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Presidential Peroration

by Danny "Don Juan" Henrey

The address of the Byron Society President, Lord Daniel "Don Juan" Henrey, at the Byron Society Dinner on the 3rd March, 1987.

Dear Byronists, most of you will by now be familiar with the biographical details of the life of the man to whose memory and example we have devoted this evening. Certain facets of Byron and the Byronic cannot fail but to shine through the murk of time: for example, that he was an inveterate and inordinately successful womanizer; that he spent much of his inheritance on things like a magnificent but antiquated travelling coach and an accompanying menagerie of animals; and that he had a passion for foreign travel and adventure. Thanks to my own researches, several more vital aspects of the man have now come to light. These include an unconquerable attraction to sheep, especially the heavily-fleeced Loch Lomond breed; a lifelong inferiority complex due to the fact that he did not go to Oxford (by the time he applied, all the rooms at Trinity and Christ Church had been taken); an adolescent passion for Spotted Dick - who I have identified as a boy two years his junior at Harrow; and an urge to ponce about in make-up and high heels every time there was a full moon. All this is revealed in my new monograph, 'Byron and me: some striking similarities', published by Basil Blackwell at 27.50. However, many of you are probably wondering exactly what it means to be a Byronist in this day and age, where A.I.D.S. curbs our Don Juanly excesses, horse-drawn coaches are no longer a common means of transportation and the Loch Lomond sheep is extinct. Fortunately, the diary of my recently-deceased uncle, Lord Newstead of Willesden Green, has come into my possession. Here, if ever, was a latter-day Byronist, and I would like to take this opportunity to read out some representative extracts: -

Not long after this, dear uncle Newstead did indeed die, mumbling, "Those blasted leeches at the Nat. West. have finally drained me dry; an eternal curse on their souls!" All I can say is, may his tortured body now rest in peace at last. I myself take comfort from the family motto: Nihil tedium in vita; solamentus vinum, nookum et yawnum technicoloriis, which, loosely translated, runs, "Praise Byron, pass the port, carry on bonking, and sod the consequences".

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