Byron's Don Juan and Controversy

However, on receiving an early copy of the first canto of Byron’s Don Juan in 1819, Banks was outraged. ‘I never read so Lascivious a performance. No woman here will Confess that she has read it. We hitherto considered his Lordship only as an Atheist without morals. We now must add to his respectable Qualifications that of being a Profligate.’16 Yet had Banks lived to read the tenth canto (1821), he might well have been amused by His Lordship’s nimble mockery of Newton and the story of the falling apple, which of course Byron associates with Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden.

When Newton saw an apple fall, he found
In that slight startle from his contemplation –
’T is said (for I’ll not answer above ground
For any sage’s creed or calculation) –
A mode of proving that the earth turn’d round
In a most natural whirl, called ‘gravitation;’
And this is the sole mortal who could grapple,
Since Adam, with a fall or with an apple.

Byron went on to praise the achievements of post-Newtonian science in his own elegant and bantering way.

Man fell with apples, and with apples rose,
If this be true; for we must deem the mode
In which Sir Isaac Newton could disclose
Through the then unpaved stars the turnpike road,
A thing to counterbalance human woes:
For ever since immortal man hath glow’d
With all kinds of mechanics, and full soon
Steam-engines will conduct him to the moon.


The poem pokes fun at Adam in the Garden of Eden, and predicts a hopeful future through science.

Folksonomies: science fiction bible prescience

/technology and computing/computer certification (0.632052)
/science/physics (0.551399)
/science (0.446562)

Don Juan (0.946658 (positive:0.911524)), immortal man hath (0.870778 (positive:0.704416)), Sir Isaac Newton (0.848864 (neutral:0.000000)), Byron associates (0.712125 (positive:0.432211)), slight startle (0.691626 (negative:-0.481371)), hopeful future (0.677651 (positive:0.885156)), nimble mockery (0.677129 (negative:-0.271672)), Controversy The poem (0.655939 (positive:0.911524)), respectable Qualifications (0.651337 (neutral:0.000000)), early copy (0.644579 (neutral:0.000000)), natural whirl (0.636749 (positive:0.615176)), sole mortal (0.630503 (negative:-0.732472)), post-Newtonian science (0.618904 (positive:0.829394)), sage’s creed (0.617320 (neutral:0.000000)), human woes (0.611617 (negative:-0.496095)), unpaved stars (0.610106 (negative:-0.294951)), apple fall (0.605252 (negative:-0.351848)), turnpike road (0.596535 (negative:-0.294951)), Adam (0.524508 (positive:0.671868)), Lordship (0.491054 (negative:-0.266767)), canto (0.489130 (neutral:0.000000)), Eden (0.448518 (positive:0.671868)), mode (0.432369 (negative:-0.303296)), Banks (0.431283 (negative:-0.458439)), apples (0.430891 (neutral:0.000000)), Garden (0.415177 (positive:0.671868)), morals (0.377250 (negative:-0.261861)), contemplation (0.373013 (negative:-0.481371)), Atheist (0.367174 (negative:-0.261861)), ‘I (0.362587 (negative:-0.434099))

Byron:Person (0.888132 (positive:0.724377)), Sir Isaac Newton:Person (0.872214 (negative:-0.311760)), apple:Company (0.820306 (negative:-0.368474)), Adam:Person (0.698605 (positive:0.671868)), Garden of Eden:Facility (0.652010 (positive:0.671868)), Don Juan:Person (0.514064 (positive:0.911524)), Banks:Person (0.484855 (negative:-0.458439))

Garden of Eden (0.982839): dbpedia | freebase | yago
Isaac Newton (0.881675): dbpedia | freebase | opencyc | yago
Adam and Eve (0.708728): dbpedia | freebase
Mathematics (0.701590): dbpedia | freebase | opencyc
Book of Genesis (0.695237): dbpedia | freebase
Paradise Lost (0.674438): dbpedia | freebase | yago
Adam (0.674295): dbpedia | freebase | yago
Don Juan (0.634042): dbpedia | freebase | yago

 The Age of Wonder
Books, Brochures, and Chapters>Book:  Holmes , Richard (2010-03-02), The Age of Wonder, Vintage, Retrieved on 2012-01-02
  • Source Material []
  • Folksonomies: history enlightenment science