The faithful servant of Æneas in the Æneid.

One of the generals of the Greeks at Troy, second only to Achilles in bravery. He was killed by Paris, and buried near Patroclus at Sigaeum/

The port city of Alicant province in southeastern Spain.

An Italian Adriatic port, south of Ravenna .

The faithful dog which died when he saw Ulysses returned from his 20 years' travels.

Ariosto, Ludovico (1474-1533)
Author of Orlando Furioso and a favorite of Byron.

A Greek Epicurean who wrote on the subject of Pleasure.

One of the Fates (Parcæ) who controlled birth, life and death. Clotho held the distaff, Lachesis spun the thread of life, and Atropos cut the thread to end life.

(adjective) Like a priestess or female votary of Bacchus. Bacchus' woman followers were uninhibited.

Bacon, Francis, Viscount St. Albans (1561-1626)
The English philosopher and politician's illustrious career was tarnished when, as Lord Chancellor, he was accused of accepting bribes from pleaders in the Court of Chancery. He was impeached by the Parliament. For a very readable biography of Bacon, see Catherine Drinker Bowen's Francis Bacon: The Temper of a Man.

A shawl or wrap worn by Turkish men and women.

Barrow, Isaac (1630-1677)
Master of Trinity College, Cambridge and a famous preacher.

A Spanish petticoat, worn over indoor dress.

Blair, Hugh (1718-1800)
Regius professor of rhetoric and belles-lettres, U. Edinburgh from 1762 to 1783.

the Blues
Members of the Bluestocking societies. These were literary clubs, chiefly female and staunchly conservative. Byron enjoyed pointing out their "wretched affectations and systematized Sophistry." Depending on the needs of the verse, the Blues might also be the Ceruleans.

A clown or comic actor.

A hilly region of China known for its black tea.

Botany Bay
The original Australian penal colony was at Botany Bay in New South Wales.

Richard Brothers (1757-1824)
A fanatic who thought he was a descendent of David and therefore heir to the crown of the world. On this basis, he claimed the British throne.

Bryant, Jacob
Author of a 1796 treatise which argued that the Trojan War never happened, and that there never was a Troy.

Jack Cade
A Kentish rebel, Irish by birth, who raised a force of 40000 peasants against the government of Henry VI. He is the archtype of the low class, brutish demogogue.

Ça ira
A song popular during the French Revolution. Literally, "It will go on."

Thomas Campbell
The Scottish poet Thomas Campbell (1777-1844) was best known at the time of the Dedication for his "Pleasures of Hope," a poem in the style of another of Byron's friends, Samuel Rogers. In 1809 Campbell published "Gertrude of Wyoming", a long poem which Byron admired.

Students at Cambridge (Cantabridgians). Wooden spoons were awarded for less than stellar accomplishment.

Canto 1
Published in 1819, along with Canto 2.

Canto 2
Published in 1819, along with Canto 1.

Cape Matapan
The southernmost tip of the Greek mainland.

Cape Sigaeum
The Asiatic side of the entrance to the Dardanelles.

Daughter of Priam, whom Apollo blessed with future sight, then cursed to be never believed.

The spring on Mount Parnassus sacred to the Muses. To drink from it was to be filled with the fire of true poetry.

Castlereagh, Viscount
Robert Stewart, the Tory Foreign Secretary 1812-1822, much despised by the Whigs in general and Byron in particular. Castlereagh was associated with, and assumed responsible for, Britain's rigid and bloody foreign policy durin this period, and particularly with the harsh reaction to the Irish uprising.

Charles' Wain
Charlemagne's Wagon -- the constellation we know as Ursus Major or the Big Dipper.

Coleridge, Samuel Taylor(1772-1834)
British poet and essayist. He managed to produce some fine poetry, despite mental instability and addictions to opium and alcohol which plagued the last half of his life.

Corpo di Caio Mario!
A mild oath, similar to others common in Italian, but probably made up by Byron.

Coxe, William (1747-1828)
Published the Memoirs of John, Duke of Marlborough in 1818, though he is best known for his History of the House of Austria. He was archdeacon of Wiltshire.

Crabbe, George (1754-1832>
An English "poet of reality", Crabbe wrote dark but accurate descriptions of poor and rural life. His best known work, The Village was published in 1785, but he began writing again around 1807 (The Parish Register, The Borough, Tales From the Hall) and was much admired during the Regency.

Crashaw, Richard (1612?-1649)
Crawhaw was a passionate Roman Catholic whose religious poems, collected in Steps to the Temple (1646) now sometimes appear excessively fervent.

Cromwell, Oliver (1599-1658)
Cromwell's biographers (not to mention his detractors) often stressed the wildness of his youth, which include such crimes as stealing apples and breaking hedges.

Currie, James (1777-1805)
Biographer of Robert Burns. His Works of Robert Burns, with an account of his Life was published in 1800, according to Pratt.

A group of islands in the Ægean Sea, between Greece and Turkey.

Polyphemus, the leader of the Cyclops, was blinded by Odysseus, whom he planned to eat. He went into a terrible rage, throwing great rocks from the cliffs of Sicily into the sea.

The narrow strait that separates Europe from Turkey and through which the Black Sea empties into the Mediterranean. Also known as the Hellespont.

de Foix, Gaston, Duke of Nemours (1489-1512)
French general in Italy. He defeated the Spanish at Ravenna, but was killed in that battle.

Don Juan
In the original legend, Don Juan was a Spanish libertine, the archtype of sexual energy and wickedness. The running joke in Byron's version is that this violent and voluptuous figure is more the victim than the vanquisher. He remains good-humored, well-intentioned, charming, courteous and compliant. The ladies won't leave him alone.

Don Juan -- the poem
This poem should be read at the same pace as a novel, though with perhaps a more careful appreciation of the author's skill in the language. The poem isn't about anything, except possibly Byron and his opinions. The poem has been described as "an incessant monologue, in the course of which a story manages to be told.". It is obvious that Byron enjoyed the opportunity to confide his judgments on the major institutions of his day. He continued working on the poem almost to his death.

A name used for several diseases involving fluid retention, such as edema.
Duke of Clarence
The brother of Richard III, he is said to have been assassinated by drowning in a cask of the sweet, fragrant wine called Malmsey. See Richard III (I.iv).

The Eclectic Review was a literary magazine that did not approve of Byron's morals nor his poetry.

Epicurus (341-271 BC)
Greek philosopher and founder of the Epicurean philosophical movement of the Hellenic period.

French for "epic".

A translucent white veil or kerchief.

An ancient city on the north coast of Africa, near the Straights of Gibraltar.

The 'extras' of a ballet company -- the mob of dancers in the back.

A passport or travel pass

Frenchman. Used in the poem in the more general sense of "foreigner". Presumably in the East every Westerner was a Frank, as in the West every Easterner was a Turk.

A small, fast ship of the Eastern Mediterranean.

William B. Gurney
An Englishman famed for his skill as a shorthand writer. He was the official recorder of the Houses of Parliament and recorded the proceedings of many court trials.

The evening star.

A Spanish nobleman of the lower rank.

Hoyle, Edmund (1672-1769)
This is the Hoyle whose rules are still cited in games of cards. He published a Short Treatise on Whist in 1742.

Humboldt, Alexander, Baron von (1769-1859)
German naturalist and traveller. The record of his voyages to South America, published in 24 volumes from 1805 to 1834, earned him wide recognition as an explorer. With the French chemist Joseph Louis Gay-Lussac he conducted experiments to determine the chemical constitution of the atmosphere.

Ilium, or Troy.

The bodice or vest of a Turkish woman's dress.

Johnson, Samuel (1709-1784)
The literary lion of the 18th century, whose influence was still felt in Byron's day. Among his great accomplishments were Lives of the main English poets and of others, including Milton and Savage.

The normal emphasis, of course, is José. Byron altered the name for his meter.

The Laocoon
A famous stature, now in the Vatican Museum, which depicts the death of Laocoön and his sons. They are being squeezed to death by sea snakes.

Lake Poets
Southey, Wordsworth and Coleridge were collectively known as the "Lake Poets". They all lived, at least part of the year, in the vicinity of Keswick in the Lake Country of northern England.

A river of Hades, from which the dead is required to drink. Then, as Milton says he "his former state and being forgets,/Forgets both joy and grief, pleasure and pain."

A reception of visitors upon rising from bed.

A French word meaning something like "tediousness."

Lord Lonsdate
A virulent Tory who was Wordsworth's friend and patron.

A town of eastern Italy, near Ravenna . Its autumn fair dates to Roman times.

Greek pirates, who still infested the Greek seas in Byron's time.

A woman's cape or cloak.

Milbanke, Anne Isabella

Byron's wife. They were married in 1815 and separated the next year after the birth of Byron's only natural child, Augusta Ada. Lady Byron was by all accounts a grave and learnéd woman whose interests included both religion and mathamatics. She was also highly intolerant of Byron's flamboyance and completely unwilling to put up with his sexual promiscuity. After their separation she learned of Byron's earlier affair with his half-sister, Augusta, and afterwards never considered reconciliation.

Byron's antipathy towards his wife and towards the institution of marriage is a minor theme of Don Juan. Don Juan's, mother, Donna Inez, has many characteristics of Lady Byron, and the relationship of Donna Inez and Don Jóse in Canto I is modeled on the Byron marriage.

The separation was well publicized and created serious social problems for Byron. His affairs with Lady Carolyn Lamb and with his half-sister became public knowledge. He was for the most part shunned by "polite society". He left England in the spring of 1816 and never returned.

Moore, Thomas (1779-1852)

An Irish-born Catholic who became a fashionable poet during the Regency. He is best remembered now for lyrics like "Believe Me, If All Those Endearing Young Charms", and "The Harp That Once Through Tara's Halls". Moore also translated Anacreon's Odes, to which Byron makes reference in Canto 1.

Byron's early verse was heavily influenced by Moore, and Moore was a close friend of Byron from 1812 until Byron's death.

Byron's mother
was a strict Presbyterian and raised Byron in that tightly-regimented sect. Like Donna Inez, she was a widow; Byron's father, John Byron, died when Byron was 3. And like Donna Inez, she was subject to rages.

Nelson, Horatio (1758-1805)
Britain's greatest admiral of the Napoleonic wars. He was created Viscount Nelson in 1801 after crushing the French at Copenhagen. He died in the great victory over the French fleet at Trafalgar.

A semi-legendary Irish hero and bard. In the 18th century a collection of 'translations' from Ossian were published by James Macpherson, and they were widely believed to be genuine even in Byron's time.

A mountain of central Greece, one of the highest in Europe. It was sacred to Apollo, Bacchus and the Muses.

Wife of Minos, king of Crete. When Minos refused to sacrifice a white bull demanded by the gods, Neptune took revenge by making Pasiphaë fall in love with the bull. The artist Dædalus contrived a way for her to gratify her passion, and as a result she gave birth to the Minotaur.

The friend of Achilles at Troy. When Achilles refused to fight after a spat with Menelaus, Patroclus donned Achilles' armor and fought in his place. He was killed, but was buried as one of the great heroes of the Greeks.

Achilles, whose father was Peleus.

A river of Hades which flowed fire instead of water.

The ancient land of which Troy was the chief city.

The Titan Pontos, the first god of the sea in Greek legend, was often depicted with his head rising from the sea.

Post-obit bonds
Financial instruments that allowed potential heirs to borrow against their expectations. So named because they became due on the death of the person from whom the borrower expected to inherit. Such loans carried relatively high rates of interest.

King of Thessaly, and a general of the Greeks at Troy. An oracle had said that the first Greek to land at Troy would be the first to die, and the unlucky guy was Protesilaus.

Pulci, Luigi (1432-1484)
An Italian writer of burlesque romances, including Morgante Maggiore, which Byron translated. There are some structural similarities between that poem and Don Juan.

Hard liquor. Also, a head-ache.

The Italian name for the Croatian port of Dubrovnik.

An Italian city on the Adriatic. It was one of Byron's favorite places. Boccaccio lived there, and Dante died there. The level of the Adriatic Sea was once much higher, and the harbour on which the Roman fort of Caesarea sat gradually rose above the sea. By the Middle Ages it was planted in orchards and forests, and this was the scene that Byron still found in the early 1800s. Dryden's "Theodore and Honoria" is set in these pine forests.

The Prince of Wales (later George IV) ruled as Regent during the incapacitation (by reason of insanity) of his father, George III, from 1811-1820. It was the Regent who awarded Southey the laureateship.

Samuel Rogers
Samuel Rogers (1763-1855) was a poet of great reputation in the early 19th century, mainly for his "Pleasures of Memory" (1792).
One of the Papal States of Italy. Its chief city was Ravenna. The woman to whom Juan is chained in Canto IV is a Romagnole, or native of Romagna.

Modern Greek, as it was spoken in Byron's day.

Romilly, Sir Samual
Romilly was Byron's lawyer, but represented Lady Byron in the separation proceedings, earning Byron's enmity. He committed suicide in 1818 after the death of his wife.

Sardanapalus (669-640)
A king of Assyria. Byron wrote a tragedy about him.

Saussure, Horace Benédict de (1740-1799)
Swiss physicist, geologist and traveller. He made several inventions, and coined the term "geology".

A Greek island in the Aegean Sea.

Scott, Sir Walter (1762-1850)
The poet and novelist. His narrative poems -- The Lady of the Lake, Marmion, The Lay of the Last Mistrel -- were the most-read poems of the early 19th century until Byron came along.

A hot, dry desert wind. Southern Californians might compare it to a Santa Ana.

Joanna Southcote (1750-1814)

Southcote claimed to be a virgin and to be with child with the new Messiah, "Shiloh". She retained a large fanatic following during the years she remained "pregnant". Doctors of the time diagnosed her actual condition as dropsy.

One of her followers was Parson Tozer.

Sotheby, William.
Poet, critic and translater whom Byron believed had unfairly panned "The Prisoner of Chillon."

South, Robert (1634-1716)
Public orator at Oxford, who also preached at Court.

Southey, Robert (1774-1843)

British poet, biographer and critic. Poet laureate 1813-1843. Southey was one of the "Lake Poets ", and has long been a target of satire. The poem "You Are Old, Father William" in Alice's Adventures in Wonderland is a spoof on a Southey lyric. Here is the Norton Anthology article on Southey:

Time has dealt harshly with Robert Southey, for he is remembered mainly for his close association with poets greater than himself and for Byron's brilliant lampoons in Don Juan and The Vision of Judgment. He attended Oxford, was for a short time a fervent supporter of the French Revolution, and wrote an epic and two dramas inspired by that event. With Coleridge (who became his brother-in-law) he planned the frustrated "Pantisocracy" on the banks of the Susquehanna and collaborated on several poems. In 1803 he settled at Keswick in the Lake Country, within long walking distance of his friend Wordsworth; and with advancing age, he settled into a Tory viewpoint more conservative than either Wordsworth's or Coleridge's. All his life a learned and hard-working writer, he produced thousands of pages of epic and shorter poems, history, essays, biographies and anything else for which there was a market; he was awarded the laureateship in 1813.

The only Southey writings still widely read are a few lyrics, a beautifully lucid short Life of Nelson (1813), and -- a piece so widely loved and often retold that it has lost its connection with its author and acquired the status of an anonymous "fairy tale" -- the story of The Three Bears.

Southey was an extreme Tory, but had been a bit of a radical in his youth. Along with Coleridge and others, he had planned an ideal society to be established in America based on a set of principles they called Pantisocracy. He was embarrassed when an idealistic play he wrote on the subject of Wat Tyler was resurrected and published (without his consent) in 1817. It was very popular.

Byron held all the Lake Poets culpable, but especially Southey, for their slide from youthful idealism into mean-spirited Toryism.

A river of Hades, around which it was said to wind 9 times. All the dead must cross it. Thetis dipped her son Achilles in its water to make him invulnerable.

Swedenborg, Emanuel (1688-1772)
The well-known Swedish philosopher and divine. He considered his interpretations of Scripture to be not only inspired but directed by God. William Blake was an admirer of Swedenborg.

Verbum sat
"A word [to the wise] is sufficient."

The mother of the Greek hero Achilles. She was a sea deity, daughter of Nereus. Thetis gave her son invulnerability to wound by plunging him into the water of Styx . The heel by which she held the baby remained unimmersed, however, leaving him vulnerable in that spot.

Tillotson, John (1630-1694)
Archbishop of Canterbury. According to Bishop Burnet, "he was not only the best preacher of the age, but seemed to have brought preaching to perfection."

Time the Avenger
Byron had already made this phrase well-known in Canto IV (stanza cxxv) of Childe Harold:
O Time! the beautifier of the dead,
Adorner of the ruin, comforter
And only healer when the heart hath bled—
Time! the corrector where our judgments err,
The test of truth, love,—sole philosopher.
For all besides are sophists, from thy thrift
Which never loses though it doth defer—
Time, the avenger! unto thee I lift
My hands, and eyes, and heart, and crave of thee a gift.

The Italian poets of the 14th century, such as Dante.

Wellington, Duke of (1769-1852)
Arthur Wellesley, created Duke of Wellington in 1814 after long service against Napoleon during the Peninsular War, was the leading British military figure of the times. He is still remembered as the hero of Waterloo (1815).

Wilberforce, William (1759-1833)
English Evangelical, parliamentarian and philanthropist. He and Thomas Clarkson were the leading members of the movement in England to abolish trading in slaves. The practice was abolished in England in 1807, but continued in England's colonies over seas until a bill for gradual emancipation was passed in in 1833.

Wordsworth, William (1770-1850)
The best known poet of his time. His best writing was already behind him, though, when he published The Excursion in 1813. Byron felt, perhaps wrongly, that Wordsworth looked down upon his 'popular' poetry. Byron could see the Wordsworth of the time as a poet of rapidly declining powers; but Wordsworth today is esteemed so highly for the work that he did before 1808 that Byron sometimes seems mean-spirited and perhaps even jealous in his satires.