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THIS Volume contains three Cantos of Don Juan, - the first and second written at Venice, in 1818; and the third written at Ravenna, in October, 1819. A Dedication, and several other stanzas hitherto suppressed, are now given in the proper places; and from two separate MSS. of the Poet many curious various readings have been supplied.
Two prose pieces, on the subject of Don Juan, one of which had not before been published, are also included in this Volume.
In the notes to the shipwreck in Canto II. we have endeavoured to trace minutely the authorities which the Poet had before him when composing that extraordinary description. Since the sheets went to press, Lord Byron's own copy of Erasmus's Dialogues has been politely forwarded for our use in reference to that Canto. The delightful colloquy entitled “ Naufragium” must, as it is obvious from his Lordship's pencil-marks, have been much in his hands; and we may here give one passage, which, had our attention been called to it sooner, would have formed a marginal note to stanza xliv. Canto II.:
“ Aderat Anglus quidam, qui promittebat montes aureos Virgini Walsamgamicæ, si vivus attigisset terram : alii multa promittebant ligno crucis, quod esset in tali loco. Unum audivi, non sine risu, qui clarâ voce, ne non exaudiretur, polliceretur Christophoro, qui est Lutetiæ in summo templo, mons verius quam statua, cereum tantum quantus esset ipse. Hæc cum vociferans quantum poterat identidem inculcaret, qui forte proximus assistebat illi notus, cubito illum tetigit, ac submonuit : Vide quid pollicearis : etiamsi rerum omnium tuarum auctionem facias, non fueris solvendo. Tum ille, voce jam pressiore, ne videlicet exaudiret Christophorus: Tace, inquit, fatue! An credis me ex animo loqui ? Si semel contigero terram, non daturus sum illi candelam sebaceam !” *
London, February 15. 1833.
*“ There was there a certain Englishman, who promised golden moun. tains to Our Lady of Walsingham, if he touched land again. Others promised many things to the Wood of the Cross, which was in such a place. ! heard one, not without laughter, who, with a clear voice, lest he should not be heard. promised Christopher, who is at Paris, on the top of a church, - a mountain more truly than a statue, – a wax candle as big as he was himself. When, bawling out as hard as he could, the man reiterated this offer, an acquaintance that by chance stood next, known to him, touched him with his elbow, and said - Have a care what you promise ; though you make an auction of all your goods, you 'll not be able to pay.' Then he says, with a voice now lower, to wit, lest Christopher should hear, - 'Hold your tongue, you fool ; do you think I speak from my heart? If once I touch land, I'll not give him a tallow candle."" — Clarke's Translation.