Don Juan By Lord Byron Canto XVI

The poets of arithmetic are they
  Who, though they prove not two and two to be
Five, as they might do in a modest way,
  Have plainly made it out that four are three,
Judging by what they take, and what they pay.
  The Sinking Fund's unfathomable sea,
That most unliquidating liquid, leaves
The debt unsunk, yet sinks all it receives.

While Adeline dispensed her airs and graces,
  The fair Fitz-Fulke seem'd very much at ease;
Though too well bred to quiz men to their faces,
  Her laughing blue eyes with a glance could seize
The ridicules of people in all places —
  That honey of your fashionable bees —
And store it up for mischievous enjoyment;
And this at present was her kind employment.

However, the day closed, as days must close;
  The evening also waned — and coffee came.
Each carriage was announced, and ladies rose,
  And curtsying off, as curtsies country dame,
Retired: with most unfashionable bows
  Their docile esquires also did the same,
Delighted with their dinner and their host,
But with the Lady Adeline the most.

Some praised her beauty; others her great grace;
  The warmth of her politeness, whose sincerity
Was obvious in each feature of her face,
  Whose traits were radiant with the rays of verity.
Yes; she was truly worthy her high place!
  No one could envy her deserved prosperity.
And then her dress — what beautiful simplicity
Draperied her form with curious felicity!

Meanwhile Sweet Adeline deserved their praises,
  By an impartial indemnification
For all her past exertion and soft phrases,
  In a most edifying conversation,
Which turn'd upon their late guests' miens and faces,
  And families, even to the last relation;
Their hideous wives, their horrid selves and dresses,
And truculent distortion of their tresses.

True, she said little — 't was the rest that broke
  Forth into universal epigram;
But then 't was to the purpose what she spoke:
  Like Addison's 'faint praise,' so wont to damn,
Her own but served to set off every joke,
  As music chimes in with a melodrame.
How sweet the task to shield an absent friend!
I ask but this of mine, to — not defend.

There were but two exceptions to this keen
  Skirmish of wits o'er the departed; one
Aurora, with her pure and placid mien;
  And Juan, too, in general behind none
In gay remark on what he had heard or seen,
  Sate silent now, his usual spirits gone:
In vain he heard the others rail or rally,
He would not join them in a single sally.

'T is true he saw Aurora look as though
  She approved his silence; she perhaps mistook
Its motive for that charity we owe
  But seldom pay the absent, nor would look
Farther — it might or might not be so.
  But Juan, sitting silent in his nook,
Observing little in his reverie,
Yet saw this much, which he was glad to see.

The ghost at least had done him this much good,
  In making him as silent as a ghost,
If in the circumstances which ensued
  He gain'd esteem where it was worth the most.
And certainly Aurora had renew'd
  In him some feelings he had lately lost,
Or harden'd; feelings which, perhaps ideal,
Are so divine, that I must deem them real: —

The love of higher things and better days;
  The unbounded hope, and heavenly ignorance
Of what is call'd the world, and the world's ways;
  The moments when we gather from a glance
More joy than from all future pride or praise,
  Which kindle manhood, but can ne'er entrance
The heart in an existence of its own,
Of which another's bosom is the zone.

Who would not sigh Ai ai Tan Kuuerheian
  That hath a memory, or that had a heart?
Alas! her star must fade like that of Dian:
  Ray fades on ray, as years on years depart.
Anacreon only had the soul to tie an
  Unwithering myrtle round the unblunted dart
Of Eros: but though thou hast play'd us many tricks,
Still we respect thee, 'Alma Venus Genetrix!'

And full of sentiments, sublime as billows
  Heaving between this world and worlds beyond,
Don Juan, when the midnight hour of pillows
  Arrived, retired to his; but to despond
Rather than rest. Instead of poppies, willows
  Waved o'er his couch; he meditated, fond
Of those sweet bitter thoughts which banish sleep,
And make the worldling sneer, the youngling weep.

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