Study Guide

Don Juan Calling Card

By George Gordon Byron, 6th Baron Byron

Calling Card

Mockery and Sass

Lord Byron doesn't take any prisoners when he makes fun of his readers, especially when they're English readers. He creates his signature satirical tone by writing clever rhymes and often using exclamation points to show how silly his epic ideas are, like in this passage:

Oh! Mahomet! that his Majesty should take
Such notice of a giaour, while scarce to one
Of them his lips imperial ever spake!
There was a general whisper, toss, and wriggle
But etiquette forbade them all to giggle.
(5.103)

This last couplet talks about people not being allowed to giggle because it's not appropriate for a respectable situation. Similarly, many British readers would think that Byron's satire isn't appropriate for an epic poem. But that's Byron's calling card. He'll take something that's supposed to be super-serious and make it absurd. Check out "Dear Doctor, I Have Read Your Play" and "Lines to Mr. Hodgson Written on Board the Lisbon Packet" for other examples.