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„Difficile est proprie communia 'dicere."
Hor. Epist ad Pison.
I WANT a hero: an uncommon want,
one, Till, after cloying the gazettes with cant,
The age discovers he is not the true one; Of such as these I should not care to vaunt,
I'll therefore take our ancient friend Don Juan, We all have seen him in the pantomime Sent to the devil, somewhat ere his time.
Vernon, the butcher Cumberland, Wolfe, Hawke, Prince Ferdinand, Granby, Burgoyne, Keppel,
Howe, Evil and good, have had their tithe of talk, And fill'd their sign-posts then, like Wellesley
now; Each in their turn like Banquo's monarchs stalk,
Followers of fame, „nine-farrows of that sow: France, too, had Buonaparté and Dumourier Recorded in the Moniteur and Courier.
Barnare, Brissot, Condorcet, Mirabeau;
Petion, Clootz, Danton, Marat, La Fayette, Were French, and famous people, as we know;
And there were others, scarce forgotten yet, Joubert, Hoche, Marceau, Lannes, Dessaix, Moreau,
With many of the military set,
Nelson was once Britannia's god of war,
And still should be so, but the tide is turn'd; There's no more to be said of Trafalgar,
"Tis with our hero quietly inurn'd; Because the army's grown more popular,
At which the naval people are concern'd; Besides, the Prince is all for the land-service, Forgetting Duncan, Nelson, Howe, and Jervis,
Brave men were living before Agamemnon I
And since, exceeding valorous and sage, A good deal like him too, though quite the same
none; But then they shone not on the poet's page, And so have been forgotten :-I condemn none,
But can't find any in the present age
Most epic poets plunge in ,,medias rés,“
(Horace makes this the heroic turnpike road) And then your hero tells, whene'er you please. What went before
of episode, While seated after dinner at his ease,
Beside his mistress in some soft abode, Palace, or garden, paradise, or cavern, Which serves the happy couple for a tavern.
That is the asnal method, but not mine
My way is to begin with the beginning; The regularity of my design
Forbids all wandering as the worst of sinning, And therefore I shall
with a line (Although it cost me half an hour in spinning) Narrating somewhat of Don Juan's father, And also of his mother, if you'd rather.