Apropos of Byron (previous post) and his Romancing …

byron3What woman could withstand the following blandishments and adulation?

[ Byron did, after all, write an epic poem about Don Juan (considered his masterpiece)–and no one challenged his qualifications to speak with authority on Don Juan, either ;)]

But back to the point: Honestly? Even I’d fall for a guy with such a “line” as follows–



She walks in beauty, like the night

Of cloudless climes and starry skies;

And all that’s best of dark and bright

Meet in her aspect and her eyes:

Thus mellowed to that tender light

Which heaven to gaudy eyes denies.


One shade the more, one ray the less,

Had half impaired the nameless grace

Which waves in every raven tress,

Or softly lightens o’er her face;

Where thoughts serenely sweet express

How pure, how dear their dwelling place.


And on that cheek and o’er that brow,

So soft, so calm, yet eloquent.

The smiles that win, the tints that glow,

But tell of days in goodness spent,

A mind at peace with all below,

A heart whose love is innocent!

George Gordon, Lord Byron, June 12, 1814


What beautiful B.S.!  The lady swooned no doubt, and  Byron, whose love was typically far from “innocent,” knocked the idealized sugar pie off her pedestal (permanently), whilst whispering immortal verses in her ear. She never knew what hit her (or maybe she did). Successful seduction is never wholly one-sided. In Byron’s age among the aristocracy it was highly ritualistic with norms and formalities to be observed, and both parties knew their roles and the conventions.

If the walls of those country estates could talk!

I can barely remember how I got off on this tangent, but recollect it all dates to my determination to slim down my over-stuffed library and my re-discovery of A Country House Companion and the chapter on Byron’s house party at a grand country estate in 1809… and here I am deep in the throes of a re-appreciation of Byron’s poetry and lock-jawed all over again in awe at his talent, his accomplishment and his ultra-eventful, daring life.

He died at the tender age of 36 (!) at Missolonghi having gone to Greece to fight in the war for the Greeks’ independence from the Turks and to this day is revered in Greece as a national hero.

Charismatic, endlessly pursued by women, a huge poetic talent and a man of action as well. Jeese! See? I’d forgotten all this. If I hadn’t been forced to re-visit my “old” and rare books, none of this would have happened!

So…my next stop is the best Byron bio I can find …. and the books are still piling up and I’m making pitiful progress at deciding which I can part with.

O, woe.





About Margaret Jean Langstaff

A lifelong critical reader with literary tastes, a novelist, short story writer, essayist, book critic, and professional book editor for many years. A consultant to publishers and authors, providing manuscript critiques and a full range of editorial services. A friend and supporter of all other readers and writers. A collector of signed modern first editions. Animal lover and tree hugger. Follow me on Twitter @LangstaffEditor
This entry was posted in Humor, Literature, poetry and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

11 Responses to Apropos of Byron (previous post) and his Romancing …

  1. elainecanham says:

    Just buy another bookcase…I have to go and look up that book, sounds fascinating. I never cared very much for Don Juan, but I loved this one. You’re right, it is just bs, but it sounds so beautiful. What woman could possibly resist?

    Liked by 1 person

  2. jef says:

    Great post! And spoken like a lady who has been in receipt of her share of hopeful male balderdash. I didn’t know that about Byron’s having fought for Greece. Margaret, your book-thinning enterprise is our collective gain as you make the ongoing mistake of opening the damned things as you pretend to rid yourselves of them. Keep it up; this is the stuff of life. And good luck in your literary divestiture. Doesn’t seem like it’s going all that well…


    • I am hopeless in this chore. Can’t part with a single book unless author is mediocre or worse (and I rarely have ever bought such books).

      Haha re: your comment about my receipt of male balderdash: when I was a dewy eyed freshman in college a rather unlettered coarse fellow, though an Adonis type, actually recited from memory that WHOLE damn poem to me from the steps of my sorority house! True story! He went on to become a successful attorney. Where he ever got the idea or inspiration to do such a thing is beyond me, though I was already a notorious poetry freak by that time. Sooo funny!


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