Open main menu

Page:The Works of Lord Byron (ed. Coleridge, Prothero) - Volume 6.djvu/38

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
8
DON JUAN.

That turns and turns to give the world a notion
Of endless torments and perpetual motion.


XIV.

A bungler even in its disgusting trade,
And botching, patching, leaving still behind
Something of which its masters are afraid—
States to be curbed, and thoughts to be confined,
Conspiracy or Congress to be made—
Cobbling at manacles for all mankind—
A tinkering slave-maker, who mends old chains,
With God and Man's abhorrence for its gains.


XV.

If we may judge of matter by the mind,
Emasculated to the marrow It
Hath but two objects, how to serve, and bind,
Deeming the chain it wears even men may fit,
Eutropius of its many masters,[1]—blind
To worth as freedom, wisdom as to wit,
Fearless—because no feeling dwells in ice
Its very courage stagnates to a vice.[2]


XVI.

Where shall I turn me not to view its bonds,
For I will never feel them?—Italy!
Thy late reviving Roman soul desponds

Beneath the lie this State-thing breathed o'er thee[3]
  1. For the character of Eutropius, the eunuch and minister at the court of Arcadius, see Gibbon, [Decline and Fall, 1825, ii. 307, 308].
  2. ["Mr. John Murray,—As publisher to the Admiralty and of various Government works, if the five stanzas concerning Castlereagh should risk your ears or the Navy List, you may omit them in the publication—in that case the two last lines of stanza 10 [i.e. 11] must end with the couplet (lines 7, 8) inscribed in the margin. The stanzas on Castlerighi (as the Italians call him) are 11, 12, 13, 14, 15."—MS. M.]
  3. [Commenting on a "pathetic sentiment" of Leoni, the author of the Italian translation of Childe Harold ("Sciagurata condizione di questa mia patria!"), Byron affirms that the Italians execrated Castlereagh "as the cause, by the conduct of the English at Genoa." "Surely," he exclaims, "that man will not die in his bed: there is no spot of the earth where his name is not a hissing and a curse. Imagine what must be the man's talent for Odium, who has contrived to spread his infamy like a pestilence from Ireland to Italy, and to make his name an execration in all languages."—Letter to Murray, May 8, 1820, Letters, 1901, v. 22, note 1.]