Don Juan 05-101
Canto the Fifth
"Not to admire is all the art I know
     (Plain truth, dear Murray, needs few flowers of speech)
To make men happy, or to keep them so"
     (So take it in the very words of Creech) --
Thus Horace wrote we all know long ago;
     And thus Pope quotes the precept to re-teach
From his translation; but had none admired,
Would Pope have sung, or Horace been inspired?
Don Juan 05-102
Canto the Fifth
Baba, when all the damsels were withdrawn,
     Motion'd to Juan to approach, and then
A second time desired him to kneel down,
     And kiss the lady's foot; which maxim when
He heard repeated, Juan with a frown
     Drew himself up to his full height again,
And said, "It grieved him, but he could not stoop
To any shoe, unless it shod the Pope."
Don Juan 05-103
Canto the Fifth
Baba, indignant at this ill-timed pride,
     Made fierce remonstrances, and then a threat
He mutter'd (but the last was given aside)
     About a bow-string -- quite in vain; not yet
Would Juan bend, though 't were to Mahomet's bride:
     There's nothing in the world like etiquette
In kingly chambers or imperial halls,
As also at the race and county balls.
Don Juan 05-104
Canto the Fifth
He stood like Atlas, with a world of words
     About his ears, and nathless would not bend:
The blood of all his line's Castilian lords
     Boil'd in his veins, and rather than descend
To stain his pedigree a thousand swords
     A thousand times of him had made an end;
At length perceiving the "foot" could not stand,
Baba proposed that he should kiss the hand.
Don Juan 05-105
Canto the Fifth
Here was an honourable compromise,
     A half-way house of diplomatic rest,
Where they might meet in much more peaceful guise;
     And Juan now his willingness exprest
To use all fit and proper courtesies,
     Adding, that this was commonest and best,
For through the South the custom still commands
The gentleman to kiss the lady's hands.
George Gordon Byron, Lord Byron (1788-1824)