Don Juan 08-026 ~ 030

Don Juan 08-026
Canto the Eighth

I almost lately have begun to doubt
    Whether hell's pavement -- if it be so paved --
Must not have latterly been quite worn out,
    Not by the numbers good intent hath saved,
But by the mass who go below without
    Those ancient good intentions, which once shaved
And smooth'd the brimstone of that street of hell
Which bears the greatest likeness to Pall Mall.


Don Juan 08-027
Canto the Eighth

Juan, by some strange chance, which oft divides
    Warrior from warrior in their grim career,
Like chastest wives from constant husbands' sides
    Just at the close of the first bridal year,
By one of those odd turns of Fortune's tides,
    Was on a sudden rather puzzled here,
When, after a good deal of heavy firing,
He found himself alone, and friends retiring.


Don Juan 08-028
Canto the Eighth

I don't know how the thing occurr'd -- it might
    Be that the greater part were kill'd or wounded,
And that the rest had faced unto the right
    About; a circumstance which has confounded
Caesar himself, who, in the very sight
    Of his whole army, which so much abounded
In courage, was obliged to snatch a shield,
And rally back his Romans to the field.


Don Juan 08-029
Canto the Eighth

Juan, who had no shield to snatch, and was
    No Caesar, but a fine young lad, who fought
He knew not why, arriving at this pass,
    Stopp'd for a minute, as perhaps he ought
For a much longer time; then, like an as
    (Start not, kind reader; since great Homer thought
This simile enough for Ajax, Juan
Perhaps may find it better than a new one) --


Don Juan 08-030
Canto the Eighth

Then, like an ass, he went upon his way,
    And, what was stranger, never look'd behind;
But seeing, flashing forward, like the day
    Over the hills, a fire enough to blind
Those who dislike to look upon a fray,
    He stumbled on, to try if he could find
A path, to add his own slight arm and forces
To corps, the greater part of which were corses.

George Gordon Byron, Lord Byron (1788-1824)