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Featured Poem: Don Juan by George Gordon, Lord Byron

Written by The Reader, 24th September 2012

This week's Featured Poem selection is a special sneak preview of The Reader Organisation's latest anthology, a veritable treasure trove of  classic poetry. Minted: Practical Poetry for Life has been compiled by godfather of The Reader Organisation and co-editor of The Reader Magazine Brian Nellist, and features fifty  poems written between 1500-1900 which remain as insightful and useful to our lives as they always have been. Minted is a 'travel brochure' which encourages the reader to explore other works by the featured poets, enabling you to discover even more of the 'inexhaustible riches' poetry provides.

This choice by Lord Byron is just one gem - there are 49 more valuable selections within the book itself. See our website to discover how you can get your hands on such priceless gold...

from Don Juan, Canto XIV


For me, I know nought; nothing I deny,
Admit – reject – contemn: and what know you,
Except perhaps that you were born to die?
And both may after all turn out untrue.
An age may come, Font of Eternity,
When nothing shall be either old or new.
Death, so called, is a thing which makes men weep,
And yet a third of Life is passed in sleep.


A sleep without dreams, after a rough day
Of toil, is what we covet most; and yet
How clay shrinks back from more quiescent clay!
The very Suicide that pays his debt
At once without instalments (an old way
Of paying debts, which creditors regret),
Lets out impatiently his rushing breath,
Less from disgust of Life than dread of Death.


’Tis round him – near him – here – there – everywhere –
And there’s a courage which grows out of fear,
Perhaps of all most desperate, which will dare
The worst to know it: – when the mountains rear
Their peaks beneath your human foot, and there
You look down o’er the precipice, and drear
The gulf of rock yawns, – you can’t gaze a minute,
Without an awful wish to plunge within it.


’T is true, you don’t – but, pale and struck with terror,
Retire: but look into your past impression!
And you will find, thought shuddering at the mirror
Of your own thoughts, in all their self-confession,
The lurking bias, be it truth or error,
To the unknown; a secret prepossession,
To plunge with all your fears – but where? You know not,
And that’s the reason why you do – or do not.

George Gordon, Lord Byron

1 thoughts on “Featured Poem: Don Juan by George Gordon, Lord Byron

[…] already been an exclusive sneak preview of Minted here on The Reader Online in the form of a Featured Poem picked from the book, and guests at our big Get Into Reading 10th birthday party not only bagged their own copy of the […]

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