Top positive review
3 people found this helpful
Beautiful, even with digressions
on 18 November 2013
I found myself torn whilst reading this - elements of it were tedious and overblown and seemed to go on and on and on.... And then, all of a sudden, a flash of beautiful poetic illumination would burst across the scene and make me very, very happy. On the whole, I just couldn't get away from the fact that Byron wrote this - and as a result it's sexy, beautiful, comical and just lovely to read, hence I couldn't help myself in giving it five stars. My favourite cantos were II and X - I loved it when Don Juan fell in love with Haidee, the pirate's daughter - it's sooooooo romantic - her rescuing of him, moonlit beaches and their extreme youth and beauty as they fall in love. When her pirate father returned, I too could have fallen down into an apoplectic fit with Haidee and gone mad as a result. In Canto X, there is my favourite line of all time: ": "In the wind's eye I have sail'd, and sail; but for/The stars, I own my telescope is dim;/But at least I have shunn'd the common shore,/And leaving land far out of sight, would skim/The ocean of eternity:..." p. 235 It is almost prophetic of Byron's own unusual life and genius. Another almost prophetic line I loved: "And the pale smile of beauties in the grave,/The charms of other days, in starlight gleams,/Glimmer on high; their buried locks still wave/Along the canvas; their eyes glance like dreams/On ours, or spars within some dusty cave,/But death is imagined in their shadowy beams. /A picture is the past; even ere its frame/Be gilt, who sate hath ceased to be the same" p. 342 Who can read this line and not think of the Odevaere painting of "Lord Byron on his deathbed". Finally, in his description of Adeline, I loved the simile of her being like frozen champagne - all frosty on the inside and liquid fire alcohol on the in. This is such a beautiful work and will appeal to Byron fans/romantics everywhere, even taking into account the frequent forays off-topic he makes to answer his critics.