From Lord Byron’s Don Juan:
Than I resign thine image, oh, my fair!
Or think of any thing excepting thee;
A mind diseased no remedy can physic
(Here the ship gave a lurch, and he grew sea-sick).
“Sooner shall heaven kiss earth (here he fell sicker),
Oh, Julia! what is every other woe?
(For God’s sake let me have a glass of liquor;
Pedro, Battista, help me down below.)
Julia, my love! (you rascal, Pedro, quicker) —
Oh, Julia! (this curst vessel pitches so) —
Belovéd Julia, hear me still beseeching!”
(Here he grew inarticulate with retching.)
I found this very funny, especially considering there was a great debate in the nineteenth century about the proper subject matter in poetry: was the own era worthy enough of poetry, or should a poet retell the stories of the Classics? Poets like Ruskin, Carlyle, and Patmore saw the poet as a prophet, whose poetry entailed hidden truths and divine messages, so poetry was crucial for a proper and developed society. I think from the above excerpt you might know Byron’s opinion on a poet’s subject matter! You can read all of Don Juan here, it’s a great poem, and very readable and entertaining.
Also for you smokers out there: J.M. Barrie writes 13 chapters on the art of smoking. It’s really quite a good read!
Lastly Serial Sensation is publishing Mrs. Henry Woods’ East Lynne in small bits every week, so you can read it as a series, as it appeared in Victorian newspapers.