Don Juan 05-111
Canto the Fifth
Her very smile was haughty, though so sweet;
     Her very nod was not an inclination;
There was a self-will even in her small feet,
     As though they were quite conscious of her station --
They trod as upon necks; and to complete
     Her state (it is the custom of her nation),
A poniard deck'd her girdle, as the sign
She was a sultan's bride (thank Heaven, not mine!).
Don Juan 05-112
Canto the Fifth
"To hear and to obey" had been from birth
     The law of all around her; to fulfill
All phantasies which yielded joy or mirth,
     Had been her slaves' chief pleasure, as her will;
Her blood was high, her beauty scarce of earth:
     Judge, then, if her caprices e'er stood still;
Had she but been a Christian, I've a notion
We should have found out the "perpetual motion."
Don Juan 05-113
Canto the Fifth
Whate'er she saw and coveted was brought;
     Whate'er she did not see, if she supposed
It might be seen, with diligence was sought,
     And when 't was found straightway the bargain closed;
There was no end unto the things she bought,
     Nor to the trouble which her fancies caused;
Yet even her tyranny had such a grace,
The women pardon'd all except her face.
Don Juan 05-114
Canto the Fifth
Juan, the latest of her whims, had caught
     Her eye in passing on his way to sale;
She order'd him directly to be bought,
     And Baba, who had ne'er been known to fail
In any kind of mischief to be wrought,
     At all such auctions knew how to prevail:
She had no prudence, but he had; and this
Explains the garb which Juan took amiss.
Don Juan 05-115
Canto the Fifth
His youth and features favour'd the disguise,
     And, should you ask how she, a sultan's bride,
Could risk or compass such strange phantasies,
     This I must leave sultanas to decide:
Emperors are only husbands in wives' eyes,
     And kings and consorts oft are mystified,
As we may ascertain with due precision,
Some by experience, others by tradition.
George Gordon Byron, Lord Byron (1788-1824)