The Sea Of Mud

By Larry Fyffe

In Byron’s Baroque-like mock epic, adrift in a longboat, akin to those on the real raft of the Medusa, the name of Don Juan’s kindly tutor is drawn from a hat.

Bad luck he has, killed he is, and then eaten:

Part was divided, part thrown in the sea ....
The sailors ate the rest of poor Pedrillo
(George Byron: Don Juan, Canto II)

Juan abstains from the meal, and manages to survive while the others go mad. He gets cared for by a pirate’s daughter when washed up on shore.

She craves his body, but it’s not food she’s after.

Byron critiques the basic goodness of all humankind optimistically proposed by Romantic Transcendentalist writers like William Wordsworth.

So do the song lyrics below, but in a satirical manner that’s more in line with regards to the stage directions set down by the preachers of Judeo-Christian orthodoxy.

Everyone aboard the Titanic is punished no matter what the degree of the sins he or she  commits – if any:

They lowered down the lifeboats
From the sinking wreck
There were traitors, there were turncoats
Broken backs, and broken necks
(Bob Dylan: Tempest)

Seems the likes of Puritan John Calvin and preRomantic poet William Blake will just have to wait until they’re in the promised Afterlife to find out whether their souls get saved or not:

Calvin, Blake and Wilson
Gambled in the dark
Not one of'em would ever live
To tell the tale of the disembark
(Bob Dylan: Tempest)

Maybe actor Richard Wilson is referenced above by Dylan.

The British actor had once sat down for a mock interview based on the following song lyrics (perhaps conducted in some madhouse on Castle Steet):

Well, after he had gone I thought of what he'd said
And all his funny actions they kept running through my head
And when I felt my mind was drowning in a sea of mud
It seemed his pint of beer had turned into a pint of blood
(Strawbs: The Man Who Called Himself Jesus~ Cousins)

In the poem below, painters and printmakers Edward Calvert, Richard Wilson, William Blake, and Claude Lorrain are said to present the possibility of an earthly paradise:

When the greater dream had gone
Calvert, Wilson, Blake, and Claude
Prepared a rest for the people of God
(William Yeats: Under Ben Bulpen)


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