Don Juan By Lord Byron Canto XIII

I 've done with my tirade. The world was gone;
  The twice two thousand, for whom earth was made,
Were vanish'd to be what they call alone —
  That is, with thirty servants for parade,
As many guests, or more; before whom groan
  As many covers, duly, daily, laid.
Let none accuse Old England's hospitality —
Its quantity is but condensed to quality.

Lord Henry and the Lady Adeline
  Departed like the rest of their compeers,
The peerage, to a mansion very fine;
  The Gothic Babel of a thousand years.
None than themselves could boast a longer line,
  Where time through heroes and through beauties steers;
And oaks as olden as their pedigree
Told of their sires, a tomb in every tree.

A paragraph in every paper told
  Of their departure: such is modern fame:
'T is pity that it takes no farther hold
  Than an advertisement, or much the same;
When, ere the ink be dry, the sound grows cold.
  The Morning Post was foremost to proclaim —
'Departure, for his country seat, to-day,
Lord H. Amundeville and Lady A.

'We understand the splendid host intends
  To entertain, this autumn, a select
And numerous party of his noble friends;
  'Midst whom we have heard, from sources quite correct,
  With many more by rank and fashion deck'd;
Also a foreigner of high condition,
The envoy of the secret Russian mission.'

And thus we see — who doubts the Morning Post?
  (Whose articles are like the 'Thirty-nine,'
Which those most swear to who believe them most) —
  Our gay Russ Spaniard was ordain'd to shine,
Deck'd by the rays reflected from his host,
  With those who, Pope says, 'greatly daring dine.'
'T is odd, but true, — last war the News abounded
More with these dinners than the kill'd or wounded; —

As thus: 'On Thursday there was a grand dinner;
  Present, Lords A. B. C.' — Earls, dukes, by name
Announced with no less pomp than victory's winner:
  Then underneath, and in the very same
Column; date, 'Falmouth. There has lately been here
  The Slap-dash regiment, so well known to fame,
Whose loss in the late action we regret:
The vacancies are fill'd up — see Gazette.'

To Norman Abbey whirl'd the noble pair, —
  An old, old monastery once, and now
Still older mansion; of a rich and rare
  Mix'd Gothic, such as artists all allow
Few specimens yet left us can compare
  Withal: it lies perhaps a little low,
Because the monks preferr'd a hill behind,
To shelter their devotion from the wind.

It stood embosom'd in a happy valley,
  Crown'd by high woodlands, where the Druid oak
Stood like Caractacus in act to rally
  His host, with broad arms 'gainst the thunderstroke;
And from beneath his boughs were seen to sally
  The dappled foresters — as day awoke,
The branching stag swept down with all his herd,
To quaff a brook which murmur'd like a bird.

Before the mansion lay a lucid lake,
  Broad as transparent, deep, and freshly fed
By a river, which its soften'd way did take
  In currents through the calmer water spread
Around: the wildfowl nestled in the brake
  And sedges, brooding in their liquid bed:
The woods sloped downwards to its brink, and stood
With their green faces fix'd upon the flood.

Its outlet dash'd into a deep cascade,
  Sparkling with foam, until again subsiding,
Its shriller echoes — like an infant made
  Quiet — sank into softer ripples, gliding
Into a rivulet; and thus allay'd,
  Pursued its course, now gleaming, and now hiding
Its windings through the woods; now clear, now blue,
According as the skies their shadows threw.

A glorious remnant of the Gothic pile
  (While yet the church was Rome's) stood half apart
In a grand arch, which once screen'd many an aisle.
  These last had disappear'd — a loss to art:
The first yet frown'd superbly o'er the soil,
  And kindled feelings in the roughest heart,
Which mourn'd the power of time's or tempest's march,
In gazing on that venerable arch.

Within a niche, nigh to its pinnacle,
  Twelve saints had once stood sanctified in stone;
But these had fallen, not when the friars fell,
  But in the war which struck Charles from his throne,
When each house was a fortalice, as tell
  The annals of full many a line undone, —
The gallant cavaliers, who fought in vain
For those who knew not to resign or reign.

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