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This Volume contains the fourth and fifth Cantos of Don Juan, written at Ravenna, in 1821; and the sixth, seventh, eighth, ninth, and tenth, all written at Pisa, in 1822 and 1823.
Lord Byron's temporary suspension of this Poem when he had finished Canto the fifth, and the circumstances under which he resumed a very favourite plan, twelve months afterwards, are explained in the note introductory to the sixth Canto.
The extracts now appended to the siege, in Cantos VII. and VIII., will, it is presumed, interest, and perhaps surprise many readers. It will be seen that, throughout this powerful picture, the Poet has relied on a literal transcript of recorded facts, with precisely the same feelings which had produced the terrible verisimilitude of his shipwreck in Canto II.; and it must please every one to know that those traits of graceful humanity, with which Don Juan's personal conduct is made to relieve the horrors of a Russian sack, are only a faithful copy of what was done, in the moment of victory at Ismail, by a real“ preux chevalier,” the Duke of Richelieu.