Verse > Lord Byron > Poems
Lord Byron (1788–1824).  Poetry of Byron.  1881.
IV. Satiric
(Don Juan, Canto xvi. Stanzas 96–98.)

  ——————JUAN, when he cast a glance
On Adeline while playing her grand rôle,
  Which she went through as though it were a dance
(Betraying only now and then her soul
  By a look scarce perceptibly askance        5
Of weariness or scorn), began to feel
Some doubt how much of Adeline was real;
So well she acted all and every part
  By turns—with that vivacious versatility,
Which many people take for want of heart.        10
  They err—’tis merely what is call’d mobility,
A thing of temperament—and not of art,
  Though seeming so from its supposed facility;
And false—though true; for surely they’re sincerest
Who are strongly acted on by what is nearest.        15
This makes your actors, artists, and romancers,
  Heroes sometimes, though seldom—sages never;
But speakers, bards, diplomatists, and dancers,
  Little that’s great, but much of what is clever;
Most orators, but very few financiers,        20
  Though all Exchequer chancellors endeavour,
Of late years, to dispense with Cocker’s rigours,
And grow quite figurative with their figures.

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