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Ford Madox Brown (1821-1893)

The Finding of Don Juan by Haidee, 1878

This painting is based on a scene in Canto II of Byron's Don Juan, during which the shipwrecked Don Juan is discovered by the Greek girl Haidee. Below are stanzas nine through twelve of the second canto.

     CIX 
     With slow and staggering effort he arose, 
          But sunk again upon his bleeding knee 
     And quivering hand; and then he look'd for those 
          Who long had been his mates upon the sea; 
     But none of them appear'd to share his woes, 
          Save one, a corpse, from out the famish'd three, 
     Who died two days before, and now had found 
     An unknown barren beach for burial ground. 

     CX 
     And as he gazed, his dizzy brain spun fast, 
          And down he sunk; and as he sunk, the sand 
     Swam round and round, and all his senses pass'd: 
          He fell upon his side, and his stretch'd hand 
     Droop'd dripping on the oar (their jurymast), 
          And, like a wither'd lily, on the land 
     His slender frame and pallid aspect lay, 
     As fair a thing as e'er was form'd of clay. 

     CXI 
     How long in his damp trance young Juan lay 
          He knew not, for the earth was gone for him, 
     And Time had nothing more of night nor day 
          For his congealing blood, and senses dim; 
     And how this heavy faintness pass'd away 
          He knew not, till each painful pulse and limb, 
     And tingling vein, seem'd throbbing back to life, 
     For Death, though vanquish'd, still retired with strife. 

     CXII 
     His eyes he open'd, shut, again unclosed, 
          For all was doubt and dizziness; he thought 
     He still was in the boat and had but dozed, 
          And felt again with his despair o'erwrought, 
     And wish'd it death in which he had reposed; 
          And then once more his feelings back were brought, 
     And slowly by his swimming eyes was seen 
     A lovely female face of seventeen. 
		

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Copyright 2001 by Chris McCormick. E-mail questions or comments to livelikemad@yahoo.com.