Beppo: A Venetian Story "The Years Which Certain People Call A "certain Age""
by Lord George Gordon Byron

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"The Years Which Certain People Call A "certain Age""

(Magill's Quotations in Context)

Context: Beppo was written in 1817, a year before the first canto of Don Juan. Both poems are in ottava rima (eight-line stanzas rhyming a b a b a b c c), both are satires written in mock-heroic style, and both are modeled on a poem by John Hookham Frere (1769-1846) published under the pseudonym "Whistlecraft" (1817-1818). The very slight plot in Beppo serves merely as a peg on which to hang satire. Beppo, a Venetian gentleman, returns to Venice in Carnival time, disguised as a Turk, and confronts his wife, Laura, and her "cavalier servente" (gallant or lover), the Count. The outcome is quite different from that in Othello: ". . . since those times was never known a/ Husband whom mere suspicion could inflame/ To suffocate a wife no more than twenty,/ Because she had a cavalier servente" (Stanza 17). Beppo and the Count are reconciled over a cup of coffee, and Laura is once more the submissive wife. The lines quoted refer to Laura. In context they read.

She was not old, nor young, nor at the years
Which certain people call a "certain age,"
Which yet the most uncertain age appears.