Canto IV in the can

Leon Gerome's painting of the Capture of Blackbeard (not much like Juan's voyage with  the pirates)
Leon Gerome’s paint­ing of the Cap­ture of Black­beard (not much like Juan’s voy­age with the pirates)

Who knew? I had the time sud­den­ly, and the oppor­tu­ni­ty. So into my ‘stu­dio’, a few prac­tice runs — helped by the recent (labo­ri­ous) work on Can­to III — and the vio­lent, sad, quirky con­clu­sion of the Juan-Haidée episode is done!

Can­to IV was writ­ten at the same time as Can­to III: they’re one sto­ry. It was split into two. Byron says (in Can­to III) ‘for mon­ey’. But that’s a fib. He offered John Mur­ray, his pub­lish­er, both Can­tos for the price of one. Mur­ray was, as ever, squea­mish about both.

Num­ber Four is the ter­ri­ble tale of the inevitable end of the Juan-Haidee romance; his injury, cap­ture and trans­port into Slav­ery at the hand of her father, the Pirate Lam­bro. Her des­o­la­tion at the loss of Juan and her hopes; her death (and the death of anoth­er); the decline and dis­ap­pear­ance, with Haidée, of all her father had built.

Juan, wound­ed and (alas!) inca­pac­i­tat­ed by his grief over the loss of Haidée, is chained to a beau­ti­ful female slave on board the slavers’ ship. His com­pan­ions in the hold are a trav­el­ing Ital­ian opera com­pa­ny whose impre­sario has sold them into slav­ery. He gets all the goss on the sex­u­al jeal­ousies, char­ac­ter faults and stage weak­ness­es of the troupe from the ‘buf­fo’ of the par­ty. But they arrive, pret­ty quick­ly at the warves below the Seraglio of Con­stan­tino­ple and dis­em­bark for the slave mart, to learn their fates.

Now… on to Can­to V (that link to Peter Gal­laghers record­ing of Don Juan Can­to V, once — a few years ago — for Lib­rivox).

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Byron fan (not fanatic); poetry lover (not tragic); doctor of melancholia (not gloom).