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Page:The Works of Lord Byron (ed. Coleridge, Prothero) - Volume 4.djvu/250

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212
MAZEPPA.

Not that he had no cares to vex;
He loved the Muses and the Sex;[1]
And sometimes these so froward are,
They made him wish himself at war;140
But soon his wrath being o'er, he took
Another mistress—or new book:
And then he gave prodigious fêtes—
All Warsaw gathered round his gates
To gaze upon his splendid court,
And dames, and chiefs, of princely port.
He was the Polish Solomon,
So sung his poets, all but one,
Who, being unpensioned, made a satire,
And boasted that he could not flatter.150
It was a court of jousts and mimes,
Where every courtier tried at rhymes;
Even I for once produced some verses,
And signed my odes 'Despairing Thyrsis.'
There was a certain Palatine,[2]
A Count of far and high descent,
Rich as a salt or silver mine;[3]
And he was proud, ye may divine,
As if from Heaven he had been sent;
He had such wealth in blood and ore160
As few could match beneath the throne;
And he would gaze upon his store,
And o'er his pedigree would pore,
Until by some confusion led,
Which almost looked like want of head,
He thought their merits were his own.
His wife was not of this opinion;

His junior she by thirty years,
  1. [According to the editor of Voltaire's Works (Œuvres; Beuchot, 1830, xix. 378. note 1), there was a report that Casimir, after his retirement to Paris in 1670, secretly married "Marie Mignot, fille d' une blanchisseuse;" and there are other tales of other loves, e.g. Ninon de Lenclos.]
  2. [According to the biographers, Mazeppa's intrigue took place after he had been banished from the court of Warsaw, and had retired to his estate in Volhynia. The pane [Lord] Falbowsky, the old husband of the young wife, was a neighbouring magnate. It was a case of "love in idlenesse."—Vide ante, "The Introduction to Mazeppa," p. 201.]
  3. This comparison of a "salt mine" may, perhaps, be permitted to a Pole, as the wealth of the country consists greatly in the salt mines.