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(Don Juan, Canto xvi. Stanzas 96–98.)
——————JUAN, when he cast a glance
On Adeline while playing her grand rôle,
Which she went through as though it were a dance
(Betraying only now and then her soul
By a look scarce perceptibly askance
Of weariness or scorn), began to feel
Some doubt how much of Adeline was real;
So well she acted all and every part
By turns—with that vivacious versatility,
Which many people take for want of heart.
They err—’tis merely what is call’d mobility,
A thing of temperament—and not of art,
Though seeming so from its supposed facility;
And false—though true; for surely they’re sincerest
Who are strongly acted on by what is nearest.
This makes your actors, artists, and romancers,
Heroes sometimes, though seldom—sages never;
But speakers, bards, diplomatists, and dancers,
Little that’s great, but much of what is clever;
Most orators, but very few financiers,
Though all Exchequer chancellors endeavour,
Of late years, to dispense with Cocker’s rigours,
And grow quite figurative with their figures.
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