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’