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Lord Byron (1788–1824). Poetry of Byron. 1881.

IV. Satiric


(Don Juan, Canto xiv. Stanzas 70–72.)

HE was a cold, good, honourable man,

Proud of his birth, and proud of everything;

A goodly spirit for a state divan,

A figure fit to walk before a king;

Tall, stately, form’d to lead the courtly van

On birthdays, glorious with a star and string;

The very model of a chamberlain—

And such I mean to make him when I reign.

But there was something wanting on the whole—

I don’t know what, and therefore cannot tell—

Which pretty women—the sweet souls!—call soul.

Certes it was not body; he was well

Proportion’d, as a poplar or a pole,

A handsome man, that human miracle;

And in each circumstance of love or war

Had still preserved his perpendicular.

Still there was something wanting, as I’ve said—

That undefinable “Je ne sçais quoi,”

Which, for what I know, may of yore have led

To Homer’s Iliad, since it drew to Troy

The Greek Eve, Helen, from the Spartan’s bed;

Though on the whole, no doubt, the Dardan boy

Was much inferior to King Menelaüs:—

But thus it is some women will betray us.