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Page:The Works of Lord Byron (ed. Coleridge, Prothero) - Volume 7.djvu/57

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And the carnage begun, when resistance is done,
And the fall of the vainly flying!


Then he gazed on a town by besiegers taken,
Nor cared he who were winning;
But he saw an old maid, for years forsaken,
Get up and leave her spinning;80
And she looked in her glass, and to one that did pass,
She said—"pray are the rapes beginning?"[1]


But the Devil has reached our cliffs so white,
And what did he there, I pray?
If his eyes were good, he but saw by night
What we see every day;
But he made a tour and kept a journal
Of all the wondrous sights nocturnal,
And he sold it in shares to the Men of the Row,
Who bid pretty well—but they cheated him, though!90


The Devil first saw, as he thought, the Mail,
Its coachman and his coat;
So instead of a pistol he cocked his tail,

And seized him by the throat;
  1. [Compare Don Juan, Canto VIII. stanza cxxxii. line 4. Sir Walter Scott (Journal, October 30, 1826 [1890, i. 288], tells the same story of "an old woman who, when Carlisle was taken by the Highlanders in 1745, chose to be particularly apprehensive of personal violence, and shut herself up in a closet, in order that she might escape ravishment. But no one came to disturb her solitude, and ... by and by she popped her head out of her place of refuge with the pretty question, 'Good folks, can you tell me when the ravishing is going to begin?'" In 1813 Byron did not know Scott, and must have stolen the jest from some older writer. It is, probably, of untold antiquity.]