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Page:The Works of Lord Byron (ed. Coleridge, Prothero) - Volume 1.djvu/84

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44
HOURS OF IDLENESS.

Or sparkles black, or mildly throws
A beam from under hazel brows!
How quick we credit every oath,
And hear her plight the willing troth!
Fondly we hope 'twill last for ay,
When, lo! she changes in a day.
This record will for ever stand,[1]
"Woman, thy vows are trac'd in sand."[2]

  1. This Record will for ever stand
    That Woman's vows are writ in sand.—[4to]
  2. The last line is almost a literal translation from a Spanish proverb. [The last line is not "almost a literal translation from a Spanish proverb," but an adaptation of part of a stanza from the Diana of Jorge de Montemajor—

    "Mirà, el Amor, lo que ordena;
    Que os viene a hazer creer
    Cosas dichas por muger,
    Y escriptas en el arena."

    Southey, in his Letters from Spain, 1797, pp. 87-91, gives a specimen of the Diana, and renders the lines in question thus—

    "And Love beheld us from his secret stand,
    And mark'd his triumph, laughing, to behold me,
    To see me trust a writing traced in sand,
    To see me credit what a woman told me."

    Byron, who at this time had little or no knowledge of Spanish literature, seems to have been struck with Southey's paraphrase, and compressed the quatrain into an epigram.]