Don Juan In 30 Lines

Two hundred years, it’s come to this—
we want our verse exiguous;
now Don Juan, that epic book,
must be one page, a minute’s look.
He was a blithe lad, led astray
by vixen lust, then chased away
where, shipwrecked, he attained true love—
minutia we got rid of;
that romance blocked, again to sea
where Turks brought him to slavery;
then cross-dressed in a seraglio,
Juan had exploits we forgo;
prolix Bryon, let’s give ’im props
but, these days, 30 lines is tops.
There was a war Juan joined in
and rescued a Muslim urchin;
this saga once had folks engrossed,
but brevity’s now uppermost;
then on to Catherine the Great’s
court, where the plot expatiates;
Juan her lover, Byron wrote
two cantos, now lopped to a mote
’cause, nowadays, attention’s gone
a minute on, per au courant.
From there, our hero England went
to laud freedom and parliament;—
while getting robbed, his mugger shot—
but that is all the time we got.
Today, most reading’s cursory,
so fare thee well, old epopee.

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