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by George Gordon Byron, 1881

(Don Juan, Canto xvi. Stanzas 96–98.)

  ——————JUAN, when he cast a glance
On Adeline while playing her grand rôle,
  Which she went through as though it were a dance
(Betraying only now and then her soul
  By a look scarce perceptibly askance
Of weariness or scorn), began to feel
Some doubt how much of Adeline was real;

So well she acted all and every part
  By turns—with that vivacious versatility,
Which many people take for want of heart.
  They err—’tis merely what is call’d mobility,
A thing of temperament—and not of art,
  Though seeming so from its supposed facility;
And false—though true; for surely they’re sincerest
Who are strongly acted on by what is nearest.

This makes your actors, artists, and romancers,
  Heroes sometimes, though seldom—sages never;
But speakers, bards, diplomatists, and dancers,
  Little that’s great, but much of what is clever;
Most orators, but very few financiers,
  Though all Exchequer chancellors endeavour,
Of late years, to dispense with Cocker’s rigours,
And grow quite figurative with their figures.

Published in Poetry of Byron

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