‘Due Bounds’ and ‘Due Precision’: Don Juan (i)

  • Mark Storey


One of Byron’s most sustained flights occurs in canto VI of Don Juan, where he pursues the ramifications of his hero’s plight, disguised as a woman in a harem: on the one hand there is the innocent Dudù, with her less-than-innocent dreams as she shares a bed with Juan; on the other is the lustful Gulbeyaz, with her own thoughts about this new arrival. Byron plays off the one relationship against the other, and the canto as a whole depends for its effect on this juxtaposition and eventual intermingling of feelings, and ideas about feelings. Towards the end of the canto, when Dudù has finally been settled after her Tond hallucination’, Byron turns his attention towards Gulbeyaz:

With the first ray or rather grey of morn,

Gulbeyaz rose from restlessness, and pale

As Passion rises with its bosom worn,

Arrayed herself with mantle, gem, and veil.

The nightingale that sings with the deep thorn,

Which fable places in her breast of wail,

Is lighter far of heart and voice than those

Whose headlong passions form their proper woes.


Human Feeling Paradise Lost True Feeling Passionate Love Sexual Admiration 
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  1. 1.
    George M. Ridenour, The Style of ‘Don Juan’ (New Haven, Conn., 1960) p. 76.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    See John Jones, John Keats’s Dream of Truth (1969) pp. 270–95.Google Scholar
  3. 4.
    I derive these and other variants from the Penguin edition of Don Juan, ed. T. G. and E. Steffan and W. W. Pratt (Harmondsworth, 1973, rev. 1977).Google Scholar
  4. 5.
    See Christopher Ricks, Milton’s Grand Style (Oxford, 1963) pp.69–72.Google Scholar
  5. 7.
    W. W. Robson talks rather in these terms in ‘Byron and Sincerity’, in English Romantic Poets, ed. M. H. Abrams (London, Oxford, New York, 1975) pp. 275–302; his essay remains none the less one of the most stimulating discussions of Byron.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Mark Storey 1986

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mark Storey
    • 1
  1. 1.University of BirminghamUK

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