« ZurückWeiter »
All tragedies are finish’d by a death,
All comedies are ended by a marriage; The future states of both are left to faith,
For authors fear description might disparage The worlds to come of both, or fall beneath, And then both worlds would punish their miscar
riage; So leaving each their priest and prayer-book ready, They say no more of Death or of the Lady.(1)
The only two that in my recollection
of heaven and hell, or marriage, are Dante (?) and Milton, (3) and of both the affection
Was hapless in their nuptials, for some bar Of fault or temper ruin'd the connection
(Such things, in fact, it don't ask much to mar); But Dante's Beatrice and Milton's Eve Were not drawn from their spouses, you conceive.(*)
(1) [The old ballad of “ Death and the Lady" is alluded to in Shak. speare.)
(2) Dante calls his wife, in the Inferno, “ la fiera moglie." [See antè, Vol. XI. p. 276.]
(3) Milton's first wife ran away from him within the first month. If she had not, what would John Milton have done?
(4) [From whatever causes it may have arisen, the coincidence is no less striking than saddening, that, on the list of married poets who have been unhappy in their homes, there should already be found four such illustrious names as Dante, Milton, Shakspeare, and Dryden; and that we should now have to add, as a partner in their destiny, a name worthy of being placed beside the greatest of them. - MOORE.]
Some persons say
that Dante meant theology By Beatrice, and not a mistress - 1, Although my opinion may require apology,
Deem this a commentator's phantasy, Unless indeed it was from his own knowledge he
Decided thus, and show'd good reason why; I think that Dante's more abstruse ecstatics Meant to personify the mathematics. (1)
Haidée and Juan were not married, but
The fault was theirs, not mine: it is not fair, Chaste reader, then, in any way to put
The blame on me, unless you wish they were; Then if you'd have them wedded, please to shut
The book which treats of this erroneous pair, Before the consequences grow too awful; 'Tis dangerous to read of loves unlawful.
Yet they were happy, happy in the illicit
Indulgence of their innocent desires;
Haidée forgot the island was her sire's;
At least in the beginning, ere one tires ; Thus she came often, not a moment losing, Whilst her piratical papa was cruising.
(1) [" Lady B. would have made an excellent wrangler at Cambridge." - B. Diary.]
Let not his mode of raising cash seem strange,
Although he fleeced the flags of every nation, For into a prime minister but change
His title, and 't is nothing but taxation;
Of life, and in an honester vocation
The good old gentleman had been detain'd
By winds and waves, and some important captures; And, in the hope of more, at sea remain'd,
Although a squall or two had damp'd his raptures,
His prisoners, dividing them like chapters
Some he disposed of off Cape Matapan,
Among his friends the Mainots; some he sold To his Tunis correspondents, save one man
Toss'd overboard unsaleable (being old);
- save here and there some richer one,
(1) [MS. — “ Display'd much more of nerve, perhaps of wit,
Than any of the parodies of Pitt.”]
The merchandise was served in the same way,
Pieced out for different marts in the Levant, Except some certain portions of the prey,
Light classic articles of female want,
Guitars and castanets from Alicant,
A monkey, a Dutch mastiff, a mackaw,
Two parrots, with a Persian cat and kittens, He chose from several animals he saw
A terrier, too, which once had been a Briton's, Who dying on the coast of Ithaca,
The peasants gave the poor dumb thing a pittance; These to secure in this strong blowing weather, He caged in one huge hamper altogether.
Then having settled his marine affairs,
Despatching single cruisers here and there, His vessel having need of some repairs,
He shaped his course to where his daughter fair Continued still her hospitable cares;
But that part of the coast being shoal and bare, And rough with reefs which ran out many a mile, His port lay on the other side o' the isle.
And there he went ashore without delay,
Having no custom-house nor quarantine To ask him awkward questions on the way
About the time and place where he had been : He left his ship to be hove down next day,
With orders to the people to careen; So that all hands were busy beyond measure, In getting out goods, ballast, guns, and treasure.
Arriving at the summit of a hill
Which overlook'd the white walls of his home, He stopp'd.- What singular emotions fill
Their bosoms who have been induced to roam ! With fluttering doubts if all be well or ill —
With love for many, and with fears for some; All feelings which o'erleap the years long lost, And bring our hearts back to their starting-post.
The approach of home to husbands and to sires,
After long travelling by land or water, Most naturally some small doubt inspires
A female family's a serious matter; (None trusts the sex more, or so much admires
But they hate flattery, so I never flatter ;) Wives in their husbands' absences grow subtler, And daughters sometimes run off with the butler.