Hours of Idleness
I will not advance, by the rules of romance,
To humour a whimsical fair;
Though a smile may delight, yet a frown won’t affright,
Or drive me to dreadful despair.
While my blood is thus warm I ne’er shall reform,
To mix in the Platonists’ school;
Of this I am sure, was my passion so pure,
Thy mistress would think me a fool.
And if I should shun every woman for one,
Whose image must fill my whole breast—
Whom I must prefer, and sigh but for her—
What an insult ’twould be to the rest!
– Byron, from ‘The Sighing Strephon’
He was by nature a great ladies’ man, and like most deep adorers of the sex, never tied up his freedom of general worship by making one willful sacrifice of himself at the altar.
– Herman Melville, ‘Jimmy Rose’