By George Gordon Byron, T. Steffan
Byron's exuberant masterpiece tells of the adventures of Don Juan, starting along with his illicit love affair on the age of 16 in his local Spain and his next exile to Italy. Following a dramatic shipwreck, his exploits take him to Greece, the place he's offered as a slave, and to Russia, the place he turns into a favourite of the Empress Catherine who sends him directly to England. Written in ottava rima stanza shape, Byron's Don Juan blends excessive drama with earthy humor, outrageous satire of his contemporaries, and sharp mockery of Western societies, with England coming less than specific assault.
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Extra info for Don Juan
8 November 1913 Blue heaven, but the high Catholic domes are more blue. Forgive me, happy boy, The death I brought you. For the roses from the stall, For the foolish letters you sent, That your dark and impudent Face grew pale. I thought, a cadet’s pride At becoming adult. I thought, objects of the cult Aren’t loved like brides. But it happened to be real. Into the freezing days, Already listless, you followed me Everywhere and always. As though you wanted to see Court-evid ence 1 didn’t love you.
Loudly I said the prayer I was taught as a child T o protect me from nightmares, To keep the house safe. ’ I saw something white in The old man’s arms, and my heart froze . . The sailor was lifting out the sailor O f the most joyful and winged ship, And on dark rocks laid him. Long I couldn’t trust myself, Bit my finger to wake u p : Dusky and tender my Tsarevitch Lay quietly and looked at the sky. His eyes greener than the sea And darker than our cypresses— I could see them fading . . Better to have been born blind.
I notice everything freshly. The poplars smell of wetness. I am silent. Without words I am ready to become you again, earth. 1911, Tsarskoye Selo White Might I haven't locked the door, Nor lit the candles, You don’t know, don’t care, That tired I haven’t the strength T o decide to go to bed. Seeing the fields fade in The sunset murk o f pine-needles, And to know all is lost, T hat life is a cursed hell: I ’ve got drunk O n your voice in the doorway. I was sure you’d come back. 1911, Tsarskoye Selo Legend on an Unfinished Portrait There’s nothing to be sad about.
Don Juan by George Gordon Byron, T. Steffan