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(1) [Lord Byron began to compose Canto Uf. in October, 1819; but the outcry raised by the publication of Cantos I. and II. annoyed him so much, that he for a time laid the work aside, and afterwards proceeded in it only by fits and starts. Mr. Moore, who visited him while Canto III. was in progress says “So sensitive, indeed, in addition to his usual abundance of this quality, - did he, at length, grow on the subject, that when Mr. W. Bankes, who succeeded me as his visiter, happened to tell him, one day, that he had heard a Mr. Saunders (or some such name), then resident at Venice, declare that, in his opinion, ' Don Juan was all Grub-street, such an effect had this disparaging speech upon his mind (though coming from a person who, as he himself would have it, was ' nothing but a d-d salt-fish seller'), that, for some time after, by his own confession to Mr. Bankes, he could not bring himself to write another line of the Poem; and one morning, opening a drawer where the neglected manuscript lay, he said to his friend, 'Look here - this is all Mr. Saunders's Grub. street.'” – Cantos III. IV. and V. were published together in August; 1821,- still without the name either of author or bookseller. -E]
CANTO THE THIRD.
HAIL, Muse! et cetera. - We left Juan sleeping,
Pillow'd upon a fair and happy breast, And watch'd by eyes that never yet knew weeping,
And loved by a young heart, too deeply blest To feel the poison through her spirit creeping,
Or know who rested there, a foe to rest, Had soil'd the current of her sinless years, And turn'd her pure heart's purest blood to tears !
Oh, Love! what is it in this world of ours
Which makes it fatal to be loved ? Ah why
And made thy best interpreter a sigh ?
And place them on their breast - but place to die Thus the frail beings we would fondly cherish Are laid within our bosoms but to perish.(1)
(1) [This, we must allow, is pretty enough, and not at all objectionable in a moral point of view. We fear, however, that we cannot say as much for what follows: marrying is no joke, and therefore not a fit subject to VOL. XV.
In her first passion woman loves her lover,
In all the others all she loves is love, Which grows a habit she can ne'er get over,
And fits her loosely— like an easy glove, As you may find, whene'er
her: One man alone at first her heart can move ; She then prefers him in the plural number, Not finding that the additions much encumber.
like to prove
I know not if the fault be men's or theirs ;
But one thing's pretty sure; a woman planted — (Unless at once she plunge for life in prayers) —
After a decent time must be gallanted ; Although, no doubt, her first of love affairs
Is that to which her heart is wholly granted; Yet there are some, they say, who have had none, But those who have ne'er end with only one. (1)
'Tis melancholy, and a fearful sign
Of human frailty, folly, also crime,
Although they both are born in the same clime; Marriage from love, like vinegar from wine
A sad, sour, sober beverage — by time Is sharpen'd from its high celestial flavour Down to a very homely household savour.
joke about; besides, for a married man to be merry on that score, is very like trying to overcome the toothach by a laugh. - Hogg.]
(1) [These two lines are a versification of a saying of Montaigne.]
There's something of antipathy, as 't were,
Between their present and their future state ; A kind of flattery that's hardly fair
Is used until the truth arrives too latem Yet what can people do, except despair ?
The same things change their names at such a rate; For instance - passion in a lover's glorious, But in a husband is pronounced uxorious.
grow' ashamed of being so very fond; They sometimes also get a little tired (But that, of course, is rare), and then despond :
The same things cannot always be admired, Yet 't is “ so nominated in the bond,”
That both are tied till one shall have expired. Sad thought! to lose the spouse that was adorning Our days, and put one's servants into mourning.
There's doubtless something in domestic doings
Which forms, in fact, true love's antithesis ;
But only give a bust of marriages;
There's nothing wrong in a connubial kiss :
if Laura had been Petrarch's wife, He would have written sonnets all his life? (1)
“ Had Petrarch's passion led to Petrarch's wedding,
How many sonnets had ensued the bedding?"]