Page images

At length, in an imperial way, she laid

Her hand on his, and bending on his eyes,
Which needed not an empire to persuade,

Look'd into his for love, where none replies : Her brow grew black, but she would not upbraid,

That being the last thing a proud woman tries ; She rose, and pausing one chaste moment, threw Herself upon his breast, and there she grew.

[ocr errors]

This was an awkward test, as Juan found,

But he was steel'd by sorrow, wrath, and pride ;
With gentle force her white arms he unwound,

And seated her all drooping by his side : Then rising haughtily he glanced around,

And looking coldly in her face, he cried, “The prison'd eagle will not pair, nor I Serve a sultana's sensual phantasy.

CXXVII. - Thou ask'st if I can love ? be this the proof

How much I have loved—that I love not thee! In this vile garb, the distaff, web, and woof,

Were fitter for me : love is for the free; I am not dazzled by this splendid roof.

Whate'er thy power, and great it seems to be, Heads bow, knees bend, eyes watch around a throne, And hands obey-our hearts are still our own.”


CXXVIII. This was a truth to us extremely trite,

Not so to her who ne'er had heard such things; She deem'd her least command must yield delight,

Earth being only made for queens and kings.
If hearts lay on the left side or the right

She hardly knew, to such perfection brings
Legitimacy its born votaries, when
Aware of their due royal rights o’er men.

[merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

CXXIX. Besides, as has been said, she was so fair

As even in a much humbler lot had made
A kingdom or confusion any where;

And also, as may be presumed, she laid
Some stress upon those charms which seldom are

By the possessors thrown into the shade ;-
She thought hers gave a double “ right divine,"
And half of that opinion 's also mine.

CXXX. Remember, or (if you cannot) imagine,

Ye! who have kept your chastity when young, While some more desperate dowager has been waging

Love with you, and been in the dog-days stung By your refusal, recollect her raging !

Or recollect all that was said or sung On such a subject; then suppose

the face Of a young downright beauty in this case.

CXXXI. Suppose, but you already have supposed,

The spouse of Potiphar, the Lady Booby, Phedra, and all which story has disclosed

Of good examples ; pity that so few by Poets and private tutors are exposed,

To educate—ye youth of Europe--you by! But when you have supposed the few we know, You can't suppose Gulbeyaz' angry brow.

CXXXII. A tigress robb’d of young, a lioness,

Or any interesting beast of prey,
Are similes at hand for the distress

Of ladies who cannot have their own way;
But though my turn will not be served with less,

These don't express one half what I should say:
For what is stealing young ones, few or many,
To cutting short their hopes of having any ?

The love of offspring 's nature’s general law,

From tigresses and cubs to ducks and ducklings;
There 's nothing whets the beak or arms the claw,

Like an invasion of their babes and sucklings; And all who have seen a human nursery, saw

How mothers love their en's squalls and chucklings;
And this strong extreme effect (to tire no longer
Your patience) shows the cause must still be stronger.

If I said fire flash'd from Gulbeyaz' eyes,

T were nothing for her eyes flash'd always fire ; Or said her cheeks assumed the deepest dyes,

I should but bring disgrace upon the dyer, So supernatural was her passion's rise ;

For ne'er till now she knew a check'd desire : Even you

who know what a check'd woman is (Enough, God knows !) would much fall short of this.

Her rage was but a minute's, and 't was well-

A moment's more had slain her ; but the while
It lasted 't was like a short glimpse of hell :

Nought 's more sublime than energetic bile,
Though horrible to see yet grand to tell,

Like ocean warring 'gainst a rocky isle;
And the deep passions flashing through her form
Made her a beautiful embodied storm.

A vulgar tempest 't were to a typhoon

To match a common fury with her rage,
And yet she did not want to reach the moon,

Like moderate Hotspur on the immortal page;
Her anger pitch'd into a lower tune,
Perhaps the fault of her soft sex and

ageHer wish was but to 66 kill, kill, kill," like Lear's, And then her thirst of blood was quench'd in tears.

A storm it raged, and like the storm it pass’d,

Pass'd without words—in fact she could not speak; And then her sex's shame broke in at last,

A sentiment till then in her but weak,
But now it flow'd in natural and fast,

As water through an unexpected leak,
For she felt humbled—and humiliation
Is sometimes good for people in her station.

It teaches them that they are flesh and blood,

It also gently hints to them that others,
Although of clay, are not yet quite of mud;

That urns and pipkins are but fragile brothers, And works of the same pottery, bad or good,

Though not all born of the same sires and mothers :
It teaches—Heaven knows only what it teaches,
But sometimes it may mend, and often reaches.

Her first thought was to cut off Juan's head;

Her second, to cut only his-acquaintance;
Her third, to ask him where he had been bred;

Her fourth, to rally him into repentance ; Her fifth, to call her maids and go to bed;

Her sixth, to stab herself; her seventh, to sentence The lash to Baba ;- but her grand resource Was to sit down again, and cry of course.

[ocr errors]

She thought to stab herself, but then she had

The dagger close at hand, which made it awkward ; For eastern stays are little made to pad,

So that a poniard pierces if 't is stack hard. She thought of killing Juan--but, poor lad!

Though he deserved it well for being so backward, The cutting off his head was not the art Most likely to attain her aim—his heart.

CXLI. Juan was moved: he had made


his mind To be impaled, or quarter'd as a dish For dogs, or to be slain with


refined, Or thrown to lions, or made baits for fish, And thus heroically stood resign'd,

Rather than sin—except to his own wish ; But all his great preparatives for dying Dissolved like snow before a woman crying.

As through his palms Bob Acres' valour oozed,

So Juan's virtue ebb’d, I know not how;
And first he wonder'd why he had refused;

And then, if matters could be made up now ;
And next his savage virtue he accused,

Just as a friar may accuse his vow,
Or as a dame repents her of her oath,
Which mostly ends in some small breach of both.

So he began to stammer some excuses ;

But words are not enough in such a matter,
Although you

borrow'd all that e'er the Muses Have sung, or even a dandy's dandiest chatter, Or all the figures Castlereagh abuses ;

Just as a languid smile began to flatter,
His peace was making, but before he ventured
Farther, old Baba rather briskly enter'd.

CXLIV. • Bride of the Sun ! and Sister of the Moon !”

(’T was thus he spake) “ and Empress of the Earth! Whose frown would put the spheres all out of tune,

Whose smile makes all the planets dance with mirth, Your slave brings tidings—he hopes not too soonWhich your sublime attention


be worth; The Sun himself has sent me like a ray, To hint that he is coming up this way.”

[ocr errors]

CXLV. " Is it,” exclaim'd Gulbeyaz, as you say?

I wish to Heaven he would not shịne till morning! But bid my women form the milky way.

Hence, my old comet! give the stars due warning-
And, Christian! mingle with them as you may;

And, as you 'd have me pardon your past scorning
Here they were interrupted by a Humming
Sound, and then by a cry, “ the Sultan 's coming!

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

CXLVI. First came her damsels, a decorous file,

And then his highness' eunuchs, black and white;
The train might reach a quarter of a mile:

His majesty was always so polite
As to announce his visits a long while :

Before he came, especially at night;
For being the last wife of the emperor,
She was of course the favourite of the four.

His highness was a man of solemn port,

Shawld to the nose, and bearded to the eyes,
Snatch'd from a prison to preside at court,

His lately bowstrung brother caused his rise.
He was as good a sovereign of the sort

mention'd in the histories
Of Cantemir, or Knolles, where few shine
Save Solyman, the glory of their line.4

[ocr errors]

He went to mosque in state, and said his prayers

With more than “ oriental scrupulosity;"
He left to his vizier all state affairs,

And show'd but little royal curiosity :
I know not if he had domestic cares-

No process proved connubial animosity;
Four wives and twice five hundred maids, unseen,
Were ruled as calmly as a christian queen.

If now and then there happen'd a slight slip,

Little was heard of criminal or crime;
The story scarcely pass'd a single lip-

The sack and sea had settled all in time,
From which the secret nobody could rip :

The public knew no more than does this rhyme.
No scandals made the daily press a curse-
Morals were better, and the fish no worse.

« PreviousContinue »