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This is a line from Don Juan (Byron’s), describing a sultan’s wife, furious at not getting her way. The entire verse is:

Her rage was but a minute’s, and ‘t was well—
A moment’s more had slain her; but the while
It lasted ‘t was like a short glimpse of hell:
Nought ’s more sublime than energetic bile,
Though horrible to see yet grand to tell,
Like ocean warring ‘gainst a rocky isle;
And the deep passions flashing through her form
Made her a beautiful embodied storm.

It appears in the fifth canto, set in Istanbul.

I love this work, possibly because Byron was possessed of a similar temperament, but also because he could laugh about it. This verse, while not my favorite in the work (I tend to like the ironic/humorous more) seemed strangely apt to describe my life.

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1 Comment

  1. Hi
    I am not young having retired from a full time accountancy ten years ago. I am now an artist currently studying for a degree in Creative Studies. I have been on Lithium for about 8 years (about 400 to 600 mg). I tried to reduce my dose but after a year I have suffered a relapse. The past year has been a roller coaster with me trying all sorts of projects , from becoming Publicity officer for our local Art Society to joining the Committee of the Indoor Bowls Club. Everything I have tried has ended after a few months in disaster. I left work with long term ill healthfollowing a long period of bullying. This has scarred me for life and since then only the Lithium stops me from taking comments to heart. I guess I am ultra sensitive and feel such fear and pain when anyone seems to be ganging up on me – sad but a real and horrible feeling. The Lithium does help because now I am back on it things don’t get to me and I feel the relief of being calm again. I know what you mean about not caring about anything as the down side is that I feel no particular enthusiasm for making art as I had been doing despite my tormented mind. I hope to be able to work up enough enthusiasm to continue with the my art degree as my work during the past year has been such that it has earned me exemptions for some of the remainder of the course. I just do not feel that anything is worthwhile.


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