Would that I were less bilious—but, oh, fie on 't!
Just as I make my mind up every day,
To be a "totus, teres" Stoic, Sage,
The wind shifts and I fly into a rage.
Temperate I am—yet never had a temper;
Modest I am—yet with some slight assurance;
Changeable too—yet somehow "Idem semper:"
Patient—but not enamoured of endurance;
Cheerful—but, sometimes, rather apt to whimper:
Mild—but at times a sort of "Hercules furens:"
So that I almost think that the same skin
For one without—has two or three within.
Our Hero was, in Canto the Sixteenth,
Left in a tender moonlight situation,
Such as enables Man to show his strength
Moral or physical: on this occasion
Whether his virtue triumphed—or, at length,
His vice—for he was of a kindling nation—
Is more than I shall venture to describe;—
Unless some Beauty with a kiss should bribe.
I leave the thing a problem, like all things:—
The morning came—and breakfast, tea and toast,
Of which most men partake, but no one sings.
The company whose birth, wealth, worth, has cost
My trembling Lyre already several strings,
Assembled with our hostess, and mine host;
The guests dropped in—the last but one, Her Grace,
The latest, Juan, with his virgin face.
Which best it is to encounter—Ghost, or none,
'Twere difficult to say—but Juan looked
As if he had combated with more than one,