Lord Byron’s dating tips for boys

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…



Filed under 19th Century, Byron, Lord, Literary Dating Tips, Poetry

5 responses to “Lord Byron’s dating tips for boys

  1. Byron is coming up quite a bit a moment here too. Just finished the Lermontov book ( a sort of bio) and I am starting again to reread A Hero of Our Time.

    Perhaps it’s time (given the above quote) to dig out Casanova?

  2. GB Steve

    Pique her and soothe in turn, soon Passion crowns thy hopes

    It’s all about the girls with you, isn’t it? Dating tips, an immoderate desire, kisses, sex …

  3. Sounds like playing hard to get is not such a new thing after all. But nicer put of course.

  4. Guy, I’ve read the Penguin Classics version of History of My Life, which isn’t the full thing – it’s excerpts – and it was absolutely brilliant. Very well written, often very funny and at times quite breathtaking.

    He’s not always very pleasant, at one point he basically cons an old woman out of her savings, but he is always entertaining for the reader. I’d definitely dig it out.

    GB, well, it’s sex or death in literature as a rule, and nobody’s died in anything I’ve read recently. What can I do?

    Although, to be fair, the immoderate desire was for riches and fineries, if it had been for sex that story would likely have ended happier.

    I should have some Alistair Reynolds coming up soon, if I can get a sex related title out of that I’ll be doing well.

    Tom, the beauty of some of these writers is the sheer baseness of what they’re saying, contrasted against the delicacy with which they say it. It’s what I love about John Donne’s (much earlier) poetry. Beautiful verse, but when you read closely almost all of it boils down to an elaborate (and frequently quite explicit) pick up line.

  5. In the early days of online dating sites were filled-with online profiles of people who are thieves, con artists and fraudsters.

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