Don Juan By Lord Byron Canto III

Her hair's long auburn waves down to her heel
  Flow'd like an Alpine torrent which the sun
Dyes with his morning light, — and would conceal
  Her person if allow'd at large to run,
And still they seem resentfully to feel
  The silken fillet's curb, and sought to shun
Their bonds whene'er some Zephyr caught began
To offer his young pinion as her fan.

Round her she made an atmosphere of life,
  The very air seem'd lighter from her eyes,
They were so soft and beautiful, and rife
  With all we can imagine of the skies,
And pure as Psyche ere she grew a wife —
  Too pure even for the purest human ties;
Her overpowering presence made you feel
It would not be idolatry to kneel.

Her eyelashes, though dark as night, were tinged
  (It is the country's custom), but in vain;
For those large black eyes were so blackly fringed,
  The glossy rebels mock'd the jetty stain,
And in their native beauty stood avenged:
  Her nails were touch'd with henna; but again
The power of art was turn'd to nothing, for
They could not look more rosy than before.

The henna should be deeply dyed to make
  The skin relieved appear more fairly fair;
She had no need of this, day ne'er will break
  On mountain tops more heavenly white than her:
The eye might doubt if it were well awake,
  She was so like a vision; I might err,
But Shakspeare also says, 't is very silly
'To gild refined gold, or paint the lily'

Juan had on a shawl of black and gold,
  But a white baracan, and so transparent
The sparkling gems beneath you might behold,
  Like small stars through the milky way apparent;
His turban, furl'd in many a graceful fold,
  An emerald aigrette with Haidee's hair in 't
Surmounted as its clasp — a glowing crescent,
Whose rays shone ever trembling, but incessant.

And now they were diverted by their suite,
  Dwarfs, dancing girls, black eunuchs, and a poet,
Which made their new establishment complete;
  The last was of great fame, and liked to show it:
His verses rarely wanted their due feet;
  And for his theme — he seldom sung below it,
He being paid to satirize or flatter,
As the psalm says, 'inditing a good matter.'

He praised the present, and abused the past,
  Reversing the good custom of old days,
An Eastern anti-jacobin at last
  He turn'd, preferring pudding to no praise —
For some few years his lot had been o'ercast
  By his seeming independent in his lays,
But now he sung the Sultan and the Pacha
With truth like Southey, and with verse like Crashaw.

He was a man who had seen many changes,
  And always changed as true as any needle;
His polar star being one which rather ranges,
  And not the fix'd — he knew the way to wheedle:
So vile he 'scaped the doom which oft avenges;
  And being fluent (save indeed when fee'd ill),
He lied with such a fervour of intention —
There was no doubt he earn'd his laureate pension.

But he had genius, — when a turncoat has it,
  The 'Vates irritabilis' takes care
That without notice few full moons shall pass it;
  Even good men like to make the public stare: —
But to my subject — let me see — what was it?-
  O! — the third canto — and the pretty pair —
Their loves, and feasts, and house, and dress, and mode
Of living in their insular abode.

Their poet, a sad trimmer, but no less
  In company a very pleasant fellow,
Had been the favourite of full many a mess
  Of men, and made them speeches when half mellow;
And though his meaning they could rarely guess,
  Yet still they deign'd to hiccup or to bellow
The glorious meed of popular applause,
Of which the first ne'er knows the second cause.

But now being lifted into high society,
  And having pick'd up several odds and ends
Of free thoughts in his travels for variety,
  He deem'd, being in a lone isle, among friends,
That, without any danger of a riot, he
  Might for long lying make himself amends;
And, singing as he sung in his warm youth,
Agree to a short armistice with truth.

He had travell'd 'mongst the Arabs, Turks, and Franks,
  And knew the self-loves of the different nations;
And having lived with people of all ranks,
  Had something ready upon most occasions —
Which got him a few presents and some thanks.
  He varied with some skill his adulations;
To 'do at Rome as Romans do,' a piece
Of conduct was which he observed in Greece.

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