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But the great masterpiece is the scaffold rigged glorious
to hold All the fiddlers and fifers and drummers and trumpeters
bold Not afraid of Bellini nor Auber: who, when the priest 's
hoarse, Will strike us up something that 's brisk for the feast's
second course. And then will the flaxen-wigged Image be carried in
pomp Thro' the plain, while, in gallant procession, the priests
mean to stomp. All round the glad church lie old bottles with gunpowder
stopped, Which will be, when the Image re-enters, religiously
popped. And at night from the crest of Calvano great bonfires will
hang: On the plain will the trumpets join chorus, and more
poppers bang. At all events, come—to the garden, as far as the wall ; See me tap with a hoe on the plaster, till out there shall
A scorpion with wide angry nippers !
_“Such trifles !" you say ? Fortù, in my England at home, men meet gravely to
day And debate, if abolishing Corn-laws be righteous and
wise ! --If’t were proper, Scirocco should vanish in black from
the skies !
UP AT A VILLA-DOWN IN THE CITY.
(AS DISTINGUISHED BY AN ITALIAN PERSON OF QUALITY.)
Had I but plenty of money, money enough and to spare, The house for me, no doubt, were a house in the city
square; Ah, such a life, such a life, as one leads at the window
Something to see, by Bacchus, something to hear, at
least ! There, the whole day long, one's life is a perfect feast; While up at a villa one lives, I maintain it, no more
than a beast.
Well now, look at our villa ! stuck like the horn of a bull
But the city, oh the city--the square with the houses !
Why? They are stone-faced, white as a curd, there's something
to take the Houses in four straight lines, not a single front awry; You watch who crosses and gossips, who saunters, who
hurries by ; Green blinds, as a matter of course, to draw when the
sun gets high; And the shops with fanciful signs which are painted
What of a villa ? Though winter be over in March by
rights, 'T is May perhaps ere the snow shall have withered well
off the heights : You ’ve the brown ploughed land before, where the oxen
steam and wheeze, And the hills over-smoked behind by the faint grey
Is it better in May, I ask you? You ’ve summer all at
once ; In a day he leaps complete with a few, strong April suns. 'Mid the sharp short emerald wheat, scarce risen three
fingers well, The wild tulip, at end of its tube, blows out its great
red bell Like a thin clear bubble of blood, for the children to
pick and sell.
Is it ever hot in the square? There is a fountain to
spout and splash! In the shade it sings and springs; in the shine such
foam-bows flash On the horses with curling fish-tails, that prance and
paddle and pash Round the lady atop in her conch-fifty gazers do not
abash, Though all that she wears is some weeds round her
waist in a sort of sash.
All the year long at the villa, nothing to see though you
linger, Except yon cypress that points like death's lean lifted
forefinger, Some think fireflies pretty, when they mix i' the corn
and mingle, Or thrid the stinking hemp till the stalks of it seem
a-tingle. Late August or early September, the stunning cicala is
shrill, And the bees keep their tiresome whine round the
resinous firs on the hill. Enough of the seasons,- I spare you the months of the
fever and chill.
Ere you open your eyes in the city, the blessed church
bells begin : No sooner the bells leave off than the diligence rattles
You get the pick of the news, and it costs you never a pin. By and by there 's the travelling doctor gives pills, lets
blood, draws teeth ; Or the Pulcinello-trumpet breaks up the market beneath. At the post-office such a scene-picture-the new play,
piping hot! And a notice how, only this morning, three liberal
thieves were shot. Above it, behold the Archbishop's most fatherly of
rebukes, And beneath, with his crown and his lion, some little
new law of the Duke's ! Or a sonnet with flowery marge, to the Reverend Don
So-and-so Who is Dante, Boccaccio, Petrarca, St. Jerome and Cicero, “And moreover," (the sonnet goes rhyming) "the
skirts of St. Paul has reached, Having preached us those six Lent-lectures more
unctuous than ever he preached.” Noon strikes,-here sweeps the procession ! our Lady
borne smiling and smart, With a pink gauze gown all spangles, and seven swords
stuck in her heart ! Bang-whang-whang goes the drum, tootle-te-tootle the fife; No keeping one's haunches still : it 's the greatest
pleasure in life.
But bless you, it 's dear-it 's dear! fowls, wine, at
double the rate. They have clapped a new tax upon salt, and what oil
pays passing the gate