« PreviousContinue »
I won't describe ; description is my forte, epo. Il.viij.
XLIX. As they were plodding on their winding way,
But I digress : of all appeals, -although Through orange bowers, and jasmine, and so forth I grant the power of pathos, and of gold, (Of which I might have a good deal to say,
Of beauty, flattery, threats, a shilling,-no There being no such profusion in the North
Method 's more sure at moments to take hold
Of the best feelings of mankind, which grow
The tocsin of the soul-the dinner-bell.
And Juan and his friend, albeit they heard
Which might have then occurr'd to you or me. Of lacqueys usher to the feast prepared,
And cooks in motion with their clean arms bared,
They follow'd close behind their sable guide,
Who little thought that his own crack'd existence From Saint Bartholomew we have saved our skin, Was on the point of being set aside : To-morrow'd see us in some other den,
He motion'd them to stop at some small distance, And worse off than we hitherto have been;
And knocking at the gate, 't was open'd wide,
The Asian pomp of Ottoman parade.
But every fool describes in these bright days With his two captives, by so queer a road,
His wond'rous journey to some foreign court, Shows that he thinks his friends have not been sleeping; And spawns his quarto, and demands your praiseA single cry would bring them all abroad:
Death to his publisher, to him 't is sport ; 'T is therefore better looking before leaping
While nature, tortured twenty thousand ways,
To guide-books, rhymes, tours, sketches, illustrations.
LIII It was indeed a wide extensive building
Along this hall, and up and down, some, squatted Which opend on their view, and o'er the front Upon their hams, were occupied at chess ; There seem'd to be besprent a deal of gilding Others in monosyllable talk chatted, And various hues, as is the Turkish wont,
And some seem'd much in love with their own dress; A gaudy taste; for they are little skill'd in
And divers smoked superb pipes decorated
And several strutted, others slept, and some
Prepared for supper with a glass of rum.5
As the black eunuch enter'd with his brace Of certain stews, and roast-meats, and pilaus,
Of purchased infidels, some raised their eyes Things which in hungry mortals' eyes find favour,
A moment without slackening from their pace; Made Juan in his harsh intentions pause,
But those who sate ne'cr stirr'd in any wise : And put himself upon his good behaviour :
One or two stared the captives in the face, His friend, too, adding a new saving clause,
Just as one views a horse to guess his price; Said, « In Heaven's name let's get some supper pow,
Some nodded to the negro from their station,
But no one troubled him with conversation.
He leads them through the hall, and, without stopping, Some to men's feelings, others to their reason : On through a farther range of goodly rooms, The last of these was never much the fashion, Splendid but silent, save in one, where, dropping, 6
For reason thinks all reasoning out of season. A marble fountain echoes through the glooms Some speakers whine, and others lay the lash on, Of night, which robe the chamber, or where popping But more or less continue still to teaze on,
Some feinale head most curiously presumes With arguments according to their « forte ;»
To thrust its black eyes through the door or lattice, But no one ever dreams of being short.
As wondering what the devil noise that is.
Shortly and sweetly the masonic folly
Of those, forgetting the great place of rest, In all the tlashing of their full array.
Who give themselves to architecture wholly. Perbaps there's nothing-I 'll not say appals,
We know where things and men inust end at last; But saddens more by night as well as day,
A moral (like all morals) melancholy, Than an enormous room without a soul
And « Et sepulcri immemor struis domos» To break the lifeless splendor of the whole.
Shows that we build when we should but eotomb us.
Wliere echo woke as if from a long slumber: There solitude, we know, has ber full growth in Though full of all things which could be desired,
The spots which were her realms for evermore; Onc wonder'd what to do with such a number But io a mighty hall or gallery, both in
Of articles which nobody required. More modern buildings and those built of yore, Here wealth had done its utmost to encumber A kind of death comes o'er us all alone,
With furniture an exquisite apartment, Seeing what's meant for many with but one.
Which puzzled nature much to know what art meant. LVIII.
LXV. A neat, snug study on a winter's night,
It seem'd, however, but to open on A book, friend, single lady, or a glass
A range or suite of further chambers, which Of claret, sandwich, and an appetite,
Might lead to heaven knows wliere; but in this one Are things which make an English evening pass; The moveables were prodigally rich : Though cerles by no means so grand a sight
Sofas 'I was half a sin to sit upon, As is a theatre lit up by gas.
So costly were they; carpets every stiteh pass my evenings in long galleries solely,
Of workmanship so rare, that made you wish
You could glide o'er them like a golden fish.
A glance at that which wrapt the slaves in wonder, What speaks of Beaven should by no means be brittle, Trampled what they scarce trod for fear of staining, But strong and lasting, till no tongue can tell
As if the milky way their feet was under Their names who reard it; but huge houses fit ill- With all its stars : and with a stretch attaining
And huge tombs worse-mankind, since Adam fell : A certain press or cupboard, niched in yonder Methinks the story of the lower of Babel
In that remote recess which you may see-
I wish to be perspicuous; and the black, A town of gardens, walls, and wealth amazing, I say, unlocking the recess, pullid forth Where Nabuchiadoposor, king of men,
A quantity of clothes fit for the back Reign'd, till one summer's day be took to grazing, Of
any Mussulman, whate'er his worth; And Daniel tamed the lions in their den,
And of variety there was no lackThe people's awe and admiration raising;
And yet, though I have said there was no dearth, 'T was famous, too, for Thisbe and for Pyramus, He chose himself to point out what he thought And the calumniated Queen Semiramis.
Most proper for the Christians he had bought.
Was, for the elder and the stouter, first
And trowsers not so tight that they would burst,
A shawl, whose folds in Cashmire had been nurst, Slippers of saffron, dagger rich and handy;
In short, all things which form a Turkish Dandy. LXII.
LXIX. But to resume,-should there be (what may not While he was dressing, Baba, their black friend, Be in these days ?) some infidels, who don't,
Hinted the vast advantages which they Because they can't find out the very spot
Might probably attain both in the end, Of that same Babel, or because they won't
If they would but pursue the proper way (Though Claudius Rich, esquire, some bricks has got, Which Fortune plainly seemd to recommend; And written lately two memoirs upon 't),
And then he added, that he needs must say, Believe the Jews, those unbelievers, who
« 'T would greatly tend to better their condition, Must be believed, though they believe not you : If they would condescend to circumcision.
LXXVII. « For his own part, he really should rejoice
And then he swore ; and, sighing, on he slipp'd To see them true believers, but no less
A pair of trowsers of flesh-colour'd silk ; Would leave his proposition to their choice.»
Next with a virgin zone he was equipp'd, The other, thanking him for this excess
Which girt a slight chemise as white as milk; Of gooduess in thus leaving them a voice
But, tugging on bis petticoat, he tripp'd, In such a trifle, scarcely could express
Which—as we say-or as ilie Scotchi whilk, Sufficiently (he said) his approbation
(The rlıyme obliges me to this :-sometimes Of all the customs of ibis polislı'd nation.
Kings are not more imperative than rhymes) -
His garmenis novelty, and his being awkward ; And after swallowing down a slight refection,
And yet at last he managed to get through For which he own'd a preseut appetite,
His toilet, though no doubt a little backward : He doubted not a few hours of reflection
The negro Baba heip'd a little too, Would reconcile lim to the business quite.»— When some untoward part of raiment stuck hard ; « Will it?» said Juan, sharply; « Strike me dead, And, wrestling both his arms into a gown, But they as soon shall circuincise my head
lle paused and took a survey up and down. LXXII.
LXXIX. « Cut off a thousand heads, before- »-«Now pray, » One difficulty still remaind, -his hair Replied the other, « do vot interrupt:
Was hardly long enough ; but baba found You put me out in what I had to say.
So many false long tresses all to spare, Sir!-as I said, as soon as I have suppd,
That soon his head was most completely crown'd, I shall perpend if your proposal may
After the manner then in fashion there ; Be such as I can properly accept:
And this addition with such gems was bound Provided always your great goodness still
As suited the ensemble of his toilet,
While Baba made him comb his head and oil it.
And now being femininely all array'd, As dress yourself - » and pointed out a suit
With some small aid from scissars, paint, and tweezers, In which a princess with great pleasure would He look'd in almost all respects a maid, Array her limbs; but Juan standing mute,
And Baba smilingly exclaim'd, « You see, sirs, As not being in a masquerading mood,
A perfect transformation here display'd ; Gave it a slight kick with his christian foot;
And now, then, you must come along with, me, sirs,
Four blacks were at his elbow in a trice.
Will please to accompany those gentlemen I've no more time nor many words to spare.»
To supper ; but you, worthy christian nun, « At least,» said Juan, « sure I may inquire
Will follow me: no trifling, sir : for when The cause of this odd travesty ?»-« Forbear,»
I say a thing it must at once be done. Said Baba, « to be curious: 'I will transpire,
What fear you? think you this a lion's den ? No doubt, in proper place, and time, and season:
Why 't is a palace, where the truly wise
Anticipate the Prophet's paradise.
LXXXII. « Then if I do,» said Juan, « I 'll be Hold !»
« You fool! I tell you no one means you harm.» Rejoin'd the negro, « pray be not provoking;
« So much the better,» Juan said, “ for them: This spirit 's well, but it may wax too bold,
Else they shall feel the weight of this my arm, And you will find us pot too fond of joking.»
Which is not quite so light as you may deem. «What, sir!» said Juan, « shall it e'er be told
I yield thus far; but soon will break the charm, That I unsex'd my dress!” But Baba, stroking
any take me for that which I seem; The things down, said—« Incense me, and I call So that I trust, for every body's sake, Those who will leave you of no sex at all.
That this disguise may lead to no mistake.»
LXXXIII. « I offer you a handsome suit of clothes :
« Blockhead! come on and see,» quoth Baba; while A woman's, true, but then there is a cause
Don Juan, turning to his comrade, who, Why you should wear them.»— « What, though my Though somewhat grieved, could scarce forbear a smile soul loathes
Upon the metamorphosis in view.
Seems fertile in adventures strange and new; « What the devil shall I do with all this gauze ?» One's turo'd half Mussulman, and one a maid, Thus be profanely term'd the finest lace
By this old black enchanter's unsought aid.» Which e'er set off a marriage-morning face.
Before they entered, Baba paused to hint « Farewell !» said Juan; « should we meet no more,
To Juan some slight lessons as his guide:
« If you could just contrive,» he said, « to stint
That somewhat manly majesty of stride,
'T would be as well, and though there 's not much Keep your good name; though Eve herself once fell.» «Nay,»quoth the maid, «the Sultan's self shan't carry me, which has at times an aspect of the oddest;
To swing a little less from side to side,
And also, could you look a little modest,
Like needles, which might pierce those petticoats; Through glittering galleries and o'er marble floors, And if they should discover your disguise, Till a gigantic portal through the gloom,
You know how near us the deep Bosphorus floats; Haughty and huge, along the distance towers ; And you and I may chance, ere morning rise, And wafted far arose a rich perfume :
To find our way to Marmora without boats, It seem'd as though they came upon a shrine,
Stitch'd up in sacks-a mode of navigation
A good deal practised here upon occasion.»
With this encouragement, he led the way
A rich confusion form'd a disarray
Could hardly carry any thing away,
Object on object flash'd so bright and fast; It seems the work of times before the line
A dazzling mass of gems, and gold, and glitter,
Magnificently mingled in a litter.
Wealth had done wonders— taste not much; such things Of a huge hall, and on its either side
Occur in orient palaces, and even Two little dwarfs, the least you could suppose,
In the more chastened domes of western kings Were sate, like ugly imps, as if allied
(of which I've also seen some six or seven), In mockery to the enormous gate which rose
Where I can't say or gold or diamond flings O'er them in almost pyramidic pride :
Much lustre, there is much to be forgiven; The gate so splendid was in all its features, 7
Groups of bad statues, tables, chairs and pictures, You never thought about those little creatures, On which I cannot pause to make my strictures. LXXXVIII.
XCV. Until you nearly trod on them, and then,
In this imperial hall at distance lay You started back in horror to survey
Under a canopy, and there reclined The wondrous hideousness of those small men, Quite in a confidential queenly way,
Whose colour was not black, nor white, nor grey, A lady. Baba stopp'd, and kneeling, sigu'd But an extraneous mixture, wliich no pen
To Juan, who, though not much used to pray, Can trace, although perhaps the peocil may;
Knelt down by instinct, wondering in his mind They were mis-shapen pigmies, deaf and dumb- What all this meant: while Baba bow'd and bended Monsters, who cost a no less monstrous sum.
flis head, until the ceremony ended.
They look'd so little, did strong things at times- As Venus rose with from the wave, on them
Bent like an antelope a Paphian pair The hinges being as smooth as Rogers' rhymes; Of eyes, which put out each surrounding gem : And now and then, with tough strings of the bow, Aud, raising up an arm, as moonlight fair, As is the custom of those eastern climes,
She sigu'd to Baba, who first kissid the hem To give some rebel Pacha a cravat;
Of her deep purple robe, and, speaking low,
Pointed to Juan, wlio remaind below.
Her beauty of that overpowering kind, As Baba with his fingers made them fall
Whose force description only would abate: To heaving back the portal folds : it scared
I'd rather leave it much to your own mind, Juan a moment, as this pair so small
Than lessen it by what I could relate With shrinking serpent optics on him stared ; Of forms and features; it would strike you blind It was as if their liule looks could poison
Could I do justice to the full detail; Or fascinate whome'er they fix'd their eyes on. So, luckily for both, my phrases fail.
CV. This much however, I may add-her years
Here was an honourable compromise,
And Juan now his willingness express'd,
Adding, that this was commonest and best, Charms from the charmer, yet some never grow For through the South the custom still commands Ugly; for instance-Ninon de l'Enclos.
The gentleman to kiss the lady's hands.
And he advanced, though with but a bad grace,
Though on more thorough-breds or fairer fingers And were all clad alike; like Juan, too,
No lips e'er left their transitory trace:
On such as these the lip too fondly lingers,
And for one kiss would fain imprint a brace, Which might have calla Diana's chorus « cousin,» As you will see, if she you love will bring hers As far as outward show may correspond;
In contact; and sometimes even a fair stranger's
An almost twelvemonth's constancy endangers.
But not by the same door through which came in Baba retire, which he obey'd in style,
As if well used to the retreating trade;
And taking bints in good part all the while,
He whisper'd Juan not to be afraid,
Took Icave with such a face of satisfaction,
As good men wear who have done a virtuous action
When he was gone, there was a sudden change :
But o'er her bright brow flashid a tumult strange, (So take it in the very words of Creech.)
And into her clear check the blood was brouglot,
Blood-red as sunset summer clouds which range
The verge of heaven ; and in her large eyes wrought
A mixture of sensations miglit be scann'd,
Her form had all the softness of her sex,
Her features all the sweetness of the devil,
When he put on the cherub to perplex
Eve, and paved (God knows how) the road to evil:
The sun himself was scarce more free from specks Drew himself up to his full height again,
Than she from aught at which the eye could cavil;
As if she rather order'd than was granting. -
Something imperial, or imperious, threw
A chain o'er all she did; that is a chain
Was thrown as 't were about the neck of you,
And rapture's self will seem almost a pain
Our souls at least are free, and 't is in vain
We would against them make the flesh obey-
The spirit in the end will liave its way.
Her very smile was haughty, though so sweet;
Her very nod was not an inclination;
| There was a self-will even in her small feet,
As though they were quite conscious of her stationTo stain his pedigree, a thousand swords
| They trod as upon necks; and to complete
Her state (it is the custom of her nation),
She was a sultan's bride (thank Heaven, not mine).