Last Updated on June 3, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 256
Context: Lord Byron, after selecting "our ancient friend Don Juan" as the protagonist for his satiric epic poem, "begin[s] with the beginning" and goes on to describe the young hero's parents, Don Jóse and Donna Inez, true Gothic aristocrats of Spain without tint of alien blood. Though the learned and witty Donna Inez is virtuous beyond comparison with the saints, she is insipid (as all such perfection must be) as was the garden before the fall, and Don Jóse, a true son of Eve and "a mortal of the careless kind" goes straying after other fruits, never dreaming that she cares. But Donna Inez, for all her merits, has "a devil of a spirit" and repays neglect (the sin to try even a saint!) by getting her lord into many a scrape. And
This was an easy matter with a man
Oft in the wrong, and never on his guard;
And even the wisest, do the best they can,
Have moments, hours, and days, so unprepared,
That you might "brain them with their lady's fan;"
And sometimes ladies hit exceeding hard,
And fans turn into falchions in fair hands
And why and wherefore no one understands.
'Tis pity learned virgins ever wed
With persons of no sort of education,
Or gentlemen, who, though well born and bred,
Grow tired of scientific conversation;
I don't choose to say much upon this head,
I'm a plain man, and in a single station,
But–Oh! ye lords of ladies intellectual,
Inform us truly, have they not hen-peck'd you all?
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