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Page:The Works of Lord Byron (ed. Coleridge, Prothero) - Volume 6.djvu/173

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CANTO III.]
143
DON JUAN.

CANTO THE THIRD.

I. Hail, Muse ! et cetera, — We left Juan sleeping, Pillowed upon a fair and happy breast, And watched by eyes that never yet knew weeping, And loved by a young heart, too deeply blest To feel the poison through her spirit creeping, Or know who rested there, a foe to rest, Had soiled the current of her sinless years. And turned her pure heart's purest blood to tears ! II. Oh, Love ! what is it in this world of ours Which makes it fatal to be loved ? Ah why With cypress branches hast thou wreathed thy bowers. And made thy best interpreter a sigh? As those who dote on odours pluck the flowers, And place them on their breast — but place to die — Thus the frail beings we would fondly cherish Are laid within our bosoms but to perish. III. In her first passion Woman loves her lover, In all the others all she loves is Love, I. [November 30, 1819. Copied in 1820 [MS. D.). Moore [Life, 421) says that Byron was at work on the third canto when he stayed with him at Venice, in October, 1819. " One day, before dinner, [he] read me two or three hundred hnes of it ; beginning with the stanzas " Oh WelHngton," etc., which, at the time, formed the opening of the third canto, but were afterwards reserved for the commencement of the ninth." The third canto, as it now stands, was completed by November 8, 1819 ; see Letters, 1900, iv. 375. The date on the MS.

may refer to the first fair copy.]