Don Juan Canto 5

8f3a4b7ec03647c2ddabd66e6fc21b9dByron starts Canto 5 by telling us of the dangers of writing love poetry: “Even Petrarch’s self, if judged with due severity,/Is the Platonic pimp of all posterity.” (Canto V, 1) I’d never thought of it like that, but I think he’s right. Love poems (or today’s equivalent–love songs) help facilitate hooking up. To prevent this from happening, Byron assures us that he himself will always attach a good moral message to his poems. Yeah, I’m sure that’s exactly what’s going to happen. Continue reading

Don Juan, Canto 3

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Online, this engraving by W. H. Mote is named Lolah, but in my copy of Lord Byron’s Works from 1849 it’s titled Haidee. Was someone trying to pull a fast one?

When we last left Don Juan, he had been shipwrecked upon a Grecian island, but was brought back to health by a young woman named Haidee. The two fall in love, however, Haidee keeps Juan’s existence a secret from her father Lambro who is a slave trader. Let’s find out what happens next! Continue reading

Don Juan, Canto 2

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When we last left Don Juan, his mother had sent him away to another country after discovering he’d had an affair with a married woman. When we start Canto II, he’s sailing away on a ship. He bids farewell to Spain, his mother, and most especially Julia. While in the midst of declaring his undying love for her (saying things like “Sooner shall this blue ocean melt to air/Sooner shall earth resolve itself to sea” (II, 19) than he forget about her), the ship lurches and he grows sea sick. Continue reading