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Thus far, go forth, thou lay, which I will back
For being as much the subject of attack As ever yet was any work sublime,
By those who love to say that white is black. So much the better!-I
stand alone, But would not change my free thoughts for a throne. NOTES TO CANTO XI.
Note 1. Stanza xix.
So prime, so swell, so putty, and knowing? The advance of science and of language has rendered it unnecessary to translate the above good and true Euglish, spoken in its original purity by the select mobility and their patrons. The following is a stanza of a song which was very popular, at least in my early days:
On the high toby-spice flash the muzzle,
In spite of each gallows old scout,
You 'll be hobbled in making a clout.
When she hears of your scaly mistake,
That her Jack may be regular weight.
If there be any gem’man so ignorant as to require a traduction, I refer him to my old friend and corporeal pastor and master, John Jackson, Esq., Professor of pugilism; who, I trust, still retains the strength and symmetry of his model of a form, together with his good humour, and athletic as well as mental accomplishments.
“Hells,” gaming-houses. What their number may now be in this life, I know not. Before I was of age I knew them pretty accurately, both “gold” and “ silver.” I was once nearly called out by an acquaintance, because when he asked me where I thought that his soul would be found hereafter, I answered, “In Silver Hell."
Note 3. Stanza xlii.
And therefore even I won't anent
This subject quote. “ Anento
was a Scotch phrase meaning "concerning, "_" with regard to." It has been made English by the Scotch Novels; and, as the Frenchman said—“If it be not, ought to be English.”
Note 4. Stanza xlix.
The milliners who furnish " drapery misses.” “ Drapery misses.” This term is probably any thing now but a mystery. It was however almost so to me when I first returned from the East in 1811-1812. It means
a pretty, a high-born, a fashionable young female, well instructed by her friends, and furnished by her milliner with a wardrobe upon credit, to be repaid, when married, by the husband. The riddle was first read to me by a young and pretty heiress, on my praising the “drapery” of an“ untochered” but “pretty virginities" (like Mrs. Anne Page) of the then day, which has now been some years yesterday : —she assured me that the thing was common in London; and as her own thousands, and blooming looks, and rich simplicity of array, put any suspicion in her own case out of the question, I confess I gave some credit to the allegation. If necessary, authorities might be cited, in which case I could quote both “ drapery” and the
Let us hope, however, that it is now obsolete.
Note 5. Stanza lx.
T is strange the mind, that very fiery particle,
“ Divinæ particulam auræ."
J. OF all the barbarous middle
that Which is most barbarous is the middle age Of man ; it is I really scarce know what;
But when we hover between fool and sage,
A period something like a printed page,
To herd with boys, or hoard with good threescore-
But, since they are, that epoch is a bore : Love lingers still, although 't were late to wive;
And as for other love, the illusion 's o'er ; And money, that most pure imagination, Gleams only through the dawn of its creation.
Theirs is the pleasure that can never pall,
Which holds fast other pleasures great and small. Ye who but see the saving man at table,
And scorn his temperate board, as none at all, And wonder how the wealthy can be sparing, Know not what visions spring from each cheese-paring.
IV. Love or. lust makes man sick, and wine much sicker;
Ambition rends, and gaming gains a loss; But making money, slowly first, then quicker,
And adding still a little through each cross
The gamester's counter, or the statesman's dross.
O’er congress, whether royalist or liberal ?
(That make old Europe's journals squeak and gibber all) ? Who keep the world, both old and new, in pain
Or pleasure? Who make politics run glibber all ?
VI. Those, and the truly liberal Laffitte,
Are the true lords of Europe. Every loan Is not a merely speculative hit,
But seats a nation or upsets a throne. Republics also get involved a bit ;
Columbia's sto hath holders not unknown On 'Change ; and even thy silver soil, Peru, Must get itself discounted by a Jew.
Why call the miser miserable ? as
I said before : the frugal life is his, Which in a saint or cynic ever was
The theme of praise : a hermit would not miss Canonization for the self-same cause,
And wherefore blame gaunt wealth’s austerities ? Because, you 'll say, nought calls for such a trial ;Then there 's more merit in his self-denial.
And sparkling on from heap to heap, displays,
Nations athwart the deep : the golden rays
up in ingots from the mine obscure ;
From Ceylon, Inde, or far Cathay, unloads
Beneath his cars of Ceres groan the roads, And the vine blushes like Aurora's lip ;
His very cellars might be kings abodes, While he, despising every sensual call, Commands—the intellectual lord of all.