Verse > Lord Byron > Poems
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        5
  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—        10
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        15
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        20
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.

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