So, I’m currently reading Byron’s Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage. It’s a blend of epic poem, travel guide and Napoleonic-period political commentary, with plenty of asides thrown in. It’s a surprisingly fun read.
When I write it up (probably in two parts, which is how it was published), I’ll have some relevant quotes, but there was one that I didn’t think would make it into my writeup but that’s worth sharing anyway. Here’s Byron on how to be successful with women:
Not much he kens, I ween, of woman’s breast,
Who thinks that wanton thing is won by sighs;
What careth she for hearts when once possess’d?
Do proper homage to thine idol’s eyes;
But not too humbly, or she will despise
Thee and thy suit, though told in moving tropes:
Disguise ev’n tenderness, if thou art wise;
Brisk Confidence still best with woman copes;
Pique her and soothe in turn, soon Passion crowns thy hopes.
Byron of course was applying his advice to wooing women, but in our more egalitarian age I’m sure he’d think it equally applicable the other way round.
So, there you have it. Now, if only someone had told me as a teenager…