DON JUAN BY LORD BYRON

1

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.

 

2

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.

 

3

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.

 

4

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.

 

5

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.

 

6

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.

 

7

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.

 

8

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.

 

9

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.

 

10

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.

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