Vladimir Nabokov

NABOKV-L post 0023625, Sun, 3 Feb 2013 11:15:49 +0100

Re: Lord Byron's Hock

Lord Byron devoted a whole stanza to hock in Don Juan's second canto (II,

Ring for your valet-bid him quickly bring

Some hock and soda-water, then you'll know

A pleasure worthy Xerxes the great king;

For not the bless'd sherbet, sublimed with snow,

Nor the first sparkle of the desert-spring,

Nor Burgundy in all its sunset glow,

After long travel, ennui, love, or slaughter,

Vie with that draught of hock and soda-water.

A. Bouazza

From: Vladimir Nabokov Forum [mailto:NABOKV-L@LISTSERV.UCSB.EDU] On Behalf
Of Alexey Sklyarenko
Sent: zondag 3 februari 2013 1:11
Subject: [NABOKV-L] Lord Byron's Hock

'Ah!' said Demon, tasting Lord Byron's Hock. 'This redeems Our Lady's
Tears.' (Ada, 1.38)

Hock is mentioned in Byron's The Waltz (1813):

Imperial Waltz! Imported from the Rhine

(Famed for the growth of pedigrees and wine),

Long be thine import from all duty free,

And hock itself be less esteem'd than thee;

In some few qualities alike-for hock

Improves our cellar-thou our living stock.

The head to hock belongs-thy subtler art

Intoxicates alone the heedless heart:

Through the full veins thy gentler poison swims,

And wakes to wantonness the willing limbs.

In vain I hoped that VN's play The Waltz Invention had something to do with
Byron's poem.* But his hock redeemed my disappointment.

*According to some commentators, "Calembourg" mentioned in VN's play by
Waltz is London. Yet, the poet Turvalski (whose poem is recited by one of
the generals) seems to be in no way related to the Countess of Waltzaway (a
distant relation of Horace Hornem's spouse). Horace Hornem, the fictitious
author of The Waltz, was invented by Byron.

Alexey Sklyarenko

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