So I lied. I swore I wouldn’t compose my own
Poem for my review. But if tis all the same
To you, Lord Byron is a poet, well known,
And I fancied taking him on at his own game.
I’ve been writing poetry since before I was full-grown,
though like a Dickensian street urchin, twas mostly lame
And poor. My verse has improved, rhyme is no fetter;
I aim to prove myself George Gordon’s equal or better.
Byron’s verses are mostly accessible, his
Stanzas sometimes compared to those one finds
In greetings cards, but I would question this;
Poetry isn’t less worthy merely because it rhymes.
And tis certainly not as easy as most think it is
To tell a story, and be funny, at the same time.
Tis even harder to be warm-hearted and tender, and oh!
To write beautifully and intelligently for 500 pages or so.
Don Juan’s the name [some call it a moniker],
Of Lord Byron’s hero and principle character,
Who, as reputation would have it, was a philanderer,
Your wife wasn’t safe: he’d unman [or unwoman] ye, sir!
There was no pot of trouble he wouldn’t drink from, nor stir.
And when he knocked at hymen’s door, she’d always answer.
But, this fame is largely unwarranted [if ye believe Byron],
For his Don is no artful seducer, more the seduced one.
As a young man of sixteen in Cadiz, Spain
He’s taken under the wing and the bedcover,
By Julia, twenty-three; well, how profane,
Or how fun, to find so experienced a lover.
But Juan’s happiness doth wax then wane
When her husband, in her room, doth discover
Men’s shoes, and later their owner sneaking out the door.
So Juan & Julia 4ever becomes Juan & Julia, nevermore.
Board a ship, my son,was his mum’s behest,
As a way of avoiding further confrontation
And Juan reluctantly agrees to this request,
But before too long regrets his, or her, decision.
Storm-tossed, ship-sunk; he must swim for shore, lest
He wants to be locked up in a watery prison.
Fortune favours Juan; the game of life he’s surely winnin’
For upon the sand he is found, half-dead, by two young women.
Mindful of longueurs, I will not linger, howe’er
Upon our hero’s every adventure, escapade, and tryst.
My poetic compass is infallible, and will not err;
What I choose to leave out will not be missed,
But I will, of course, summarise the plot for yer,
If, my friends, you absolutely do insist:
Juan trips though Turkey, Russia, and dear old Blighty,
Porks a queen and becomes embroiled in war almighty.
The gift ‘neath the colourful wrapping paper,
Is what really pleases us. So it seems,
I should no more mention plot, rather consider
George Gordon’s major concerns and themes.
One is morality. Morality? No, I’m not a kidder,
Though I confess a moral man is not how Byron’s seen,
Yet in Don Juan he doth voice an anti-war philosophy
And advocates, ’tis true I swear, racial and sexual equality.
With sour, or bitter, words he cuts through
Most forms of human wickedness
And yet he acknowledges we’re prone to
]Weakness. His own he doth readily confess.
[Of my own weaknesses: there are a few];
Tis important, he is at pains to stress,
To have a kind heart, be tolerant and understanding,
To abhor the worst sins, but not to be too demanding.
Finally, my final stanza, my final fling,
Is dedicated to Byron’s preoccupation
With death. That oh so dreadful-frightful thing,
Makes peckers wilt, causes heart palpitations.
Who knows what death will bring,
A great big nothing, or a heavenly station?
I hope George is there and still versifying, if tis the latter.
If tis the former? Please say no more on’t matter.
I’ll end my poem-review, how it started:
With a lie. The ink clings still to my quill.
My muse and I are not so easily parted,
And I have one important thing to say still.
Try not, dear readers, to be too down-hearted,
There are but only two more lines left to fill.
George Gordon Byron, I salute thee, as a poet ye were a great one.
Mad, bad, and dangerous, perhaps, but you’re my hero, not Juan.