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IV.

This done, Mazeppa spread his cloak,

And laid his lance beneath his oak,

Felt if his arms in order good

The long day's march had well withstood—

If still the powder fill'd the pan,

And flints unloosen'd kept their lock— His sabre's hilt and scabbard felt, And whether they had chafed his belt— And next the venerable man, From out his haversack and can,

Prepared and spread his slender stock; And to the monarch and his men The whole or portion offer'd then With far less of inquietude Than courtiers at a banquet would. And Charles of this his slender share With smiles partook a moment there, To force of cheer a greater show, And seem above both wounds and woe;— And then he said—" Of all our band, "Though firm of heart and strong of hand, "In skirmish, march, or forage, none

"Can less have said or more have done

"Than thee, Mazeppa! On the earth

"So fit a pair had never birth,

"Since Alexander's days till now,

"As thy Bucephalus and thou:

"All Scythia's fame to thine should yield

"For pricking on o'er flood and field."

Mazeppa answer'd—" Ill betide

"The school wherein I learn'd to ride!"

Quoth Charles—" Old Hetman, wherefore

"Since thou hast learn'd the art so well?"

Mazeppa said—" 'Twere long to tell;

"And we have many a league to go

"With every now and then a blow,

"And ten to one at least the foe,

"Before our steeds may graze at ease

"Beyond the swift Borysthenes:

"And, sire, your limbs have need of rest,

"And I will be the sentinel

"Of this your troop."—" But I request,''

Said Sweden's monarch, " thou wilt tell

"This tale of thine, and I may reap,
"Perchance, from this the boon of sleep,
"For at this moment from my eyes
"The hope of present slumber flies.''

"Well, sire, with such a hope, I'll track

"My seventy years of memory back:

"I think 'twas in my twentieth spring,—

"Ay, 'twas,—when Casimir was king—

"John Casimir,—I was his page

"Six summers in my earlier age; 130

"A learned monarch, faith! was he,

"And most unlike your majesty:

"He made no wars, and did not gain

"New realms to lose them back again;

"And (save debates in Warsaw's diet)

"He reigned in most unseemly quiet;

"Not that he had no cares to vex,

"He loved the muses and the sex;

"And sometimes these so froward are,

"They made him wish himself at war; 140

"But soon his wrath being o'er, he took

"Another mistress, or new book:

"And then he gave prodigious fetes—

"All Warsaw gather'd round his gates

"To gaze upon his splendid court,

"And dames, and chiefs, of princely port:

"He was the Polish Solomon,

"So sung his poets, all but one,

"Who, being unpension'd, made a satire,

"And boasted that he could not flatter. 150

"It was a court of jousts and mimes,

"Where every courtier tried at rhymes;

"Even I for once produced some verses,

"And sign'd my odes Despairing Thirsis.

"There was a certain Palatine,

"A count of far and high descent,

"Rich as a salt or silver mine ;* "And he was proud, ye may divine,

"As if from heaven he had been sent: "He had such wealth in blood and ore 160

"As few could match beneath the throne; "And he would gaze upon his store, "And o'er his pedigree would pore,

• This comparison of a " salt mine" may perhaps be permitted to a Pole, as the wealth of the country consists greatly in the salt mines.

"Until by some confusion led,

"Which almost look'd like want of head,

"He thought their merits were his own. "His wife was not of his opinion—

"His junior she by thirty years— "Grew daily tired of his dominion;

"And, after wishes, hopes, and fears, 170

"To virtue a few farewell tears, "A restless dream or two, some glances "At Warsaw's youth, some songs, and dances, "Awaited but the usual chances, "Those happy accidents which render "The coldest dames so very tender, "To deck her Count with titles given, "Tis said, as passports into heaven; "But, strange to say, they rarely boast "Of these who have deserved them most. 180

V.

"I was a goodly stripling then;

"At seventy years I so may say, "That there were few, or boys or men,

"Who, in my dawning time of day,

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