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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 !




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

there !


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
Just on a mountain edge as bare as the creature's skull,
Save a mere shag of a bush with hardly a leaf to pull !
- I scratch my own, sometimes, to see if the hair 's

turned wool.



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


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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

in :

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.

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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

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