then insured,

But not a page of any thing that's loose, So well not one of the aforesaid paints Or hints continuation of the species,

As Saint Augustine, in his fine Confessions, Was ever suffer'd, lest he should grow vicious. Which make the reader envy his transgressions. XLI.

XLVIII. His classic studies made a little puzzle,

This, too, was a seald book to little Juan Because of filthy loves of gods and goddesses, I can't but say that his mamma was right, Who in the earlier ages raised a bustle,

If such an education was the true one. But never put on pantaloons or boddices; She scarcely trusted him from out her sight; His reverend tutors had at times a tussle,

Her maids were old, and if she took a new one And for their Æneids, Niads, and Odysseys, You might be sure she was a perfect fright; Were forced to make an odd sort of apology, She did this during even her husband's lifeFor Donna Inez dreaded the mythology.

I recommend as much to every wife.

Ovid's a rake, as half his verses show him; Young Juan war'd in goodliness and grace:

Anacreon's morals are a still worse sample; At six a charming child, and at eleven
Catullus scarcely has a decent poem;

With all the promise of as fine a face I don't think Sappho's Ode a good example, As e'er to man's maturer growth was given : AlthoughLonginus tells us there is no hymn He studied steadily and grew apace,

Where the sublime soars forth on wings more ample; And seem'd, at least, in the right road to heaven ; But Virgil's songs are pure, except that horrid one For half his days were pass'd al church, the other Beginning with “ Formosum pastor Corydon.Between his tutors, confessor, and mother. XLIII.

L. Lucretius' irreligion is too strong

At six, I said he was a charming child, For early stomachs, to prove wholesome food, At twelve, he was a fine, but quiet boy; I can't help thinking Juvenal was wrong,

Although in infancy a liule wild, Although no doubt his real intent was good, They tamed him down amongst them: to destroy For speaking out so plainly in his song,

His natural spirit not in vain they toil'd, So much indeed as to be downright rude;

At least at seem'd so; and his mother's joy And then what proper person can be partial Was to declare how sage, and still, and sicady, To all those nauseous epigrams of Martial ? Her young philosopher was grown already. XLIV.

Juan was taught from out the best edition, I had my doubts, perhaps I have them still,
Expurgated by learned men, who place,

But what I say is neither here nor there;
Judiciously, from out the school-boy's vision, I knew his father well, and have some skill
The grosser parts; but, fearful to deface

In character-but it would not be fair Too much their modest bard by this omission, From sire to son to augur good or ill : And pitying sore his mutilated case,

He and his wife were an ill-sorted pairThey only add them all in an appendix,

But scandal's my aversion—I protest
Which saves, in fact, the trouble of an index; Against all evil speaking, even in jest.

For there we have them all “at one fell swoop," For my part I say nothing—nothing—but

Instead of being scatter'd through the pages ; This I will say-my reasons are my own 1'hey stand forth marshall'd in a handsome troop, That if I had an only son to put

To meet the ingenuous youth of future ages, To school (as God be praised that I have none) Till some less rigid editor shall stoop

'Tis not with Donna Inez I would shut To call them back into their separate cages, Him up to learn his catechism alone; Instead of standing staring altogether,

No-no-I'd send him out betimes to college, Like garden gods—and not so decent, either. For there it was I pick'd up my own knowledge. XLVI.

LIII. The Missal too (it was the family Missal)

For there one learns-'t is not for me to boast, Was ornamented in a sort of way

Though I acquired—but I pass over that, Which ancient mass-books often are, and this all As well as all the Greek I since have lost :

Kinds of grotesques illumined ; and how they I say that there's the place-but “ Verbum sit. Who saw those figures on the margin kiss all, I think I pick'd up, too, as well as most,

Could turn their optics to the text and pray Knowledge of matters—but, no matter whaiIs more than I know-but Don Juan's mother I never married--but I think, I know, Kept ihis herself, and gave her son another. That sons should not be educated so.


Young Juan now was sixteen years of age, Iler glossy hair was cluster'd o'er a brow

Tall, handsome, slender, but well knit; he seem'd Bright with intelligence, and fair and smooth ;
Active, though not so sprightly, as a page;

Her eyebrow's shape was like the aerial buw, And every body but his mother deem'd

Her cheek all purple with the beam of youth, Him almost man; but she Hew in a rage,

Mounting at times to a transparent glow, And bit her lips (for else she might have scream'd) As if her veins ran lightning; she, in sooth, If any said so, for to be precocious

Possess'd an air and grace by no means common : Was in her eyes a thing the most atrocious. Her stature tall-I hate a dumpy woman. LV.

LXII. Amongst her numerous acquaintance, all

Wedded she was some years, and to a man Selected for discretion and devotion,

or fifty, and such husbands are in plenty; There was the Donna Julia, whom to call

And yet, I think, instead of such a one, Pretty were but to give a feeble notion

'T were better to have two of five-and-twenty, of many charms, in her as natural

Especially in countries near the sun: As sweetness to the flower, or salt to ocean, And now I think on ', " mi vien in mente,” fler zone to Venus, or his bow to Cupid

Ladies, even of the most uneasy virtue, (But this last simile is trile and stupid).

Prefer a spouse whose age is short of thirty.

The darkness of her oriental eye

'T is a sad thing, I cannot choose but say, Accorded with her Moorish origin :

And all the fault of that indecent sun (Her blood was not all Spanish, by the by ;

Who cannot leave alone our helpless clay, In Spain, you know, this is a sort of sin).

But will keep baking, broiling, burning on, When proud Grenada fell, and, forced to fly, That, howsoever people fast and pray, Boabdil wept, of Donna Julia's kin

The flesh is frail, and so the soul undone: Some went to Africa, some stay'd in Spain, What men call gallantry, and gods adultery, Her great-great-grandmamma chose to remain. Is much more common where the climate's sultry. LVII.

LXIV. She married (I forget the pedigree)

Happy the nations of the moral north! With an Hidalgo, who transmitted down

Where all is virtue, and the winter season His blood less noble than such blood should be: Sends sin without a rag on, shivering forth At such alliances his sires would frown,

('T was snow that brought Saint Anthony to reason); lu that point so precise in each degree

Where juries cast up what a wife is worth,
That they bred in and in, as might be shown, By laying whate'er sum, in mulct, they please on
Marrying their cousins—nay, their aunts and nieces, The lover, who must pay a handsome price,
Which always spoils the breed, if it increases. Because it is a marketable vice.

This heathenish cross restored the brecd again, Alfonso was the name of Julia's lord,

Ruin'd its blood, but much improved its flesh; A man well looking for his years, and who for, from a root, the ugliest in Old Spain,

Was neither much beloved nor yet abhorr’d: Sprung up a branch as beautiful as fresh;

They lived together as most people do,
The sons no more were short, the daughters plain: Suffering each others' foibles by accord,

But there's a rumour which I fain would hush- And not exactly either one or two;
T is said that Donna Julia's grandmamma Yet he was jealous, though he did not show
Produced her Don more heirs at love than law. For jealousy dislikes the world to know it.

However this might be, the race went on

Julia was-yet I never could see whyImproving still through every generation,

With Donna Inez quite a favourite friend; Until it center'd in an only son,

Between their tastes there was small sympathy, Who left an only daughter; my narration

For not a line had Julia ever penn'd: May have suggested that this single one

Some people whisper (but no doubt they lie, Could be but Julia (whom on this occasion

For malice siill imputes some private end)
I shall have much to speak about), and she That Inez had, ere Don Alfonso's marriage,
Was married, charming, chaste, and twenty-three. Forgot with him her very prudent carriage;

Her eye (I 'ın very fond of handsome eyes) And that, still keeping up the old connexion,

Was large and dark, suppressing half its fire Which time had lately render'd much more chaste Until she spoke, then through its soft disguise She took his lady also in affection,

Flash'd an expression more of pride than ire, And certainly this course was much the best : And love than either; and there would arise She flatter'd Julia with her sage protection,

A something in them which was not desire, And complimented Don Alfonso's taste;
But would have been, perhaps, but for the soul And if she could not (who can?) silence scandana
Which struggled through and chasten'd down the whole. At least she left it a more slender handle.

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