Sonnet #3: Not By Ron

I’m making my way through Byron’s ‘Don Juan’ (pronounced Joo-ahn, as everyone except me probably knew) on the iPad. This sonnet’s first six words and other scattered phrases are  from Canto the First. Because it’s Melbourne Cup day, I thought I’d work in a little gambling reference.

Sonnet 3: Not By Ron
‘My days of love are over,’ By-
ron wrote when he was thirty. How
the times have changed for lovers. I
met you when twenty-nine, and now
it’s thirty-six years later. ‘Tis
still sweet (long since the first-born’s birth,
the first and passionate love) to kiss
the lips you say have thinned. The earth
will have us soon enough – and then –
what then? – I do not know, or care.
We’ll die somehow, some time, somewhere,
but when that comes I’ll bet you ten
to millions that our loving days
aren’t over. All may change. This stays.

5 responses to “Sonnet #3: Not By Ron

  1. Like

  2. A delightful love-sonnet, Jonathan. I like the deceptively insouciant tone, the neatly-poised elegance of those enjambments (if that is the correct term), and that witty mixture of registers in a classic resolution (including topical Cup-day reference!). One imagines even Byron himself cracking a smile at that outrageously cheeky, but affectionate snook unerringly cocked at his very name. Manages to amuse and move simultaneously – a tall order. Nice work!
    By the way, I found these November sonnets of yours most enjoyable.


  3. Now who lectured on Byron and “Don Juan” at Sydney University in the latter 1960s? Was it a Mrs OETTLE? I seem to recall a woman. Who pronounced Don Juan (“Don Hwahn” I would have thought – I had an aunt Juanita – Hwahneeta) as Don Jew-en. And further I seem to recall much later some kind explanation as to why a Spanish name might be given an English-sounding form.

    Clive has written a fine critique of “Not By Ron”!


  4. I reloaded that entry by accident, the result of my iPhone doing strange things, but it’s a happy accident since it provoked you to remind me of Mrs Oettle, Jim. I didn’t go to her lectures on Byron, but she was correct to pronounce Don Juan that way: maybe with humorous intentions, Byron clearly intended it to be pronounced in what could be called an ignorant-English way rather than in the way anyone who knew any Spanish would pronounce it.


What do you think?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.