Изображения страниц
PDF
EPUB

XXVI. Don Jose and the Donna Inez led

For sometime an unhappy sort of lite, Wishing each other, not divorced, but dead;

They lived respectably as man and wife, Their conduct was exceedingly well-bred,

And gave no outward signs of inward strife,
Until at length the smother'd fire broke out,
And put the business past all kind of doubt.

XXVII.
For Inez call'd some drugeists and physicians,

And tried to prove her loving lord was mad,
But as he had some lucid intermissions,

She next decided he was only bad;
Yet when they ask'd her for her depositions,

No sort of explanation could be had,
Save that her duty both to man and God
Required this conduct-which seem'd very odd.

XXVIII.
She kept a journal, where his faults were noted,

And open'd certain trunks of books and letters,
All which might, if occasion served, be quoted ;

And then she had all Seville for a bettors,
Besides her good old grandmother (who doted);

The hearers of her case became repeaters,
Then advocates, inquisitors, and judges,
Some for amusement, others for old grudges.

XXLX.
And then this best and meckest woman bore

With such serenity her husband's woes,
Just as the Spartan ladies did of yore,

Who saw their spouses kill'd, and nobly chose Never to say a word about them more

Calmly she heard each calumny that rose, And saw his agonies with such sublimity, That all the world exclaim'd, « What magnanimity! »

XXX. No doubt, this patience, when the world is damning us,

Is philosophic in our former friends ; "T is also pleasant to be deem'd magnanimous,

The more so in obtaining our own ends;
And what the lawyers call a « malus animus

Conduct like this by no means comprehends :
Revenge in person's certainly no virtue,
But then 't is not my fault if others hurt you.

XXXI.

. And if our quarrels should rip up old stories,

And help them with a lie or two additional, I'm not to blame, as you well know, no more is

Any one else--they were become traditional; Besides, their resurrection aids our clorics

Ry contrast, which is what we just were wishing all:
And science profits by this resurrection-
Dead scandals form good subjects for dissection.

XXXII.
Their friends had tried at reconciliation,

Then their relations, who made matters worse ('T were hard to tell upon a like occasion

To whom it may be best to have recourseI can't say much for friend or yet relation) :

The lawyers did their utmost for divorce, But scarce a fee was paid on either side Before, unluckily, Don Jose died.

XXXIII.
He died: and most unluckily, because,

According to all hints I could collect
From counsel learned in those kinds of laws

(Although their talk's obscure and circumspect), His death contrived to spoil a charming cause;

A thousand pities also with respect
To public feeling, which on this occasion
Was manifested in a great sensation.

XXXIV.
But ah! he died! and buried with him lay

The public feling and the lawyers' fees :
Alis house was sold, his servants sent away,

A Jew took one of luis two mistresses, A priest the other-at least so they say:

I ask'd the doctors after his disease, lle died of the slow fever called the tertian, And left his widow to her own aversion.

XXXV. Yet Jose was an honourable man,

That I must say, who knew him very well; Therefore his frailties I 'll no further scan,

Indeed there were not many more to tell;
And if his passions now and then outran

Discretion, and were not so peaceable
As Numa's (who was also named Pompilius),
He had been ill brought up, and was born bilious.

XXXVI.
Whate'er might be his worthlessness or worth,

Poor fellow! he bad many things to wound him,
Let's own, since it can do no good on earth;

It was a trying moment that which found him, Standing alone beside lis desolate hearth,

Where all his household goods lay shiver'd round him; No choice was left his feelings or his pride Save death or Doctors' Commons-so he died.

XXXVII. Dying intestate, Juan was sole heir

To a chancery-suit, and messuages, and lands, Which, with a long minority and care,

Promised to turn out well in proper hands :
Inez became sole guardian, which was fair,

And aoswer'd but to nature's just demands;
An only son left with an only mother
Is brought up much more wisely than another.

XXXVIII.
Sagest of women, cven of widows, she

Resolved that Juan should be quite a paragon,
And worthy of the noblest pedigree

(His sire was of Castile, bis dam from Arragon): Then for accomplishments of chivalry,

In case our lord the king should go to war again,
lle leara'd the arts of riding, fencing, gunnery,
And how to scale a fortress-or a nunnery.

XXXIX.
But that which Doona Inez most desired,

And saw into herself each day before all
The learned tutors whom for bim she hired,

Was that his breeding should be strictly moral; Much into all his studies she inquired,

And so they were submitted first to her, all Arts, sciences, no branch was made a mystery To Juan's eyes, excepting natural history.

[blocks in formation]

XL
Ilis classic studies made a litile puzzle,

Because of Gilthy loves of gods and goddesses,
Who in the earlier ages raised a bustle,

But never put on pantaloous or boudices; llis reverend tutors had at times a lussle,

And for their Eveids, Tiads, and Odysseys,
Were forced 10 make an odd sort of apology,
For Donna Incz dreaded the mythology.

XLII.
Ovid's a rake, as lialf his verses show him;

Anacreon's morals are a still worse sample;
Catullus scarcely has a decent poem;

I don't think Sapphio's Ode a good example, Although 3 Longinus tells us there is no bymna

Where the sublime soars fortlı on wings more ample; But Virgil's songs are pure, except that horrid one Beginning witi « Formosum pastor Corydon.»

XLIII. Lucretius' irreligion is 100 strong

For early stomachs, to prove wholesome food, I can't help thinking Juvenal was wrong,

Although no doubt his real intent was good, For speaking out so plainly in his song,

So much indeed as to be downright rude;
And then what proper person can be partial
To all those nauscous epigrams of Martial?

XLIV.
Juan was taught from out the best edition,

Expurgated by learned men, who place,
Judiciously, from out the schoolboy's vision,

The grosser parts; but, fearful to deface
Too murli their modest bard by this omission,

And pilying sore his mutilated case,
They only add them all in an appendix, f
Which saves, in fact, the trouble of an index,

XIV.
For there we have them all « at one fell swoop,»

Instead of being scatter'd through the pages;
They stand forth marshall'd in a handsome troop,

To meet the ingenuous youth of future ages, Till some less rigid editor shall stoop

To call them back into their separate cages,
lustead of standing scaring togetier,
Like garden gods--and not so decent, either.

XLVI.
The Missal 100 (it was the family Missal)

Was oruamented in a sort of way
Whiclı ancient mass books often are, and this all

kinds of grotesques illumined; and how they Who saw those tigures on the margin kiss all,

Could turn their oplies to the text and pray Is more than I know-but Don Juan's mother kept this herself, and gave her son another.

XLVI.
Sermons he read, and lectures bie endured,

And homilies, and lives of all the saints;
To Jerome and to Chrysostom inured,

He did not take such studies for restraints :
But how faith is acquired, and then insured,

So well not one of the aforesaid paints
As Saint Augustine, in bis fine Confessions,
Which make the reader envy his transgressions.

XLVIII.
This, too, was a scald book to little Juan-

I can't but say that his mamma was right,
If such an education was the true one.

She scarcely trusted lim from out her sight; ler maids were old, and if she took a new one

You might be sure she was a perfect fright;
She did this during even her husband's life-
I recommend as much to every wife.

XLIX.
Young Juan ward in goodliness and grace :

At six a charming child, and al eleven
With all the promise of as fine a face

As e'er to man's maturer growth was given : lle studied steadily and grew apace,

And seein'd, at least, in the right road to heaven; For half lis days were pass'd at church, the other Betweeu lis lutors, confessor, wud mother.

L.
At six, I said he was a charming child,

Al twelve lie was a fine, but quiet boy;
Although iu infancy a little wild,

They tamed lim down amongst them: to destroy Bis natural spirit not in vain they toild,

At least it seem'd so; and his mother's joy Was to declare how sage and still, and steady, ller young philosopher was grown already.

LJ.
I had my doubts, perhaps I have them still,

But what I say is neither here nor there;
I knew his father well, and have some skill

Tu character--but it would not be fair From sire 10 son 10 sugar good or ill:

lli and his wife were an ill-sorted pair-But scandal's my aversion - 1 protest dyainst all evil speakmg, cvcu in jest,

LII.
For my part I say nothing-nothing-bus

This I will say-my reasons are my own —
That if I ud an only son to put

To school! God be praised that I have noue) 'Tis not with Donna Inez I would shut

llim up to learn his catechism alone;
No, no-I'd send him out betimes to college,
For there it was I picked up my own kuowledve.

LIII.
For there one learns-t is not for me to boast,

Thou;li I acquired-but I pass over that, is well on all the Greek I since have lost:

I say that there's the place--but « l'erbum sat.za I think I picked up, 100, as well as mosi,

knowledge of matters--but, no matter whatI never murid--but I think, I kuow, That sons should not be ciucated so.

LIV.

LXI.
Young Juan now was sixteen years

of
age,

Her glossy hair was cluster'd o'er a brow
Tall, handsome, slender, but well knit; he scem d Bright with intelligence, and fair and smooth;
Active, though not so sprightly, as a page;

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

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

Mounting, at times to a transparent glow, And bit her lips (for else she might have scream'd) As if her veios 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.

ller 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,

Of 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 'I, « mi vien in mente, » Her zone to Venus, or his how to Cupid

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

Prefer a spouse whose age is short of thirty.
LVI.

LXIII.
The darkness of her oriental eye

"T is a sad thing, I cannot chuse 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, burping on, When proud Granada fell, and, forced to fly,

That, howsoever people fast and pray, Boabdil wept, of Donoa 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)

Flappy the nations of the moral north! With an hidalgo, who transmitted down

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

(T was snow that brought Saint Anthony to reason); In that point so precise in each degree

Where juries case up what a wife is worth,
That they bred in and in, as might be shown, By laying whate'er sum, in mulət, they please on
Marrying their cousins--pay, 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.
LVIII.

LXV.
This heathenish cross restored the breed 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 abborrid: 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 it,
Produced her Don more heirs at love than law. For jealousy dislikes the world to know it.
LIX.

LXVI.
Ilowever this might be, the race went on

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

With Donna Joez quite a favourite friend; Until it centred 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 pennd : May lave suggested that this single one

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

For inalice still imputes some private end) I shall have much to speak about), and she

That Inez bad, ere Dou Alfonso's marriage, Was married, charming, chaste, and twenty-three. Forgot with him her very prudent carriage; LX.

LXVII. Her cye (I'm very fond of handsome eyes)

And that, still keeping up the old connexion, Was large and dark, suppressing half its fire

Which time bad lately render'd much more chaste, Uotil she spoke, then through its soft disguise She took his lady also in affection, Flash'd an expression more of pride tban ire,

And certaiuly 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 scandal, Whiclı struggled through and chasten'd down the whole. At least she left it a more slender handle.

yet

LXVIII.
I can't tell whether Julia saw the affair

With other people's eyes, or if her own
Discoveries made, but none could be aware

Of this, at least no sympton e'er was shown; l'erhaps she did not know, or did not care,

Indifferent from the first or callous grown :
I'm really puzzled what to think or say,
She kept her counsel in so close a way.

LXIX.
Juan she saw, and, as a pretty child,

Caressd him often, such a thing might be
Quite innocently done, and harmless styled

When she had twenty years, and thirteen he; But I am not so sure I should have smiled

When he was sixteen, Julia twenty-three:
These few short years make wondrous alterations,
Particularly amoogst sun-burnt nations.

LYS
Whate'er the cause might be, they had become

Changed; for the dame grew distant, the youth shy, Their looks cast down, their greetings almost dum),

And much embarrassment in cither eve: There surely will be little doubt with some

That Donna Julia knew die reason why,
But as for Juan, he had no more notion
Than he who never saw the sea of ocean.

LXIT
Yet Julia's very coldness still was kind,

And tremulously gentle her small land
Withdrew itself from bis, but left behind

A little pressure, thrilling, and so bland And sliglit, so very slight, that to the mind

'Twas but a doubt; but ne'er magician's wand
Wrought change with all Armida', tiery art
Like what Unis light louch left on Juan's heart.

LXXII.
And if she met him, though she smiled no more,

She lookila siduess sweeter than her smile,
As if her heart hund derper thoughts in store

Slar must not own, bull cherished more the white, l'or that compressjou io nis burning core;

Even innocence itself has many a wile,
Ind will not dare to trust itself with truth,
And love is taught hypocrisy from youth.

LXIII.
But passion most dissembles, yet betrays

Even by its darkness; as the blackest sky
Forects the heaviest tempeso, it displays

Jis workings through the vainly-guarded eye,
Jud in whatever aspect it arrays

Tiself, t is still the same hypocrisy;
Coldness or anger, even disdain or hate,
Are masks it often wears, and still too late.

LXXV.
Poor Julia's heart was in an awkward state

She felt it going, and resolved to make
The noblest efforts for herself and mate,

For honour's, pride's, religion's, virtue's sake.
Her reslutions were most truly great,

And almost might have made a Tarquin quake;
She pray'd the Virgin Mary for her grace,
As being the best judge of a lady's case.

LXXVI.
She vowd she never would see Juan more,

And next day paid a visit to his mother, ind look'd extremely at the opening door,

Which, by the Virgin's grace lei in another; Grateful she was,

and a little soreAgain it

opens, it can be no other,
'T is surely Juau now - No! I'm afraid
That night the Virgin was no further pray'd.

LXXVII.
She now determined that a virtuous woman

Should rather face and overcome temptation ,
That might was base and dastardly, and no man

Should ever give her leart the least sensation, That is to say a thought, beyond the common

Preference that we must feel upon occasion for people who are pleasanter than others, But then they only seem so many brothers.

LXXVIII.
And even if by chance-and who can tell

The devil's so very sly--she should discover
That all within was not so very well,

And if, still free, that such or such a lover Might please perhaps, a virtuous wife can quell

Such thoughts, and be the better when they'ri Ovet
Tol, if the man should ask, 't is bui denial:
I recommend young ladies to make trial.

LXXIX.
And then there are such things as love divine,

Bright and immaculate, unmixd and pure,
Such as the angels think so very line,

And mutrons, who would be no less secure, Platonic, perfect, « just such love as mine; »

Thus Julia sail-and thought so, to be sure, lod so I'd have her think, were I the man On whom lier reveries celestial ran.

LXIX Such love is innocent, and may

exist Between young persons without any danger. A hand inny first, and then a lip be kiss'd ;

For my pari, to such doings I'm a stranger,
But hear thiese freedoins for the utmost list

Ofail o'er which such love may be a ranger :
If people go beyond, 't is quite a crime,
Cut not my fault-1 tell them all in time.

LIXIT. Then there were sighs, the deeper for suppression,

And stolen glances, sweeter for the theft, And burning blushes, though for no transgression,

Tremblings when met, and restlessness when left: All these are little preludes to po sension,

Of which young passion cannot be bereft, And merely tend to show how greatly love is Cuibarrassid at first starting with a novice,

LXXXI. Love, then, but love within its

proper limits Was Julias innocent determination in young: Don Juan's favour, and to him its

Exeruon might be useful on occasion ; And, lighted at too pure a shrine to dim its

Etherial lustre, with what sweel persuasion He inight be taught, by love and bier together I really don't know what, nor Julia either.

LXXXII.

LXXXIX. Fraught with this fine intention, and well fenced The poet meant, no doubt, and thus appeals lu mail of proof-her purity of soul,

To the good sense and senses of mankind, She, for the future of her strength convinced,

The very thing which every body feels And that her honour was a rock, or mole,

As all have found on trial, or may find, Exceeding sagely from that hour dispensed

That no one likes to be disturb'd at meals With any kind of troublesome control :

Or love :- I won't say more about « entwined» But whether Julia to the task was equal

Or « transport, » as we know all that before,
Is that which must be mention'd in the sequel.

But beg « security» will bolt the door.
LXXXIII

XC.
Her plan she deem'd both innocent and feasible, Young Juan wander'd by the glassy brooks,
And, surely, with a stripling of sixteen

Thinking unutterable things; be threw
Not scandal's fangs could fix on much that 's seizable; Ilimself at length within the leafy nooks
Or, if they did so, satisfied to mean

Where the wild branch of the cork forest grew; Nothing but what was good, her breast was peaceable- | There poets find materials for their books, A quiet conscience makes one so serene!

And every now and then we read them through, Christians have burn'd each other, quite persuaded So that their plan and prosody are eligible, That all the apostles would have done as they did.

Unless, like Wordsworth, they prove unintelligible. LXXXIV.

CIX. And if, in the mean time, her husband died,

lle, Juan (and not Wordsworth), so pursued But Ileaven forbid that such a thought should cross

llis self-communion with his own high soul, Her brain, though in a dream (and then she sigh’d)!

Until his mighty heart, in its great mood, Never could she survive that common loss;

Had mitigated part, though not the whole But just suppose that moment should betide,

Of its disease ; he did the best he could I only say suppose ir-inter nos

With things not very subject to control, (This should be entre nous, for Julia thought

And turn'd, without perceiving his condition,
In French, but then the rhyme would go for nought).

Like Coleridge, into a metaphysician.
LXXXV.

XCII.
I only say suppose this supposition :

lle thought about himself, and the whole earth, Juan, being then grown up to man's estate,

Of man the wonderful, and of the stars, Would fully suit a widow of condition;

And how the deuce they ever could have birth; Even seven years hence it would not be too late;

And then he thought of earthquakes and of wars, And in the interim (to pursue this vision)

How many miles the moon might have in girth, The mischief, after all, could not be great,

Of air-balloons, and of the many bars For he would learn the rudiments of love,

To perfect knowledge of the boundless skies;
I mean the seraph way of those above.

And then he thought of Donna Julia's eyes.
LXXXVT.

XCIII.
So much for Julia. Now we 'll turn to Juan.

In thoughts like these true wisdom

may

discern Poor little fellow! he had no idea

Longings sublime, and aspirations high, Of his own case, and never hit the true one;

Which some are born with, but the most part learn In feelings quick as Ovid's Miss Medea,

To plague themselves wiihal, they know not why: Hle puzzled over what be found a new one,

'T was strange that one so young should thus concern But not as yet imagined it could be a

His brain about the action of the sky; Thing quite in course, and vot at all alarming,

you think 't was philosophy that this did, Which, with a little patience, miglit grow charming. I can't help thinking puberty assisted, LXXXVII.

XCIV. Silent and pensive, idle, restless, slow,

le pored upon the leaves, and on the flowers, His home deserted for the lovely wood,

And heard a voice in all the winds; and then Tormented with a wound he could not know,

He thought of wood-nymphs and immortal bowers, His, like all deep grief, plunged in solitude.

And how the goddesses came down to men: I'm fond myself of solitude or so,

le miss'd the pathway, he forgot the hours, But then I beg it may be understood

And, when he look'd upon his watch again, By solitude I mean a sultan's, not

He found how much old Time had been a winner, Alermit's, with a haram for a grot.

lle also found that he had lost his dinner. LXXXVIII.

XCV. « Oh love! in such a wilderness as this,

Sometimes he turn'd to gaze upon his book, Where transport and security entwine,

Boscan, or Garcilasso; by the wind !lere is the empire of thy perfect bliss,

Even as the page is rustled while we look, And here thou art a god indeed divine.»

So by the poesy of his own mind The bard I quote from does not sing amiss,

Over the mystic leaf his soul was shook, With the exception of the second line,

As if I were one whereon magicians bind For that same twining « transport and security» Their spells, and give them to the passing gale, Are twisted to a phrase of some obscurity.

According to some good old woman's tale.

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »