Don Juan 05-056
Canto the Fifth

Some faint lamps gleaming from the lofty walls
     Gave light enough to hint their farther way,
But not enough to show the imperial halls,
     In all the flashing of their full array;
Perhaps there's nothing -- I'll not say appals,
     But saddens more by night as well as day,
Than an enormous room without a soul
To break the lifeless splendour of the whole.

Don Juan 05-057
Canto the Fifth

Two or three seem so little, one seems nothing:
     In deserts, forests, crowds, or by the shore,
There solitude, we know, has her full growth in
     The spots which were her realms for evermore;
But in a mighty hall or gallery, both in
     More modern buildings and those built of yore,
A kind of death comes o'er us all alone,
Seeing what's meant for many with but one.

Don Juan 05-058
Canto the Fifth

A neat, snug study on a winter's night,
     A book, friend, single lady, or a glass
Of claret, sandwich, and an appetite,
     Are things which make an English evening pass;
Though certes by no means so grand a sight
     As is a theatre lit up by gas.
I pass my evenings in long galleries solely,
And that's the reason I'm so melancholy.

Don Juan 05-059
Canto the Fifth

Alas! man makes that great which makes him little:
     I grant you in a church 't is very well:
What speaks of Heaven should by no means be brittle,
     But strong and lasting, till no tongue can tell
Their names who rear'd it; but huge houses fit ill --
     And huge tombs worse -- mankind, since Adam fell:
Methinks the story of the tower of Babel
Might teach them this much better than I'm able.

Don Juan 05-060
Canto the Fifth

Babel was Nimrod's hunting-box, and then
     A town of gardens, walls, and wealth amazing,
Where Nabuchadonosor, king of men,
     Reign'd, till one summer's day he took to grazing,
And Daniel tamed the lions in their den,
     The people's awe and admiration raising;
'T was famous, too, for Thisbe and for Pyramus,
And the calumniated queen Semiramis.

George Gordon Byron, Lord Byron (1788-1824)