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DON JUAN.

CANTO THE TWELFTH. (1)

(1) [Cantos XII. XIII, and XIV. appeared in London, in November, 1823.]

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DON JUAN.

CANTO THE TWELFTH.

I.

Of all the barbarous middle ages, that
Which is most barbarous is the middle age
Of man; it is—I really scarce know what;

But when we hover between fool and sage,
And don't know justly what we would be at-
A period something like a printed page,
Black letter upon foolscap, while our hair
Grows grizzled, and we are not what we were ;-

II.

Too old for youth, too young, at thirty-five, Toherd with boys, or hoard with good threescore,

I wonder people should be left alive;

But since they are, that epoch is a bore: Love lingers still, although 't were late to wive; And as for other love, the illusion's o'er; And money, that most pure imagination, Gleams only through the dawn of its creation.(')

(1) [In an unpublished letter to Mr. Kinnaird, dated Genoa, Jan. 18. 1823, we find the following passage: -" I will economise and do, as I have partly proved to you by my surplus revenue of 1822, which almost equals

III.

O Gold! Why call we misers miserable? (1)
Theirs is the pleasure that can never pall;
Theirs is the best bower anchor, the chain cable
Which holds fast other pleasures great and small.
Ye who but see the saving man at table,

And scorn his temperate board, as none at all,
And wonder how the wealthy can be sparing,
Know not what visions spring from each cheese-paring.

the ditto of the United States of America (vide President's report to Congress); and do you second my parsimony by judicious disbursements of what is requisite, and a moderate liquidation. Also make an investment of any spare moneys as may render some usance to the owner; because, however little,' every little makes a mickle'—as we of the north say, with more reason than rhyme. I hope that you have all receipts, &c. &c. &c., and acknowledgments of moneys paid in liquidation of debts, to prevent extortion, and hinder the fellows from coming twice, of which they would be capable, particularly as my absence would lend a pretext to the pretension. You will perhaps wonder at this recent and furious fit of accumu lation and retrenchment; but it is not so unnatural. I am not naturally ostentatious, although cnce careless, and expensive because careless: and my most extravagant passions have pretty well subsided, as it is time they should on the very verge of thirty-five. I always looked to about thirty as the barrier of any real or fierce delight in the passions, and determined to work them out in the younger ore and better veins of the mine; and I flatter myself (perhaps) that I have pretty well done so, and now the dross is coming and I loves lucre; for we must love something. At any rate, then, I have a passion the more, and thus a feeling. However, it is not for myself; but I should like, God willing, to leave something to my relatives more than a mere name; and besides that, to be able to do good to others to a greater extent. If nothing else will do, I must try bread and water; which, by the way, are very nourishing and sufficient, if good of their kind."]

(1) [BOSWELL. "I have heard old Mr. Sheridan maintain, with much Ingenuity, that a complete miser is a happy man: a miser who gives himself wholly to the one passion of saving." -JOHNSON. "That is flying in the face of all the world, who have called an avaricious man a miser, because he is miserable. No, sir; a man who both spends and saves money is the happiest man, because he has both enjoyments."-CROKER'S Bos. well vol, iv. p. 182.]

IV.

Love or lust makes man sick, and wine much sicker;
Ambition rends, and gaming gains a loss;
But making money, slowly first, then quicker,
And adding still a little through each cross
(Which will come over things), beats love or liquor,
The gamester's counter, or the statesman's dross.
O Gold! I still prefer thee unto paper,

Which makes bank credit like a bark of vapour.

V.

Who hold the balance of the world? Who reign
O'er congress, whether royalist or liberal?
Who rouse the shirtless patriots of Spain? (1)
(That make old Europe's journals squeak and
gibber all.)

Who keep the world, both old and new, in pain
Or pleasure? Who make politics run glibber all?
The shade of Buonaparte's noble daring? -
Jew Rothschild, and his fellow-Christian, Baring.

VI.

Those, and the truly liberal Lafitte,

Are the true lords of Europe. Every loan

Is not a merely speculative hit,

But seats a nation or upsets a throne. Republics also get involved a bit;

Columbia's stock hath holders not unknown On 'Change; and even thy silver soil, Peru, Must get itself discounted by a Jew.

(1) The Descamisados.

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